Hello, and welcome to the City Manager’s blog!
I hope to be on here at least a couple times a week to update you on what’s going on in the City and what I’m working on to make Middletown a better place to live, work, and play. It’s been an interesting first year as City Manager. The majority of people have been warm, friendly and helpful. People are ready for Middletown to thrive again.
We have almost $700 million in new construction coming to the City over the next two years. Unemployment in Butler County is around 5%. We will be working on over $3 million in paving this year. Downtown has more new businesses than I’ve seen in my 10 years with the City. Things are definitely “better.”
That being said, we have a huge amount of work to do to get the city back in shape. We are working on updated costs to return our streets and sidewalks to good condition. We are working with the EPA to address our combined sewers and much of our water infrastructure is approaching 100 years old. Property values are down and that affects us all.
I’ve told my staff and I’ll tell you the same thing… you can’t fix Middletown on a Thursday. It will take years of doing the right things in Economic Development, crime reduction, and controlling expenses to rebuild our budget to a place where we can sustain not only what we have, but start meeting the deferred maintenance needs of the City moving forward.
We are working on an inclusive and open government. Our needs are too great for me to turn away help from those who offer it. We will gladly accept your time, talent, and funds if you have something you’d like to contribute to the greater good.
We will make mistakes. Many times, the only person who doesn’t make a mistake is someone who tries and does nothing. If the status quo doesn’t give us as residents what we need and want, the only answer is to start changing and trying new things. I’ve told City Council, we will be trying new things and new ideas. Many will work, some will not. I hope that we have the wisdom to know the difference and to continue the good and discontinue the nonproductive… and then we need to line up a new list of things to try to improve the City further.
Use this blog for a good purpose. Ask hard questions. I’ll probably have an answer even if you don’t agree with the response I give. There are a few ground rules that I’ll insist on. First, keep it professional and dignified. A difference of opinion can help lead to the best decisions and a robust discussion. Keep the discussion focused on the topic and not the person. I won’t respond to hatred or cussing or disrespectful comments. Second, there are times when an incident is under investigation, someone’s privacy needs to be protected, or when an economic development deal is still under negotiation and the company is not ready to announce their plans or jeopardize publication of their trade secrets, etc. I reserve the right not to respond directly to these types of questions, although I will explain why I can’t go into more detail at that time. Third, this blog will be predominantly a positive expression of life in Middletown. I believe in this City and believe that with hard work and good decisions, we will be a thriving community again. You are free to believe otherwise, but my comments will focus on the positive.
And so we begin….