I would be remiss if I did not first reflect on some saddening news in our City. Last week Kirtland lost a legend in the passing of Kiwanis and community great John Bodmer. To his friends, fellow Kiwanians, and family – especially his dear wife, Barbara, daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren, I mourn with you for the loss of this selfless and generous man. John was Kirtland and Kirtland was John. He gave Kirtland his all, cared about people, and was downright sincere. For over fifty years John Bodmer was a stitch in Kirtland’s fabric unlike perhaps any we’ve known. We are all better for knowing him and unfathomably better for all he gave. This is a better city due to the love and energy of his unrelenting spirit.
As the month of March catapults us into the promise of Spring, let us continue to collaborate and build in service to each other. The City is currently working to coordinate a Community Action Network (CAN). With help from our civic, school, and church organizations, City Hall will be creating a platform that enhances opportunities for neighbors to support neighbors. As we enter into this new season, I hope that we all continue to ask ourselves “How can I help?”
This month, our City Council will work to finalize and pass Kirtland’s 2021 Budget. It is evident that our hard work and financial diligence in 2020 paid off. Today Kirtland is doing more with roughly 20% fewer full-time employees, and with the help of one-time allocations from CARES Act Funding and BWC rebates that helped relieve the General Fund, we came into 2021 with a GF carryover balance of $1.1 million. Our commitment to fiscal resolve and the resulting carryover allows us the opportunity to commit significant dollars to a 2021 Road program that seeks to rehabilitate or maintain 13 miles of city roads (see plan on city website) as well as fund several immediate capital needs.
Although I believe the proposed budget is a sound financial plan for 2021, we always have more work to do. We continue to have mounting infrastructure and capital challenges, and know that wages and healthcare costs could rise in the coming years. As we work to pass our 2021 budget, we will also discuss our existing debt and a new Bond Anticipation Note (BAN) to launch and support the 2021 road program. In addition, over the next months, we will consider strategies to restructure our City debt by capitalizing on favorable current interest rates.
Road funding for the years 2022-2030 will evolve as current/future expenditures are further examined, and sources of revenue are explored throughout 2021. It should be noted, Kirtland voters will be engaged and likely offered an option to fund a long-term road paving and maintenance plan at the voting booth later in 2021 or in 2022.
Some final notes and happenings: Spring Brush Collection will begin in April (Ward 3 – week of April 5; Ward 2 – week of April 12; Ward 1 – week of April 19; Ward 4 – week of April 26). Further details are on the city website at www.kirtlandohio.com. We will also be asking for your input regarding a ten-year City Plan; be on the lookout for a community wide survey in the next few months. And last but not least, we are working hard on our annual city-wide Easter event on Saturday, March 27 – save the date!
From the people’s desk at City Hall – Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Kevin Potter, Mayor