MANSFIELD -- Mansfield Mayor Tim Theaker, three months into his 12th and final year in office, said Friday he hopes his administration will leave the city in better shape than when he took office.
In his final "State of the City" remarks distributed via email, Theaker said he inherited a financial crisis when he came into office in January 2012.
"I inherited a city that had been placed in fiscal emergency by the State of Ohio in 2010. Our city was overwhelmed by dilapidated structures and we struggled to maintain manning levels in our safety forces," Theaker said.
A Republican, Theaker earned 59 percent of the vote to defeat then-incumbent Mayor Donald Culliver in November 2011. He was re-elected in 2015 and 2019 and is prevented by city charter from seeking a fourth, four-year term.
The city was placed under fiscal watch by the state auditor's office in December 2009 and fiscal emergency in August 2010. It didn't emerge until July 2014 after a series of painful cost-cutting moves.
(Click above to read Mayor Tim Theaker's "2022 State of the City" report.)
One fourth of the way through his last year, Theaker's annual report cited progress being made.
"Today I am pleased to present the 2022 State of the City highlighting significant changes and growth our city has seen over the last year.
"Some were welcome transitions, and while others were hard-fought battles, we continued to take productive steps toward building a better future for Mansfield.
"I am thankful for the cooperation and collaboration of dedicated community leaders, city council members, and city employees who have worked tirelessly for the furtherance of our city.
"Eleven years ago, I pledged to make Mansfield the best city in which to live, work, worship, and raise a family.
"As I enter my 12th and final year as mayor, I hope the results of those efforts have left Mansfield succeeding and in a much better place now and for the future," Theaker said.
City Council on March 7 approved Theaker's final budget, a plan adds $240,950 to the city's budget stabilization fund, pumping that carryover to $5,421,698.
The mayor credited funds from the American Rescue Plan Act for allowing several projects in 2022, including:
-- $750,000 to assist small businesses in the city.
-- $500,000 for the demolition of the former Westinghouse "A" building and clean-up of nearby properties.
-- $750,000 for an ongoing project to link the B&O Bike Trail to Trimble Road.
-- $1.5 million for the North End Community Improvement Collaborative's planned community center.
-- $200,00 for next design plans for the West End Neighborhood Improvement project.
-- $200,000 for countywide branding efforts other local governments and the Richland Area Chamber & Economic Development.
Additionally, Theaker said, ARPA funding directly assisted or will assist with needed work at the Clearfork dam; city building renovation and front foundation; fire state COVID upgrades; police and fire department facility and equipment upgrades; improvements at Mansfield Lahm Regional Airport and improved storage and capability of the city's IT department.
"In closing, I am proud of the work we have accomplished as a community over the years to improve Mansfield and make it a place we are all proud to call home. It has been an honor to serve you as mayor," Theaker wrote.
Chuck Hahn, Cleveland Financial Group, invests in this independent reporting through a Newsroom Partnership.
City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"