by Kristin Casale
Munroe Falls -- "I am proud to report that 2006 was another good year in Munroe Falls," said Mayor Frank Larson during his state of the city address Tuesday.
The mayor began his address to City Council during its regular meeting by praising the community's safety forces, calling them "the finest around."
"The safety of the residents of Munroe Falls is always the top priority of my administration," said Larson. "We have a nice bedroom community, and we intend to keep it that way."
The fire department responded to 609 calls last year, he said, stating the average response time per call was less than three and a half minutes. Munroe Falls Fire Chief James Bowery said the U.S. Department of Transportation recommends fire departments answer advanced life support calls in less than six minutes and basic life support calls in less than eight minutes. He could not provide a national average for response times.
Additionally, Larson said, the police department was able to restore the position of a full-time detective to its ranks. For the last several years, a part-time detective served the city.
The department hired nine auxiliary officers last year, bringing the auxiliary staffing level to 15, according to Larson. He said the community benefits from their supplemental help to the department.
Larson also lauded the accomplishments of the service department, which he said "did a great job keeping the roads cleared and salted" during the 2005-06 winter.
The mayor also praised the city's nuisance abatement ordinance, which was passed in mid-2005 and was in place for its first full year in 2006. The legislation is designed to deal with any unsightly properties in the community.
"[Last year], the zoning department issued 11 abatements, which cleaned up some problem areas that have been a nuisance for years," said Larson.
The mayor also addressed the city's finances, stating 2006 marked the third year in a row Munroe Falls spent less than what was budgeted.
"Four years ago, when I campaigned for mayor, I stated that I would run the city in a business-like manner," said Larson. "I believe that I have accomplished that promise."
He noted the balance of all the community's funds at the end of 2003 was approximately $3.2 million, and the balance of those funds at the end of last year was approximately $5 million.
Larson said economic development became a top priority for the city last year, adding he will maintain a focus on that issue in 2007.
He cited the creation of a town center plan city officials continue to develop that provides for increased recreation along the Cuyahoga River.
"Events are in the planning stages for this spring and summer," said Larson. "2007 promises to be an exciting year for the residents of Munroe Falls."
Larson's first term in office is up this year, and he has not yet decided whether he plans to run again in November.
"I probably will, but I haven't filed any official paperwork yet," he said.