Missed Opportunities come home to roost

Missed Opportunities come home to roost

Village Residents that follow the political landscape in Mariemont are dismayed that Mariemont was ranked 28th among the suburbs in Greater Cincinnati by Cincy Magazine. Let’s try to sort out why Cincy Magazine might make this assessment. It certainly does not relate to our school system or safety services. Indeed, Mariemont is a safe, walk able community with many amenities that make it an outstanding place in which to live and raise a family.

Perhaps, our high comfort level with the way things are may breed complacency that fosters an acceptance of the status quo. In business school parlance, the residents of Mariemont might be “dumb, fat and happy” so why change or become circumspect as to why Cincy Magazine does not rate us amongst the very best suburbs? Maybe it may relate to the management of Village finances and strategic planning during recent years.

In 2014, the Village posted a General Fund budgetary loss for the first time in many years of $28,652. Also, the Permanent Improvement Fund or Capital Fund notably decreased by $183,272.  Taken by themselves, these losses are fairly modest but they do suggest a downward trend in Village finances.

The financial position of the Village has been and will be impacted by the following factors.

  1. The loss of Ohio State estate taxes and subsidy that historically produced about $250,000 in annual revenues. Indeed, Governor Kasich has balanced the Ohio State budget by cutting back on the funds that the local communities receive from the State.
  2. The missed opportunity to form a JEDZ with Columbia Township which probably would have produced over $200,000 in unfettered annual revenues. This directly led to the formation of a JEDZ between Columbia Township and Fairfax.
  3. The possible winding down of Kellogg operations in the business district that would put $600,000 in revenues at risk (about 18 percent of the total budget).
  4. The continued maintenance of a fully-equipped independent Police, Fire and EMS service without sharing these services with surrounding communities.

With these threats to Village income, what is left to cut to balance the budget? At this time, it appears that the Village is poorly positioned to meet the coming financial crunch without higher taxes.

In retrospect, when the Village was flush with revenues during the past ten years, many strategic initiatives could have been undertaken to enhance the standing of the Village amongst the suburbs in Hamilton County. These might have included:

  1. Give financial support and incentives to rejuvenate the Historic District
  2. Plan and build a parking garage to alleviate the shortage of parking
  3. Renovate the Municipal Building
  4. Develop the South 80 into a recreational destination
  5. Hire a Village Administrator
  6. Work with surrounding communities to save money by sharing services
  7. Put in place a plan for a community center
  8. Use creative financing to foster business development

When I first heard that Mariemont was ranked 28th among the suburbs in Hamilton County, I was incredulous. However, this ranking does point to the fact that the status quo may not be good enough.


  1. The #28 ranking by Cincy magazine isn’t worth worrying about. A few years ago, I believe they ranked Mariemont in the top 10 or so. The truth is that there are many great suburbs in our area. Madeira, for instance, seems to be hitting on all cylinders. Mariemont should take notes.

    As far as the general well-being of Mariemont goes, I’m waiting for the Eastern Corridor saga to finally end in 2015. If it does not end, then Mariemont’s unique character is threatened.

  2. The only politician in our area who’s still pushing for the Eastern Corridor debacle is democrat county commissioner Todd Portune. He reuses to listen to the will of the people, for reasons unknown. Does anybody know why Portune has never wavered in his support of this terrible project?

    If you want this wasteful project stopped, contact Todd Portune immediately and let him know the consequences of his quixotic campaign to destroy our way of life in Mariemont, Fairfax, and Newtown. As it stands, Portune should be voted out of office for gross incompetence and for his ham-fisted, “I know better than you, peons” Stalinist approach to governing.

    Fortunately, our state representative Tom Brinkman [R] has been pushing back against the Eastern Corridor debacle. If the state of Ohio does not allocate hundreds of millions of wasted tax dollars for this ill-conceived project by the end of 2015, then the Eastern Corridor saga will finally be over – and it will never be built. The South 80 Park and Gardens will survive – at least for another day.

    Just remember when you go to the polls next time who was in favor of the idiotic Eastern Corridor project – Todd Portune [D] – and who opposed it – Tom Brinkman [R]. Vote accordingly.

Leave a Reply