2017 will be an important year in Hudson. Certain years stand out in the progress of a City, and next year will be one of those years. Decisions we make next year will shape the way our City will look for many years. As the issues present themselves, we will have many topics to discuss, there will opportunities for public meetings, campaigns will be run, and some of us may choose to take a more active role in City Government. We will see some projects starting to take shape, and endure more construction and some changes in our routines and holiday traditions.
A year from now, the City and School facilities at the corner of Owen Brown and Prospect will hopefully be vacated to new locations on Hudson Drive, setting the stage for demolition and later construction of First & Main Phase 2. We will be discussing what that development may look like in the course of meetings during 2017.
2017 will also see the completion of the Main Street construction project, with the finishing touches going in to the southern portion constructed this year, and work moving to the section from Clinton St. north to Owen Brown in the spring. What you see there now is just the portion wrapped up for the season. Expect the finished project by the summer. At the same time, work will begin on improvements to the Prospect St. intersection. Stay tuned for potential impacts to the Memorial Day Parade.
We already know that the Taste of Hudson is returning in 2017 in a slightly different form. Hopefully all the enjoyable elements remain, while minimizing the impacts on residents and businesses.
The City will consider part of the former Youth Development Center property for a service facility next year, and perhaps proposals for the remaining developable portion will come forward. Business development elsewhere in Hudson looks promising; with announcements expected soon.
The question of emergency dispatch services may be resolved in 2017. The State of Ohio has put increased demands on personnel and equipment that will require some hard decisions at the local level. Ohio is pushing municipalities to consolidate dispatch services, and their
The election calendar will be busy in 2017, with several ballot issues and many local offices up for vote.
The Hudson City Schools have already announced a 1.5 mill PIF levy for the May ballot. There is also the possibility that the Schools Master Facilities Plan may require a levy later in the year. The Master Facilities Plan discussion includes determining the future for the current Middle School, which should be another discussion topic for 2017. While the City is ready to assist in the discussion and planning for future uses, it bears repeating that the City of Hudson has no interest in using the building for current City operations.
The City Council put off a vote on tax increase of its own for the May ballot. It still has a chance of reappearing for the May or November ballots if Council votes in favor. The issue would remove a portion of the income tax credit that Hudson residents receive if they work outside of Hudson. Currently, if a resident pays at least a 2% local tax through their employer to their work city, no tax is owed Hudson. The proposal, which a Council vote would put on the ballot for voter approval, would reduce that credit, increasing the local taxes paid and providing the difference to Hudson.
If City Council approves that issue for a vote, Hudson voters could be facing both a School tax issue and a City tax issue on the same ballot in 2017.
The majority of both City Council and School Board are up for election in 2017. Voters will be asked to elect 3 out of 5 School Board members; 4 out of 7 City Council seats also up in November. What will City Council and School Board look like in 2018? That depends on who steps up to run, and what the voters decide.
Happy New Year! Should be an interesting one in Hudson!