2007-03-10 / News

It's Baltimore's business

By Scott Rawdon

BALTIMORE- Baltimore Mayor Bob Kalish is happy to have people getting into the village's business--he announced nearly $3 million of business expansion coming to Baltimore in 2007 during his annual State of the Village address.

"The business expansion that I will announce today will represent a total investment of $2.8 million dollars in the Baltimore economy," Kalish told about 50 community members gathered at Liberty Union High School Monday morning to listen to his address. Kalish said Rick and Robin Foreman, owners of The Baltimore Builders Supply, will build a 10,700 square feet Ace Home Center located on SR 158 north, which should bring eight jobs and a $1.8 million investment into the village. The Foremans anticipate a spring 2007 opening.

Chet Hauck, developer of the Market Place Shopping Center, will build a $1 million, six unit, 20,000 square feet commercial mini warehouse behind the Market Place Shopping Center off Factory Street. Also, the Christ United Methodist Church will build a new Family Life Center costing $1.4 million. Kalish said the total investment in the community between the three projects is $4.2 million.

Kalish hopes to hire a new police chief this year to provide 40 hours per week additional police coverage in Baltimore. Kalish enlisted the help of the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police to advertise to its 900 members. Kalish said that the "citizens requested" a full-time police chief and he hopes to have one cruising the village streets by an "April timeframe." Once a new chief is in place, current part-time Police Chief Brett Rogers will remain on the force as a parttime officerand current full-time officerBilly Putnam's position will not change.

Kalish announced that with the help of the FairfieldCounty Commissioners, Director of Fairfield County Emergency Management Matt Keefe, and the Baltimore Village Council, the village funded $4,500 for its share of a tornado siren.

The village will work with the Baltimore Chamber of Commerce and the Community Improvement Corporation to implement "Discover Baltimore," a marketing plan Kalish proposes to promote Baltimore as "the place to be in business" to new and existing businesses. "We have over 70 businesses at present that Discover Baltimore can market to those on the World Wide Web," he said.

Kalish saluted the Tarhe Shrine Club for raising money to help Baltimore residents Scott and Crystal Bradley, who became overwhelmed with medical bills after their infant son, Jonas, was accidentally burned. Kalish said he worked with Congressman David Hobson (R-Ohio) to seek financial assistance for the Bradleys, who have no family locally. The Shriners raised money for the Bradleys through donations and is seeing that all of Jonas' bills and treatment are taken care of by the Shriners Children's Hospital of Cincinnati until Jonas is 18 years old.

"(The Shriners) have been a miracle in a hard time for us," said Crystal Bradley. "They made us feel like we have family here."

Kalish recognized Baltimore Lions Club members George and Sue Bachman. George Bachman is the first Baltimore Lions Club member to attain the 13K District Governor title. Kalish said Sue Bachman enthusiastically helps her husband promote Baltimore. "I think Baltimore is the best kept secret, just like the Lion's Club, throughout Ohio," said George Bachman.

Several other members of Baltimore government spoke :

+ Village Administrator Marsha Hall said 2006 was a very busy year for Baltimore. For years, Baltimore has worked on a list of wastewater issues from Ohio EPA. "We've reached the end of those items," said Hall, referring to the village's construction of a new wastewater treatment facility, which began earlier this year, and a new force main station, construction of which begins this spring.

She said last year the village developed a street priority so residents will know when their streets are to be repaved, and the village is taking an inventory of its storm sewers. Last year the village welcomed residential development like the 151 home Sleepy Hollow subdivision, which changed its name to Meadow Creek.

Some utility fees were raised last year, said Hall, but the village has a plan for not raising fees while Baltimore finishes its wastewater plant and begins proposed upgrades to its water plant. "Council does not want to ask for more money from its residents," she said. Halls plans to transfer funding from the wastewater plant project to the water plant project as the wastewater plant project is completed. "Our water plant is 75 years old," she said. The water treatment plant project is in its initial discussion stages; Hall expects upgrades will be necessary within three to five years. This year, the village is putting together a water system master plant to determine what projects are required, when they are required, estimated costs, and possible funding sources.

Hall added the village applied for an Ohio Public Works Commission grant for a second water tower.

She said the village is look at paying for the "growth that is coming" and associated capitol improvements by means of developer impact fees, which is "the only way in Ohio to collect for new growth." The village is also reviewing taking over management of the community swimming pool. "We think we can do it better," said Hall. She added that the village requires contractors to register with Baltimore. "Residents can call to findout if a contractor is on the list" and make certain the contractor is reputable," said Hall.

+ Fiscal OfficerFlo Welker said the village has very few employees and "they need to be taken care of." With that in mind, she said the village offered its employees direct deposit last year and she's working with a bank to permit online payments of water bills for everyone. Welker also hopes residents will be able to fileincome taxes completely online by mid-year. "These are things that will make life easier for a lot of people," she said.

Welker added that the current council has accomplished more in the last two years than was accomplished in the previous ten years. "When you look at our council people, thank them," she said.

+ Service Superintendent Dennis Rose said the village crews only plowed snow once last year. "It's been a little different this year," he said. The village replaced sections or water lines, purchased new equipment, replaced tables and chairs at Johnson Park, as well as basketball hoops.

+ Village Engineer Don Morrison said the village made many infrastructure improvements including beginning the $5.2 million wastewater treatment plant project, mandated since 1991, and the village will soon be ready to start on force main interceptors--a $553,000 project- -to divert flows straight to the wastewater plant.

+ Kathy Badgely announced she is serving as chair of the village's revitalization committee. "We have buildings downtown in sad need of repair," she said. Committee members must convince business owners of the financial advantages of making improvements. Badgely will work on creating a matching funds program for business owners who want to make improvements. She asked for public and private organizations to donate to the case.

"We have a full agenda for 2007," said Kalish in conclusion. "Lets' make this a championship year."

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