Mayor Delivers State of the City Address
Mayor Michael Summers talks about issues ranging from economic development to housing.
Mayor Michael Summers delivered his first State of the City at the Beck Center for the Arts on Wednesday.
When he was appointed to the mayoral post in November — when then-mayor Ed FtizGerald was elected to become Cuyahoga County's first county executive — Summers said housing was at the top of his list of priorities.
He reiterated that goal on Wednesday, but also covered a wide-range of issues — including collaboration with other communities, economic development and keeping city government "lean."
Summers started the address by talking about how the city's demographic makeup has changed over the past 10 years, as evidenced by the newest US Census data.
Here are a few of the highlights:
Summers said that from 2008 to present, the city has right-sized the city government, trimming $3.7 million in costs. In addition, the city has improved its financial forecasting. The goal, he said, is to "create a capacity to more effectively influence investing."
The city will be beefing up its housing, and will be using technology as an asset. Summers also created — and is planning to distribute — a landlord manual to all of the city's landlords.
The idea behind improving the city's technology was broken down Wednesday into three categories: creating focus, identifying trends and improving coordination. To streamline the departments that makeup the city government, Summers said there will be adding geographic information systems technology to analyze patterns and trends in the city.
He said plans in the works to increase the street maintenance — something Summers said has been neglected for the past 20 years. For example, last year only Warren Road was paved. This year, about a dozen streets are getting new pavement.
To work with Lakewood's neighbors — and to keep down costs — Summers pointed out a few ways the city is already collaborating with other communities. Among them: SWAT team, fire investigation, narcotics investigation and refuse transfer.
Summers — as the director of public safety — talked briefly about the structure of public safety within the city. He has said he plans to continue former-mayor FitzGerald's emphasis on crime prevention.
Summers said that strategies equal results. The city's put plenty of emphasis on planning and economic development. Among the key components, he said, are leveraging and investing in revitalization projects; supporting local business; paying close attention to the quality of development.
Summers talked about a philosophy known as "kaizen," a Japanese word meaning "many small changes for the better." He said it's a process of introducing "continuous improvement concepts and cost reduction opportunities."