What’s on your mind?

I’ve spent the last couple months answering previous questions I had received from residents about how the City works and what actions we are taking on certain issues….

This is your chance to add to the discussion.   What is going on in the City, or not going on in the City that you’d like to know more about?    Post your comments here and I’ll try to get you answers to your questions.

I promise a couple things here…  First, I’ll try to answer your question completely.   Sometimes that will mean getting information from other departments, etc., which may take a little time.  Be patient.  Second, I only post here a couple times a week.  If I get 60 good questions, it will take some time to work through the list.

It’s Friday.  It’s beautiful outside.  It should be a great weekend.  Let me know what you’re thinking!

Doug

2 thoughts on “What’s on your mind?

  1. As far as the Budgets is concern, is the sewer replacement and road replacement projects two separate budget line items? If they are two budget line items can we get them merged so that we say Middletown taxpayers and homeowners money? Also, how is Middletown being Marketed to Corporations who are looking to relocate to Southwest Ohio area? Last question can we some of the old paper mills demolished that have been empty for years like the on Verity Parkway and Girard?

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    • I’ll try to take these one at a time. The water line/sewer line projects are two separate budget line items with different pools of funding. Water and Sewer work is paid from customer water bills. Street work is paid for mostly from the General Fund. That being said, we do merge them when appropriate for the savings that you are suggesting. When we have to make a water/sewer repair or replacement which involves tearing up the streets above, we generally use the water/sewer account to pay for the project including putting the road back together. Secondly, we also try to be smart on when and what we are paving so that we don’t pave this year and come back next year and tear up the new road for water/sewer work. It’s an imperfect system with unknowns such as an unplanned water main break, but we try to do what you have suggested.

      On the Economic Development front, we are really just now working on getting where we need to be. I brought on another Asst. Economic Development Director to work on these items in 2015. We have one person dedicated to the East End, the region, the State, and overall marketing of the City. Another is developing our work force numbers to show employers that we either have available workforces for their companies or that we have the educational programs to develop the company’s needed employees in a short time. As Economic Development evolves, it is becoming more important to companies to locate where they can find qualified employees to work their jobs. in many cases, we’ve been told that work force availability is more important than geographic location in making business decisions. Our third ED person is working on redevelopment of existing business, the airport, and retention of existing employers. We regularly visit existing businesses now to make sure we are meeting their needs and looking for ways to help them expand. Finally, I brought on a Public Relations person full time in 2015. One of the problems we have faced in the past has been that only the negative people were talking. We need to present a positive message in our community, in the region and to company’s that are considering locating here. All of these initiatives are in process right now, and I hope to have ED fully functioning at its best possible level by the beginning of next year.

      The last question on the paper mills may be the most complicated of the three questions. Most of the old paper mills are owned by private investors and there is a limit to what I can force people to do with their investment properties beyond code enforcement and zoning. Second, many of these properties have environmental contamination from their paper operating days and if the City would attempt to seize them or buy them, we (and you as the taxpayer) would inherit the environmental costs of clean up. Finally, Council has clearly stated that they don’t want the city in the real estate business any more than necessary, and there are a large number of citizens who believe we should never own property in this manner. These unfortunately are large, expensive problems for the community. We can step in, but the cost for demolition and clean up can run into the millions of dollars in some cases. Grants are sometimes available, but it’s not an easy fix.

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