The swearing in of Mark Johns as Heath's new mayor is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13, at Heath City Hall, 1287 Hebron Road.

The swearing in of Mark Johns as Heath's new mayor is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13, at Heath City Hall, 1287 Hebron Road.

Although Johns doesn't officially take office until Jan. 2, he has already been working with outgoing mayor Richard Waugh for the past couple of weeks.

"The mayor and I have been working together on the transition," Johns told ThisWeek. "We're working very well together. We're still working on the budget to see where the numbers are. A budget that's as balanced as can be is a priority."

Johns, a first-time candidate, defeated Waugh 1,819-1,690 on Nov. 3, according to unofficial results from the Licking County Board of Elections.

During his campaign, he touted economic development in the form of increased jobs as the key to renewed stability and strength in Heath.

"Through new and creative ways, my primary goal will be to help attract the jobs of the 21st century to Heath," he said.

Johns hopes to establish an economic development fund to assist companies looking to locate in Heath, or to help existing Heath businesses expand, by providing low-interest financing. He has proposed that the city's financial, business and community leaders partner to form a board that would review loan applications submitted by interested businesses.

He would also like to see the creation of a Heath Business Association that would foster proactive communication between government and businesses.

Both these groups would better understand the issues and problems facing the other and they could share ideas on how they can be addressed, he said.

Another of Johns' goals is to create a way for residents to watch council meetings, either online or through the local cable channel.

Johns, 38, has worked the past nine years as senior project manager for Fiserv, a software company.

In addition to Johns, Brian Johnson (Ward 1) and Doug Heffley (Ward 3) will join city council in January. Ward 2 councilman Richard Morrow ran unopposed in the Nov. 3 election.