GREEN: Mayor Dick Norton reviewed the city’s accomplishments from 2012 and shared his vision for continuing its move toward “sustainable prosperity” during his annual State of the City address Wednesday evening.
The mayor began his 50-minute speech by reviewing revenue and expenses from last year and the projections for 2013.
The city’s total revenue for 2012 was $26.4 million, Norton told a crowd of more than 250 business leaders and residents at Raintree County Club. Officials expect to see a $1 million decline in that number this year, he said.
Income tax revenue up
Income tax revenue was $19 million in 2012, a 4.2 percent increase over 2011, the highest in the city’s history.
“This confirms that our efforts to grow our business base have been effective,” Norton said.
Green collected $7.4 million in other revenue in 2012, $1.6 million less than anticipated due to the elimination of inheritance taxes, decreased personal property tax and reduced local government funding, Norton reported. The city was prepared for the decrease with a surplus of funds held over from 2011.
Operating expenses totaled just under $21.6 million in 2012, a 3.3 percent increase over 2011.
“In 2012, we spent $8 million less than budgeted, however, almost $4.5 million of those funds are encumbered, involving a variety of projects to be paid out at a later date,” he said.
$27 million budget
Council approved a $27 million budget for this year, but Norton predicted the city would spend less than the budget amount again in 2013.
The mayor outlined projections relating to five initiatives, including economic development, public services and transportation, storm water, public safety and parks and recreation.
He said for the fourth time since 2008, Green has increased its bond rating from Standard & Poor’s — the latest increase to AA+.
“With every credit rating increase, we realize a quarter-percent decrease in our interest rate, or a savings of approximately $100,000,” the mayor said.
The mayor touted the opening of two stand-alone medical emergency departments in 2012: Akron General and Summa Health System.
In an update on Acme Fresh Market’s plans to build a new store in the city, Norton said Acme anticipates breaking ground for the 68,000-square-foot facility in July with an opening in May 2014.
He also reported that Akron-Canton Airport is planning a grand opening of its new aircraft rescue and firefighting facility operations center in 2013.
Norton reported that additional businesses under construction include a Residence Inn on Arlington Ridge Road East that is expected to open in the summer with 99 suites, as well as a CVS drugstore on Massillon Road.
Earlier this month, council approved the sale of the Belden Lodge to Table for Life, a gourmet restaurant, banquet center and winery.
Norton announced a new event, “The Taste of Green,” will be held over Memorial Day weekend, May 25-27, along Town Park Boulevard and Town Park Crossing.
He said the three-day event is expected to draw 15,000 people with an expected economic impact of more than $250,000.
The mayor ended his speech by calling on Ohio lawmakers, members of City Council and Green residents to work to make the city the best place to live and prosper by quoting Robert Norton Noyce, co-founder of Intel.
“Don’t be encumbered by history,” Norton said. “[Let’s] go off and do something wonderful.”
Kathy Antoniotti can be reached at 330-996-3565 or firstname.lastname@example.org.