If you are a frequent reader of my columns, you will no doubt be quick to pick up on a theme that will be running through most of our efforts and my musings in the coming year -- that of thwarting the fiscal ghost of our future if steps aren't taken now to reset our path.
The Citizen Financial Review Task Force is already off and running with its charge of reviewing all things financial to develop a set of viable options that could help us address the challenges ahead. While their work is in progress, we are continuing to think of new ways to streamline services across the organization, and every little bit can help.
One of our first such efforts this year comes from the Finance & Administrative Services Department, relative to your annual stormwater and solid waste utility payments.
In the past, the city has mailed the annual utility bill to all UA households in early February. This year, we are challenging residents to "Beat the Bill" by remitting your payment online before Friday, Feb. 14, thereby beating getting a bill in the mail.
The more households that participate, the better, since it will save us the associated costs for printing and mailing.
For those of you who have yet to try paying your bill online, it's actually quite simple. To "Beat the Bill" and pay your annual utility bill online, visit www.uaoh.net and click on "Online Payments."
From there, all you need is to find/input your address to get your account number, and to have your debit or credit card handy (we accept Visa, MasterCard and Discover).
If you weren't able to get a jump-start on paying your bill, you can expect to receive a hard copy invoice a few days after Feb. 14, per our usual billing process.
As a reminder, the city's annual utility bill covers the stormwater utility fee, solid waste service fee and, in some cases, a neighborhood lighting utility fee.
The $45 stormwater utility fee helps to defray the costs of our city's deteriorating storm drainage system and the $40 solid waste service fee goes to cover the baseline costs of providing refuse, recycling and yard waste collection services.
If you have questions about these fees or your bill, call Finance & Administrative Services at 614-583-5280 or visit the Public Services/UA Utilities section of the city's website at www.uaoh.net. Thanks in advance to those of you who take us up on the challenge to Beat the Bill!
State of the City
I'm looking forward to this year's State of the City Address, scheduled for next Monday, Jan. 27. Our Community Fair begins the evening at 5 p.m., with a chance to meet with and learn about the work of various city departments, civic groups, the schools, Upper Arlington Chamber of Commerce and more -- and of course we like to entice guests with a delicious spread of hors d'oeuvres.
The UA High School Orchestra will perform for us at the beginning of the presentation, which begins at 6:30 p.m., and we hope you will come prepared to help them in their fundraising efforts for an upcoming trip to China.
For our State of the City Address, we plan to celebrate the best of UA, touch on highlights from our 2013 community survey, recognize the challenges ahead and share details of how we are working to address them.
Helping me with this year's address are council President Don Leach, Vice President Debbie Johnson and schools Superintendent Paul Imhoff. In true State of the City tradition, we end the evening as council members announce our 2013 Community Award winners.
I do hope you can join us. Visit www.uaoh.net for full details.
As a service to all who live, work and play in UA, we maintain a community event calendar on our website. In addition to listing our seasonal Parks & Recreation events and Concourse Gallery exhibit details, the calendar lists happenings hosted by the UA Civic Association, the UA Chamber of Commerce, library and schools, and we certainly welcome other noteworthy events.
Now is the time to submit event listings for 2014 to be included on our calendar. The easiest way to do this is to visit www.uaoh.net and then click on the "Living in UA/Special Events" section. There you will find an online submission form. There are some basic requirements for your event or activity to qualify for inclusion, but it's all spelled out for you on the submission form.
If you have questions, please contact Beth Sharb in my office at 614-583-5027 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Theodore J. Staton is Upper Arlington's city manager.