Mayor touts grants, financial stability in State of City speech

by Bob Gaetjens | editor Published:

Before a luncheon crowd of about 70 Feb. 5 at the Rusty Nail Restaurant, Mayor Glenn Broska delivered his State of the City Address, outlining the city's recent exploits in economic development, infrastructure updates, finances and programs and services.

Throughout the event, Broska highlighted the financial stability of the city and his administration's role in establishing it.

Grants are one way Broska said he's tried to maintain a high level of services while keeping the city's finances stable.

"I like spending other people's money; I don't like spending our money," he said.

From 2012-14, Broska said the city has brought in a lot of money in grants to help improve infrastructure: more than $1.8 million in 2012, more than $2.1 million in 2013 and more than $3.8 million in 2014.

The event was hosted by the Streetsboro Area Chamber of Commerce at its monthly luncheon, which Executive Director Valerie Fiala said was sold out.

In addition, Broska said the city ended 2013 with $2.3 million left in its general fund.

Much of grant funding the city is bringing in helps fund road construction projects and improvements to the water system. Broska also said he's planning to present a balanced 2014 budget to City Council Feb. 19.

"Last year we had a little bit of a deficit," he said. "We want to make sure we don't have to dip into our reserves to make ends meet. We run a very lean city; there's not a lot of extra people there."

But he said those who do work for the city work hard to operate the government as efficiently as possible.

On the economic development front, Broska said the city had a good year in 2013, despite the loss of about 300 jobs when Commercial Turf Products left. Viking Forge expanded their facility; Harbor Freight Tools moved into the old Frontgate facility; ZipCity came to town and the old Walmart building will be filled this year when Big Dee's Vet and Tack Supply moves in, which Broska said he's "pleased as punch" about.

Broska also said the city should be gaining nine to 11 new industrial sites in coming years.

"This is one of the most significant things to happen in Portage County in some time," in the area of economic development, he told attendees at the luncheon.

The expansion will be made possible by extending Ethan Drive to Philipp Parkway, which will grant truckers access to industrial businesses on either side of Route 43 north of Frost Road without having to cut through the center of Streetsboro.

Instead, they will be able to travel along industrial park roads to the intersection of Philipp Parkway and Frost Road, right next to the Frost Road exit on to Interstate 480.

Broska said he anticipates a June ground breaking.

He said the city's only cost --$300,000 -- would be to pay for the water lines along the new section of road. The rest of the project would be paid for by grant funding, Portage County and the property owner, Kimble Co.

Meanwhile, Broska said the city is continuing to seek new businesses.

"[Economic Development Director] Bill Bishilany is out there knocking on doors and throwing fishing lines out all the time," said Broska. "We're seeking quality over quantity. We try to make sure what we bring is an asset to the community."

Email: bgaetjens@recordpub.com

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