As always, I’m impressed by what staff gets accomplished each quarter. I think most of us get up and go through our day and because nothing got in our way or caught our eye, we forget how much work it takes to make your day uneventful.
Let’s start with public safety. Middletown Division of Police (MPD) is in the process of adding a sixth K-9 to our force to continue to combat drug trafficking in Middletown. There are a lot of reasons to be cautiously optimistic that we may have finally turned the corner on the opiate epidemic in Middletown.
MPD logged in 103 fewer Part I crimes (the most serious crimes) in the first quarter of 2018 vs. the same period last year. Calls for domestic violence are down around 25% this year vs. last year. In the first quarter, MPD responded to 575 fewer total calls for service than the same time last year. Despite the drop in Part I crimes and calls for service, total drug arrests and felony drug arrests are still higher than 2017.
Calls are going down. Drug arrests continue to climb. It’s the right trend if we can keep it going.
Middletown Division of Fire is showing similar positive gains. For the first time in a few years, we ran 102 fewer EMS (Ambulance) calls for service in the first quarter this year vs. 2017.
Opiate related calls are down as well. Year to date in 2018, we’ve run 124 total overdose related EMS calls vs. 231 for the same period last year. Overdose deaths are down as well. 14 in 2018 vs. 26 at the same time last year. Again, trending in the right direction.
Building Inspection issued 11 permits for new residential construction valued at $2.5 million and 4 commercial/industrial permits for new construction valued at $2.6 million.
The Health Department conducted 143 Food Service/Vending inspections, 41 Retail Food Establishment inspections, processed 14 animal bites, issued 1153 Birth Certificates, 1070 Death Certificates and processed 18 indigent cremations. The Health Department also restored their operating hours to pre-recession levels (finally!) and you can visit the Health Department Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Code enforcement logged 200 commercial inspections, resolving 46 violations. They completed 148 residential inspections, resolving 93 violations. Nuisance abatement logged 974 inspections, resolving 138 violations.
The Law Department reviewed 69 contracts and drafted 19 pieces of legislation for City Council. There are 2,881 cases pending in Municipal Court, including 244 felonies, 997 misdemeanors, 59 OVI (drunk driving), and 1,581 traffic cases.
In Public Works, crews have already spent 440 hours preparing flower beds for the spring. We have cleaned 1,130 linear feet of sewer mains, repaired two major sewer collapses, performed 55 miles of street sweeping, repaired 94 street signs, and responded to 6 snow events spreading 2,453 tons of salt on city roads.
We get complaints about pot holes, and I understand the frustration. PW crews in the first quarter used 383 tons of asphalt repairing pot holes.
We treated 2,486 million gallons of wastewater. We completed 43 water main repairs, and we produced 837 million gallons of potable drinking water.
At the airport, we continue to work with our consultant on the new Master Plan. We are working to get the airport designated as a “Certified” site within the SiteOhio program to make the airport more marketable for new jobs. The state capital budget includes $750,000 for the airport to construct a new education hanger to not only house aviation related workforce development programs, but also to open up new hanger space for use at the airport. All of our T-hangers and all of the community hanger space is now rented and in use.
In the first quarter, Economic Development working with the Chamber of Commerce completed retention visits to Quaker Chemical, Paychex, Suncoke, Steam Systems, Ventilex, NTE, PAC Worldwide, Pilot Chemical, Kroger, Meijer and MTR MARTCO.
Economic Development is working with different partners to prepare additional sites for development. An 86 acres site across from Atrium Medical Center was chosen by Duke for their Site Readiness program. We closed on the old Senior Center next to the city building and work should start in the next 90 days on a new BMW Motorcycle shop at that location.
The Small Business Development Center relocated to the third floor of the City building to be more accessible to clients. During the first quarter, SBDC met with 142 clients and provided 461 hours of business counseling.
Planning Commission convened twice, hearing 5 cases. Historic Commission met three times, hearing 12 cases. Certificates of Zoning compliance were issued to 100 businesses. 220 illegal signs were removed from the right of way. 45 zoning inspections were completed resulting in 40 zoning violation letters being sent.
In February, City Council adopted the new Development Code, which updates our old 1950’s zoning code to one of the most state of the art codes in Ohio. The Charter Review committee is well into their work evaluating potential changes to the City Charter and their recommendations should be coming to City Council this summer for consideration. The City has completed two Master Plan committee meetings, working to develop the first City Master plan since 2005.
As we get to summer, we’ll be kicking off the review of our housing policies. It’s a busy time at the city!