By David Pualk
FAIRLAWN: Mayor William Roth highlighted the high and low points of the city during Tuesday's city council meeting.
The speech, which was a retread of his State of the City Address, emphasized budget, crime, personnel and other issues pertinent to the city.
Roth said the budget is 2.2 percent higher than it was last year. He attributes the difference to personnel changes explaining that the city has had to replace two patrolmen, filled the fire department to its quota and filled two vacancies in the dispatch division.
In the arena of healthcare, he said the city saved $63,000 in costs, more than a 5 percent decrease.
He thinks the service to the city is better than ever. Its main obstacle is the challenge it faces at the state level. Roth mentioned how the state is gradually taking money from the city, but that he remains positive Fairlawn can prosper without the state’s help.
“Fortunately, Fairlawn’s an entity that does not rely on local government funding,” said Roth.
Roth said the overall crime rate dropped nearly 3 percent compared to 2012. Theft is the biggest form of crime in the city. He also said the percent of juvenile and adult arrests are down from 2012.
The fire department, which is in the middle of contract negotiations, received a few grants in 2013. The department was awarded a FEMA grant worth $158,346 and a State EMS Grant for $2,500. The grant money was used to purchase two new thermal imaging cameras and new breathing apparatuses for the fireman.
City officials had once discussed building a new fire department but after a few deliberations they decided to improve on the current one.
“I would really like to thank Chief Hose and Ernie ( ? ) for working with us on this,” Roth said. “With changes we’ve been able to make by fully incorporating the old service space, we do not need a new fire department.”
A long-term goal of the city is to make it travel friendly for pedestrians. In order to reach this goal, Roth talked about the city adding sidewalks to both sides of Miller.
“You can be on Market Street anywhere and you can connect yourself to Miller, to Sand Run Parkway, and actually reach the metro parks,” Roth said. “If you’re anywhere in Fairlawn and if you really want to walk, you have a trail and a way to get around on foot.”
Other accomplishments the mayor spoke of included the success of the Fairlawn Food Truck Roundup, which will return.
Fairlawn’s attempt to attract foreign businesses was also an important part of his discussion. Last year, Roth made trips to both China and Germany to try and attract businesses to the area.
According to Roth, 47 new businesses moved into Fairlawn last year.
“They would have never been here but for the fact that you started marketing yourself,” Roth said.