June 30, 2016

Partly sunny

State of Brunswick: Manager says leaders doing more with less

BRUNSWICK — The city is financially strong with a balanced budget thanks to the cooperation of department heads and city leaders to do more with smaller staffs and less money, City Manager Jim Lukas told business leaders Wednesday morning.

Lukas gave the annual State of the City address at the Brunswick Community Recreation and Fitness Center.

City Manager Jim Lukas delivers the State of the City speech to the Brunswick Area Chamber of Commerce Wednesday morning at the Medina Recreation Center. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY LOREN GENSON)

In 2012, the city attracted $20 million in new building and expansions, he said. The city also issued 46 housing permits and approved plans for four new housing developments.

“It’s nice to know people are moving to the city, and are finding the city a nice place to move to,” Lukas said.

Lukas used a “Wheel of Fortune”-type game with trivia to illustrate the state of the city address. Using all the letters in BRUNSWICK, he created subcategories.

Under N for numbers, Lukas pointed out that the operating budget from 2003 to 2012 increased by only 3 percent.

“I’d be very surprised if any other city in our region could say the same thing,” he said.

Full-time staff has been reduced in the city from 151 in 2007 to the 120 current full-time employees.

Lukas thanked department heads for their dedication to keeping spending down. And he thanked voters for approving a safety levy to save the police and fire departments from budget cuts.

“We have 31 less employees and all nonsafety departments have been impacted by those reductions,” he said. “We have to thank staff in all departments who are really doing a lot more with less these days.”

Lukas thanked local businesses for teaming up to build a lasting memorial to four Brunswick students who were killed in a Columbia Station car accident in June.

“The business community stepped up to build a gorgeous landscaping project at Brunswick Lake,” he said.

Looking ahead, Lukas said he expects a traffic signalization project to be completed in August that will help traffic flow more quickly.

He also expects the trail at Brunswick Lake will be completed this year.

“Really, the key to our financial future is everything we discussed — living within our financial means,” Lukas said.

He also said the city needs to continue to partner with local businesses and regional economic development groups to work together to get grant money for major projects when possible.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.

Loren Genson About Loren Genson

Loren Genson was The Gazette's senior reporter. From August 2012 through September 2015, she covered Brunswick city and state and national government. To contact The Gazette, call the managing editor at (330) 721-4065.