Anthony Wayne Local Schools Work To Provide Safe Environment
To the Editor:
As an educator and father, my prayers go out to the community of Parkland, Fla., in the aftermath of last week’s horrific tragedy.
As superintendent of Anthony Wayne Local Schools, I want to assure you that we are continually working hard to provide safe and supportive learning environments by focusing on school climate, safety and security.
Working with local police and fire departments and a Homeland Security representative, we developed a Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan for each school. These plans are reviewed regularly and emergency drills are conducted annually – including one held on February 16 at Waterville Primary.
Construction on more secure entrances to many of the buildings will begin this summer, so that visitors will enter into a separate, locked area before gaining access to the school.
We encourage our parents, students, staff and community to also be alert and, if noticing anthing suspicious, call or text 1-844-SAFEROH, an anonymous Ohio tip line.
If you have any questions about the district’s efforts to safeguard children, please contact me at (419) 877-5377.
Dr. Jim Fritz
Anthony Wayne Local Schools
MUBA Endorses Uptown Monnette’s Project
To the Editor:
A vibrant uptown business district is of utmost importance to our community, which is why the Maumee Uptown Business Association fully supports a proposal to build a new Monnette’s Market in the 200 block of Conant Street in uptown Maumee.
MUBA members held discussions with Marc Monnette, owner of Monnette’s Market, and commercial realtor Keith Brown to learn more about the proposal. After a formal vote on the proposal, only four businesses opposed it while the following business members voted in favor of the new market: Leslie Poellnitz-Allstate Insurance, Always Promoting, Boss & Vitou LPA, Blaser Tax Service, Buster Brown’s Big Dog Lounge, Cabinet Impressions, Cigar Affair, Dale’s Bar & Grill, DECA Inc., Dibling Floor Covering and Interiors, Daney Chiropractic & Nutrition, Encore Furniture @ 306, Genoa Bank, Georgette’s Grounds and Gifts, Haley Appraisal, In Bloom Flowers, Maumee Branch Library, Maumee Chamber of Commerce, Maumee Indoor Theater, Maumee QuickPrint, The Mirror Newspaper, MGM Communications, New Life Spine, Prism Glass, Rambo & Szozda Law, Red Wing Shoes, Salon 308, Sunshine Studio, Tailored Real Estate, You Can Be An Artist and The Village Idiot.
MUBA members are aware that other uses for this property have been discussed, including developing the area into a park. While the association supports community park space, a majority of uptown business owners believe that the 200 block of Conant Street is prime for economic development. Further, the association favors the creation of additional retail space, which members believe will enhance those businesses already heavily invested in the uptown area.
Maumee Uptown Business Association
Maumee Resident Opposes Development
To the Editor:
To the members of Maumee City Council regarding the property at 200 Conant Street in Maumee, I make the following proposals and requests as a Maumee resident and taxpayer.
Due diligence requires an independent appraisal of this property and a traffic study in this congested area that would address the number of parking spaces needed for Monnette’s employees in addition to the vehicles of the customers they expect to shop there.
And by the way, let’s also allow a left turn onto East Wayne from Conant. Of course, it will back up traffic on southbound Conant, but we must be more concerned with the ease of access to the store. Surely, we can’t allow a left turn from East Broadway as you are headed east after crossing the bridge from Perrysburg, as the traffic on this block of East Broadway is backed up many times a day with cars waiting to turn left at the light to go over the bridge.
I also make the following proposals; eliminate the July 3 fireworks if the property in question is sold to a commercial developer. There is no room to accommodate the hundreds of people who use this property to bring their children to the events, music, food and games.
I also propose the elimination of Food Truck Fridays and the Christmas tree-lighting event, and the elimination of the vendors located along East Wayne Street at the annual August Summer Fair due to the need for customers to have access to any commercial development of the above named property.
I have more than a passing interest in this issue as I serve as chair of the Maumee Tree Commission, member of the Design Review Board, member of the Maumee Garden Club, member of the Maumee Uptown Business Association and director of Friends of Side Cut Metropark.
The number of young parents interested in raising their children where they can participate in local events will just have to find other communities that place a value on that.
The Right Place At The Right Time: Maumee’s Future Is Looking Bright
To the Editor:
As we begin 2018, it is a time to look at our city today as well as at our future. Maumee may just be the right place at the right time.
For the past several years, we have heard about “Millennials” moving out of the suburbs and into the urban areas; studies are now showing that “Millennials may like the city, (but) they love the suburbs even more.” The New York Times reported on September 15, 2017 that according to the latest Census Bureau statics, 25- to 29-year-olds are about a quarter more likely to move from the city to the suburbs then from the suburbs to the city, and older Millennials are more than twice as likely to move to the suburbs. Also important, employers are following the Millennials and bucking the traditional wisdom that you must be headquartered in an urban area to attract Millennial employees.
Walkable and transit-friendly neighborhoods, good schools and close proximity to a variety of restaurants are some of the reasons cited for this change. Maumee meets this description.
A clean, safe city with good schools and close proximity to good employment opportunities allowing for less travel time and more time with the family are all attributes our city strives to maintain and grow.
For a few years, the future of our Arrowhead Park business community was questioned by some. Those who did, underestimated Maumee. Instead of a decline, we are seeing significant growth and new development. New businesses in Arrowhead are building and existing businesses there are expanding.
This spring will see the groundbreaking of an approximately 70-acre new business development in Maumee along the Anthony Wayne Trail between Monclova Road and Ford Street. A far more attractive entrance to our city will accompany this new area. It appears that for the first time, we will have senior housing in Maumee as part of this project. This will be in the immediate proximity to medical facilities, restaurants and other businesses. This should also strengthen St. Luke’s Hospital, one of our largest employers.
Events such as Food Truck Fridays, our Third of July Fireworks, Holiday Hustle run and Holiday Light Parade, Summer Fair/Taste of Maumee, the 2017 Christmas tree lighting and more have become extremely popular for all ages, with young families being able to walk to and participate in all of these events.
I have seen in Maumee a resurgence of young parents working to become involved in our community activities and having their families become part of our community by participating in these events.
Through multiple meetings with the new Anthony Wayne Trail site developers and the Maumee City Schools Board of Education, we have an agreement in which our Maumee schools will receive their 100-percent share of all property taxes for this new area, and our schools have committed to applying 10 percent of the new amounts they receive for the next 20 years to improving all school facilities the public comes in contact with: athletic facilities, elementary playgrounds, the high school and middle school auditoriums, etc. Improving these facilities for children will make Maumee an even more attractive choice for young families.
In 2017, for the first time since 2005, our City of Maumee Operations Fund operated at a surplus instead of a deficit. Without increasing taxes or reducing services, we have turned what had reached as high as a one-year deficit of $2.5 million in 2009 to a $700,000 surplus in 2017. We did it through eliminating unnecessary spending.
In 2016, Moody’s Investor Service stated that Maumee’s “Balanced financial operations demonstrate good fiscal management” and “Maumee has a robust financial position.” Wait until they see our 2017 results!
We are a financially sound city today with safe and clean neighborhoods where individual residents, businesses, schools, government and civic organizations work together. This will continue to attract young families and businesses, and keep our seniors residents in Maumee. What we are doing today shapes our community’s future.
Richard H. Carr
Former Maumee Council Member Supports Uptown Development
To the Editor:
I read the article about the possibility of Monnette’s Market moving uptown.
Back in 2004, when I was a member of city council, others and I voted to purchase the old gas station on Conant Street for around a quarter-million dollars. The primary reasoning then was the ability to control commercial development in the 200 block of Conant. We did not want just any commercial development to go there, especially with what was then Union and what still is St. Joe’s elementary schools in such close proximity.
In the few years immediately following, council reviewed options for that property’s development. Then came the recession, and for a long time business were not building, but instead trying to keep financially operational.
In the interim, the property has been used for a variety of public service-type events. While this was fine then, it is time to look forward again on what makes sense for the continued quality of life of not only the uptown area, but also the city as a whole.
In my 30-plus years as an uptown resident, I have fond memories of walking up to Gaffney Drug Store, to Sterling’s market and maybe for an ice cream cone at Jacky’s Depot. I could shop at Food Town and The Andersons – all with ease and, in most cases, by walking. In all cases, we would meet neighbors and friends on the way, while there or on our way home. That was a higher quality of life than that same landscape offers today or could offer as a park.
I am not complaining about change, as that’s inevitable. I welcomed Meijer and then Kroger when they joined Maumee. With that being said, those stores are huge and a distance for all, which requires driving and precious time even if you only need a few things.
My enthusiasm for a Monnette’s-type of business grows by the day. Knowing the store as I do and what they provide – fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses and a list too long to mention – at what are reasonable prices in a small market-type atmosphere, they are a big proponent of supporting not only local farmers, but also regional entrepreneurs and their products.
We already have parks strewn throughout the Maumee area. Putting one on the last piece of commercial uptown property, I believe to be shortsighted. Bring tax revenues to our city and schools. Put an easy-access food market uptown. This could not only enhance the existing businesses and residents, but also potentially start and continue to be a reason for long-term redevelopment, as again change will continue. Let’s take advantage of this opportunity.
Know that when we secured the property back in 2004, it was for commercial development. Especially with The Andersons closing, many other residents long for this type of business to once again be integrated into the very fabric of Maumee.
Sharing Good City Budget News As Quarter Ends With Surplus
Everyone likes good news! Our city of Maumee financial statements are complete for the first three quarters of 2017 and they bring very good news. We finished September with a year-to-date surplus of $679,985 in our Operations Fund and $1,036,872 in our Capital Fund. (Two-thirds of each tax dollar received goes to Operations and the remaining one-third to Capital.) Why is this such good news? Every year since 2005, our Operations Fund has had a year-end deficit. In the period of the mid-2000s, our Operation Fund realized consistent single-year deficits of well over $1 million and those deficits reached as high as $2.1 million. The trend of change began in 2014; by 2015, the year-end deficit was $319,440 and in 2016, $226,832. With the loss of The Andersons corporate headquarters and retail store we had projected a 2017 Operations Fund deficit of $767,471, so a surplus is truly very good news. How was this achieved? First, it was not through any increase in taxes! Instead, in 2013 we began an annual process of reviewing every single expense of our city that is controlled by the mayor and council. We initiated a computer program that required pre-approval of every expense incurred throughout the year, and we created an audit team to review year-end results. We eliminated much unnecessary spending without reducing services. We also implemented a monthly review of overtime by division and by every employee. We have realized three straight years of decline in overtime paid, and through September our overtime payments have been reduced 40 percent compared to 2014. As expected, our revenues are down substantially this year compared to last year. However, our expenses have realized a far more significant reduction. For the first three quarters of this year, operations controlled by the mayor and council realized a surplus of $1,189,086. The year-to-date expenses paid by the city for the municipal court exceeded the revenue paid by the court to the city by $509,101. This resulted in a net $679,985 Operations surplus year to date. Are we expecting to finish 2017 with such a high surplus in our Operations Fund for the year? No. Timing of payroll, purchase of rock salt, receipt of EMS payments from the county and other significant expenditures will impact our final quarter. Nevertheless, instead of a $767,471 deficit in 2017, we are now projected to break even and possibly have a surplus for the first time since 2005! These results are a reflection of the commitment of our city council, administration and employees to paying attention to details and being responsible with how your tax dollars are spent. We cannot relax. We must continue to watch with the same scrutiny how every dollar is spent. Recently announced major economic development plans for Maumee should by 2019 result in our financial situation having completely turned around, enabling us to operate on a balanced budget with potential surplus to protect us from any downturns in our state or national economy in the future. While turning deficit spending in excess of $2 million a year to a surplus is remarkable, we realize that operating a safe, clean city within the tax dollars received is what you expect from us. And, speaking of good news: Yes, the Maumee High School football team did beat that school from across the river and the Ding Dong Bell is home where it belongs! That achievement, like our financial results, resulted from commitment and teamwork. Both, in different ways, are accomplishments for which we can be thankful. Best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving!
Richard H. Carr
Area Generosity Makes A Difference To Students In Guatemala
To the Editor:
What would it be like to live in a very small one-room home with dirt floors and no bathrooms? What would it be like if parents could not help children with homework because the parents are not able to read? And what would it be like if the school that children attend could not afford paper or pencils for students to use? The Maumee City Schools recently joined with area residents in a project to educate students here on the poverty in our world, and to provide much-needed school supplies to students in Guatemala. This effort was an overwhelming success. New pencils, boxes of crayons, hundreds of bottles of glue, rulers, pens, erasers, pencil sharpeners, scissors and many other supplies filled numerous boxes at Gateway, Fairfield Elementary, Fort Miami Elementary and Wayne Trail Elementary in Maumee. These supplies were personally distributed by Maumee-area residents to students in Guatemala City, Mazatenango and the remote Mayan Indian village of Paquila in Guatemala this July. Thanks to the students in the Maumee City Schools and their families, we are providing children in Guatemala with an opportunity to learn. Our students have demonstrated that together we can make a difference in our world!
July 2017 Guatemala Mission Team
There’s No Place Like Home When You’re Maumee Proud
To the Editor:
I’m Maumee Proud. I grew up here and have returned here three times in my lifetime. I am most grateful that my family moved here when I was 1.5 years old. As an adult, I’ve lived in two other states, in at least five municipalities or zip codes, and wherever I was at the time, there was no place like home. I’m proud of our community and how we come together with examples like Mama C’s. I am also grateful our neighbors were able to march peacefully this summer for a cause they believe in and could exercise their freedom of speech. I’m grateful for the churches. Almost all have food pantries and have been providing for the needs of many, spiritually and in other ways, for years. I am Maumee Proud of the many youth activities our family participates in. It is always a pleasure greeting other families, whether we are at a high school football game, dropping a child off at school or meeting up in one of the many church-sponsored events. I am most proud about how we look after each other. Our church pantries are tied into individuals throughout our town. Most people wouldn’t know that from time to time, residents are given a voucher for a tank of gas, have their electric or gas bill covered for a month or that someone like a school resource officer would be delivering a load of free groceries to a family in need, because they are one of the many angels of stealth we have in this small city, where I am Maumee Proud. Yes, we have issues, like many other places, but we have much more to be grateful and proud about.
Maumee Operating At A Deficit Despite Cost-Cutting Measures
To the Editor:
Many residents have asked how the city is doing with the loss of The Andersons’ corporate headquarters at the end of last year and the retail store in 2017.
The financial statements for our city for the first six months of this year are complete, and the answer as to how we are doing financially is important to our residents and business owners.
The first six months of this year, the city of Maumee operated at a deficit of $339,000. While we are well-insulated from such losses as we maintain healthy balances in our savings accounts, no city nor individual nor business can sustain deficit spending forever before you deplete your savings.
For the period of January 1 through June 30, 2017, all operations of the city of Maumee, excepting the Maumee Municipal Court, were completed at $37,000 less than the income received during that period. Those operations controlled by the administration and council resulted in a surplus.
However, for the first six months of this year, the Maumee Municipal Court’s deficit was $376,000. The mayor and council have no control over the court’s spending, which was confirmed when Judge Byers sued the mayor and council and was successful in obtaining an opinion that as we were not in a financial emergency, we had no power over the court’s spending.
I think it is a shame that we would have to wait until we are in an emergency to address the deficit spending of the court. The city of Maumee has made major reductions to spending and vastly improved managing our funds in the last four years, which has enabled us to operate our services at a surplus where before, the deficit was over a million dollars a year.
In addition to eliminating unnecessary contract expenses, we also have concentrated on managing overtime expense. For the first six months of this year, overtime was down over $22,000 from the same period last year and over $93,000 for the same period in 2015. We will have some major economic development announcements in the next month resulting from our efforts over the last 18 months, which will allow us to continue to improve financially.
Richard H. Carr
Whitehouse Was The Right Choice For An Appreciative Couple
To the Editor:
Moving to Whitehouse was the best move we ever made. Aware of our disabilities, Whitehouse Police Chief Mark McDonough and Deputy Chief Todd Kitzler arranged to have the snow cleared from our driveway this winter. They also arranged for Boy Scout Troop 97 to come and weed our garden and lay the mulch around our house in May. Thanks to leaders Clif Vaughan and Mike Haines and their Scouts, Henry Haines, Jack Haines and Geordi Pizzifred, for their hard work. We have found Whitehouse and its caring people to give new meaning to the quote, “It Takes a Village.” Indeed it does.
Jan and Paul Rachow
Whitehouse, Waterville Quiet Despite Proposed Nexus Compressor Station
To the Editor:
It’s been quiet in Waterville and Whitehouse lately. Economic development has been good for homebuilders and the real estate industry in general. Soon, very soon, a decision will be made at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission over the Nexus pipeline. The outcome could have devastating consequences to the general area if its permit is issued – giving a first industrial natural gas compressor station to Waterville. Anthony Wayne Superintendent Jim Fritz has publicly voiced his concerns of the toxic plume generated affecting five of the district’s six schools that are within a 3-mile radius downwind. Nexus representatives have told me of plans for a second pipeline (another compressor station) that would double emissions from the Moosman Drive compressor site. Just something to consider when looking to move to the growing area.
Ottawa Lake, Mich.
First Responders Earn Deep Gratitude From Rescued Rollover Accident Driver
To the Editor:
I wish to extend my most heartfelt gratitude to the Maumee Fire Department, paramedics, police officers and everyone who helped rescue me from my vehicle after my rollover accident on West Broadway. It was the most terrifying thing that I have ever been through.
Words cannot express how thankful I am for providing me the most compassionate, kind and proficient emergency care. As soon as they arrived, I instantly felt protected and safe. They reassured me over and over, “You are going to be alright.” The firemen and police officers made me feel comfortable and calm as they explained step by step the process of cutting me out of the SUV. I was trapped for close to an hour and there was always someone right by my side while the other firefighters were sawing the roof off. I am so grateful to all of them for saving me.
My family and I thank the Maumee fire and police departments from the bottom of our hearts for taking such good care of me and the other driver.
American Legion Grateful For Donations
To the Editor:
The Feather Party hosted by members of American Legion Post 320 was a great success.
We appreciate all of the support for the event, especially from the following businesses that donated so generously to it: Brandywine Country Club, Appliance Center, The Andersons, Charlie’s Dodge, Tireman, D&R Outdoor Power Equipment, Jd’s Drive-Thru, Dale’s, The Village Idiot, Buster Brown’s Big Dog Lounge, The Cigar Affair, El Salto’s, Timbers Bowling, Marco’s Pizza, Expresso Car Wash, Loma Linda’s, Casa Barron, Mar’s Center Court, Holiday Inn, Subway, Brondes, Barry Bagels, Longhorn Saloon, Fricker’s, OmniSource, Frisch’s Big Boy, Teri Lynn Salon, Maumee Eagles, Amazing Dollar, Bunker Bar, 7-Eleven Walbridge and The Skillet.
American Legion Post 320