Patterson reviews first year as mayor at public forum

ABBEY MARSHALL Athens Mayor Steve Patterson address citizens at a public forum Tuesday, Jan 24.

Athens Mayor Steve Patterson touted some of his major accomplishments from his first year in office Tuesday — including city improvements, as well as partnerships with business leaders and Ohio University.

Patterson fielded questions and concerns from citizens at a public forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Athens County, which took place from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Athens Community Center.

“We hold public meetings from time to time to give voters an opportunity to learn about issues and promote transparency in government,” Mary Costello, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Athens County, said.

The meeting is the second annual public forum Patterson has held regarding the new administration.

“I want to thank everyone here,” Patterson said. “This is important. … talking about what we can expect to see in 2017 and beyond.”

Patterson began the forum with a presentation to the public about his achievements in office so far, highlighting initiatives such as increased recycling and accessibility.

Achievements included in the presentation were securing a bond for a new community pool, rolling out 64-gallon recycling bins for single-family residents, and receiving a Walmart Grant in conjunction with American Red Cross, allowing the Fire Department to install 100 smoke detectors and 25 carbon monoxide detectors, and distribute 80 fire extinguishers to the public.

Patterson represented Athens in Washington at the Congressional City Conference sitting down with Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-OH, to discuss the city’s needs.

“The role of the mayor is you are the chief promoter of your own environment,” he said. “I’ve been a chief proponent, going to the National League of Cities to represent Athens.”

In the last year, income tax increased 0.2 percent.

“I’m thankful for the city for this,” Patterson said. “We desperately needed this. Public works has done an amazing job at getting things done with their resources. … In time, it’s going to be one of the things where we’re going to be able to stretch that.”

Following Patterson’s presentation, a panel of city officials spoke briefly about their achievements and upcoming plans in 2017. The panel included Athens Police Department Chief Tom Pyle, Fire Department Chief Robert Rymer and others.

Patterson and city officials then responded to questions from Athens citizens. Approximately 50 people were in attendance. Citizens asked questions regarding development in The Ridges and new sidewalks, as well as the effects Athens City Schools restructuring may have on the city, among other things.

“I wanted to specifically ask the mayor his opinion of the proposed changes throughout the Athens City School District,” Kurt Montle, an Athens resident, said. “(The meeting provided) a good opportunity for interaction between the community and the decision makers of the City of Athens.”

@AbbeyMarshall

am877915@ohio.edu

Originally published for The Post on Jan. 24, 2016.

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