By DENISE GRANT
Findlay Mayor Christina Muryn delivered her second State of the City address on Thursday, and with nearly a year at the helm, this year’s speech was decidedly more her own.
Last year, Muryn had held the office for less than two months after being appointed as mayor, but still ventured the address. This year, a now duly-elected and more experienced mayor went off script. The speech, presented at the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts, still included much of the same facts and figures expected with the address, but Muryn also used it to draw attention to initiatives she favors as mayor.
In 2020, Muryn said she wants to draw more attention to Findlay’s flood mitigation efforts and community strategic planning. She also wants to improve the city’s “branding,” so it becomes better know for its accomplishments, and less known for flooding.
This year, Muryn said she plans to work closely with Findlay’s Center for Civic Engagement on the issues of housing, workforce, health, mental health and substance use, food security, literacy and transportation.
The center was formed as a partnership with the United Way of Hancock County, the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation and the University of Findlay in 2017.
Improving census participation is also top on the mayor’s list for this year, she said.
An accurate count will help ensure that Findlay is properly represented in government on the state and national level, but also locally, she said. She said government funding for public services is also closely tied to the census count.
The online self-response will be available to residents in March 2020, and April 1 has been declared Census Day when the big push is in place for completion of the questionnaires. The door-to-door canvass of non-responsive residents will begin in May.
Among its purposes, the census is used to determine the number of House of Representatives districts in each state. A decline in population may result in fewer representative seats, while an increase may result in more seats.
For local governments, it could mean less in federal funds funneled to the state and eventually to the counties. For Ohio, the calculation is $1,814 annually per person not counted in the census. The state’s 2010 population was more than 11.5 million residents.
With a county population of about 75,000, and a Findlay population of about 42,000, the local impact could be significant, too.
Muryn also shared the spotlight this year at her State of the City address, choosing the platform to award the city’s John Edward Seman Award for Employee Excellence.
The annual award recognizes a city employee whose service, dedication, integrity and commitment to the city and community are exemplary. The award is named after Assistant City Engineer John Seman, who died in 2014. His distinguished character and passion for excellence established a high standard for others to follow. Recipients are nominated by their co-workers.
Nearly 100 people attended Thursday’s address, many of them city employees and elected officials.
This year’s award went to Tom Moses, an employee of Findlay’s Water Pollution Control Center. Moses has been an employee of the city for 25 years.
Tammy Kirkpatrick, water and sewer billing supervisor, was also nominated for this year’s award and was recognized by Muryn during the address. Kirkpatrick was hired by the city in 2017 as a billing supervisor.