Thursday, February 19, 2009

2009 State of the County Address: Helping our Families in this Crisis

Thanks to all those who came to the 2009 State of the County Address, and thanks to Rotary for hosting it. There may a video weblink put up later, but for now, here is a link to my remarks.

One announcement I made that I'm excited about, was the introduction of a website to help our working families get through the current economic crisis. Go to, and it will provide information on how families can reduce costs and make the most of what they earn.

Other key announcements and initiatives:
  • a strategy to provide relief to middle class and working families, including expanding successful Foreclosure Prevention efforts
  • reemphasized job creation strategies
  • announced efforts to make the County an easier place to do business
  • announced a policy that the County and City will insist that all jobs being created through public dollars be listed and made available to County residents, through the Super Jobs Center
  • explained that the County will use the stimulus to make strategic investments in construction, energy, transportation, and community revitalization projects

In Public safety, announced new strategies to relieve jail overcrowding and improve safety

Explained Plans to create more accountable and effective government, including:

  • Shared Services: pursue shared services whenever possible, from tax collection and purchasing to fire districts—saving taxpayer dollars and creating better service
  • A Professionalism and Ethics initiative: assuring that qualifications, hard work and top performance are how our hard-working County employees are judged, rewarded and get ahead—and not other factors (ie. politics) unrelated to the job for which they’re being paid with taxpayer funds.

As I said in closing, I firmly believe that in 2009 and beyond, we can put ourselves on a stronger, more competitive footing than we have been before.

The Business Courier provided a very nice summary here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Montgomery (Re)cycles!

Several months ago, I described a new pilot program to encourage recycling that the County is undertaking in Montgomery.

The initial results are in, and they are very impressive. Since the launch in October, recycling is up 60 percent in Montgomery--going up every month (27 percent in October, 55 percent in November, and 97 percent in December) since the program started.

That is major progress, and suggests expanding this program to other communities might really make a difference.

Good News on Patrols, Asset Forfeiture

Last night, we received an email from the Sheriff indicating that he will use Asset Forfeiture funds to avoid laying off patrols that cover the rural Western Townships--whose budgets are so small they can't afford the patrols themselves. (Larger townships like Anderson, Green, and Sycamore had more dollars available, and were able to support more patrols from their own budgets).

This is good news for those Townships and public safety overall, good news for deputies who would have been laid off, and means we don't have to drain our reserve funds any further.

I appeciate the Sheriff's willingness to be flexible at this challenging time.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Survey Results: Your Priorities = Our Priorities

The results are in from the February community survey, and the good news is that the priorities the County has set largely reflect the citizens' priorities as we begin 2009.

1. TOP COMMUNITY CONCERNS. When asked the top concerns for your community, the top choices were:
1) Economic Growth and Competitiveness (50% said it was of highest priority, 1 on a scale of 1 to 5);
2) Public Safety (47.4%); and
3) Quality of Life (45.7%).

The other choices were well back, but balancing budgets was number four, at 31.3%

2. COUNTY PRIORITIES. When asked what priorities you'd like to see the County focus on in the upcoming year, the results were similar, but with economic concerns ever further out front:
1) Economic and Job Growth/Revitalization (60.3% said it was highest priority);
2) Public Safety (44.1%), and
3) Shared and consolidate services (31%).

3. When asked how the County can better assist with each community's needs, I was pleased that the top two choices by far are things we are pursuing:
1) More aggressive pursuit of shared services (61.4% selected this), and
2) Regular meetings in communities (47.7%). (NOTE: we had our first such meeting in Blue Ash last week).

There were tons of comments to the open-ended questions, so many different ideas they're hard to summarize. As to how else the county could help, there was a lot of focus on economics, safety, and others issues such as transportation, quality of life, and improving local government.

As to large challenges faced in different communities, a lot of focus on housing and foreclosures, economic troubles, crime, government effectiveness, and taxes.
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