Mayor Don Schonhardt titled his latest state-of-the-city address "Trimming the Sails," and he discussed some successes in 2010, future projects, and the challenges he expects in his third term.

Mayor Don Schonhardt titled his latest state-of-the-city address "Trimming the Sails," and he discussed some successes in 2010, future projects, and the challenges he expects in his third term.

On March 16, a nearly full City Hall heard Schonhardt set the tone for the address with a quote from William Arthur Ward: "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails."

"To say the past year has been a difficult year would be a gross understatement," Schonhardt said. "I hope this recovery teaches us that we must be ever vigilant in government and continue to control expenditures by resisting the opportunity to expand government, thus putting more pressure on taxpayers and businesses in our community."

The mayor said his philosophy of government is "less is better," and he has made do in part by "enacting a hiring freeze for all but the most critical positions."

Schonhardt said he is a fiscal conservative who is willing to "walk the walk" because "the citizens of this community rely on us to deliver quality basic governmental services at a price they can afford." He said he feels Hilliard citizens want balance - "a community with room for growth, but not uncontrolled growth."

Among the basic government services were "enough recreational offerings to provide a quality-of-life dimension." He described some programs the administration has been exploring, including:

A community garden park within Hilliard.

A dog park on land owned by Franklin County Metro Parks adjacent to the Heritage Rail Trail.

An extension of the Heritage Rail Trail south to Leap and Scioto Darby roads.

A community theater in Old Hilliard.

Converting a farm homestead into an artist-in-residence facility.

"We have been aggressive in attracting new economic development into Hilliard," Schonhardt said. He mentioned new business openings in 2010, including: Darby Glen Nursing and Rehabilitation on Tremont Club Drive (110 new jobs), Drayer Physical Therapy Institute on Cemetery Road (five new jobs), Floor & Dcor Outlets at Mill Run (40 new jobs), Goodwill Store on Main Street (16 new jobs); Jed's Fireballs & Brews on Park Mill Run Drive (49 new jobs).

Holding up two pennies, Schonhardt repeated a comment he made in 2010 - the city receives only two cents of every tax dollar paid by Hilliard residents on their property taxes.

Noting that this is the second time in three elections that he is running unopposed, Schonhardt said, "There isn't so much as a single waking hour where I haven't spent thinking about what is best for this community."

He closed the 20-minute address by saying, "I hope you will take time to get to know all the council candidates and vote for those who genuinely are willing to put their community first and their own self-interest a distant second."