2017 Annual Report

Administration

The administration department is comprised of the city manager and the human resources manager.  Under the city manager, the administration department provides professional leadership in the execution of City Council policies and the day-to-day management of the City.  The department is responsible for overseeing the coordination and direction of all City services on a daily basis, provides direct support to Montgomery City Council, and serves as a liaison between the City of Montgomery and other organizations.

The year 2017 was a transitional year for City administration with the departure of former City Manager Wayne Davis in August and the appointment of Brian Riblet as interim city manager in September of 2017. After a nationwide search City Council made the decision to appoint Brian Riblet as the city manager on January 8, 2018.

2016-2021 Strategic Plan

The City of Montgomery uses strategic planning to set long-term goals and these goals then guide the City.  Over the past 20 years, the City has undertaken strategic planning in five-year increments.  This strategic plan serves as a tool that is used extensively by City Council and the City workforce to track and manage progress toward the completion of the strategies associated with each goal.

In 2015, the City contracted with the University of Cincinnati’s Institute for Policy Research and Management Partners, Inc. to conduct a resident survey.  A total of 911 households responded.  City staff also prepared an environmental scan that provided trend data and projections about major factors that are likely to affect the City in the future. Both of these efforts helped City Council members and staff prepare for the strategic planning workshop.

In collaboration with the City’s strategic planning team, Management Partners, INC. prepared a workbook to assist participants with their preparation for the strategic planning workshop.  The two-day workshop, held in August of 2015, included the Mayor, City Council members, city manager department directors and staff from each department.  During the strategic planning workshop, City leaders and staff worked together to refine the vision and mission, and craft goals and strategies to guide the City to the year 2021.

The 2016-2021 strategic plan consists of the following five goals:

Goal 1: Montgomery delivers core services through innovation and partnerships consistent with our vision by assessing changes in customer demands, demographics and the environment.

Goal 2: Montgomery has a quality of life that makes it a premier community.

Goal 3: Montgomery attracts and retains businesses that contribute to the long-term stability of the City, while maintaining our small town historic feel.

Goal 4: Montgomery will retain and attract quality and diverse housing options while maintaining a small town feel and effectively managing the infrastructure impacts of redevelopment.

Goal 5: Montgomery’s fiscal plan supports City operations consistent with policy, while managing risk to provide services in the most efficient and effective manner.

Several implementation steps and tasks were addressed throughout the second year.

  • A communication strategy was developed to facilitate dialogue and educate the public about the City’s ability to impact all traffic issues including traffic flow, potential traffic improvements and any applicable Ohio Department of Transportation requirements,
  • Social media trends were researched and expanded to include the use of Facebook Live and Periscope to ensure the City effectively reaches and engages the local audience,
  • Terry’s Favorite Tree series was added to the Montgomery Bulletin to educate, market, and encourage tree planting and preservation on private property,
  • Work with Life Enriching Properties to complete approvals for the building expansion of the main campus and any proposed projects on their property on Montgomery Road south of the Safety Center.

Community Development focused heavily on housing in 2017. Staff completed the following tasks:

  • Developed a list of vacant or underutilized properties that if developed or redeveloped would enhance the community;
  • Utilized the Open City Hall module on the City website to solicit feedback about housing options from residents;
  • Partnered with the Ohio Builder’s Association to solicit feedback from local builders about market demand and impediments to meeting market demand in Montgomery; and
  • Developed an inventory of locations for potential higher density residential development/redevelopment within the City.

Development Projects

The City of Montgomery is fortunate to be the site of three significant development and redevelopment projects. When completed, these projects will contribute to the overall economic viability and quality of life for not just the City of Montgomery, but also for other surrounding communities in Hamilton County.  Much staff time from administration, finance, community development and public works departments was devoted to these projects in 2017.

Gateway Redevelopment Area (GRA) 

When completed, the Gateway Redevelopment Area (GRA) will transform the vacant property at the City’s southern corporate line into a welcoming “gateway” to the community.  An integrated Master Plan for the site will ensure that this mixed-use project is compatible in scale and design to the Historic District with an emphasis on a pedestrian-oriented lifestyle and parking needs.  City staff continued to work closely with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) regarding modifications to the interchange of Ronald Reagan Cross County Highway and Montgomery Road to ensure efficient traffic flow.

Twin Lakes Senior Living Community 

Twin Lakes will be expanding its main campus with the addition of 45 independent living apartments and a new club-like dining venue, which will be located adjacent to a new auditorium/community room.  A retail component along Montgomery Road will also be added as a second phase.  Plans also include construction of a memory support assisted living facility.  Staff worked diligently with Twin Lakes’ representatives to ensure that plans for this major expansion of facilities and services will be successful.

Vintage Club of Montgomery 

Much staff time was devoted to efforts to bring plans for the final phase of this mixed-use project to fruition.  The Village section of the Vintage Club will be an attractive mixed-use development with retail, office, restaurants, and condominiums, which will complement the existing homes and The Christ Hospital Health Network medical office building.  Staff time was also devoted to planning for public improvements, including parking, streetscape and pedestrian gathering spaces, which will complement this final phase of development at the Vintage Club.

Sister Cities Exchanges 

Council Member Mike Cappel and Community Information Services Director Matthew Vanderhorst visited the Village of Montgomery, New York, in support of the sister cities relationship created some years ago. Council Member Cappel gained much support as he set out on his bicycle to make the estimated 750-mile trip.  The Cities’ website tracked his progress on the “Where in the World is Mike Cappel” page, viewed here. Many original Montgomery, Ohio settlers came from the Village of Montgomery, New York.  Council Member Cappel and Matthew Vanderhorst participated in the General Montgomery Day Parade on September 9, 2017, and met with several Village officials to develop a schedule for future interactions to build the relationship.

Shared Service Opportunities   

The City continued to pursue shared services opportunities in the following areas:

  • The City continued its technology partnership with Sycamore Community Schools to share a telephone system which is managed by Sycamore Community Schools for the City of Montgomery.
  • The City continued to partner with the City of Blue Ash for street maintenance and information sharing on winter weather operations.
  • The public works department continues maintenance of the I-275/Montgomery Road intersection. This effort was accomplished in partnership with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), Sycamore Township, and Symmes Township to maintain the I-275 overpass area on Montgomery Road from Weller Road to Vintage Club Boulevard to include street sweeping, cleaning of medians and mowing of identified areas around the overpass.

The City’s shared services pursuits demonstrate commitment to regional leadership and stewardship for all of the taxpayers in the region and the state.

Staff: Local, Regional and National Organizational Leadership Roles

In 2017, the City continued its role in leading in regional, state and national organizations.  To this end, several City staff members contributed and continue to offer their resources, over and above their primary job responsibilities, to a variety of professional organizations.  The following is only a partial listing of the groups to which City staff contributed:

  • Brian Riblet, public works director, is the first vice-president of the Public Works Officers Association of Southwest Ohio (PWOSO) and is a member of the American Public Works Association;
  • John Crowell, police chief, is the assistant commander of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team in Hamilton County;
  • Greg Vonden Benken, assistant police chief, is a Hamilton County Police Association Executive Board Member, is a member of the Warren County Police Academy Advisory Panel, is a member of the  Sycamore Safe & Secure Schools and the Sycamore Threat Assessment Team;
  • Mike Davenport, police sergeant, Hamilton County Police Association Executive Board Member;
  • Matthew Vanderhorst, community and information services director, serves in a Alliance for Innovation Advancing New Leader working group;
  • Paul Wright, fire chief, is the chairman of the Ohio Fire and Emergency Services Foundation, and serves on the Cincinnati State College Emergency Medical Services Advisory Board, the Hamilton County BioWatch Committee, the State of Ohio Medical Transportation Committee and the Ohio Fire Chiefs’ Association Legislative Committee.
  • Tracy Roblero, community development director, and Melissa Hays, zoning and code compliance officer, are members of the American Planners Association.
  • Ben Shapiro, assistant fire chief, is the commander for the Hamilton County Fire Investigation Unit, a member of the Greater Cincinnati Regional Arson and Fire Investigators Seminar Committee and a member of Sycamore Safe and Secure Schools.
  • Paul Payne, Sycamore High School resource officer, is the past president of the Ohio School Resource Officers Association;
  • Katie Smiddy, finance director, is a member of both the national and state of Ohio Government Finance Officers and Public Treasurers Associations. She is a member of the Southwest Ohio Municipal Finance Officers and the Greater Cincinnati Government Finance Officers Associations.  Katie has also been a member of the Southwest Ohio Tax Administrators Association and the Ohio Municipal League Tax Committee.
  • Cindy Abner, finance specialist is a member of the Southwestern Ohio Tax Administrators Association.
  • Connie Gaylor, administrative coordinator, completed her term as the President of the Greater Cincinnati Chapter of the American Society of Public Administrators and is a member of the Ohio Municipal Clerks Association;
  • Ja’net Crawford, mayor’s court clerk, is the president of the State of Ohio Mayor’s Court Clerk Association, the president of the Southwest Ohio Mayor’s Court Clerk Association and a member of the Ohio Municipal Court Clerk Association.
  • Gary Heitkamp, assistant public works director, is a member of the Association of State Floodplain Managers and the American Public Works Association.
  • Julie Machon, recreation coordinator, and Sarah Fink, recreation specialist, are members of the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association, the National Recreation and Parks Association and the International Festival and Events Association.
  • Julie Prickett, human resources manager, is a member of the Greater Cincinnati Human Resources Association (GCHRA), the Ohio Public Employer Labor Relations Association (OHPELRA), and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
  • Faith Lynch, communications and engagement coordinator, is a member of the Public Relations Society of America-Cincinnati Chapter and served on its programming committee.

Grants 

Staff continually seeks out grant funding sources from federal, state and local levels that aid the City in completing its many capital improvement and equipment replacement programs.

Achievements

The City of Montgomery was formally recognized for a number of achievements in 2017.

  • The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) awarded the City the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2016. This is a great honor for the City of Montgomery, as it is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting. The year 2017 represents the 22nd consecutive year the City has received this award.
  • The Miami Valley Risk Management Association (MVRMA) completed the 2015/2016 Safety Performance Evaluation Checklist (SPEC) assessment of the City of Montgomery’s safety program and loss control measures resulting in a 100 percent compliance rating with the safety compliance checklist.
  • The City has been selected as one of the Business Courier’s 2017 Healthiest Employers of Greater Cincinnati.
  • The City was honored with an Outstanding Achievement in Local Government Innovation Award for the Public Works Department’s recent Stormwater Improvement Project, including a 5,000-gallon rain harvesting system, at the Transforming Local Government Conference in Tulsa, OK.
  • The American Public Works Association (APWA) awarded the City with an Excellence in Snow and Ice Control Award.
  • The Southwest Ohio Chapter of APWA also presented the City with an award for Excellence in Snow and Ice Control Award.
  • The City was awarded the Silver Healthy Worksite Award under the small business category for the Healthy Business Council Organization.
  • The Miami Valley Risk Management Association (MVRMA) has recognized the police department for being in 100 percent compliance with the recommended Law Enforcement Best Practices.
  • The City was recently named fifth among the top 50 communities in Cincy Magazine’s 11th annual Rating of the Burbs. Top awards went to Madeira, Union Township (Warren County), Terrace Park and Springboro.

Public Works Assistant Director Gary Heitkamp (left) receives the Outstanding Achievement in Local Government Innovation Award on behalf of the City of Montgomery from Shannon Flanagan-Watson, assistant county manager for Arlington County, VA, and board vice-chair of the Alliance for Innovation, at the 2017 Transforming Local Government Conference, held in Tulsa, OK, April 19 – 21, 2017.

Clearly, 2017 continued the City’s trend of outstanding value for the community it serves.  The City is positioned to carry forward its tradition of maintaining financial stability, fostering community engagement, and seeking innovation in outstanding customer service delivery – all with an eye on delivering value to its customers who are the citizens, businesses, visitors and institutions which make up our community.