Johnstown Independent

Johnstown council: Top priority is economic development

12-member committee to focus on jobs, expanded tax base, career opportunities

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Johnstown officials are moving forward with plans to focus on development and other community priorities.

During their Sept. 17 meeting, council members approved two resolutions to initiate priorities for the village. One was to adopt a village guiding-principals policy; the other was to act on the first of those priorities -- economic development.

The guiding principals state the village will use fiscally sound policies, efficient administration, progressive and ethical leadership and effective communications to improve the village's quality of life.

"Our focus will be on economic development, conscientious development and redevelopment, public safety, community services and regional cooperation," the policy states.

Village Manager Jim Lenner said Sept. 17 that adopting such a resolution establishes a starting point from which village officials could work.

The second resolution approved by the council formed an economic-development policy committee, which will be charged with drafting an economic-development policy for the village.

The 12 members of that committee include Mayor Sean Staneart, two other council members and Lenner.

Council members Carol Vandeest and Tom Fagan volunteered to serve. Fagan, who was appointed to council in June, said he is stepping down from that post at the end of the year. However, he said, he still is interested in helping out in the community.

The remaining members are Council Clerk Teresa Monroe, the village finance director and law director, the Grow Licking County economic development director, a Monroe Township trustee, a local businessperson, a local Realtor and the superintendent of the Johnstown-Monroe Local School District.

Any committee member who wasn't specifically named would be appointed by Staneart, Fagan and Vandeest.

Council members said once the committee is in place, it would set its own meeting schedule and draft a recommendation to be adopted by the full council. No time schedule was set.

The guiding principles were formed during several meetings over the past several months. The idea is to act on 10 policy priorities individually. The other nine are finance and budgeting, public safety, planning and zoning, public works and utilities, housing and community development, sustainable community, transportation, leisure and cultural services, and technology.

Regarding economic development, village leaders want to focus on three goals: job growth in excess of population growth, increase in the share of the tax base coming from nonresidential growth and increase in career opportunities by attracting high-skilled jobs in expanding industries.

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