Mayor’s report: Village of Blanchester

John Carman - Guest Column

This is John Carman’s Mayor’s 2015 Annual Report to the Village of Blanchester.

First, I want to thank Village Council for its support over the past year. To the employees, Solicitor, and BPA board I say “thank you.” Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to grow and grasp my role as mayor over the past year.

Over the past year I have travelled hundreds of miles and attended 52 various meetings. I have answered numerous phone calls from unhappy residents, and I’ve tried to address each personally. I have had the opportunity to swear in new police officers, council members, and give appreciation to those who have served our community. Additionally, I have donated over $2,100 in support to our village and our employees.

I firmly believe that one characteristic of good leadership is leading by example, and that’s exactly what I want to do as your mayor. I will never ask more from you than what I’m willing to give myself. Someone once said, “To make yourself look good, you need good people around you.” I believe they were right.

Over the past year, we’ve done a few new things to gain support from our community, while working to remove the misconceptions some may have about our legislative body. One of those things was to participate in our July 4th festivities. Together we sponsored a booth and provided an inflatable playhouse for the children. This is something I could not have done without your support and help. We made ourselves available, put ourselves out there, which is something I feel is paramount to our success as a community.

Other items we’ve worked on in 2015 include:

• Met with the I/O Railroad on the Church Street crossing.

• Removed an old spur track on Broadway Street.

• Met with ODOT on Main Street resurface/sealing.

• Awarded CBG funds for new fire hydrants in Fairground Acres.

• Continued working with Engineering on Center Street and Main Street resurface.

• Applied for OPWC Grant for Broadway sidewalks, curbs, gutters and storm drains.

• Updated zoning ordinances in order to clean up junked cars.

• Worked on removal of old signage in the downtown area.

Our accomplishments may seem small; however, I believe we are moving in the right direction. No one ever said getting from “Point A” to “Point B” would be easy. It has been my goal (and yours) to move our village toward a balanced budget. This can be an unpleasant topic, yet it’s a necessary goal and we must continue to push forward.

As elected officials, we have been given the trust of our electors. It’s been said “people don’t care what you know, until they know how much you care.” As leaders, we need to be on the front line, leading the way. We need to be involved in more than just a few meetings a year. Each one of us has chosen to be in this position. We’re not here by accident, we’ve volunteered; and, therefore, we need to be open and ready for the work ahead.

With 2015 behind us, we look into a new year with new opportunity. In that new year, we have a choice: We can choose to be an optimist, someone who is hopeful, confident, and will find a way to be successful. Or we can choose to be a pessimist, seeing the worst, giving up, and destined to fail. How we view each situation will determine how successful we’ll be.

A man was lead to the forest with a lantern, a book of matches, and a compass. When he arrived at the drop-off point, his guides told him that he must give up one of the items. Without hesitation the man gave up the lantern. He did not debate how unsuccessful he’d be without the lantern. Instead, he focused on the remaining items that would make his task successful. He focused on the compass, which would help him to find his way through the forest. And he focused on the matches, which he would use to light fires, both for cooking and for warmth during the night.

As we enter 2016, I want to challenge you to stay focused on the tasks at hand. We must develop, grow, and better inform our local committees. We must be open to change, and we must work to bring our community back to a place of growth, a place where families and businesses are willing to relocate and grow.

Blanchester is our home, we need to be proud of its history and work toward its future. I know people aren’t always open to change … it can be scary … but it’s necessary if we’re to be successful. The battle will always seem uphill. The reality is we’ll never make everyone happy, nor will we be able to stop the negativity of a few, some who once served where you serve.

We have a strong Police Department, which works hard to keep us safe, fight the growing drug problem, and keep crime at bay. I realize with each budget cut it seems we are tying the hands of our police officers. They have a tough and often thankless job. It’s up to this legislative body to develop a plan for increasing revenue, so we do not lose this important service.

So, I again challenge each of you to commit your time and energy toward making Blanchester the best and safest community in Clinton County.

John M. Carman is Mayor of Blanchester.

John Carman

Guest Column