I have to say, 2024 started a bit rough. On Sunday, January 7th, Eastlake Mayor, Dennis Morley passed away. Dennis was not only a great mayor and tremendously positive leader in Lake County, but he was a great friend to me and so many others. Dennis led the Lake County Mayors and Managers Association with pride and exuberance, and his presence and guidance will be sorely missed. To Dennis’s family, friends, and residents of Eastlake, I am so very sorry for your loss and would like to thank you for sharing your beloved leader with the rest of Lake County.
Not having a great segue out of that topic, I’ll move on to matters here in Kirtland. January marks the beginning of budget season here at City Hall. As always, we will be balancing revenues with necessary expenditures to keep the quality services and safety our taxpayers deserve. In addition to maintaining standards of service our residents have come to know and appreciate, we will be looking at how to best manage our growing capital equipment and infrastructure needs.
We’ve been fortunate over the last several years to have been able to professionally pave, repair and maintain more than a million dollars’ worth of aging Kirtland roads. In addition, we’ve picked away at looming neighborhood drainage issues that cause havoc for residents but also create underlying issues for many of our city streets. As I said many times, although we’ve done well, we still have much work to do to.
As part of this year’s budget process and beyond, I will be working with City Council, our Economic Development team, and our city Finance Director to establish both short and long-term financial strategies. The goal is to chart a course for the city that will ultimately relieve the immense burden for our taxpaying residents.
By setting goals and objectives, we can create the right conditions for economic development opportunities that enhance job growth in Kirtland. This can help forecast new revenue and work toward a sustainable economic future for Kirtland. The good news is, we have a hard-working City Council and a great advisory team in place that will enable the thoughtful dialogue necessary to create the right solutions.
In closing, I’d like to thank outgoing assistant Law Director, Tom Lobe, for his four years of service to Kirtland. Tom was integral throughout several challenging situations that presented themselves to our city over the last four years. Most notably, when an entirely difficult situation with the former Police Chief presented itself, Tom, with his infinite wisdom, helped establish and navigate a process that led to the successful removal of that chief. Because of Tom’s knowledge and understanding of law, he not only helped guide the city through the removal process but his diligence during the investigation and prosecution, set the city up for success in a series of appeals by the former chief. Thank you, Tom.
In closing, I want to thank the Kirtland Chronicle for its excellent coverage of all things Kirtland. We are lucky to have this local publication that, each month, brings us the happenings and events around our city. The paper is solely supported by business advertising and today, because of all the digital media that exists online, that can be a tough endeavor. My ask is, if you feel as I do, and want to ensure we keep our local paper, please consider making a donation to the Kirtland Chronicle.