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State of the Village Address, Village of Marblehead, 2014

By Mayor Jacqueline Bird

As it is told, in the early 1800’s the first settlers arrived on the Marblehead Peninsula. The goal was to survey the new territory provided to them after being burned out by the British during the Revolution. Though some took advantage of this new frontier, most soon fled, fearing invasion by the British and their Indians allies.

Shortly after the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813, when Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry defeated the British, the settlers finally felt safe to return to the new frontier, their home, the Marblehead Peninsula.

As the years passed and population grew, the residents petitioned Ottawa County on June 2, 1890, to incorporate a municipality. The petition filed with the State of Ohio incorporated our home, The Village of Marblehead, on Jan. 2, 1891.

Proudly, our village sits on the tip of the Marblehead Peninsula, dividing Lake Erie and the Sandusky Bay. It is a total size of 4.31 miles. 3.31 miles is land with 1 square mile water.

Our last U.S. Census reported a population of 903 with 417 households. The median age is 55.7 years with our population breaking down to 49.7% male and 50.3% female.

The village is host to the Marblehead Lighthouse, which remains the oldest operating lighthouse on the Great Lakes. Additionally, we are home to many long established names and businesses in our village, including, but not limited to Lafarge of North America, Biro Manufacturing, The Marblehead Bank and Starcher Enterprises.

We also proudly claim the United Stated Coast Guard at Station Marblehead which serves our village, state and nation daily.

As you can see, our prominent commonwealth has remained an enduring place to live, work and enjoy all opportunities along the avenue of life for generations.

Our village administration is strong and solid with our elected officials. Under the excellent leadership of President Pro Tem John Starcher, our council team consists of Angie Kukay, John McDonald, Dean Dorko, Duane Myers and our newest member, David Redett. This past year saw the retirement of Council woman Vickie Kozak. Kozak, along with all council members, truly pour their heart and soul into serving the village to their fullest potential with keeping future generations in mind. The review and revision of a five year Priority Plan clearly sets this pace. I wish to personally thank Mrs. Kozak for her dedicated years of service and wish her all the best in her retirement years. Additionally, I acknowledge the efforts of our seated hard working and dedicated council. A famous quote states “No one has learned the meaning of life until he has surrendered his ego to the service of his fellow man.” All of council members are truly here for their community and their efforts are noted and sincerely appreciated by all in the village. I commend all for an ongoing job well done. 

In 2013, under the legal guidance of Solicitor Jim Barney, council established and passed 14 Ordinances and 7 Resolutions. Mr. Barney remains a solid source of legal representation and truly puts the needs of this administration and village in the forefront. Mr. Barney is a true professional with a wealth of knowledge in municipal law. The village remains fortunate to have him and his law firm as members of our team. The interest of the village remains informed and protected in all legal aspects.

Our daily operations and Village Finance remain under the direction of Fiscal Officer Rhonda Botti Sowers. Sowers came to the village with a vast knowledge in government finance and has proven to be a major asset to the village. She has worked closely with our Finance Committee and council to ensure fiscal stability for our municipality. Our total budget for 2013 was $3,672,914.55. This number includes the village general fund as well as our sole utility of water. This past year, though in part-time status, Sowers worked diligently towards record organization. To assist in this venture and the growing number of legal mandates, the village chose to employ additional part-time employees Olga Trumpower and Elisa Oglesbee. The addition of these staff members has helped greatly in the day to day operations. Additionally, the village was fortunate to enlist former Councilwoman Mary Glovinsky to volunteer in sorting years’ worth of documents. Glovinsky worked many hours with our staff and I can proudly say there is finally a light at the end of this tunnel. I personally thank all involved for their efforts as we continue on with mandated requirement for record retention.

Another member of our team who equally worked on the Record Retention Project is Zoning Administrator Bob Hruska. Hruska represents the village in many roles. In addition to being the Zoning Administrator, he also serves as Secretary for the Planning Commission, Marblehead Representative to the Regional Planning Commission, Flood Plain Administrator, Waterfront Development Administrator, village contact person and coordinator for the 2010 Census and the Chairman of the Records Committee. He is currently organizing efforts for all village departments in regards to record retention. There is no job too big or small for Bob. He truly gives 100% and is a vast wealth of knowledge.

In the area of Zoning, the village had 20 new homes built in 2013. This is twice as many homes built in 2012. Permits were also issued for four house additions and a dozen accessory structures including four fences, three sheds, several garages and a swimming pool. It is noted that 85% of the new home construction was in Bay Point and Johnson’s Island. Our Zoning Ordinance is monitored and enforced by our Planning Commission. Besides the Mayor and a council member, the board hosts three Citizen Members. The citizen membership includes Hal Clagg, Chairman, Terry Glovinsky, Vice Chairman, and Richard Zembala. This group remains dedicated to guiding the growth of our village, while remaining within the established law. I applaud all for their serious dedication to this effort.

Our sole utility in the village remains our Water Department, under the leadership of our elected Board of Public Affairs. Board members include Bob Boytim, George Danchisen and E. Lyn App. In February of 2013, the village welcomed our new Water Plant Superintendent, Matt Berry. Berry came to us with vast knowledge and experience in Water Treatment and Management. With the addition of Berry, Village Administration has observed an improvement in department functioning and a major decline in overtime usage. In 2012 the department experienced 1202.25 hours overtime at a cost of $35,527.88. In 2013 the department overtime declined to 777.75 hours at $23,302.70. This was a tax payer savings of $12,225.18. Additionally, various tasks that had been contracted out in the past were recently able to be handled internally by staff. Actions like this are a savings to the village and residents. We welcome and acknowledge Berry’s efforts.

Recently, Water Department Billing was transferred over to the Fiscal Office with automated bill pay now available for customers. This action will improve customer service to our residents and streamline our billing process. The Water Department is manned by the Superintendent, three full time employees and one part time employee. 

In 2013, the department statistics were as follows:

Average Daily Production: 135,661 gallons
Average Monthly Production: 4,119,149 gallons
Max Production Day: 7/5/13: 324,800 gallons
Max Production Month: 6/2013: 6,428,937 gallons

Department upgrades in 2013 included the installation of a new high service pump to replace the 1959 original and a new low service pump with new motors on both low service pumps. The employees and plant maintained all EPA requirements for the year and are commended for their fine efforts.

Our Street and Maintenance Department remains very busy with our one full time Street Commissioner Bryan Lucas and two part time employees. The department does an excellent job covering a large territory. In 2013, the interior restoration of the Radar Park Storage Building was completed. The building will be equally shared for village park needs and storage for record retention.

Village beautification was enhanced this year with the ongoing landscaping of Radar Park, welcoming all to our village. Benches and flowering pots were installed and over growth was trimmed from Harsh Road, Main Street and Alexander Pike. To assist in this effort, a new mower was obtained for department use. This department also ensured James Park was pristine to host 42 ball games, Shelter House usage and an annual Church Festival. It was truly a pleasure to see an increased usage of our village park.

This department along with our Street Committee continues to review and update our Street Repair List. Goals for this department include the re-pavement of Center Street and striving to maintain Alexander Pike until a partial or complete resurfacing can be achieved.

This year, the village proudly received notice from the Ohio Department of Transportation of grant funding through the Transportation Alternative Program. The funding from this program is at 80% up to a maximum of $264,704.00 for the beginning of our Bike Path Project. The administration is very excited for this initial phase, which should begin in 2015.

The Culvert Replacement Project at Lake Point Park is also on the goal list after being delayed by ODOT. This much needed replacement of the culvert at the Danbury Township Park is long overdue. Past discussions have taken place with township officials as owners of the park and Lafarge Quarries seek equal participation for cost, as all entities share an equal interest in this area. I am pleased to report from these past discussions, the township has indicated support to the tax payers of our village and township. Our hope is to see this project completed in 2014.

In all seasons, the Street Department continues to serve the village with an unselfish dedication and proudly serves this administration and residents to the best of their ability with limited staff and often in the most adverse conditions. We are truly proud of their efforts.

The village Police Department remains under professional leadership of Chief Greg Fultz. The department provides quality 24 hour/7 day per week service to our citizens and visitors. The department is staffed with a Sergeant, one full time Officer and three part time Officers. In 2013, the department conducted 190 traffic stops, issuing 41 citation and 149 warnings. Additionally, the department made 54 criminal arrests. Sadly, it is noted the majority of these citations were drug related. However with all this activity, I am thankfully proud to say this department conducted themselves professionally, safely and were injury free. To assist in their daily efforts, the department received a new computer and printer. Within the next few years I am sure we will have the need to look at replacement vehicles and equipment to ensure the department’s ongoing efforts in public service.

This department remains community and business oriented. They continue to host the annual Easter Egg Hunt and Village Christmas Tree Lighting. Additionally, they have assisted at all community events such as the Annual Perch Festival, Daisy Day Marblehead Bank 5K Run, St. Joseph’s Summer Festival, The Halupki Festival and numerous events held on Johnson’s Island. They also maintain a Senior Watch Program which has proven to be a very beneficial daily program for those in need in our community. 

As in the past, the Marblehead Police Department continues to strive to protect and serve the citizens to their highest potential in a professional caring manner. This administration and our citizens are fortunate to be served by such a professional department. Their daily efforts are noted and appreciated by all.

The biggest change in our village in 2013 was the merger of the Marblehead and Lakeside Fire Departments to form the Danbury Township Fire Department on July 1, 2013. Many emotions were felt on all ends, but it was realized that the best way to serve our community was to work as one entity for the betterment of all. The wonderful histories of both the Marblehead and Lakeside Department have been retained and a new chapter has been formed to create a stronger force in providing Fire and EMS service to all in Danbury Township.

While under our jurisdiction from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2013, the Marblehead Volunteer Fire Department reported 40 Fire Responses and 174 EMS Responses. Additionally, the members logged 123 hours of fire training and 18 hours of EMS training. The volunteer hours of maintaining our department and station are far above the norm and equally noted by this administration.

On behalf of the Village of Marblehead I thank Fire Chief Doug Waugh and his dedicated staff of the Marblehead Volunteer Fire Department for the years of service to our community. Equally, we wish all much success and truly support the new venture of unity now known as the Danbury Township Fire Department. We are truly proud of all of these men and women who unselfishly give of themselves for their fellow man.

This administration additionally acknowledges the professionalism and leadership of Chief Doug Waugh in his role for the village. Chief Waugh gave 110% to the village and worked very hard for the success of our department and community service. When given a task, Chief Waugh was empowered to succeed and truly used his professional knowledge to lead his department based on the health, welfare and safety of all while meeting Ohio Fire Regulations. Chief Waugh is missed by our village, but we are proud he is leading the newly formed department as Interim Chief. The residents of Danbury Township are fortunate to have such a dedicated and professional individual to assist in this new chapter of our history.

In closing, let it be known the dedication and devotion set forth by the early settlers of the 1800’s remains in the hearts of all as we ago into 2014.

Our goal is to retain the Village of Marblehead as a prominent commonwealth of life and opportunity for our residents and visitors.

Since January 2, 1891, our village has stood strong and we will forge on to preserve this fine life for future generations.

May 2014 bring health and prosperity to all and may God bless the Village of Marblehead, Township of Danbury, County of Ottawa, State of Ohio, and the United States of America now and always.

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