STOW: In her State of the City Address Thursday, Mayor Sara Drew said that 2012 was a busy year for the city, but 2013 will be an even busier one.
Drew began her address by highlighting the city’s accomplishments during her first year as mayor, which included the city’s space allocation project and the new lease agreement with EnviroScience, Inc.
Drew noted in the address that she had appointed a temporary administrative space allocation committee to work on consolidating and reallocating of operational areas for city offices.
“As staff has been reduced, our space needs have changed, both in total and in the manner in which building area assignments are made,” Drew said. “I have asked the committee to evaluate our current and future city space requirements in view of our downsizing and make recommendations to me regarding potential reallocation of operating areas for all city offices. Included will be consideration of reducing the actual building space under the city’s control as well as consolidation and or relocation of existing staff.”
Drew said Stow has approximately 20 percent fewer employees than in 2008.
As the city workforce declined, the need for departments to collaborate and be in closer proximity to each other increased, Drew explained. Last spring, Drew said there were notable empty spaces in city hall.
“We just aren’t filling our physical space that our city has,” Drew noted.
The goal was to use all spaces as efficiently as possible and provide the best service to residents, Drew said.
Drew said the space allocation committee analyzed every department and all the building space owned by the city.
Each department was evaluated for the amount of interaction they have with the public. Some departments and staff were moved to be in closer proximity with other departments and/or more readily accessible to the public.
In October, the cities Parks and Recreation department was moved to City Hall, saving the city approximately $50,000 annually in utilities and ancillary costs alone.
The former Parks building has now become the corporate headquarters for EnviroScience. Stow City Council unanimously adopted a lease-to-own contract with EnviroScience for multiple buildings at Silver Springs Park.
Looking forward to 2013 and Beyond
Drew emphasized that security would be a top priority in the upcoming year.
She said that security is a “local issue that requires a local solution.”
A safety task force in the works that will evaluate the needs and concerns of safety related issues in the schools and in the community.
“This is not intended to be a long-term project,” Drew said.
Drew said that she intends to have a “permanent” and sustainable” solution in place by March 31.