2016 was a year of progress for Chagrin Falls. We finished the year in good financial condition and completed the year slightly under budget.
In 2016, the Village completed a comprehensive review of our capital needs and developed a multiyear plan to meet those needs. With the passage of the tax levy this past November we will have the resources to begin to reduce the substantial backlog of deferred capital maintenance and replacement projects and restart a regularly scheduled maintenance program.
Among 2016’s most significant achievements was the renegotiation of the Cleveland Water District (CWD) contract. Based upon the current rates structure of CWD, this renegotiated contract will save the Village approximately $910,000 through 2021 and approximately $325,000 every year thereafter. This will allow the Village to fund the multiyear replacement of the remaining original underground distribution system without additional rate increases. Some of the underground system is over 100 years old and well past its service life. Approximately 25% of the water mains in the distribution system need to be replaced.
In 2016 the Village was selected by Ohio Magazine as one of the four Best Hometowns in Ohio. This is thanks in no small part to the thousands of volunteer hours and community involvement that go into making Chagrin, Chagrin. We recognize your contributions and thank all of you for your hard and important work.
2016 also marked work by the parking commission to create additional parking spaces and present the first comprehensive parking management master plan. This plan will be presented to the public in a series of public Townhall meetings beginning January 11, 2017. After public comment and input, council will take up consideration of the plan sometime in the early spring.
Agreements were reached between the Plaza, Heinen’s, and the Village that will allow the opening of a new Heinen’s Grocery store in Chagrin. It is anticipated that the store will open in the late winter of 2017. I am sure we will all welcome having a Heinen’s grocery store in the village.
2016 was also a year of transition with the retirement, after 22 years of service, of police Chief Jim Brosius. The transition was very smooth and the police department is now led by Chief Amber Dacek. Also receiving promotion to leadership positions were Jason Weiskopf to Executive Lieutenant, and Scott Safenovitz to Sergeant.
Looking forward to 2017; efforts will be focused upon implementation of the capital maintenance and improvements plan, developing some sense of consensus around an integrated parking plan, starting the planning process on the waste water plant upgrade and operating license renewal, and continuing to evaluate alternatives for cost saving and increased efficiency. We will also continue our efforts to facilitate the redevelopment of the IVEX property, returning it to the tax base.
During 2016, our regional fire services responded to 1,429 emergency calls. 76% of these were EMS calls and 24% fire and rescue calls. Within the Village, the average response time was 3 and a half minutes from the time 911 received the call until first responders were on site. We all saw firsthand the importance of a well-trained and equipped fire service this past summer where our department kept a major house fire from spreading to neighboring structures and perhaps losing a neighborhood instead of just one house. The fire department conducted 1,029 fire prevention inspections and conducted 45 public education classes, taught 16 community CPR class and, together with the police department, conducted the annual Safety Town program for young children. They also took part in 12 community block parties, and two Red Cross blood drives. Looking forward to 2017, the Chagrin Suburban Volunteer Fire Department will evaluate the possibility of expanding their space to accommodate their increasing requirements.
During 2016, the police department continued to provide us with a safe community. In the past year they answered 8,889 calls for service.
These calls resulted in 477 formal police reports, 150 motor vehicle accident reports and 1,641 traffic violation stops. There were 3 major missing children cases, all of which were successfully concluded.
In addition to traditional policing, your police department took part in extensive community outreach efforts. These included school presentations, Safety Town, Bike Rodeo, Police Explorers Program, Coffee with a Cop and, for children, Shop with a Cop. These efforts were primarily privately funded. The police and fire departments’ major fund raising effort to support these programs is the chili cook off. All proceeds raised go to these programs. This year’s chili cook off will be January 28, and I urge all of you to go as it is a very good time and the proceeds support very good causes right here in our local community.
Looking forward to 2017, the police department is planning on continuing all the existing community outreach efforts and expanding to hold a Citizen’s Police Academy, where interested residents can gain an inside look at what law enforcement does day to day. They also plan to increase traffic enforcement by creating a traffic unit to concentrate on targeted enforcement in identified problem areas. The department will work closely with the parking committee to implement the parking plan discussed above, if approved by council, and will also implement a streamlined system of administrating traffic tickets. The Chagrin Valley has seen a substantial rise in the amount of white collar crimes reported to the police departments. The Chagrin Falls police department will be devoting additional resources to this area in 2017 and beyond. As a part of this program we anticipate conducting one or more public awareness programs on cyber security and identity theft protection to the public. While the internet and on line world has brought many benefits, it is also one the fastest growing criminal areas too.
We look forward to a very successful year in 2017 and continuing to provide the safe, secure and enjoyable environment our residents expect.
As always, if you have question or concerns don’t hesitate to call village hall, the mayor or your elected council representatives, we are here to serve you.
Mayor William A Tomko