Click here to view public notice.
This month, I thought I would share some information from my State of the City talks that I give to various civic groups and organizations.
Willoughby finished 2016 in good financial shape with a fund balance of $5,629,205. We increased our fund balance by approximately $600,000 from the year before. Our forecast for this year, however, is that we will probably finish with a lower fund balance. Typically our fund balance will vary from year to year; sometimes upward and sometimes downward. While we expect to finish this year with a lower fund balance, we should still be in good financial shape at the end of the year.
Some of the highlights from last year in various departments include the following:
Calls for service to the Police Department have risen steadily for the last several years, from 29,000 calls in 2013 to over 39,000 calls last year. The heroin epidemic in our country has led to an increase in crime in virtually every community and Willoughby is not immune from this. As a result, we are adding an additional fulltime officer this year and will continue to evaluate the Department’s needs if this trend continues.
Also, we are all aware of police incidents around the country that have created a drive to improve community-police relations, as well as, focus on standardization of police training and requirements. In response to national events, the State of Ohio established the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board. From this Board have come recommendations’ in training and standards in departmental policies, including a new certification process. I’m pleased to report that the Willoughby Police Department has attained this new certification.
Calls to our Fire Department also increased last year, from 4,800 in 2015 to 5,200 calls. Our Department remains one of the busiest in Lake County. I’m pleased to report that we received two large federal grants totaling $521,939 for the purchase of a new rescue truck and Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus. The SCBA units will have a life expectancy of 15 years and the rescue truck should last well beyond 20 years. The cost to the City was only 10% of the total grant.
Our Parks and Recreation Department had a very busy year. I’m very proud to report that Willoughby Pools were selected as a “Best in Aquatics” by Aquatics International Magazine; the major trade publication for the Aquatics Industry. We were selected for “Innovations in Safety.” The incorporation of the Note & Float program, new signage, additional swim lesson times and reinforcement of the rules from our staff helped us achieve this honor. Additionally, 395 children attended summer camp and there were 568 swim lesson participants, ranging in age from six months to age 51 (we now have Bucket List Swim Lessons available for adults who never learned to swim). Other highlights included improvements to Osborne Park with the installation of the walking path and additional parking by Lake Erie. This spring will see the additions of a new playground and pavilion.
I’ll share other highlights with you in future months. Have a great month (and a great Spring).
I’ve heard it said of some comedy routines that “It never gets old”. That’s how I look at this month’s article (although you may feel differently.) Yes, it’s my annual “leaf collection article”. Some trees lose their leaves starting in mid-October, and our curbside collection service will begin at the end of the month. As we all know, this season can be very trying for workers and citizens alike because so much depends on the weather. If the weather stays dry, the leaves can be picked up fairly easily. If the weather is wet or we get an early snow, it becomes much more difficult.
Please rake leaves to the street, but NOT onto the street or into ditches. Also, keep in mind that it can be a period of a few weeks until City crews are able to get to your street. If you are concerned for the grass on your tree lawn or with the leaves simply blowing away, the leaves can be bagged in paper yard-waste bags and our rubbish hauler will pick these up on your regular collection day through the end of November.
People sometimes ask why we can’t schedule certain streets for certain days. The answer is that we’ve tried this in the past but it was impossible to stay on schedule. The leaves don’t fall on a schedule, people don’t rake them to the street on a schedule, and the weather has no schedule,whatsoever. When the volume increases about mid-November (typically along with winter-type weather), it takes much longer to get from street to street.
We have three crews that operate in a loop around their designated territory. Each has about 50 lane-miles of road to pick up. That is approximately the distance from Willoughby to Pennsylvania. So if you’re wondering where the leaf truck is; it’s somewhere between your house and Pennsylvania and they’re working their way to you as quickly as they can.
With a little luck and a little patience, we’ll all get through the season again this year. I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving and a great start to the Christmas Season.
Have a great month.
It’s time again for the return of our Summer Concert Series. This year features many new performers mixed with some favorites from the past. The concerts take place every Thursday beginning at 7:00 pm in Wes Point Park. Bring a chair or blanket and enjoy the sounds of summer. Here is this year’s line-up:
July 7 – Hampshire Moon Band: Performs songs across all spectrums, including Motown, R&B, Country and Rock.
July 14 – Erie Heights Brass Ensemble: Named for the small crossroads community overlooking the Lake, they were formed on a windy day in March of 1999. They perform about thirty concerts a year. These venues have included parks, malls, churches, libraries, etc. for both community and private events. Once or twice a year, the group performs an educational concert in the schools.
July 21 – Don Disantis Orchestra: Performing “music from the great American songbook,” the Don Disantis Orchestra entertains with songs from the Sinatra era and more.
July 28 – Mayor Anderson presents the Sounds of Willoughby: I’ll be doing some finger-picking on my guitar, featuring songs in the style of Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed and Tommy Emmanuel. The River Street String Band will be back for an encore appearance, as well as Ray and Ron Somich from WELW Radio.
August 4 – Red Light Roxy: Red Light Roxy is a professional band from Cleveland, Ohio that plays an upbeat mix from the Great American Songbook and includes familiar songs made famous by such legendary performers as Ella Fitzgerald, Ruth Brown, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Nat King Cole, Ray Charles and Louis Armstrong.
August 11 – The Pop Tarts: The Pop Tarts are ultra cool and loads of fun! They are 4 “groovy chicks” who sing the most popular hits from the 60’s girl groups. Dressed in matching 60’s outfits, they use the original artists’ movements and sing to original sounding tracks.
August 18 – Joe Bell and the Swing Lizards: A critically acclaimed, award winning group, performing rocking swing, jump blues, soul and funk; they are legendary where ever live music delights the soul. When the Lizards hit the stage, they truly funk up the place, filling the room with their rootsy, feel good energy.
August 25 – Alex Bevan: Alex has been sharing his voice, guitar, music and stories with audiences for more than 40 years. Drawing on his deep skill set of imaginative and honest song writing, combined with an agile, improvisational wit that dovetails with his guitar singing, Alex never fails to delight and charm audiences.
I hope to see many of you at these concerts. Have a great month.
I thought I’d write just a short article this month to remind you about an important service that is offered to Lake County residents and businesses. The service is the Reverse 911 Program offered by the Lake County Emergency Management Agency.
This a system in which you can receive a call alerting you to something going on in the county, in the city or even in your own neighborhood. We used this system a few years ago when the county was providing mass inoculations for the H1N1 virus. It can also be used to alert people about weather emergencies or safety and security emergencies.
When the program began every resident’s home phone number was programmed into the system. But things, as we know, have changed. Today, many households don’t maintain a “home phone.” Rather, everyone in the household uses his or her cell phone to communicate. Hence, not everyone is currently programmed to receive these emergency notices.
The EMA recognized this to be a problem and has established a site in which cell phone users can register to receive these reverse 911 calls. To register you will need to go to the County’s website, Lakecountyohio.gov. At the top of the site click on County Departments, and then select Emergency Management Agency. Once on the agency’s website you’ll find ‘links’ on the left-hand side. Click on Reverse 911 Sign-Up and enter your cell number. You’ll then be registered to receive these important emergency notifications.
You can skip all of the above, if you’d like, by going directly to
http://arcgis.lakecountyohio.gov/PublicR911Enroll/. However, I’d suggest you go to the Lake County web site and explore the site a little bit. All of Lake County’s departments are accessible from the site and there is a wealth of information that you may not be aware of. Lake County offers its residents some great services.
I certainly hope you take advantage of the Reverse 911 program and enroll. It can play a big role in your family’s safety and security. Have a great month.
The Thanksgiving season, as always, is a great time to contemplate the things for which we are thankful. During this season I’d once again like to say thank you to a special group of citizens who have dedicated many hours of their time serving Willoughby and its citizens. I’m referring to the folks who serve on our various Boards and Commissions. These people put in a tremendous amount of time during the year helping us carry out the “business of government” in an orderly and efficient manner. Here are the folks which deserve all of our gratitude for their commitment to serving us:
BOARD OF BUILDING CODE APPEALS; Tony Ranallo, Tom Ruple, Michael Gallagher, Randy Vinson; Richard Parker; Jay Byram
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION; Greg Schmidt, Eric Barbe, Jeff Mitchell
DESIGN REVIEW BOARD (HISTORIC PRESERVATION DISTRICT); Dan Volpe, Bill Henrich, John Perkovich, Paul Garcia, Mike Merhar
PLANNING COMMISSION; Greg Patt, Gerald Merhar, Ken Kary, Chuck Cox, Bob Fiala
SHADE TREE COMMISSION; Don Lewis, Lynn Sawyer, Maria Tomaselli, John Forkins, Jason Knowles, Bob Carr
SIGN REVIEW BOARD; Gerald Geisinger, Adam Brown, John Popelka, Tara M. Ward, Joseph Koscovics
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS; Bruno Frate, Al DiFranco, Michael Wildermuth, Harry Siskind, Joseph Palmer
If you see these folks during the Holidays, please let them know that you appreciate their service. They really do a lot to help preserve and enhance the quality of life we all enjoy in Willoughby.
Have a great Thanksgiving.