LET’S MAKE HEATH EVEN BETTER IN 2014
One of the best things about being Mayor the past couple years, has been the opportunity to meet and get to know so many residents of our City. Through this I have seen that each member of our community shares a common perspective – we love to live in Heath and we want to make our City the best place that it can be! Even those who may disagree with some of the actions our City has taken seem to recognize that we live in a special community. With this commonality, the beginning of a New Year gives us an opportunity to consider what we can do to make our City even better. Recognizing that I certainly don’t have all the answers, I nonetheless thought I would take this opportunity to share some of my ideas to achieve this goal.
There are many ways in which our City Government can work to make Heath a better place.
First, we can probably have the greatest impact by implementing the Capital Improvement Plans that we developed during 2013. Last year the Heath City Council worked to develop a Plan that includes more than $20 million in improvements that will benefit the entire City. Bonds were issued in August 2013 to fund the first portions of the Plan. By commencing and completing these projects, we can improve our streets, trails, parks and water and sewer system. All of this will have a positive impact on the City to make it into the type of community we want to live in, and which will attract positive new developments.
The City Council and City Staff can also work to be more responsive to the needs of our citizens. We are public servants, which means we need to serve the public. I commit to each of you that I will, and I would encourage the City Staff, my colleagues on the City Council, and all members of City Boards and Commissions to look for ways in which we can better meet the needs of our constituents throughout this year.
Finally, we can work to manage the growth that our City will experience in 2014 in order to maintain the sense of community and common purpose that makes Heath so special. With all the new residential and commercial developments that are being planned, there is no doubt that we will experience growth in 2014. Last year Heath experienced a 36% increase in building permits compared to 2012. The first two months of fiscal year 2014 seem to be on track for continued growth, and we must be vigilant to make sure that this growth is integrated into the fabric of our City.
However City Government alone is not responsible for making our City into the place we want it to be. Each and every resident of this great community has their own responsibility to improve the City. To borrow from President Kennedy’s inaugural address, we need to ask what we can do for our community. Here are some things we can focus on as residents of Heath.
First, we can look for opportunities for community service. In today’s world, we are all busy; probably busier than we should be. However, by taking time to serve others, we not only improve our community, but are able to take satisfaction from knowing that we have participated in making Heath a better place. Whether it be volunteering at your children’s school or at your church, serving through a civic or charitable organization, or starting a new community service venture, I would encourage everyone to give some of your valuable time to serve others and serve your community.
Additionally, we can support our local businesses. Although Heath is primarily a residential community, there are many great businesses in our City, and they need our support. In addition to supporting these businesses, this serves to build a stronger tax base for the City. It also gives you the opportunity to meet your neighbors. I have had many good conversations with friends I ran into at local shops, and have made new acquaintances there also.
Finally, we each need to make a renewed effort to get to know our neighbors, and to welcome new residents that will be moving into our community this year. There is nothing that makes for a stronger or closer community than knowing the people that live around you. Whether you want to organize a block party, have a neighborhood cookout in the summer, or just invite someone over for dinner, please take the opportunity to get to know someone new in the City this year.
Everyone that lives in Heath knows that it is a great community. Let’s all make an effort to make it an even better place in 2014.