My notes from last night’s meetings are below:
I held a finance committee meeting, and we addressed two tax incentive agreements. Both amendments, with Wrayco and the law firm occupying the Clunk building (near the courthouse), needed to be adjusted downward to reflect less employment and payroll. The Wrayco agreement was entered into in 2006, before the recession badly hurt the company. I’m actually surprised they held off this long without an amendment. The law firm, which specializes in foreclosures, has seen a downturn in business, as well. You might be thinking: That’s counter-intuitive. I agree, but apparently the federal government’s foreclosure regulations cut down on their business. Council voted unanimously to amend both agreements.
Now for some good news: Rarely do I get excited about government spending. After all, any bureaucrat or mayor can spend money. But this is different. Since I was first elected, I have pushed for the city to expand Springdale Road, between the railroad tracks and Hudson Drive. This portion of the road is technically the Bike Trail, but it is more narrow than any other street. Joggers have to run through a ditch if two cars are coming at once. I cringe when I see mothers with strollers traverse that section of the path. But the money hasn’t been available to expand the street, grants or otherwise. Until this month. City engineer Jim McCleary pushed hard and obtained an AMATS grant of $250,000 to finally widen the street by 5 feet in either direction. When complete, this will eliminate what I believe was the biggest safety problem on Stow’s roads.
The long-awaited Graham Road construction project will begin next month. Click here (Graham Road map) to see a schedule and map of the project.
Like I said above, any bureaucrat can spend money, but I think we are doing our jobs when we find ways to be more efficient with your tax dollars. Here’s one example: Marguerite Amorett, the secretary for Chief Bill Kalbaugh and the fire department, found a new medical waste vendor and saved the city $27,000 per year. Kalbaugh mentioned that she also negotiated out of $10,000 in early cancellation fees with the old vendor. Tip of the cap for that.
With winter being such a bear, we haven’t had an opportunity to recap how the fall’s leaf collection went. The leaf collection program cost the city $168,122.37 (the 8-year average cost is about $181,000). The service workers collected 876 loads of leaves (avg. annual collection is 839). Speaking of which, more props are deserved for our service workers, who have braved some miserable winter conditions and done a terrific job. In fact, I have noticed that our snow plowing has become better and better every year since I arrived on council (not implying it has anything to do with me, seriously).
We also received a grant from the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation for the Gator Getter mechanism. This device attaches to the front of a service vehicle and collects debris (large and small) from the expressways. It will make those jobs a lot more efficient and a lot safer.
City council will meet next on Thursday, March 13.
It’s been awhile since I have posted, but trust me, this blog is going nowhere.
My notes from last night’s meetings are below:
A couple months ago, I mentioned that the city applied for a grant to implement LEAN principles. We didn’t get the funding, but we are applying for a different state grant now. LEAN is a system that will improve efficiency and reduce costs. The mayor mentioned that our purchasing department could benefit from it, as one example.
State Auditor Dave Yost stopped by City Hall this week to give Stow an award for having a clean audit. It’s the “Fiscal Award, with Distinction”–to be specific. The award acknowledges that the city does a good job with its financial reporting. Congrats to the Finance Department for this award, received only by 5% of Ohio municipalities.
As you know, today is Valentine’s Day. At City Hall, Mayor Drew will be performing seven wedding ceremonies in City Council Chambers. … On a somewhat-related note, I got engaged last week. A lot of Stow residents got to meet my fiance, Laura, as we walked neighborhoods together during the last campaign. I’m very blessed to be with such a wonderful girl.
Rest assured: The City of Stow has a strong stockpile of road salt. The agreement with our salt provider has a minimum-purchase requirement, and we did not use enough salt to reach that minimum in either of the past two winters. So we stored it up, and we’re getting good use of it this winter. … With the subzero temperatures, we did have our brine machine freeze up. But I think our road crews have done a great job, considering how harsh the weather has been.
City council and committees will meet next on February 27.