By DENISE GRANT
Findlay Mayor Christina Muryn said Tuesday there will be a public hearing on the additional bicycle and shared-use paths scheduled for construction in the spring of 2020 in the city.
No date for the hearing has been announced.
Muryn advised City Council of the plans for a hearing at its regular meeting Tuesday. She said city administrators are also working to develop a more detailed report and graphics for council about the project.
Letters went in the mail in late June advising residents, businesses and organizations that will be most impacted by the construction.
The city is seeking public comment on the projects, as required by the Ohio Department of Transportation.
Comments can be made via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Muryn said she has been receiving a lot of public input on the plan. She said the city will need to address traffic concerns raised by the proposed construction.
The shared-use Blanchard River Greenway Trail will be extended from the dead end at 1100 E. Main Cross St. to East Sawmill Road. From there, East Main Cross Street will be widened by 5 feet on both the north and the south sides of the road between East Sawmill Road and the parking lot at the corner of Bright Road.
Widening the street will provide two, 5-foot-wide bike lanes in each direction, according to Jeremy Kalb, project manager for the City of Findlay.
On Lincoln Street, a shared-use path will replace the sidewalk on the north side of Lincoln Street from South Cory Street to Blanchard Street.
On Blanchard Street, the northbound and southbound curb lanes from Sixth Street to Tiffin Avenue will be converted into 5-foot-wide bike lanes. According to Kalb, converting the curb lanes to dedicated bike lanes will require that this part of Blanchard Street be reduced to a three-lane road for motorists.
Blanchard Street will then have one northbound lane, one southbound lane and a center turn lane.
The city also will be working with the Department of Transportation to widen Hancock County 236 between Sandusky Street and Tiffin Avenue, to allow for the addition of a center turn lane to address increased traffic flow on that roadway.
That project will include a 10-foot-wide, shared-use path on the east side of the road, which will extend from Hancock County 236 to the east by 15 feet.
The city has received a $1.3 million ODOT grant for the County Road 236 project, and construction also will start in the spring.
Once complete, the additional bicycle and shared-use paths will connect some of the city’s most popular destinations, including Tiffin Avenue, Emory Adams Park and downtown Findlay.
In other business, Muryn announced at Tuesday’s council meeting that she and Auditor Jim Staschiak have developed a new draft policy that would allow the city’s controversial practice of allowing certain individuals and businesses to skip estimated payments of city income taxes to continue.
The Findlay Income Tax Board will be the first to get a look at the new proposal. The board’s next meeting is at 1 p.m. Aug. 7 at the Findlay Municipal Building, 318 Dorney Plaza.
Muryn said it will be up to the income tax board to decide whether it will adopt the new policy and allow the practice to continue.
Both Muryn and Staschiak said their proposal makes the practice fair, transparent and addresses the concerns of state auditors.
The income tax board has been working to develop a policy for several months now, but has been unable to garner the votes needed to approve a new policy.
Findlay has been allowing skipped estimated payments since 2012, at the discretion of the tax administrator. There are currently 52 businesses and two individuals permitted to skip the estimated payments without penalty.
Altogether, the skipped payments total an estimated $2.2 million.
As the practice now stands, Andrew Thomas, tax administrator, decides when to refuse estimated payments from individuals or businesses, based on if they have a history of overpayment or difficulty estimating their taxes.
Thomas said the practice protects the city against over-collections that must be repaid.
On Tuesday, Staschiak, who has always oppposed the practice, said if the city is going to continue the practice of waiving estimated payments, it should be done correctly.
Muryn and Staschiak are members of the tax board, as are city Treasurer Susan Hite, Law Director Dan Rasmussen and Councilman Grant Russel, R-at-large, who serves as chairman of council’s Appropriations Committee.