Garrettsville – Starting his third term as mayor of Garrettsville, Craig Moser delivered his annual State of the Village Report at the Garrettsville Village Council meeting on January 11, sharing his retrospective on 2011 as well as his forecast for 2012. The professor of economics focused most of his attention on the fiscal status of the village and its prospects for future economic development.
“The village remained on a firm financial footing throughout 2011,” he reported. “While the year-end numbers will likely show a slight decrease in our cash balances, we continued to be fiscally conservative and very careful about how we spent your tax dollars. Our village income tax revenues continued to grow modestly in 2011, in contrast to the economic slowdown in the larger economy.”
Moser went on to say that the majority of village expenditures went to wages and salaries (approx. $788,000) and employee benefits ($220,000) for a round total of about $1,000,000 for village employee compensation in 2011.
Other major expenditures in 2011 included:
• a new dump truck,
• a new Chevy Tahoe SUV (police canine unit),
• some spending in joint partnership with the Portage County Engineer for repairing and re-opening the north Liberty Street Bridge to traffic,
• new fuel tanks for the Street Department,
• crack-sealing-roads, seal coating parking lots and chip-and-sealing village roads,
• partnering with property owners on Liberty Street for new sidewalks from Center Street to Water Street,
• revising and improving the village website at www.Garrettsville.org with further improvements for 2012 yet to come.
A major accomplishment was ODOT’s completion of a major bridge replacement on Freedom Street in May 2011. The historic-looking spandrel arch bridge features baluster railings and glass-globed lamp-posts. To complement the new bridge, electrical systems on the boardwalk were replaced, then railing lights were added to highlight the walkway and the pedestrian bridge.
Mayor Moser recognized a new citizens’ group, the Garrettsville Economic Development Committee (GEDC), which discusses the village’s economic development efforts with the mayor and serves as forum where ideas and constructive suggestions “all can lead to G’ville’s improvement on several fronts,” in Moser’s words.
The Board of Public Affairs and the Water Superintendent continue to advance the 5 million dollar Waste Water Treatment Facility expansion project toward completion. The expansion project should provide the village with a WWTF capacity ready for the next twenty-some years, accommodating new residential and industrial customers yet to come.
In 2012, plans call for the BPA to continue to replace the village’s 100+ year-old water lines along State Street.
In addition, the mayor foresees “a suitable resolution for the Irwin Hardware property on Main Street.” The vacant historic building was foreclosed upon and now is under the jurisdiction of the Portage County Treasurer and Auditor. Village officials have been working on this project since March 2010. “Perseverance is needed and we will see it through because it is too important not to do so,” Moser said.
The village will meet with Hiram and Freedom Township trustees to discuss the option of forming a new Joint Economic Development District among the three jurisdictions. Property in their townships sit adjacent to Garrettsville’s industrial park. Moser said, “I believe the JEDD is a good thing and would create a potential for added industrially zoned land in the three entities and would benefit all three of us.”
Otherwise, in terms of economic development, the GEDC is conducting a community business survey later in 2012 to help advise how the village can partner with current and prospective businesses to develop further. Monthly GEDC meetings are open to the public and meet at noon on the first Friday of the month in the village hall.
Joe Mayernick, economic development consultant for Garrettsville, is to be instrumental in locating suitable new tenants for the Amweld Building, the former Giant Eagle Grocery store, and the former Paul’s Lumber Yard, among other development projects. His expertise should uncover economic development incentives available to the village, such as real estate tax abatement incentives and other programs available under Ohio law.
Mayor Moser invited residents, businesses and property owners to contact him with concerns and suggestions for the village at firstname.lastname@example.org. Residents are also encouraged to attend any regular monthly meetings of Village Council (second Wednesday of the month), Planning Commission (first Thursday of the month), and BPA meetings (on the Monday before Council). Meetings are all open and public input is welcome.