State of the City Address : 2008 Review & Projections

By James W. Percival
City Manager
Xenia, Ohio

As everyone is aware the national economy is not doing well, and the local and regional economy have experienced some major troubles in the past few months. The DHL closing in Wilmington and the closing of the Truck and Bus Plant in Moraine have received tremendous coverage in not just the local, but the national media. We are blessed in the City of Xenia to have a very diverse economy. One major component of the Xenia economy is the Service Industry. This helps to
provide a strong base and maintain the stability of the economy here in Xenia. We are also blessed to have a strong industrial and manufacturing base here in town. We have many small and midsized
businesses in Xenia that provide quality employment opportunities to our Citizens.

Next year we will also see the beginning of the Cornerstone Research project that promises to provide many opportunities to our Citizens. We, as a Community, need to continue to support our local businesses and industrial Citizens to help them provide a base for our local economy.

Many times in the past our Community has faced economic hardships. Our predecessors have worked through difficult times and our community has always risen to the occasion and come through with flying colors; the current issues that we face will not be different.

We have seen many positive enhancements to our community in the past year. The business and property owners in the downtown have ALL improved their buildings this past year. I cannot count the number of times in the past few months people have stopped me to express their appreciation for the improvement in the downtown. We thank all of the folks that helped in this effort. The City of Xenia could not make the improvements—this was a true partnership. To continue this partnership into the coming year, the City will be offering a Façade loan program that will provide resources to those property owners in the downtown area that would like to improve their buildings. This effort will help continue the momentum that has been created. The City is also continuing with the streetscape enhancement program that is adding to the attractiveness of the town.

The Community Development Department has helped to administer the CHIP program in the past year. Through this program we have been able to provide resources to homeowners in town that without this assistance would not have been able to improve their properties.

The Community Development Department has helped to administer the CHIP program in the past year. Through this program we have been able to provide resources to homeowners in town that without this assistance would not have been able to improve their properties. Hopefully next year, there will be additional resources available for homeowners so that we can continue to improve our neighborhoods. As a City we will continue to pursue these resources from the State and Federal Governments to aid our local residents.

Our Public Service Department has faced significant challenges in the past year brought on by Mother Nature. In March we had to deal with a Blizzard, in the spring our employees at the Water and Wastewater plants were dealing with significant rain events that taxed the capacity of our treatment plants, and this past September we all dealt with the effects of the wind storm. Through it all these employees provided the best service that we could under the circumstances. Many times Citizens complimented the City based on how efficiently we were able to remove the debris from the streets and sidewalks. This past year we also made significant improvements to Shawnee and Spring Hill Parks. Next year we are going to finish replacing the retaining wall around the pond at Shawnee Park. This project has been needed for quite some time and should stabilize the area around the pavilion. This park is one of the Jewels of our community and we need to make sure that all of our Citizens can enjoy the park for generations to come.

In the past year our Safety Departments have continued to provide a great service to the Community. The members of our Police and Fire Divisions do not always have the easiest duties to perform, but they are professional and do everything they can to keep Xenia a safe and healthy community in which to live, work, and raise a family. The members of these departments are on the job 24 hours a day to insure that we as Citizens can enjoy our City and our neighborhoods to the highest extent.

Our Finance Department has continued to insure that we maintain the highest level of fiscal integrity as we expend the tax-payer dollars. This past year our Finance Office was awarded the Government Finance Officers’ Association (GFOA) award of distinction for financial reporting for the twenty-fifth straight year. This dedicated group of individuals continuously works to improve the business side of the City of Xenia operations.

The City of Xenia Law Department has also had a very good year. Our Law Director and his staff are constantly reviewing contracts and other documents to make sure that we as a City are in the best possible legal position. The legal staff has also worked to update many ordinances of the City of Xenia, to bring them into compliance with State Law, or simply to update them based on current situations.

As we look forward to next year, we realize that there may be some difficult times ahead. As your City Staff, we will continue to provide the highest level of service possible so that each of our Citizens can enjoy the wonderful things we have to offer here in Xenia. Working with our current businesses and new businesses, we will continue to pursue every opportunity to create new and better jobs here in town so that we can increase employment and other opportunities for our
Citizens. We will continue to work in both the downtown and in all areas of the Community to improve the aesthetics of the community. Next year we will, with the help of State Grants, continue to pave the Jamestown Connector, thereby creating a new recreational opportunity for our Citizens and for all Citizens in Greene County.

Finally I would like to thank the Mayor Phyllis Pennewitt and our City Council: President Pat Felton, Vice President Jeanne Mills, and Councilmen John Caupp, Dale Louderback, Bill Miller and Dennis Propes. This group dedicates countless hours to the Community. While they do not all always agree on each item, they are all dedicated to the improvement of our Community and our Citizens, and we are indebted to them for what they do to improve our community!

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