Mayor Jerry Hruby hosted the “Conversation With the Mayor” event at the Brecksville Human Services Center on Tuesday.
In his 26th year at the helm of the city, Hruby covered a range of topics — from the federal government’s impact on Brecksville to economic development.
He’s expected to cover many of the same topics at his annual State of the City address this evening.
Here are a few of the highlights:
Hruby said that the city has taken a couple of financial blows since 2008 to present — to the tune of about $500,000. “We were ready for that,” he said. The city cut staff from about 170 to 127. He noted that Brecksville is on firm financial footing, pointing out Moody’s AAA bond rating — the highest rating possible.
Hruby said that the city has received about $2.5 million in grants in the past two years. “We’re going to continue to aggressively pursue grants — that’s what you need to do today.” Included in that grant money, he said, was an earmarked $1.9 earmark for work on storm-water improvements.
To work with Brecksville’s neighbors — and to keep down costs — Hruby pointed out a few ways the city is already collaborating with other communities. Among them: SWAT team, fire investigation and water rescue.
When the VA Medical Center pulled out in 2012, it created a financial void in the city — to the tune of about $1.5 million. However, Hruby pointed out that the city has been able to make up those losses “without ever putting a shovel in the ground” at the VA property. He said that the city has intentionally attracted businesses related to burgeoning health care industry.
Hruby said that the city is continuing discussions about sharing a regional dispatch center. He also said that Brecksville officials are considering a plan to share building department resources with the city of Independence in an effort to reduce costs.
“We’ve been fortunate over the years to maintain a downtown where the occupancy rate has always been above 85 or 90 percent,” he said. “Many communities are unable to say that.” He also stressed the importance of shopping locally, and keeping business in Brecksville.