WILMINGTON — Wilmington Mayor John Stanforth delivered his first annual State of the City address Thursday, promising not to take a hammer to the city, but also saying he wouldn’t be afraid to look for problems and fix them.
Stanforth recounted fixing the kitchen of President of Council Randy Riley’s by smashing a hole in the ceiling with a hammer to find the source of a leak. “You can’t fix a problem if you don’t know where it is,” Stanforth told Riley then. Stanforth said he’s had good results over four decades using a hammer, flashlight and tape measure.
“I am not, I assure you, going to take a hammer to the city,” Stanforth said. “But I will be carrying that flashlight with me, just in case we need to take a look.”
Stanforth went on to say that Wilmington is where he wants his descendants to be able to stay, have good jobs and raise their children.
“My goals as mayor are very simple,” read Stanforth’s address. “I want our spending to match our revenue. I want to maintain our services in the most efficient manner possible. I want to repair our streets. To accomplish these goals, I need your support.”
Also in council, two groups are hosting a “people’s march” to raise funds to benefit veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and get them outside.
Clinton County Veterans’ Service Commission Executive Director Ray Souder and Joseph Watson, owner of All Day Every Day, said they intend to hold a volksmarch, or “people’s march,” May 28 in Wilmington to support veterans with PTSD.
Attendees would park at the J. W. Denver Williams Jr. Memorial Park, and be shuttled to the starting point at Luther Warren Peace Path. From there, they’ll continue through the urban trail in Wilmington, take the Bicentennial Trail and end up back at the park.
“Everybody wants to help it, but when you look into the groups, nobody’s trying to help it,” Watson said. “They’re just raising money” but not doing enough to help.
By contrast, Watson wants his group to help veterans by getting them out of the house, adding that while struggling with his PTSD, he “sat in the house for a long time, did nothing but drink and just lay there.”
Watson said his group will take veterans to baseball games or Kings Island, host tournaments and other events, anything to get veterans and their families outside the house.
Souder said the march is about 3.2 miles. He added volksmarches are non-competitive and often include socialization, food and drinks at checkpoints and stopping.
Tickets will cost $10, according to Souder, and will support Watson’s efforts to help veterans with PTSD.
Those who register and finish will be given a mug as an incentive award. The mug shows All Day Every Day’s logo, which shows a man with a demon on his back, which Watson said is what PTSD is like.
Council voted to voice support for the project.
“I think it’s wonderful,” said council member Randi Milburn. “(PTSD) is an issue that people like to sweep under the rug and it needs to be talked about and addressed, and I think this is a giant leap in the right direction.”
• Transferred $19,500 from miscellaneous services to salaries within the Clinton County Municipal Court’s budget.
• Amended an ordinance so the assistant director of law must be approved by council after being selected by the elected law director.
• Declared as surplus and authorized the sale of a 1959 Ford 600 tractor and a John Deere aero-vator.
• Passed a first reading on a resolution that would plane and resurface part of State Route 730, estimated to cost the city more than $186,000. Another reading is expected to be held at council’s next meeting, February 18.
• Received a report from Wilmington Safety and Service Director Brian Shidaker, who implored residents not to move the bridge closed signs at Sugar Grove Cemetery. “They are closed for a reason,” he said, adding that the bridges aren’t safe for travel.
Shidaker also said many potholes have been repaired so far this year. He hopes to have most of the city’s main streets’ potholes fixed soon.
Shidaker also said citizens can report broken streets lights to the city through its website or by calling Shidaker. Three lights have been reported this year, Shidaker said.
• Received a refund check of more than $9,000 from Clinton County Auditor Terry Habermehl. The check comes from cost savings generated by Habermehl’s office.
• Council member Mark McKay, who chairs the downtown revitalization committee, urged residents to shop or eat locally this upcoming Valentine’s Day.
• Received an income tax report showing increases of about $15,000 in business tax receipts and $84,000 in withholding for the month of January as compared to January last year. Individual receipts decreased more than $5,000. Overall, income tax receipts increased 13 percent in the month of January.
• Received a report detailing how much the city collected in lodging taxes in the fourth quarters of 2015 and 2014 – $34,542.68 and $24,247.80, respectively.
Reach Nathan Kraatz at 937-382-2574, ext. 2510 or on Twitter @NathanKraatz.