Happy Fourth of July, Kirtland! By virtue of the same national Independence we celebrate this weekend, we continue to cultivate spirit and pride in our community. I cannot imagine a better demonstration of civic engagement than the annual Kirtland Kiwanis Strawberry Festival. Three days of food, folks, and fun reached a zenith during Friday’s festival parade that continues to grow longer and better each year. Many thanks to our Kiwanis and every other community and school organization that work together to ensure experiences for all ages.
In addition to the festival itself, thank you to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for bringing back a Strawberry Festival weekend community 5K race. Although I wasn’t close to the front of the pack at any point, it was my pleasure to compete in what I suspect will be the annual Kirtland Heritage Run.
June closed out with another successful night of music and food in front of City Hall. On June 24th the first of four summer concerts, sponsored by the Friends of the Library, was held at the gazebo and over a hundred guests enjoyed burgers, hot dogs and drinks provided by the City. We look forward to a second City Night on July 13th, Faith Night on July 20th, and Kirtland’s Beauty Night on July 27th. In collaboration with the Library, we’ll continue to celebrate much that is Kirtland. Please visit our city website and Facebook page for more details.
On July 6th, City Council will hold a third reading for a proposed 1/4 percent City Charter income tax amendment that will help secure funding necessary for a long-term road paving and maintenance strategy. With voter approval in November, the city stands to raise more than $30 million over the next thirty years, thus putting the road funding question behind us. The tax adjustment will not affect retirement income or property taxes and looks to spare our retired folks on fixed and limited incomes. Kirtland has the tenth oldest population in Ohio, and those of us in the workforce have an opportunity to support a comprehensive road paving and maintenance funding solution.
In just two and a half years, we’ve had many tough conversations and made impactful decisions related to city staffing and finances. Over the next several months, to articulate this recent approach to City government and review the November ballot question related to road funding, I will invite City Council members to join me in discussions on patios, decks and cul-de-sacs around Kirtland to engage our taxpayers. At these forums, we will discuss how we’ve put hard-earned tax dollars to work and introduce a professionally developed road paving plan residents can trust.
Finally, a few months ago, I made a plea to Commissioner John Plecnik to assist me in securing funding for the Old Town sewer project. I’m proud to say that as a result, last week the County Commissioners approved $1 million in funding to the project which should reduce each homeowner’s assessment cost by over $7,500. Thank you to Commissioner Plecnik for working to secure the funds and to former Kirtland Mayor, Mark Tyler, for his supportive vote on his first day as interim Lake County Commissioner.