NORTH BALTIMORE STATE OF THE VILLAGE – 2014 – by Mayor C. Michael Julien
The year kicked off with a record amount of snowfall accumulation during the first several months. This contributed to some delays in the completion of the final phase of the Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) project resulting in the essential and final completion dates being extended until autumn. In late January, the Village Fire Department accepted delivery of the new Rosenbaum Fire Pumper truck which brings the vehicle assets for the department back to the desired level. The only vehicle being identified as needing replaced in the department inventory in the near future is the 1989 Grass Truck.
Throughout the spring and summer months, the Emergency Medical Squad worked to realign the services provided to the community. This resulted in a new EMS Chief, Mr. Will Matthes, being named and the hiring of a paid part time staff of paramedics and EMT’s to meet the increasing number of calls for service and also provide for response during those hours that were previously resulting in missed calls or delayed response times. These changes resulted in a notable improvement in target objectives for those areas. Our radio communications systems were upgraded once more and the EMS now shares the Fire Department frequency allowing for a more rapid dispatch of EMT’s by the 911 County Offices.
In late June, the Village evaluated and chose to purchase a reverse 911 and electronic notification system for the village. While the implementation has taken several months to compile the needed databases, the new system will offer a variety of alerting messages to smart phones and land line telephones. The Village also negotiated to include all residents of Henry Township to be able to utilize these services. Training of various administrators of the system and the general public is planned for early 2015 with full implementation occurring shortly thereafter.
Also in June, the community welcomed Mr. Ryan Delaney as the newly hired Superintendent of the North Baltimore Local Schools as Mrs. Marlene North retired after having served many years as the Principal of the E.A. Powell Elementary School and as District Superintendent for the past several years.
Village Council determined that the sewer rates were inadequate in meeting the increased costs of the sewer separation project and adjusted those rates in late spring of 2014 to meet the fiduciary requirements of debt repayment associated with the Combined Sewer Overflow separation project. This increase caused some concern for village residents who openly expressed their concerns to Village Council over the summer months.
In July, our Village Administrator (Kathy Healy) chose to retire after serving the Village for more than seven years. Mrs. Donna Dettling was selected from a number of highly qualified candidates to fill Kathy’s position and offers our community her very successful record of municipal administrative service.
A financial processing concern was identified in September and the Village Administrator and Finance Officer immediately contacted the State Auditor’s Office for clarification and advisement on the issue. Subsequently, the State Auditor’s representatives conducted a review of records and found that deposit practices were inappropriate leading to an investigation being initiated. It is anticipated that the results of the investigation will be concluded sometime in early 2015.
In October Officer Robert Fitzgerald requested and received approval to seek funds to obtain a canine asset for the Police Department. The dog will be trained to assist in drug detection efforts as well as being a tracking animal that can be utilized to locate missing people as needed. The expectations of Council are that the K-9 asset will result in a zero start-up cost to the village.
The annual Trick-or-Treat event and the Halloween parade again were very well attended as the community enjoyed the pleasant weather in late October. Also in October we attained “Final Completion” of CSO project with sections of the Storm sewers on East Broadway and Walnut Streets being slip-lined allowing the old sewer system to be fully functional as storm sewers. This resulted in full compliance with the mandate established by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency as defined for North Baltimore back in 2002. It is noteworthy that we attained this mandate three years ahead of schedule.
With the completion of the new sanitary sewer system, the reduced flows entering the wastewater treatment plant now necessitates a review and probable modification to the head-works of that plant. In November, Village Council authorized a study to determine possible remedies and long term plans to address this concern. In addition, the lift station serving the Quadlands properties have deteriorated with age and are in need of replacement. Fortunately, there were remaining funds from the sewer separation project that will negate the need for any adjustments to the sewer rates in addressing these needs. While we continue to assess the condition of our water distribution system, we do not plan any significant projects associated with that effort during 2015.
Village Council plans to continue resurfacing specifically identified streets of the community now that there has been ample time for settling of those areas affected by the sewer line installations. It is expected that a list of the streets planned for resurfacing over the next several years will be published on the Village Website before the paving season starts in 2015.
In the final months of 2014, the community rallied to raise the needed funds to ensure that the historic Virginia Theatre would remain operable. Thanks to efforts of a grass roots committee headed by Dr. Ralph Wolfe, more than $60,000.00 dollars were raised to provide the new digital equipment needed. Village Council expresses many thanks to our current and former citizens who contributed to this cause in preserving one of the icons of the community.
Planning will continue to be key in preparing for the future of North Baltimore. All proposed projects will be publicized via the Village web site and we strongly encourage our citizens to review the Comprehensive Master Plan and address any suggestions or concerns to the Village Administrator and Council.
Michael Julien – Village Mayor