My annual State of the City report will be delivered on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at the senior luncheon at St. Paul Lutheran Church. The meal is served at noon and my remarks will follow.
Although the report is at an event for our City’s seniors, anyone can attend the speech. I will cover all of the City’s departments – what we have accomplished and what we have planned for 2024 and beyond.
The City’s finances remain in very good shape. We’ve had healthy cash balances every year for the past 16 years and we’ve done that without laying off personnel or cutting back on services. Our credit rating remains at Aa2 as reported by Moody’s. That means our City’s finances are stable and we can rely on favorable interest rates.
The City has made significant improvements to infrastructure, replacing sewer and water lines, paving and totally rebuilding roadways, often with help from state and county grants. These projects include the Barberry, Woodlawn, Maple and Fourth street reconstruction where we replaced the water line and completely reconstructed the roadway. Sanitary sewer and storm sewers were upgraded. That was a $5 million project and a significant portion of the costs were covered by a state grant and no-interest loan. We are doing a similar project in the Adrian, Anne, Pattie and Girard drive areas right now. This latest major project has a price tag of $6.7 million.
One concern we will address this year is the cost of running the municipal water operations. We are the only community in Cuyahoga County, outside of Cleveland, to maintain its own drinking water system. Despite an increase in operating expenses, there’s only been one rate increase since 1984. Previously, I worked with City Council to put together an ad hoc Water and Sewer Rates Committee. I put that on hold during the pandemic but will re-establish that this year. The committee will study our options and look for solutions.
All-in-all Berea continues to be an excellent place to live and to do business. I’ll talk about this more in depth during my report on Feb. 13. If you can’t be there, we’ll make sure the information is posted on the City’s web site – www.cityofberea.org, and in The Berean.