Mayor Gives Annual Report

ST. MARYS — Strengthening the city’s General Fund, being proactive on the economic development front and maintaining services for the residents of St. Marys are among the goals St. Marys Mayor Pat McGowan unveiled to councilors during Monday night’s St. Marys City Council meeting.

McGowan gave his annual report to councilors, an action required each year under the Ohio Revised Code. In his report, McGowan touched upon some highlights of 2012 as well as his major goals for 2013.

“The No. 1 goal is to continue cost reductions,” McGowan said. “We want to have a strong economic development presence. We want to assist wherever we can to renovate and restore our downtown. It’s our window to our past.”

A bulk of McGowan’s address centered on the health of the General Fund. That fund, which is fueled by income tax collections, has taken a hit in recent years.

“It’s going to take some real work,” McGowan said. “We are going to have to institute some committees internally and get with the finance committee of council because we are in deficit mode spending in that particular fund to the tune of over the last five years, we’re $1.3 million in deficit mode spending. We have to stop the meeting.”

While the city has a cushion, McGowan said he does not want to rely on it being there in the future.

“We have to spend exactly what we take in,” McGowan said. “Not a dollar more, not two dollars more — we have to zero out that account.”

The city is slated to unveil a redesigned website. That site, McGowan said, should be an upgrade over the city’s current website.

“You are going to open it up and I hope you get a wow sensation,” McGowan said, noting the website should go live by early spring. “Also, it’s going to link in our economic development website much closer so you don’t have to go out and hunt for those things.”

In 2012, McGowan  hired two key administrative staff members — Safety-Service Director Eric Ostling and Development Manager Susan Crotty. McGowan said Crotty’s addition should help the city continue its recent economic growth.

“I think that in hiring Susan, we hit a home run,” McGowan said. “I think the city of St. Mary is going to strengthen its position ... We want to have a strong, strong local department here.”

Crotty helped lead the way in the city purchasing 19 acres for an industrial site. She also made a trade trip to Germany and had the chance to pitch the region to automotive executives looking to expand into the United States.

McGowan also praised all city employees for the job they did in 2012.

“We have excellent employees in this city,” McGowan said. “We want to maintain and attract people and we want them to continue to do an outstanding job as they have done and as is reflective in this report.”

In other business, councilors:

• Approved the third and final reading of an amended, emergency ordinance authorizing the 2013 budget.

• Approved the third and final reading of an amended, emergency ordinance authorizing the purchase of various materials for city departments.

• Approved the third and final reading of an emergency resolution authorizing the mayor to enter into a Housing Revolving Loan Fund Administrative Agreement for certain CDBG programs with the Ohio Development Service Agency.

• Approved the third and final reading of an amended, emergency resolution authorizing the safety-service director to enter into an agreement with RJ Corman Railroad Company for work on a railroad crossing on Spring Street.

• Approved the third and final reading of an emergency resolution approving the water rates as set by the safety-service director.

• Approved, under suspension of rules, an emergency resolution regarding the 2012 street program.

• Set a public hearing for 6:45 p.m. Jan. 28 at the city building regarding the Community Development Block Grant program.

The next meeting of the St. Marys City Council is scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 28 at the city building located along East Spring Street.