Tri-Village News

Panzera embraces role as council's 'quarterback'


When he decided last year to run for a fourth full term on Grandview Heights City Council, Anthony Panzera was not expecting to be elected as council president for a second time.

"I don't think any of us knew (previous council president) Steve Reynolds was not going to run again until the filing deadline last August," Panzera said. "Certainly, if he had run again, he would have continued as council president."

Once Reynolds announced he would not run again, Panzera said he made it known that he would be interested in serving another term as council president.

He previously served as president in 2004-05.

"I'm thrilled and honored to be put in this role again," Panzera said.

His 12 years on council as well as his past term as president likely helped give his colleagues the confidence to choose him as council's leader earlier this month, he said.

While the council president is a leader, "he's also in the trenches" with the entire council, Panzera said.

"I've described the role as being like a quarterback," he said. "You're a leader, but you're also just part of the team. You rely on your line to give protection, the backs to gain yards and the receivers to make the big plays."

Panzera said he wants to build on the close working relationship council members have formed among themselves and with the administration.

"I think we'll continue to proceed as we have in the past," he said.

One of the main tasks for council this year will be to review and revise the city's zoning code, Panzera said.

"It's pretty dry work, perhaps not much in terms of being 'newsy' for our residents," he said, "but we will be working intensively on it. It's something that's been needed for a long time."

Council also will focus on Grandview Yard development this year.

"We will be working to maintain and continue the progress that's been made in that project," Panzera said.

The city ended 2013 on a high note, with Standard & Poor's boosting Grandview's credit rating to its highest category.

Much of the credit for that achievement is due to residents, who have supported the city's efforts, including passing a replacement property-tax levy in 2012 and an income-tax increase in 2010.

The property-tax measure included setting aside $250,000 each year for street improvement projects, and the income-tax measure included a provision, which Panzera pushed for, that sets aside 5 percent of income-tax revenue for capital-improvement projects.

Those measures, along with revenue from the Hyatt Place hotel tax, have allowed the city to proceed with long-delayed improvements to Pierce Field and Wyman Woods parks and to have a more-active street-improvement program, Panzera said.

"In the past, we had a system of getting our operating and general fund expenditures budgeted and then, if there was any money left over, we could look at doing some capital projects," he said. "We needed to change the way we were doing things.

"We're in a position now to be able to look at other projects, including improvements to the municipal pool, that we will be able to do over the next five to 10 years," he said.