BY MAYOR JACKIE BIRD
Upon the Conclusion of 2018, The Village of Marblehead received notice that Insider named our village the “Best Small Town in Ohio” for the year. Their quote is as follows:
“Located on the shores of Lake Erie, Marblehead is a charming town with breathtaking views of Sandusky Bay. Its main street is the epitome of small-town America, as shops and businesses line the quaint streets. Residents are even greeted by parades down Main Street on special occasions and events. The Marblehead Lighthouse is another noteworthy draw to the waterfront town. Additionally, the East Harbor State Park allows you to get close to the shores of Lake Erie while also enjoying the small town vibes from Marblehead.”
This recognition and honor is proudly acknowledged by our administration, staff, residents, local merchants and visitors as we begin our 128th Anniversary of Incorporation.
Like our forefathers in 1891, the dedication and belief in our village remains strong and consistent.
Under the excellent leadership of Pres Pro Tem John Starcher, our Legislative Authority consists of Angie Kukay, Dean Dorko, Duane Myers, David Redett and Lynn App. These six individuals are a dedicated and hardworking team for their village and elected role. Each carries an area of expertise and equally is able to share their skills with others as decisions and opportunities are discussed. This team remains rational with a strong commitment to following established laws with the best interest of those they serve in mind. At times, their roles are difficult, but their focus is always for the village as a whole. The efforts of Pres Pro Tem Starcher and the Legislative Authority are noted and sincerely appreciated. I commend all for a job well done.
In 2018, under the legal guidance of Solicitor Jim Barney, council established and passed 11 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 legal interest of the village remains protected in all aspects of the law.
Our daily operations and Village Finance remain under the direction of Fiscal Officer Rhonda Sowers. Mrs. Sowers has a vast knowledge of government finance and has proven to be a major asset to the village. Mrs. Sowers has worked closely with our Finance Committee and council to ensure fiscal stability for our municipality.
In 2019, Total Temporary Appropriations have been set at approximately $754,356.59 with $204,092.32 of that placed in the Water Revenue Fund. I commend Mrs. Sowers for a job well done.
Additionally, it is noted, Pres Pro Tem John Starcher is the Chairman of the Finance Committee and is very active with this department insuring our budget is on track and sound. His dedication goes beyond in his village role and we are fortunate to have him on our team as a strong and professional leader.
Equally, I wish to acknowledge and thank Pres Pro Tem Starcher for his unconditional support and actions, both professionally and personally to myself for many years. I am proud to say our bond is strong and remains strong as we move forward with time.
This past year, Mrs. Sowers was a strong force in the Flower Beautification Project. Mrs. Sowers worked with the dedicated Volunteer Master Gardeners, Gwen Funderwhite and Linda Twarek, in gaining the tools needed and assembling volunteers to assist our beautification efforts. Equally, the Marblehead Merchants were a strong force in this project. Because of the efforts of many, the presence of beautiful flowers graced our streets. During this season, ongoing daily and weekly efforts by many preserved this lasting beauty. I equally thank our Maintenance Department for the ongoing watering.
The efforts of many assisted in this Beautification Project and I thank all.
In Marblehead Zoning, Bob Hruska remains the Marblehead Zoning Administrator, Planning Commission Secretary, Marblehead Representative to the Regional Planning Commission, Flood Plain Administrator, Waterfront Development Administrator, Grant Liaison, Assistant to the Fiscal Officer and Chairman of the Record Committee. Bob’s team spirit, professionalism and dedication to the village and administration goes beyond.
In 2018, Bob issued the following permits:
- 9 Houses
- 13 house additions
- 7 accessory structures
- 2 decks
- 3 fences
The growth this past year consisted of more house additions and fewer new homes. The Zoning Department supports our Village Planning Commission under the professional and dedicated leadership of Chairman Tim Feller. Chairman Feller is a major asset to this committee and will go above and beyond in his role for the betterment of the community.
Currently, the commission consists of the Mayor, Councilman David Redett (Chairman of Annexation/Subdivision/Planning Commission and resident volunteer members Terry Glovinsky and Richard Zembala. In this area, Councilman Redett serves the committee as Vice Chairman and continues to excel in his leadership skills and knowledge of the zoning code. Councilman Redett remains a true professional and rational in all actions. All on this committee have true interest in maintaining our village for future generations.
This past year, the Planning Commission ruled on 14 cases involving public hearings. They also hosted several informal meetings with local developers for upcoming projects.
The knowledge and skill offered by the Planning Commission to this administration remains a valuable asset, ensuring our zoning code is followed as governed by ordinance. All are praised for their efforts and dedication to our Village.
It is also noted in this area, Zoning Administrator Hruska has completed the 2018 Census update for the 2020 census. We acknowledge and thank Bob for his dedication.
The Marblehead Police Department continues to provide excellent protection to our community under the professional and stout leadership of Chief Casey Joy.
Currently, the Police Department consists of four Full Time Officers (The Chief of Police and 3 Patrol Officers), a Seasonal Officer and five Reserve Officers. The Police Department and these officers provide exemplary service to our village 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The 2018 Police Statistics are as follows:
- Traffic Stops conducted: 976 (924 in 2017)
- Traffic Warnings Issued: 917 (865 in 2017)
- Traffic Citations Issued: 94 (59 in 2017)
- OVI Arrests: 13 (5 in 2017)
- Criminal Arrest: 88 (83 in 2017)
- Total Calls for Service: 4,396 (3,616 in 2017)
- Total Miles Patrolled: 51,586.1 (46,779.4 in 2017)
In 2018, the Police Association hosted the annual Reverse Raffle, Cook Out with a Cop, Children’s Easter Egg Hunt, the Perch Festival Parade and the Annual Christmas Tree Lighting for the community.
The Police Department assisted the community with security or traffic control for the annual Bike Week Poker Runs, The Lighthouse Festival, JIPOA Garage Sale event, the JIPOA Annual Parade, the Chamber of Commerce Car Show, The Perch Festival, and for the first time assisted the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department with County Fair Security for seven shifts.
The department also provides a Daily Senior Watch Program, House Watch Checks, Security of the St. Joseph/ Holy Assumption Cemetery gate and Daily Business Checks.
In this past year, Officer Chris Suppelsa completed Datamaster training to test suspects that are under the influence of alcohol, Confidential Information Training, Crisis Intervention Training, Marijuana Identification, Photography for Investigators, Drug Identification, and Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) Training. Officer Suppelsa is also working with the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department’s Special Response Team (SRT). Also in the past year, Officer Matt Essex completed Crisis Intervention Training, Officers Water Survival, and Basic Sniper Training. Many of these trainings were conducted at no cost the village.
Fr. Andrew Bartek of Holy Assumption Church continues to serve as Police Chaplin for the Village of Marblehead. Equally, he freely volunteers for many association and village events. Fr. Andrew attends the scheduled village council meetings on a regular basis and is a welcomed spiritual leader in our community.
The Police Department also welcomed a new mascot this year, Zorro. Zorro is a Chihuahua pup rescued from Hurricane Florence and adopted by Chief Joy. Zorro is a good will ambassador for the village and loved by our community.
As in the past, the Marblehead Police Department continues to strive to protect and serve the citizens to the highest degree in a professional caring manner. The administration and our citizens are fortunate to be served by such a professional department. Their daily efforts are noted and appreciated by all.
The Street and Maintenance Department continues to provide quality service under the guidance of Street Commissioner Bryan Lucas. Street Commissioner Lucas is the only full-time employee in this area. With the much needed assistance of two part-time employees and one seasonal employee, Street Commissioner Lucas and his crew are responsible for road repairs, cemetery and park maintenance, tree trimming, snow plowing, leaf removal, equipment repairs and the list goes on.
I commend this small crew for their large daily efforts and a job well done.
Members of the Street Committee include Chairman Duane Myers and Council Members Starcher and App. With this new appointment, Chairman Myers hit the ground running and gave 100% to this committee with much time and effort set forth. He was able to assess other communities based on his experience and seek the best possible solutions for our village. Equally, Councilman Dorko greatly assisted this committee this year based on the State Rt. 163 Storm Destruction and the ongoing Alexander Pike issue.
In March and April of this past year, State Route 163 near Lake Pointe Motel/Cottage Cove received major damage from a series of northeast storms of Lake Erie. The road itself was undermined and a good portion washed away. Equally, the Bike Path in this area was literally gone. ODOT officials were notified immediately and shortly thereafter, the Governor issued an Emergency Declaration for Ottawa County. With this declaration, ODOT was able to secure Federal Funds from FHWA for the road repair. The repair was started mid-July and completed in a month with little disruption to residents or visitors and at no cost to the village.
In October of this year, the long awaited resurfacing of Alexander Pike began. The awarded bid went to Geddis Paving in the amount of $262, 300.00. Of that amount, $140, 506.97 came from the village allocation of Municipal License Funds collected by Ottawa County. In the spring of 2019, Alexander Pike will be striped and receive a micro-surfacing coat to complete the project.
Additionally, temporary paving repairs were done by Holcomb Enterprises to Lake, Church and Elliot Streets at a cost of $2,928.00.
In 2019, the village will continue to focus on the lengthy street repair list as the budget permits.
The Streets and Maintenance Department also works largely in the area of parks.
James Park continues to function as the active public place in the Village with its ball fields, basketball and volleyball courts, playground, shelter and open space. Upkeep and maintenance, including landscaping has allowed the park to be well utilized. Planning is underway to upgrade playground equipment, modernize the restroom facilities and increase summer usage by joint programs with the new Library and possibly Danbury schools.
In 2018, the play area was mulched with 100 cubic yards at a cost of $1,450.00.
Members of the Parks Committee including Chairman Lynn App and Council members Duane Myers and David Redett.
2018 was a busy one for the Parks Committee as Master Plans were developed for Radar Park and the recently acquired Lucien M. Clemons Park.
Radar Park, named for the radar tower, which was located on the site in the 1950’s as part of the Nike defense system, was acquired by the village in 1971 from the U.S. Department of the Interior under the Federal Lands to Parks Program. The park is located along SR 163 at the entrance to Marblehead, across the street from the U.S. Post Office. The goal is to create an attractive gateway feature to welcome visitors to Marblehead in a design that would reflect the character of the village. Plans would create a parking area for five or six cars that is paved and well defined. Also planned is an open-sided structure that can be used for meetings and would accommodate a picnic area with grills, and open lawn space. The village is working with CT Consultants, the same group that designed the first phase of our bike path that runs from our business district to Lake Point Park. This renovation of Radar Park will assist in meeting the land use guidelines from the Department of Interior.
Lucien M. Clemons Park equally had a Master Plan developed by MAD Scientist Associates and CT Consultants with focus on the current park and grant requirements. The overall goal is to preserve the green space while enhancing the area for public use. This park boasts more than 2 acres of upland and nearly 3 acres of submerged land creating a serene inlet that will be permanently preserved and utilized as a public park. The park will provide Marblehead residents, vacationers and tourist with non-motorized boat access to Lake Erie, ideal fishing and birding opportunities, as well as a place to relax and enjoy the Lake Erie scenery. The inlet at the property provides great views of the lake and a rock break wall at the west end protect this cove. The village will work to restore pockets of native vegetation to attract local wildlife and migratory bird populations. Future plans call for public parking and restrooms across East Main Street on land already owned by the village.
2019 will be a very busy year for Chairman App and the Parks Committee as they begin working with CT Consultants to obtain grants and other funding to allow both Master Plans to become a reality. Securing funding for these projects is to be the number one priority for this committee in 2019. I commend Chairman App for his dedication to these projects and the hard work and hours put forth for the benefit of all. Though this process may take years, the committee is committed to preserving our parks and historical assets while focusing on our community and economic development.
Our sole utility in the village remains our Water Department. The Water Department is governed by the elected Board of Public Affairs (BPA). The fine leadership in the area consists of BPA President Robert Boytim, BPA Board Members Bailey VanKirk and Jim Keys, Water Plant Superintendent Tony Joyce and staff. Additionally, Olga Trumpower continues to serve this division with exceptional skill as the Billing Clerk. Councilman Dean Dorko, chair of the Utilities/Ferries/Waterfront Committee represents the administration at monthly BPA meetings. Councilman Dorko is a vast source of knowledge and action based on his community interactions, various liaisons, military career with excellent leadership skills/knowledge and his life long history in our village. His dedication to all areas of our village remains superb and he is to be commended.
As in the past, 2018 was a busy and productive year for the Water Department.
The 2018 statistics were as follows:
- Average water produced daily was 132,965 gallons
- Average water produced monthly was 4,044,375 gallons
- The maximum production day was July 5th with 360,000 gallons
- The maximum production month was July with 7,553,500 gallons
Major projects in 2018 included the development of an Asset Management Plan for the EPA and rebuilding of a raw water pump. In 2019, the board will be reviewing and potentially replacing an auxiliary generator.
I applaud all in this area for making the Village of Marblehead’s sole utility top-notch in Ottawa County.
Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank the Marblehead Merchants, the Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, local businesses and the Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society for making our community the best in Ohio. Hours of planning, hard work and numerous special events have made our home a place of destination. Pres Pro Tem John Starcher represents the administration with Marblehead Merchants. Councilwoman Angie Kukay is the administrative representative to the Business Roundtable, Focus Group and the Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society. Councilwoman Kukay is up to assist with any task and is a major positive asset to our administration. Her community spirit excels as an active member of these groups and always give 100%. Councilwoman Kukay’s participation and representation in this area serves our administration well.
I anticipate all to be very busy in 2019 as planning is beginning in honor of the 200th Anniversary of our Lighthouse in 2021/2022. I commend and applaud them for all their efforts on behalf of the village of Marblehead. May their planning and success be strong in 2019.
In closing and reflection, I look at the leadership and dedication of all the Village of Marblehead Council, Board of Public Affairs, Zoning Administrator, Planning Commission, Fiscal Officer, Solicitor and all employees knowing their commitment to the commonwealth and fellow man remains the number one priority.
As in 2018, we will continue to build on our past efforts and goals. We will continue to focus on infrastructure improvements for the betterment of our community. We will continue to monitor and plan our financial future. We will increase public awareness and community involvement. We will focus on meeting the needs of the village with continued growth. This Administration vows to evaluate each situation and act in the most viable means for the health, safety and welfare of its employees, residents and visitors
The goal established by our forefathers in 1891 continues on as we focus our efforts in 2019 to retain the Village of Marblehead as a prominent commonwealth of opportunity for all.
May the Village of Marblehead continue to prosper as a precious gem on the shores of Lake Erie for many future generations.
May God bless the Village of Marblehead, The Township of Danbury, County of Ottawa. State of Ohio, and The United States of America, now and always.
Mayor Jacqueline A. Bird
Village of Marblehead, Ohio