Jeff Reser (R) took the oath of office on Tuesday, July 1, 2014.
I was born in Bucyrus in 1954 and attended Holy Trinity and Bucyrus Public Schools graduating in 1972. I attended Ohio State University and graduated with a BS in Business Administration in 1976. My wife is from Bucyrus, the former Gayle Knappenberger and we were married in 1977. As a young Bucyrus resident I worked at our family business in High School and, after college, was hired by F. and R. Lazarus in the buyer training program. I re-entered the family business in 1978 when we purchased a store in Kenton. I returned to Columbus in 1985 when we purchased a store in Dublin. My wife and I finally settled back home in 1993. We purchased and renovated the home of my wife's father, Dr. Robert Knappenberger on Plymouth Street where we reside today.
We have two daughters, Anne and Emily. Anne is a graduated of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Virginia Law School and resides in Virginia. She is Married to Michael Hill. Emily is a graduate of Walsh University and works at FedEx in Green, Ohio and is engaged to be married in 2015. We have one granddaughter, Julianne.
Bucyrus Mayor Jeff Reser's State of the City Address to Bucyrus City Council
March 1, 2016
Thank you, Madam President.
It’s been a honor serving as the Mayor of my hometown--a city filled with many, many good and caring people who want to see us succeed in leading Bucyrus to new heights. I was humbled by the outcome of the November election and I am excited about leaving my mark on our community. We have a fine team in place to lead the city. Kelli, Jeff and I bring energy, enthusiasm and a style of government that we believe will pay dividends as we progress through our time in office. We look forward to continuing our good relationship with you and the entire council as we work improve our special community.
Before I go any farther I would like to commend City council and our auditor, Mrs. Schifer for another year of a balanced budget. Funds are tight but we did end the year with a small surplus in our general fund--certainly much better than deficit spending but we promise to be vigilant with our taxpayers investment in our community.
Now let’s look back at 2015, a monumental year in the history of Bucyrus and I begin with the most important accomplishments.
First, we broke ground on our new Water Treatment Plant in July. The new plant will be just the third plant in the history of the city, and we hope that it will last late into the 21st century. You know, the low interest rates and lower than expected construction bids we received has been a boon for all residents. We will not have to raise water rates as much as planned--this is money that residents will keep in their pockets. Additionally, we expect to save over $10,000,000 over the repayment period of the loan. In May, we will be taking a look at projected costs and rate increases and will develop an up-to-date financial plan. We owe a debt to my predecessor, Roger Moore, and all council members for moving forward with the plan to build a water treatment plant that positions us to be a supplier of safe drinking water to Bucyrus and surrounding area in the coming years.
Second, we signed an historic agreement with the U.S. E.P.A. late last year that allows the city to separate our storm water from our sewers over a much longer period that anticipated. We thank Tina Wolfe from Arcadis for being our point person with the EPA and securing our favorable agreement. We were forced to raise our sewer rates last summer, but the rate of increase was much lower than anticipated just a few years ago.
Third, voter approval of the Safety Forces levy allowed us to have a year of full staff for our police and fire departments. You have seen the annual reports from Chief Koepke and Chief Keller and you can see that our community is safer with less crime reported--we are trending in the right direction. Officer Stahl replaced Lieutenant Dorsey as our school resource officer, a critical position for our community’s children.
Fourth, through the leadership of Gary Cole, Crawford County Treasurer, we took steps to form a county land bank. Briefly, a land bank’s purpose is to acquire derelict properties to tear down or rehabilitate and repurpose for future development. I will keep you informed of our progress, but I am optimistic that this initiative is an historic development for Bucyrus which will pay off well into our future.
Fifth, our council voted - for the first time - to fund economic development for Bucyrus. The administration’s duties are many and are quite varied, and do not allow a sufficient amount of time for this critical function. Our investment in the Crawford County Economic and Education Partnership is an important step forward, one that will reap benefits in job creation and retention.
And six, Bucyrus is now home to an institute of higher learning with the opening of the Crawford County Success Center in August which opened its doors to over one hundred students in its first semester. That’s a tremendous accomplishment. There are too many people to thank individually, but I want to commend Director Erin Stine for her outstanding work on the project. Raising the education level of our children and young adults is the most important step in insuring the prosperity of Bucyrus and Crawford County. We rank as one of the lowest in the state for post secondary education degrees but not for long!
Madame Chairman and council members, I believe that these six accomplishments that I just described will be critical building blocks for Bucyrus as we position ourselves to be a model small community of the future.
Now let me speak about the most important building block--our community members.
2015 was a year to establish a foundation for our future, and it couldn’t have been accomplished without involvement from caring residents. We have hundreds of people to thank for what they do for Bucyrus. Government can create policy, but prosperity is brought about by individual businesses and people who care about the community, and I believe that we can all agree that we wouldn’t be the same without our employers, service clubs and moms and dads who get involved for the common good of our community and I also believe that we just don’t say “thank you” enough. So to all of our employers, large and small, we say “thank you” for putting us to work and allowing the city of Bucyrus to hire people to pave your roads, shovel the snow off your streets, keep your parks open and provide your clean water. We pledge our support to help your business in any way that we can.
To our community organizations we say “thank you” for planting and watering the downtown landscaping, for flipping pancakes, selling peanuts, hosting community events, and then donating your profits to wonderful causes . We are blessed to have you in our Community.
To our social services organizations who operate on a shoestring financial budget, but who operate with a heart full of love, we say “thank you.” To BORN, to Together We Hurt--Together We Heal, to Rachel’s House, The Salvation Army to our fine churches and their leaders, to all who take the “love of neighbor” commandment so seriously--I say that we would be in serious trouble without your dedication to those you help. Your community thanks you and pledges its support in any way we can.
Madam President and council members, before I close let me briefly touch on a few private sector items that deserve our attention. Trillium Event Center opened in 2015 under the leadership of Richard Gervais. It’s hard to believe this beautiful event center once held a nursing home. Congratulations on a job well done.
We are very excited to see the development on the north end of Bucyrus and I would like to mention Pickwick Place as a model for redevelopment of existing structures into an innovative business. I await its opening with eager anticipation, and I don’t believe we will see anything else like Pickwick Place in the entire State of Ohio.
We welcomed many new businesses in the community. I don’t have time to mention all of them but Family, Farm and Home opened not only brought a new business to town but filled an long empty building and that is good for the community. Small business is the backbone of Bucyrus and it deserves our support.
Ohio PolyTech announced plans to double its workforce and occupy the Swan Rubber Building ,and I believe that we will see great things from them. We have met with owner Brad Schoenberg on several occasions and he is just the type of employer that we need in Bucyrus.
Our City Website is in the process of being updated, but we now have community videos on our site thanks to generous sponsors. The videos are well done and serve as an important gateway of information about Bucyrus.
Schine’s Art Park will be opening in 2016. Schine’s Theatre was torn down last Summer, and we look forward to a nice addition to the downtown park system. The park would not have been possible without last minutes donations that put us over the top. Let me mention Ohio Mutual Insurance Group and their $50,000 donation and thank Jim Kennedy for all his he done for Bucyrus. We wish him a happy retirement.
Madam President, as elected officials, we have to be more than cheerleaders. We have to lead Bucyrus through good times and bad, meeting the needs of our residents, always with an eye to the future. I believe that we will be able to look back on 2015 as an important year that practical building blocks have been put in place that will improve the lives of our residents thus improving our community. I thank all of you for your support, and I would especially like to thank you, Madam President for your wisdom, advice and support. I want to thank you also, Mr. Ratliff for your solid legal leadership as well as fine sense of humor. Finally, thank you to Mr. Wagner, this city is in good hands with you as its manager and it’s a pleasure leading the city with you.
Nearly 200 years ago, settlers stopped on the banks of the Sandusky in this scenic place, ready to face life’s challenges--raising families, working hard, praying hard, joining together to live and love. Ladies and gentlemen, were not their goals and desires the same as we face today? Were they not giving their all to make their community a better place for all residents? Let us honor those brave men and women for their vision and perseverance and let us ask the Almighty for the continuance of the blessings and guidance that He has so faithfully shed on Bucyrus, its leaders and its residents for nearly two centuries.
Let’s all Believe in Bucyrus.
Thank you, Madam President.
Mayor Jeff Reser