Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough positive on state of the city.
WESTLAKE, Ohio — Mayor Dennis Clough gave an energetic pep talk about the state of Westlake in 2018 during his annual State of the City speech at a meeting of the West Shore Chamber of Commerce March 13 at Carrabba’s Italian Grill.
Clough first complimented city employees and volunteers. "We are a great city because of the people involved. People in your organization determine whether you have a successful organization and we have great people," he said.
He said Westlake’s mission statement is "to enhance the quality of life for all residents by providing the highest level of services in an efficient and cost-effective manner."
To show how the quality of life in the city has improved, Clough went through a series of slides.
Among all the reasons Westlake is a good place to live, Clough emphasized excellent schools; good housing; a tax base paid not just by residents through property taxes, but shared by many businesses; a great location served by both Interstates 90 and 480; and a community that is close to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and "a world-class town center at Crocker Park."
The mayor has been in office since 1986. He remarked that good planning and financial stability have been Westlake’s hallmarks and are why people choose to move to the city.
He highlighted 36 new or expanded businesses in Westlake in 2017, with an increase in square footage in mostly commercial development of 183,234 square feet to a total of 373,092 since 2016 (including seven residential and three multi-family lots).
The building department issued a total of 1,472 building permits last year, with a value of $101,309,000. The total represents 36 new single-family homes averaging approximately $478,000 each. There were also 987 remodeling and improvement permits totaling $12.8 million and 449 commercial permits, at a cost of $71.3 million.
The engineering department completed or is working on 11 infrastructure projects that include the new aquatic center and senior center, as well as the Columbia Road ramp, Center Ridge Road widening and the Dover retention basin to prevent flooding in the area.
In the police department, calls for service from 2016 to 2017 increased by about 2,000, but arrests are down by almost 300. Motor vehicle accidents went down by 64.
Fire department calls increased by 311 to a total of 5,470. EMS calls dispatched increased by 441, totaling 16,149.
In the service department, 8,598 calls were completed, which is up by 1,600. The department also cleaned 10 miles of storm and sanitary sewers and planted 165 trees.
The recreation department attracted 400 new members and spent $74,600 to keep equipment updated. Usage of both Meadowood Golf Course and Peterson Pool is up.
Communications efforts have included a new citywide phone system, lowering the number of lines needed, which has saved the city an estimated $40,000.
New projects coming:
New aquatics center at Clague Park. Estimated completion by May 2019. New community center. Estimated completion by September 2020. Water Study: Possible suppliers — Cleveland Water, Avon Lake Water, Elyria/North Ridgeville Water
Proposed recreation projects:
Bradley Road sports park Clague Playhouse baseball complex C4/C5 premiere ball diamonds Recreation Center ballfield improvements Bradley Nature Park improvements Recreation Center gym addition
Total property valuation in the city: $1,450,987,600, up one-half percent for 2018. Distribution of millage: schools 64 percent, county 20.7 percent, city 9.2 percent and library 2.7 percent. Distribution of property taxes: schools 52 percent, county 30 percent, city 14 percent and library 4 percent. Property tax rates: city is ninth-lowest residential rate in the county and tenth-lowest for commercial. Expenditures are less than city revenues. Police, Service and Fire department have the highest expenditures. Triple A bond rating by all bond rating agencies for 17 years.
Lastly, Clough said social media is in use throughout the city, but that he just hasn’t gotten the hang of using Twitter yet.
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