TALLMADGE — Things are going so well in Tallmadge that Mayor David G. Kline wants to keep the momentum going.
Kline announced his intention to seek election to another four-year term Wednesday during his State of the City address to the Tallmadge Chamber of Commerce at The Venue.
In the eighth annual State of the City address, Kline described the city’s financial position as being "very good." He thanked his cabinet members, department heads, City Council and employees for their hard work and commitment to citizens.
The city’s 2019 budget totals $32.6 million which is approximately $500,000 less than Tallmadge’s 2018 budget. Kline described the overall financial state of the city as healthy, noting fund balances currently exceed their required minimums. However, Kline did cite areas to monitor, saying both income tax revenue and the general fund balance are down. Expenses must continue to be closely monitored, he reported.
General fund expenditures for 2019 are projected at $15,945,398, while revenues are projected at $15,564,552. According to Kline, the projected beginning balance of the general fund for next year is $5,330,000, while the ending balance for the general fund in 2019 is estimated at $4,949,154. The minimum fund balance requirement is $2,897,741, according to the mayor.
Tallmadge is attracting both economic and residential development, Kline says. "With all the synergy and everything that’s going on, people really want to move into Tallmadge," Kline said, adding, "When homes go up for sale, they’re not on the market very long."
The development of the former Maplecrest Golf Course in Brimfield near the township’s border with Tallmadge is continuing. The Maplecrest development is part of a large area designated as a Joint Economic District between Brimfield and Tallmadge. JEDD revenue to Tallmadge in 2019 is estimated to be more than $890,300. The tax rate in the Joint Economic Development District will be increasing from 1.25 percent to 1.5 percent this year.
Businesses which celebrated grand openings in Tallmadge during 2018 included: Global Kitchen; Jimmy John’s; Fresh Planet; RE/MAX; Body Rock Fitness Studio; Pandora Cupcakes; Breakfast Place; Hartville Hardware; Simaform; GT Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu; First Apostolic Church; and Sutton Bank.
The mayor said "the fire station … is going to be the number one topic for City Council … coming up."
How the city is going forward, facilities-wise, for the fire department has been discussed since he became mayor, according to Kline. The city’s two fire stations need to be modernized, the mayor says, to reflect societal changes and to keep Tallmadge safe for many years to come. His vision is to maintain two fire stations in Tallmadge.
To maintain the city’s solid financial footing going forward, Kline says there needs to be a re-examination of the funding mechanism for the city’s fire department. Presently, the department is funded by a permanent levy and billing for EMS service. Each year, however, the city has to transfer more money from its general fund to cover an operating deficit in the fire department. A $1.27 million transfer from the general fund to the fire department is anticipated for 2018 and a $1.46 million next year. The mayor has said he is considering asking voters to increase the city’s income tax by a quarter of a percent, largely to help fund the fire department.
Kline said other 2019 goals and challenges include a consolidated dispatch center with Stow, Cuyahoga Falls, and Summit County. Currently, Tallmadge contracts with the Stow Police Department for dispatch services and the city of Cuyahoga Falls operates its own dispatch center. The mayor also anticipates a rate study will be conducted for the city’s water and sewer departments. He also noted the former 100-acre Ripley Farm on East Avenue is slated for redevelopment into a residential subdivision. Updating the city’s 40-year-old master plan for its parks to meet the needs of aging residents while attracting young families to settle in Tallmadge also is an administration priority.
Kline said he had pulled petitions with the intention of asking "Tallmadge residents if they still want me as their mayor." Feb. 6 is the filing deadline with the Summit County Board of Elections.
A lifelong resident of the city, Kline is a 1976 graduate of Tallmadge High School. He then spent 12 years as a firefighter and a decade on City Council before becoming the city’s service director, then the 17th mayor of Tallmadge in 2010.
Reporter Ellin Walsh can be reached at 330-541-9419, email@example.com or @EllinWalsh_RPC.