Every year around this time, we have the opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months and look forward to the opportunities that accompany a fresh start on Jan. 1. Whether we remember 2018 with fondness or frustration, we can all agree that this was a year of many changes. These changes stemmed from a lot of dialogue, debate and, in some cases, dissension.
Some of the matters we discussed included loaning $1.4 million for the Sherwood Shopping Center redevelopment; approving major infrastructure projects such as the McKaig/Dorset Road intersection and Riverside Drive; changing downtown traffic and parking patterns; and even considering a grant application to fund a pedestrian bridge over the Great Miami River.
Even more noteworthy was the reinvention of Troy’s brand, story, tag line and 30-year-old logo, as well as the installation of new way-finding signage downtown thanks to a grant from The Troy Foundation. Re-positioning Troy’s brand was an effort led by Mayor Beamish and championed by the Activate Troy Partnership, a group of community organizations interested in furthering reinvestment in the downtown riverfront corridor.
Each and every year, city council has weighed in on many city issues by voting on legislation at its regular council meetings. However, what puzzles some in our community is how many issues have been decided administratively by Mayor Beamish. With so many changes in 2018, the biggest question people asked was:
Who makes the decisions in the city of Troy? The short answer is that it depends on the issue.
Troy is a statutory city, which makes our government very different than many of our neighboring Miami Valley communities. Most southern Ohio area cities of our size are known as charter cities. They have their own unique and distinct constitution, that is passed by that city’s voters, and that defines how they operate. In most cases, a charter means they have a city manager or administrator who reports directly to a five- or seven-member city council. There is a mayor but he or she usually runs council meetings and has no more or less power than any other council member. Charter community city councils typically make most if not all policy decisions by voting on legislation.
Troy, on the other hand, is a statutory city and our duties are defined by the Ohio Revised Code. The mayor is the chief executive officer and he or she makes many more decisions than a charter city mayor or council. A charter generally provides for fewer elected positions, such as appointed law and finance directors rather than Troy’s directly elected law director, auditor and council president. Under a statutory form, state law dictates when city council must weigh in on projects, expenditures, contracts, or commitments. Of course, city council’s most important decision is passing our annual budget (over $48.6 million in 2019), which gives the mayor the funds to run the city and implement the projects, programs, and initiatives as he or she sees fit.
As director of Public Service and Safety, I work directly for Mayor Beamish. No recommendation goes to city council unless the mayor approves it. Mayor Beamish and I work very closely with our staff as a team to discuss all major expenses before we spend funds on new items, projects, programs, or initiatives.
We’ve operated as a statutory city since 1814 when we were first incorporated. Our form is truly unique, but is sometimes confusing to our citizens. While the statutory form is not as common in this region, there are a few other communities that operate the way we do. Even though our form of government may act a little different, we’ve thrived as a community in our economic development successes, innovative projects, programs, and unique initiatives that keep us a very desirable place to live, work and visit — and the envy of many other Miami Valley communities.
In the past several years, we have expanded the ways we communicate with our residents. We live stream and record all of our public meetings through our www.troyohio.gov website. We manage Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts and monitor and post to other social media sites, such as NextDoor.com. We will continue to explore new ways to connect with you in 2019, including with Mayor Beamish’s approval using these pages to answer questions, explain projects, and address any concerns that our residents may have. If you have suggested topics, please forward them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.