Oakwood Mayor Bill Duncan delivered the annual State of the City address during this week’s council meeting, highlighting some of the projects that he feels have moved the city forward.
The mayor started his address with what has been a popular theme for him, as he proclaimed that Oakwood continues to be “the premier residential community in the Dayton and Miami Valley region.”
“We have this distinction because of our beautiful neighborhoods, our excellent public schools and library, unmatched city services, including public safety, public works recreation and leisure,” he said. “But most of all, because of our citizens.”
Every year in March, Oakwood hosts a new resident breakfast event. Duncan said new residents are invited to enjoy a breakfast served by Oakwood City Council and city staff, adding that it creates a community ambiance.
“We have outstanding staff,” said Duncan, who is beginning his 17th year on council and 11th as mayor.
He added that the community showed great togetherness as hundreds of residents participated in May in the 18th Annual Breast Cancer 5K CARE Walk.
CARE Walk has raised more than $250,000 for breast cancer awareness and services since its beginning in 2001, and 100 percent of the proceeds help the under-served and uninsured in the Miami Valley.
Duncan said the city has focused on several charitable and community events, including the 20th annual Giving Strings Concert, its second Citizens Police Academy in 2019, and the 6th annual Out of the Darkness Walk to Prevent Suicide.
“Suicide is at an 18-year high in Ohio among youth aged 8 to 19,” Duncan said.
He shared the story of how in December Capt. Mike Jones and Det. Kasey Ballinger worked with a student at Oakwood Junior High School to help prevent a suicide from a student in another part of Ohio.
“Their extraordinary, above and beyond efforts resulted in the saving of this young life,” Duncan said.
In 2019, Oakwood approved its first balanced budget in the five years since Ohio’s estate tax was eliminated.
“We reduced expenses each year between 2009 and 2014. We had modest increases in spending the last few years, but those included major capital expenditures to redesign Shroyer Road to replace our 65-year-old tennis courts at the Oakwood Community Center and to pay off our Ohio Police and Fire Pension liability,” Duncan said. “Our revenue exceeded our expenses in 2019, and we believe this will also be the case in 2020.”
Oakwood now offers a 90% credit for city taxes paid to other jurisdictions.
“This important action addressed our continuing loss of revenue when surrounding cities raised their tax rates,” Duncan said. “It ensures all Oakwood residents with taxable income pay at least one quarter of one percent to Oakwood.”
Duncan said he wanted to salute the officers in the safety department involved with the investigation related to the conviction of Laith W. Alebbini. The 28-year-old was convicted in June in the first terrorism-related trial in the Southern District of Ohio and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Alebbini had been indicted for conspiracy and knowingly attempting “to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization in the form of personnel to work under ISIS’s direction and control.”
Duncan said that city staff has been honored for its work around the community and for its help in the region following the devastating Memorial Day tornadoes.
The Oakwood School District was recognized by the mayor for being the only local school district to receive an overall “A” on the 2018-19 state report card.
Duncan concluded his speech by stating that city officials operate in a collegial, transparent style, with no hidden agendas.
“Our representatives in Washington, D.C., should follow our example,” he said.
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