The next two years will be full of changes for the city of Bexley if Mayor Ben Kessler has anything to do with it.

The next two years will be full of changes for the city of Bexley if Mayor Ben Kessler has anything to do with it.

During his first state-of-the-city address as mayor, Kessler detailed plans through 2013 and beyond and talked about his hopes that Bexley would continue to move forward while preserving its past.

"The state of the city is optimistic," said Kessler, whom council appointed earlier this year after the death of Mayor John Brennan.

Ninety percent of what the city does – basic services such as police protection and road maintenance – account for things Bexley does well, but the other 10 percent, the "fringes," as Kessler called them, will be the focus in 2012 and beyond.

Financial stability and sustainability are top among Kessler's goals for Bexley.

As part of last year's campaign to pass Issue 24, a 0.5-percentage-points increase in the city's income tax, officials promised at least $930,000 in cuts in 2012.

Thus far, Bexley has made $850,000 in cuts, and Kessler said he expects more to be realized from recent changes to the contract with the union representing city's police officers.

"I expect that we'll be able to overachieve that savings," Kessler said but cautioned that Bexley would "need every penny" to combat state cuts and the loss of the estate tax.

Kessler said he intends to present a balanced 2013 budget for City Council's approval in the fall, something that could occur for the first time since 1996.

He acknowledged it would be challenging but touted new ideas, including the recently formed alternative revenue task force, as cost-saving measures.

"We don't have a choice," Kessler said. "It's going to happen. We're going to do it."

Kessler said encouraging new commercial development on Livingston Avenue and broadening the city's tax base are keys to keeping Bexley a vibrant community.

Bexley will work with the city of Columbus to "redefine Livingston Avenue as part of Bexley," Kessler said.

Over the next two years, Kessler said, he wants to bring 100 new jobs to the city.

He acknowledged Capital University's role in the community as Bexley's largest employer and said the two entities must work together to encourage "responsible growth."

They also must partner to see a revitalized Main Street continue to thrive, he said.

Kessler called 2013 the "year of Main Street."

Next year, Bexley will begin to spend the first funds from a Main Street tax-increment-financing district. The money will be used to repair aging infrastructure, and plans also call for the installation of crosswalks and other pedestrian-friendly features at the intersections of Main Street and Drexel, Roosevelt and Cassady avenues.

"Capital University is the No. 1 stakeholder when it comes to Main Street redevelopment," Kessler said.

The city also hopes to better communicate with current and potential residents and businesses.

An improved city website,, was launched last week, and the first Bexley Blast, a weekly email newsletter, was sent to residents April 20. Residents may sign up to receive the newsletter by going to the city's website.

The new site includes RSS feeds and links to the city's social-media sites, including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. It also features mapping tools, including basic city maps, and an interactive feature on the service department's page that includes upcoming projects and their locations, dates and funding sources.

The city is moving forward with plans to contract with Granicus, a company offering such online services as video streaming, as well as archiving of agendas and other public records.

In addition to an online archive and the ability to live-stream meetings, Granicus also could be used to archive Bexley Mayor's Court proceedings.

The service requires $10,500 in initial startup costs, with the city paying a $700 monthly fee.

Granicus will be funded using money from the mayor's-court technology fund and the enterprise fund, which is money generated from traffic and parking citations.