As you may know from recent news reports, Dave Berger has decided to again run for the position of Lima's mayor in 2017. This message shares a listing of the initiatives and accomplishments during this current term of office. Hope you find this informative.
Though it is early, the Lima mayoral race has begun, and Dave hopes to have your vote, support, and help.
Economic Development Success: The strength of the local economy was nationally highlighted in August 2016 via Area Development magazine's ranking of Lima as 33rd in the nation and BEST IN OHIO FOR 5 YEARS OF SUSTAINED GROWTH. The public-private partnership championed by Dave and others and led by the Allen Economic Development Group built job creation momentum and is now focused on workforce training to fill more than 1300 jobs available in the immediate Lima area.
National Legislative Advocacy for Relief from Unfunded Mandates: On April 7, 2016, Dave testified before the U.S. Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), co-chaired by Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe and California Senator Barbara Boxer. As the U.S. Conference of Mayor's Vice Chair for Water and member of the Mayors Water Council, Dave spotlighted the concerns the nation's mayors have regarding the unaffordable costs for poor and middle income households resulting from unfunded federal mandates. He recommended amendments to the Clean Water Act to help cities manage their environmental obligations. Several weeks later the EPW Committee by a vote of 19-1 passed legislation that incorporated most of the recommendations which Dave and the US Conference of Mayors had urged. And on September 15, 2016, the full Senate adopted the legislation by a vote of 95-3. It should be noted that Dave's Senate testimony followed on 2 prior testimonies given by Dave in 2012 and 2014 before the U.S. House of Representatives' Water and Infrastructure Subcommittee.
Wise Fiscal & Organizational Management: Without resorting to layoffs, Dave and his team successfully managed City finances through and following the Great Recession and increased its General Fund balance to over $8 million, 30% of its budget, a financial safety net nearly double the amount recommended by the Government Finance Officers Association. It should be noted that, despite the recession, the City actually increased services for ambulance transport, community policing, housing demolitions, and community and economic development.
1st in Nation for Integrated Planning: In November 2014, the City successfully completed a 10-year negotiation with USEPA on a consent decree for $150 million in sewer system improvements. Lima was the first city in the nation to complete these negotiations under the new Integrated Planning policy of the USEPA which Dave and the US Conference of Mayors had vigorously sought. Lima’s agreement is considered a model for other cities. Construction on the first $30 million in Early Action Projects is now underway, with the next $40 million phase anticipated to begin in 2018.
Community Oriented Policing: Dave’s active support of collaborations among law enforcement agencies encouraged a new spirit of community engagement and targeting of crime and violence. Since 2008, Lima saw a 30% reduction in violent crime. The re-establishment of Community Oriented Policing in 2016 is prompting continuing progress with COP substations being opened in 3 priority neighborhoods.
Lima Stadium Park: Through the generous engagement of the AR-HALE Family Foundation and efforts of former State Rep. Matt Huffman, more than $3 million in public and private resources were assembled for the creation of the Lima Stadium Park on the Bellefontaine Corridor. Construction is underway and should conclude in the late fall of 2016.
Saved JSMC: As co-chair of Task Force LIMA, Dave leads a highly effective collaborative advocacy effort to preserve and sustain the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center, the nation's only remaining battle tank factory. This decade –long work reversed the Army's decision to temporarily shutter the facility and led recently to decisions to reinvest $40 million at the JSMC. Further, employment at the JSMC is scheduled to significantly increase in late 2017 from 400 to perhaps as many as 1000 for production of the next generation Abrams tank.
Pivot to Workforce Development: Through the efforts of Task Force LIMA, Lima and Allen County secured more than $3 million from the DOD’s Office of Economic Adjustment for workforce improvement initiatives, economic development planning and manufacturing innovation, like the Makerfest and Hometown Advantage outreach.
Economic Development through Applied Research & Development (R&D): With support from the state and federal governments, the Ohio Energy and Advanced Manufacturing Center—which Dave helped to initiate--has established the nation's largest and most capable High Velocity Metal Forming lab in Lima. Work is underway with many other regional industries to integrate this technology into their manufacturing systems, making them more globally competitive.
Rhodes State College in Downtown Lima: In mid 2016, Dave announced an agreement with Rhodes State College to provide $3 million for their Center for Health Science Education & Innovation to be built in the SE quadrant of Town. The city is also working to secure needed real estate and provide engineering services to the project.
Historic Renovation of 1st National Bank Building: Via a uniquely designed RFP process in late 2015, the City secured a development proposal for the long abandoned and historic 12-story 1st National Bank building on Town Square. The total financing package for this $17 million project should be in place by early 2017.
New Dominion Gas Campus in Downtown Lima: Working with Dominion Gas over a 3 year period, the City has committed to a development proposal for the company to construct a new $11 million campus on the east side of the downtown. Construction should be underway in 2017.
Removal of Blight & Planning for Reuse: Over the past 5 years, the City competitively secured federal funds to be able to demolish over 600 dilapidated houses. Now in partnership with Ohio State University, the City is developing a plan for re-use of this abandoned real estate. In addition, the City has worked with Allen County for the creation of a county land bank through which additional funding is being sought for the removal of more dilapidated homes throughout the city and county.
Drinking Water System Expansion: Over the past 4 years, the City partnered with the Allen Water District and others for the construction of over 15 miles of water lines to serve the village of Cairo and its neighboring industries and the village of Westminster, the Allen County airport and Rudolph Foods.
Simmons Field Improvements: In partnership with the Lima Locos, the City invested $330,000 in the Simmons baseball field. More than $125,000 was raised in private funds for improvements to lighting, fencing, dugouts and seating areas, thereby anchoring collegiate league baseball in Lima. In addition to being a wonderful family recreation option (complete with fireworks!), it is estimated that the annual economic impact of Lima Locos baseball is more than $2.5 million per year.