BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — In the annual State of the City address, Maumee Mayor Richard Carr touted economic growth, strong police and fire protection, excellent schools, well-maintained streets and a budget surplus.
He made his remarks at the January 15 Maumee Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
“The city of Maumee has a lot going for us. We can be very proud of our community and we want you to be proud to be part of our community,” Carr said.
The mayor steered clear of mentioning recent problems that have surrounded the city, most notably an ethics complaint, which has led to the removal of Maumee city administrator John Jezak. Since January 7, the administrator has been on paid leave while Maumee City Council president Tim Pauken consults with an outside attorney regarding Jezak’s possible termination. In Jezak’s absence, Law Director Beth Tischler is serving as interim safety director and Service Director Joe Camp is serving as the city’s interim administrator.
Both Tischler and Camp were on hand at the luncheon, along with several other city staff members the mayor said are responsible for moving the city in a positive direction. In regard to the budget, he credited Finance Director Deb Cartledge and Assistant Finance Director Amber Rathburn with helping to reduce the city’s $1.9 million deficit in 2005 to a 2017 budget that boasted a $10,000 surplus.
“They deserve much credit for going in and identifying where we were spending money when we shouldn’t have and helping us make that turn around,” Carr said.
To boost revenue, the mayor cited recent economic growth projects including the opening of Savage and Associates and a new business park set to break ground this spring off of the Anthony Wayne Trail between Monclova Road and Ford Street. The 68-acre development will house Toledo Clinic physicians among other businesses. In addition, 100 percent of tax revenue from that project, which could reach $1.4 million annually, will benefit Maumee City Schools, Carr said.
“It will be a great asset to the Maumee community,” he said.
A strong relationship with the city’s labor unions have resulted in successful negotiations with the International Association of Firefighters, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Fraternal Order of Police. According to the mayor, new contract agreements were reached successfully without using a labor attorney for the negotiation process. He credited Tischler and Camp along with Human Resources Commissioner Susan Noble, Fire Chief Brandon Lobochefski and interim Police Chief Dave Tullis for successfully reaching those agreements.
“That is very important to the business community to know that there will not be any disruptions in the services we provide,” he said.
Carr promised to remain proactive when it comes to street maintenance and facilities upkeep, which he said can be accomplished without raising taxes.
He also spoke about special police services with the school district, business community and residents.
For example, with building checks, police officers ensure that a business is secure at night; and with senior citizen checks, a police officer routinely checks in with a senior citizen living alone. The police also work with the school district through Safety City, D.A.R.E and the school resource officer programs.
The Maumee Fire Division provides extra services to the business community as well, including first aid training and safety evacuation, said Carr.
“We’re very proud of the work that they do,” he said.
Carr also addressed regional water – an issue that has been ongoing for the past several years.
Currently, Maumee receives water from Toledo through an agreement that expires in 2026; however, discussions aimed at continuing that agreement have fallen apart. While Carr plans to continue negotiating with Toledo, he is not optimistic for a good outcome. In the meantime, he has been meeting with other suburban communities for alternative sources. In particular, the city has engaged in research to study the viability of procuring water from either Bowling Green or the Michindoh Aquifer, a 2.3 million-acre underground water source, which is located beneath a three-state area of Ohio, Michigan and Indiana.
“There are those who say the aquifer may not be a potential for our community, but I think they are wrong. The initial testing that we have done has been very favorable.”
Carr said an announcement about the city’s future water source will come this year.
“Where it is (the water source), we don’t know, but we will make sure that it is best for everybody.”