Garrettsville – Returning to his favorite metaphor, Mayor Craig Moser likened historic Garrettsville to “our old century home” in his annual State of the Village Report, delivered at the Garrettsville Village Council meeting on January 12.
Recapping the past year, Moser said, “Life in G’ville in 2010 had its good moments indeed. Our old century home had the lights on and the good times were there for all to enjoy!”
Highlights of 2010 included the “best-ever” SummerFest, which featured a long tractor parade, canoe races and an overflow crowd on Main Street for fireworks and the Grand Parade. The mayor was also proud of another “Academically Excellent with Distinction” rating for the James A Garfield Schools, the Garfield Historical Society’s Bi-Annual Christmas Walk, the JAG State Champion Girl’s Softball Team, and the Chamber of Commerce’s inaugural village celebration on St Patrick’s Day.
“As mayor, I have the shared responsibility to maintain the old homestead, keep it safe, and make appropriate, affordable improvements to it,” Moser went on to say. Despite rising gas prices and higher health insurance premiums than in 2009, the village’s tax revenues in 2010 were surprisingly a bit higher. This improvement was due to the quarter-percent income tax rate increase passed in November 2007.
“My personal thanks to the voters of Garrettsville for understanding we get what we pay for,” he said. “In addition, we need to pay for what we get. And what you pay for is worth it. We do try to spend your tax money wisely.”
Other village accomplishments for 2010 included a review of village equipment needs, the annexation of three properties on Brosius Road into the village, the purchase of 10 acres of adjacent land for future Park Cemetery expansion, the annual crack sealing of several village streets, the replacement of some sidewalks, the replacement of some equipment at South Park and Park Avenue playgrounds, and the purchase of the Irwin Hardware parking lot. The village website was also revised and updated.
The Ohio Department of Transportation started demolishing the Windham/Freedom Street (Route 82) Bridge in May 2010, “and the long-lasting bridge project is not done yet but will be completed soon,” Moser reported.
Finally, “The long-neglected Irwin Hardware building has been weatherproofed and we have a strategy to move forward on this project in partnership with a private developer, however there are a lot of if’s and then’s in our strategy…” according to the mayor.
Mayor Moser — also Professor of Economics at Hiram College — stated that “Our village’s financial balances at the end of 2010 tell us we had a stable result year for our cash balances over the course of the year. So, I remain conservative and cautious about our spending plans for 2011. Likely, our 2011 income tax revenues will be flat due to the continued high unemployment rate and inclement economic conditions which have lasted for a while, but seem to be abating.”
During this new year, village employees are receiving a two percent raise, matching the two-percent raises given the previous three years. Plans in 2011 also include purchasing a new dump truck/snowplow, new fuel tanks, and new leaf removal equipment for the street department, plus a new canine vehicle/cruiser for the police department.
More sidewalk replacements and repairs will continue in 2011 with a focus on Center Street. Additional new sidewalk installations are expected on Liberty Street to complement the Liberty Street/Water Street Bridge sidewalk.
Progress is also expected to be made on the village’s wastewater treatment plant’s planned expansion under the guidance of the Board of Public Affairs and Jeff Sheehan. The $5+ million project was started in late 2010, but should gain real momentum in 2011.
Garrettsville’s Economic Development Committee continues to meet every other month, exploring new possibilities for the vacant Amweld, Giant Eagle, Paul’s Lumber and Chrysler buildings. Additional commercial, residential and industrial buildings and acreage are also available for development.
“We will continue to seek out persons to join us in Garrettsville,” Moser said. “I know economic conditions are very difficult, but we do have something to offer here and I am proud to host interested parties to a cup of coffee (on me) and discuss the virtues of G’ville.”
In closing, Moser said, “I enjoy serving you as your mayor. I welcome continuing to work with Council, the Clerk, the Board of Public Affairs, and the many other citizens who ably serve on various Village committees and civic groups. All together, we make Garrettsville a good place to live and raise a family.”