GREENVILLE -During Tuesday’s council meeting, Greenville Mayor Mike Bowers delivered his annual report to the city council, which declared the past year as a period of “significant change and growth.”
Primarily mentioned in the report was the beneficial impact of Greenville being named “Best Hometown” for 2013 by Ohio Magazine, recent and ongoing strides in economic development and the initiative to design a long-term yet malleable plan for the future.
Mayor Bowers also noted the important and ongoing contributions of the city’s administration, which he described as demonstrating a “great amount of talent.”
Specifically mentioned was Chad Henry, who assumed his position as Director of Planning and Zoning in 2013. Over the last year the position of City Engineer was eliminated and the department was restructured, allowing Henry to assume a more central role, while the city ulitizes an existing relationship with engineering firm Mote & Associates for additional services.
Safety Service Director Curt Garrison also finished his first full year with the city and helped construct a five-year capital program with the input of pertinent department heads. The initial draft of the document was completed in 2013 and remains a fluid document, with provisional plans extending over the next 10 years. The capital improvement plan is now available for pubic perusal on the city’s website.
“But we can’t rest on our successes; we need to keep going forward in 2014,” said Mayor Bowers.
In 2013, several projects addressed by the capital improvement plan were completed, including the Jaysville-St. John lift station upgrade, Holly Hill Drive reconstruction and water meter replacement program.
Infrastructure upgrades will continue to follow the city’s 10-year plan, which will include a reconstruction of Gardenwood and Rhoades Avenues in 2014.
The city administration was also able to put the Capital Allocation Committee to work in review of other municipal projects, including a new fire department ladder truck which will be financed over 10 years, two new police cruisers and a leaf vacuum truck.
Also noted in the report was a very a very important milestone for 2013: the retention and growth of more than 1,000 jobs over the past three years. The milestone highlighted the city administration’s current focus on economic development through a longstanding partnership with the Darke County Economic Development Office and Partnering for Progress.
“The importance of these efforts was felt this past year when the amount of income tax receipts exceeded six million dollars for the first time,” read the Mayor’s Report. “ With the cuts made by the state a few years ago, the efforts of this administration have revenue trending in a positive direction.”
While the City of Greenville is proud of its advancements in the previous year, it’s not resting on its laurels.
The Mayor’s Report declared a commitment to “better communication with the community, a focus on improving our housing stock, infrastructure upgrades and focusing on our downtown.”
As stated in the report, better communication will be implemented by quarterly ward meetings in the first quarter of the year and ongoing articles in The Daily Advocate, while housing stock will be a multi-faceted effort dealing with blighted properties and developing executive style housing.
And finally, the Greenville administration is planning a five-year comprehensive plan designed to “help redefine the footprint of downtown and grow opportunities for future growth.”
The Daily Advocate will have more details on the large-scale downtown project later in the year as information becomes available.
Also during Tuesday’s council meeting, Greenville City Auditor Roxanne Willman announced Vicki Harris as the new appointment to the city’s Clerk of Council.
Harris lives in Verona, Ohio with her husband Chris Harris, who is a pastor at Abbottsville United Methodist Church. She previously worked at the Brookville Chamber of Commerce as the Executive Director, and looks forward to a new career working with the Greenville administration.
“One of our church members saw the job listing it was meant to be,” she said. “I look forward to working with the council, and everyone seems very nice.”
Safety Service Director Curt Garrison also discussed an upcoming Gray Avenue Neighborhood Improvement project which is designed to make improvements to Gray Avenue and the South Park facility. Primarily, the program is designed to convert the wading pool at South Park into a spray park, while also providing parking improvements to the park, improving the curbs and street on Gray Avenue, and replacing a smaller water line.
In order to pursue grant funds like including a Community Development Block Grants, the city administration must complete a confidential income survey to gauge income range in the surrounding neighborhood, which has been defined as all househoulds from Walker Street to Birt Street and from Central Street to Jackson Street.
Residents living around the South Park facilities can expect the survey to arrive in the first quarter of 2014.
Garrison then addressed a pending agreement with Hometown Cable, a rural internet service provider based out of Coldwater.
Currently the City of Greenville is in discussions to allow Hometown Cable to install internet broadcast equipment onto the city’s water towers in return for free internet service on more than 30 municipal locations. The annual savings was projected at more than $50,000, however, the city would potentially be required to install additional reception towers on low-usage municipal property. The lease contract currently extends for five years.
Also on Tuesday, the council approved an ordinance for temporary appropriations allocated to the Park and Pool funds and appropriations in the General Fund in the amount of $5,750 to provide for updating Greenville’s Codified Ordinance records.
Lastly, the council approved a resolution authorizing the city administration to enter into a grant agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation for a project cost of $400,000 on behalf of Greenville’s Safe Routes to School application.