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Perrysburg Mayor Mike Olmstead laid out his vision for Perrysburg at Way Public Library Tuesday night, which includes an increase in commercial business and a more efficient city government.
He told about 45 residents who attended that he would like to change the 60/40 resident to commercial ratio to a 50-50 ratio, which he said will lower the burden on individual taxpayers. He also wants to have more measures in place to hold city departments accountable and provide a higher level of service.
"My goal is to have an effective, limited government," he said during his speech. "We want to have compassionate, professional service to all people and have the highest quality of life possible."
Mayor Olmstead, who took office Dec. 31, spoke about his vision for about 30 minutes and then answered questions for another 30 minutes. His talk was presented by the League of Women's Voters of the Perrysburg Area.
Some audience members agreed with him. One resident asked him to thank the city workers that have had to work through the worst of this winter. Others brought several issues up and wanted explanations from the mayor.
Former Perrysburg Mayor Jon Orser questioned the multi-use path that is proposed for the city's right-a-way along the Maumee River. Another resident didn't understand why the city would consider putting a Costco at the corner of Eckel Junction Road and State Rt. 25.
Mayor Olmstead said the city has no business telling Costco not to build on that land if they meet zoning requirements. The property is zoned commercial. In reference to the question about the multi-use path, he said he has no intention of putting a black strip through residents' yards, and that city officials will talk to homeowners about what kind of path should go through their back yards along the Maumee River.
Last summer, city council had approved putting in a multi-use path that would connect Hood Park to Orleans Park near the Maumee River to give residents access to the riverfront. The path also cuts through several back yards of Front Street residents.
Costco is in negations with Columbia Gas Transmissions and wants to put a 154,300-square foot store near the southeast corner of State Rt. 25 and Eckel Junction Road. Some residents have expressed concerns about traffic congestion from such a store, and some suggested putting it in other locations, including further south on State Rt. 25. It would be its second store in the Toledo area; the first opened several years ago on West Central Avenue and Secor Road in West Toledo.
"He had friendly, honest answers. It was exactly what I was hoping for, a give and take,"said Nancy Kelley, president of the League of Women's Voters of the Perrysburg Area.
Ms. Kelley, who had some questions for the mayor regarding public transportation in Perrysburg, said the city "is lucky to have someone like Mike."
He said in the first month he has met with all the department heads to find measures to observe how they are providing their public service. He also talked to the department heads about the most valuable service they provide.
Mayor Olmstead is talking at the Perrysburg Kiwanis Club on Wednesday.
"I'm sure not all the people in this room voted for me, but I respect their opinion," Mayor Olmstead said after the program. "It is the nature of this business, not everyone is happy. But it is important to get the opinions in this city."
Contact Matt Thompson at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.