Following a year of austere budget tightening measures, Northwood ended 2010 with a balanced budget, Mayor Mark Stoner said in his state of the city address last week.
“The message for 2011 is one of both challenge and confidence,” said Stoner.
“Just like our citizens, the city has been adversely affected by the economic downturn of the last few years. To meet the various challenges, council and I have had to make difficult decisions regarding reductions in spending, personnel and capital improvement projects,” said Stoner.
The reductions allowed the city to finish the 2010 fiscal year with higher revenues than expenditures and met the requirement of having a balanced budget, he said.
“The citizens can be confident that this mayor and council will continue to make the necessary decisions to provide the basic governmental services throughout 2011. Just like our citizens, if the economy grows and revenues increase, I can assure the citizens that the city will be frugal in weighing `want’ versus `need.’”
One of the highlights last year, according to Stoner, was the city’s Community Investment Agreement with Norplas, a major employer in the city. The CIA will assist the company with a 30,000 square-foot expansion of its plant. Norplas will add two large tonnage presses to increase its injection molding capacity. The project will require adding from 160 to 300 new employees.
Over $5 million was spent for new construction projects in the city last year, an increase from the $3 million spent the prior year, and $1.6 million in 2008, according to Stoner.
Approximately 332 zoning permits were issued in 2010 for residential, commercial and industrial construction, compared to 304 from 2009, an increase of 9 percent.
New industrial and commercial businesses last year included NWO Beverage, Henkels & McCoy, Sammy’s Joe, Woodville Skate Park, Stormin Normin’s Trade Center, Wyland’s Auction, 2020 Exhibits, F&M Sunoco, Wilson Industries, Mauder Heating & Air and First Care.
The city experienced new industrial growth with new construction at Northwestern Water & Sewer with Clear well for $1,815,000, and Pilkington North America’s solar field for $1,600,000.
The Planning and Zoning Department is continuing regular inspections and enforcement.
Traffic crashes were down 1 percent, the eighth year in a row they have decreased, and third year in a row with no reported fatalities, according to Stoner. Major crimes are down 3 percent, the fourth year in a row they have declined.
The Communication Center last year received 6,378 calls for service from the general public, along with an additional 2,604 calls that were initiated by officers while out on patrol, for a grand total of 8,982 calls for service.
Lastly, the police department was awarded a Drug Abuse Resistance Grant from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, a Third Seat Belt Grant from the Ohio Department of Public Safety for the instruction of seat belt safety, a Bullet Proof Partnership Grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance that funded 50 percent of the total cost of four ballistic vests. The department continues to participate in a regional grant with the Lucas County Operate a Vehicle Intoxicated Task Force.
The Mayor’s Court received $167,901.37 in fines, forfeitures and costs for 2010. Total cases for the year were 2,394, with 2,218 being traffic and 176 being criminal, an increase of more than 100 citations from the previous year, said Stoner.
“This past year brought much necessary change to the court due to budget cuts,” said Stoner. “The most significant change to the court was the reorganization of city personnel. With the reduction in staff and an increase in case load, it has greatly impacted the court’s routine operations. During the training of the reassigned deputy clerk, our goal to function as efficiently as possible was achieved.”
The fire department had 804 calls last year, an increase of 80 from 2009. The department received a $36,000 grant to purchase equipment to help maintain the Self Contained Breathing Apparatus and for additional training, according to Stoner.
Budgetary cuts forced a reduction in the amount of paving projects that could be started last year. However, the Street Department, in conjunction with the state, was able to complete the Bradner Road/Curtice Road intersection improvements, said Stoner. In addition, the major reconstruction of the street, waterline, sanitary and storm sewers on Norma and Maryland Place were completed.
The Finance Department completed its 12th annual Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and was awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Association. Total General Fund revenue increased by $88,465 or 2.1 percent from 2009. Total General Fund expenditures were decreased by $424,763 or 9.1 percent from 2009.