In this issue you will find the sixth annual list of shared accomplishments that Council, staff, employees and I worked to achieve over the last year. 2013 brought successes and tears. Our Building Commissioner and good friend Greg Potts died in June. We still miss him.
SAFETY: First and foremost I am grateful to Interim Chief Dale Canter who stepped in to evaluate and guide our Police Department through a difficult time on very short notice. He has worked on policies, procedures, training and morale and has done a masterful job. Secondly I am grateful to the residents of Moreland Hills who overwhelmingly approved the continuing safety levy to help fund our Police Department and other safety services. The Village contracted with Chagrin Falls Fire Department for Fire Prevention services. Fire Marshall Jim Alunni has significantly improved the quality of inspections for the Commercial properties. Council passed ordinances making texting while driving and driving without a seat belt primary offences; I encourage our residents to follow those simple rules to improve the safety of Village streets. The mayors of nine Chagrin Valley communities worked together to create an amazing new Dispatch center with state of the art equipment. Moreland Hills will save approximately $12,000 per year and have improved services due to this regional project. Cleveland Magazine
again named Moreland Hills the safest place to live. Chief Canter and I recognized Sgt. Ross Fowler and Patrolman Joe Scolaro for their service in the military.
GREEN LIVING: We continue to host “Greening the Hills” twice a year at which the Village collects hazardous wastes and shreds confidential documents for our residents. Council and Planning Commission members approved the first conditional use permit for a residential solar installation. The Village purchased an additional 18 acres to add to Forest Ridge from the Western Reserve Land Conservancy funded largely by a grant from Ohio Public Works. Furthermore the Village completed a stream restoration project at Forest Ridge which was funded by Ohio EPA. Parks and Green Commission members are working together to plan a dedication service and grand opening for the Forest Ridge Expansion and Potts’ Pier. Several Boy Scouts have volunteered countless hours to help improve the park.
SMARTER SERVICES: The Village contracted with MBIS for Building and Zoning Inspection Services. This contract will save the Village a significant amount of money over time. The Service Department offers fully automated recycling services and will implement fully automated rubbish pick-up next year, making their operations faster, cleaner and more economical. They are now studying offering residential leaf pick-up in the fall and would appreciate your input on whether you want this new service. The Village spent over $1million on improving the roads in 2013. Finally, Moreland Hills participated in the shared services study to look for ways to increase collaboration and save tax-payer dollars. I will summarize the conclusions and recommendations of that study next month.
BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS: Council agreed to sell the Village-owned property at SOM and Hiram Trail. The Village will invest some of the proceeds from the sale into the community building in order to create a usable space for large meetings. The Facilities Committee worked with SIXMO to create drawings and a budget. Green and Parks Commission worked with H&M to create a plan for gardens at the Gateway at SOM and Miles (former BP). We will plant in the spring and make it a community event.
FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY: We continue to budget conservatively and limit spending while maintaining a high level of services. The Village retains a healthy fund balance and continues to plan for the future. In 2013 Council created an equipment replacement fund to save for future equipment needs. Furthermore, we added to our “rainy day” fund so we have adequate reserves for unforeseen emergencies. We did not take on any new debt in 2013 and our overall debt burden is very low. We continue to seek grants and matching funding whenever possible. We worked with Matt Baird of USI to find health insurance for our employees at a reduced cost. Our employees continue to participate in our Wellness Program to do their part to help control health care costs.
Happy New Year!