In 2011, the city of Cuyahoga Falls will be wrapping up its fifth year in what calls the “aggressive belt tightening” of the city budget. In his State of the City Address on Wednesday at the downtown, the mayor explained the economy, at the city-level, started to drop off before the 2008 collapse.
"While many economists identify the start of the current recession as 2008, in Cuyahoga Falls, we realized that our revenues were stagnant in the spring of 2006," Robart explained.
Savings in 2010 came from consolidating the street and sanitation departments, a consolidation of the dispatch and technical services and information departments (which resulted in the loss of 22 jobs) and retirements.
More cuts could be around the corner, as Robart pointed out that with a newly elected governor in office, he expects less state funding dollars.
“With the State of Ohio staring at at least an $8 billion deficit, and the newly elected governor looking to make our State more competitive, we know that revenue producers like the local government fund, and the estate tax are in jeopardy,” he said.
As for a preview for what's to come, Robart said the open land left behind by the former State Road Shopping Center could become the Marketplace at Portage Crossings by mid to late 2011. The anticipated size of the retail and business complex was originally set for 259,000 square feet, but the project is now planned to take up 380,000 square feet. The proposal includes a grocery store anchor, one to two big box retail establishments, restaurants and retail services. Robart said he hopes to unveil more details about who will be leasing space and a groundbreaking date in the coming months.
Talks for possible facelift at the are underway, as Albrecht Incorporated and the city are working together to bring a Fresh Market concept to the existing building off of State Road.
You can read the mayor's speech in its entirety in the attached .pdf file.
Business owners and representatives brought information to share and spent time mingling at the 2011 Community MIXPO, a networking opportunity organized by the prior to the luncheon. Many shared their thoughts on the mayor's speech and the city's economic outlook-- you can see their reactions in our video linked to this story!