Last year, Northwood saw new construction projects, round the clock EMS coverage, and new businesses.
Over $8 million were spent for new construction projects last year, an increase from the $5 million spent in 2010 and $3 million spent in 2009.
New businesses include Bob’s Home Service, Sit Means Sit, Marathon Gas Station, Geddis Paving, and Condos and Trees.
|New Northwood Fire Chief Joel Whitmore. (Press file
photo by Ken Grosjean)
Industrial growth and construction included a $2,490,000 expansion of Norplas Industries, a $200,000 addition to JamLand, a $1 million building alteration for Sysco Foods of Ohio, and a $4 million building addition for NAMSA.
This year, the city administrator will propose additional economic development measures to rehabilitate land parcels and create opportunities for further economic growth, according to Mayor Mark Stoner.
“The city will investigate capital improvement projects that might serve to stimulate private investment and offer economic development return,” said Stoner.
The fire department last year officially started providing 24-7 EMS coverage consisting of two fire fighter personnel with at least EMT (Basic) qualifications on standby status at Fire Station No. 2, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Staffing shifts will be filled by personnel from the part-time volunteer department.
The increased annual cost to the city is $139,222, for a total of $249,844 to provide round the clock coverage.
The boosted coverage was prompted by an incident that was first reported in The Press in which a resident called 9-1-1 three times on March 3 for her husband who was having breathing problems. Tim Mix, 67, of Parc Rue, had stopped breathing by the time help arrived 28 minutes later from a Northwood rescue squad manned by an EMT. Medic 50, a rescue squad staffed by paramedics in Lake Township, which has a mutual aid agreement with Northwood, transported Mix to Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, where he died two days later.
After the incident, the city reinstated two firefighter/EMTs to provide Basic Life Support (BLS) from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., a shift that had been cut from the budget as a result of the recession.
The city also saw its financial picture improve after years of budget cuts and layoffs.
Last year started with a positive general fund carryover due to cautious spending by the city’s department heads, according to Stoner.
“We have approved a balanced 2012 budget totaling $4,450,000 and we project our 2012 general fund revenue to total $4,600,000,” said Stoner.
“The message for 2012 is one of continuing challenge and guided optimism,” said Stoner. “We will continue to adhere to a prudent spending plan as we move through what we hope is a nearing end to the economic downturn of the last few years.”
Income tax collections last year were up 12.3 percent from the prior year, and total General Fund expenditures decreased by $344,485 or 8.2 percent, from 2010.
“We still have some hills to climb to get back to our 2007 revenue levels, but we are making progress toward that goal,” said Stoner.
Traffic accidents and major crime statistics dropped in 2011. Traffic crashes were down 8 percent, the ninth consecutive year, and the fourth consecutive year in which there were no fatalities, according to Stoner.
The police department’s communication center received 6,154 Calls for Service (CFS) from the general public, along with an additional 2,019 calls that were initiated by officers while out on patrol. “Therefore, out grand total was 8,173 CFS, down from last year,” said Stoner.
The police department received a grant from the Northwest Ohio Regional Information System for an automatic license plate reader system. “This mounted cruiser system allows the city’s equipped patrol car to run license plates from approaching cars while patrolling, which maximizes our efforts to identify stolen vehicles,” said Stoner.
The department also acquired a fully equipped marked patrol car, a thermal heat detection camera unit, a computer server for police programs and a Lucas County Regional Radio Communications Consol, which will improve the city’s regional communications compatibility. In addition, an Automatic Vehicle Location Software will help the city locate and guide its EMS and law enforcement field assets, according to Stoner.
The city last year also announced plans to hire another patrol officer this year to beef up the department.
The cost of providing an extra officer was included in the city’s 2012 budget.
Police Chief Tom Cairl had requested bringing back a laid off patrol officer, which will increase the number of patrol officers on the road to 14.
“I believe this is something that’s been overdue,” Cairl had said at a council meeting last year.
The police department’s budget this year is one percent less than its budget last year.
A staffing study Cairl had conducted that used current calls for service showed the need for more patrols.
The streets department last year completed a resurfacing project involving Olde Curtice and Lewis streets. The work was done by Bowers Asphalt at a cost of $103,705.10.
“The city projects a busy 2012, starting with the first construction efforts on the Wales Road Grade Separation project,” said Stoner. “The city plans on paving and repairing storm water lines on Florence Avenue and Sharon Drive in 2012. Also planned is a substantial detention pond construction project serving the Greenway Estates subdivision.”
The mayor’s court has started to forfeit defendants’ driving privileges in addition to sending them to collections for unpaid balances, said Stoner.