By Kevin Kelley
Despite cuts to numerous sources of municipal revenue, Mayor Eileen Patton said her administration will continue the city’s mission of enhancing residents’ quality of life by providing important services in an efficient manner.
The mayor gave her annual State of the City report to a luncheon meeting of the Fairview Park Chamber of Commerce March 14 at the Gemini Center.
Patton said her successful re-election campaign last fall against former police officer Richard Deem provided her with important information.
“I found there is broad support citywide for the direction our city is headed,” said Patton, who was elected to her fourth term.
Speaking next to a slide presentation of photos depicting various municipal services and activities, Patton said the city avoided layoffs and continued providing numerous quality services in 2011. These services continued despite numerous threats to revenue, including a pending reassessment of property values and a phaseout of the estate tax. Delinquencies in property tax payments cost the city $148,000, Patton said, and cuts in the state’s local government fund distributions cost the city $302,000.
Although city officials have spent years on keeping the NASA Brookpark Road property economically vital, the future of that land will be determined by a public auction conducted by the federal General Services Administration, Patton reported.
“We will continue to collaborate with the respective departments at the GSA and NASA Glenn as this parcel is vital to the future of our community,” Patton said. “It is our hope that we will be reporting to you within the year that a sale has taken place, as this area is located in a prime location near the airport and the highways.”
Patton said the city must continue to foster an environment that encourages development.
The big news in Patton’s report a year ago was that a sale of Fairview Centre was pending. This year the mayor reported that the new owner, Lamar Companies, is making significant investments in the property and plans to demolish the two-story portion of the shopping center where the Revco and CVS drug stores were once located.
Patton noted the sale of the former Cleveland Motel site to North Coast Credit Union, which will begin construction there in coming weeks. North Coast’s total investment in the project is $840,000, not counting employee payroll, the mayor reported.
O’Neill Management hopes to begin construction on an assisted living/nursing home facility on the site of the former Garnett School later this year. Total investment in this project totals $15 million, Patton said, with an expected annual payroll of $4.8 million. The city expects to receive $100,000 each year in income tax once the facility opens, Patton said.
The process of updating the city’s master plan is now under way, Patton noted. In addition to creating a future plan for the city, the update, due to be completed by year’s end, “will help set the table for future development and focus on plans relevant to the needs of our community,” Patton said.