HARTVILLE Hartville Mayor Cynthia Billings delivered the 2020 state of the village address at the Jan. 21 village council meeting, summarizing accomplishments in 2019.
Highlights included a $145,778 paving project on Sunnyside; new windows and two furnace units installed at village hall; new roofs installed on village salt sheds and the police garage; drainage issues at Memorial Park addressed; the installation of a $274,730 generator at the village wastewater treatment plant; the $249,096 replacement of a sanitary sewer line on Wagner Court; the sale of the last of the village’s buildable lots in the industrial park; new equipment at Memorial Park purchased through a recycling grant; the hiring of the police department’s eighth full-time officer; and a year-ending general fund balance of $819,500.
“We are not ‘broke’ as I have heard from some people,” Billing said. “But as you see with the prices on paving and some purchases and repairs we have done, it is expensive.”
2020 outlook and comprehensive plan proposal
Looking ahead to 2020, Billings said the village must remain focused on the replacement of decorative downtown lighting, street paving throughout the village and the construction of a police building. Later in the Jan. 21 meeting, Village Council approved the purchase of a 2.5 acre property on Sunnyside Street for the future police facility.
“We had a half-percent income tax issue on the ballot in both May and November,” Billings said. “Council determined the increase was necessary to catch up on street paving and build a police building. Since the tax didn’t pass, Council removed the one percent credit given to residents who work and pay income tax outside of Hartville, to raise a portion of the money needed.”
In light of issues such as these, Billings called for beginning the process of creating a comprehensive plan for the village this year.
“The village has changed drastically over the years and I think it’s important that we sit down and decide where we want to be in the future and what we need to get there,” Billings said. “If we want to keep the small town atmosphere we have, we need to make sure the village’s growth goes in the right direction.”
She said this effort would not be undertaken by elected officials alone.
“We will need to put together a committee…of government officials, residents, and business owners as well as sending questionnaires to our residents for their input,” Billings said. “I’m sure this will take several years to do, but I feel it is a necessary part of Hartville moving forward in the direction best for us.”
Positive report overall
Billings said that overall, “things are going well in Hartville,” while she called for cooperation between village leaders.
“Obviously, there are a couple items that we need to stay on top of,” she said. “The police still need a safe and usable space and the streets will not get fixed by themselves. It’s important to keep working on these as well as moving the village in the right direction.
”This means Council has to work together; we cannot accomplish this with personal agendas or ignoring the needs and hoping they go away. It is our responsibility, as government officials, to make sure our employees have what they need to do to the best job possible for the residents of Hartville.”