By Mayor Ben Garlich
The Village has been working aggressively and creatively to ensure we maintain services and facilities considering a flat to reduced income. State funding has been reduced and with national growth being at 1 percent, it is not the ideal situation. We have been able to reduce costs internally and seen some modest income growth which is our goal, but we need to continue this trend and improve. We still enjoy very competitive water and sewer rates and our 1 percent income tax is one of the lowest tax rates in the state. Our goal is to remain competitive in these areas. In addition we are looking at ways to provide total value to our residents. As part of this initiative we launched a project to look at providing a single provider for refuse removal and recycling. We had two goals when this project was launched.
They were to eliminate our current recycling center which is an eyesore and maintenance nightmare – by moving this service to individual service at the curb. The second goal was to provide a rate which is less than residents currently pay on an individual basis. The bids are in and the program will yield upgraded service by providing curbside recycling and the current individual rate will be substantially reduced.
We are looking forward to moving forward with this program. We have instituted the requirement for all residents to have electronic water meters installed by the end of the year. The penalty for not having installed is a $50 per quarter surcharge. I can assure you, we are not interested in penalizing a resident $200 per year but we do realize the internal efficiency gained if we could read all meters remotely. This program to install remote readers was in process when I became mayor four and a half years ago and it is time to finalize. The efficiency gains cannot be realized until we the Village are 100 percent compliant.
We appreciate you ensuring your meter is changed by year end to help us provide quality service more efficiently. We are in the process of sending letters to all residents and businesses requiring all to have a visible street address on the structure. We are giving parameters for this identification so all safety and service employees will be able to readily identify a specific residence. It will benefit visitors as well that are not familiar with the area to find their destinations. We plan on painting the fire hydrants on the two state routes that run through our Village. As minute as this sounds, I receive more comments from people visiting our area on how aesthetically unattractive these hydrants are.
In prior years, someone would hand scrape and wire brush the hydrants and then brush paint. There is now equipment available that will auto strip the hydrant in about three minutes. Our service department developed a quasi-portable spray booth that will let us spray paint them in about the same amount of time. We were able to rent the equipment and thanks to Middlefield Farm and Garden for lending us a piece of equipment to power the auto strip machine. Please remember and make the effort to vote on Nov. 8. There are many important issues that will impact us locally and nationally for years to come. Be informed, be involved, shop Middlefield and visit www.middlefieldohio.com.