Office of the Mayor

 Ben Kessler, Mayor of the City of Bexley

The Mayor serves as the chief executive officer, safety director, and director of development for the City of Bexley.  As well as overseeing day-to-day operations at the city and supervising city personnel, the Mayor is also tasked by the City's charter with creating and implementing the City's strategic plan.

Monday
Aug122013

Ask The Mayor: Bellwood Resurfacing?

In "Ask The Mayor" posts, I'll be posting redacted questions or comments from residents and my answers to them, in case the information is helpful to other residents wondering the same thing!

"Dear Mayor,

I am a resident of Bexley and I have been living in Bexley on Bellwood Avenue for 28 years. It has been at least 10 years since the City has redone the asphalt on Bellwood Avenue. When I called the City they told me that Bellwood Avenue is not a busy street and that is the reason they have not done it. I would disagree with this statement because Bellwood is off of a primary street, Cassady Avenue, and there are apartments to the east of Bellwood and Standwood Ave that attract a large amount of traffic. It is disappointing to see that the "richer" parts of Bexley tend to get more attention when it comes to the quality of the streets, but not on our side of Bexley. I do not know if the condition of the streets in areas such as Parkview Avenue are in better condition because the city spends more money there or maybe because those streets truly do not get as much traffic as Bellwood Ave.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Apr192013

Presenting the 2012 Annual Report/2013 Budget

I'm happy to announce the completion of the 2012 annual report and 2013 budget book.  This year we've decided to add more information to our annual budget report, and we've included a synopsis, by department, of the various initiatives we are working on here at the City.  Hopefully this information helps to contextualize the City budget and provide more helpful information.  To download the 2012 annual report and 2013 budget, click here.

Monday
Apr012013

2013: The Year Ahead

As we prepare for a busy and exhilarating year ahead, here are some highlights:

Main Street in Focus
Plans for this year’s Main Street streetscape project and traffic signal upgrades have gone to bid. A combination of TIF funds and OPWC grants will be funding enhanced brick crossings, a streamlining of signage, and medians installed in select unused center turn lanes along Main Street. To see plan details, visit www.bexley.org/main.

City Hall Redevelopment
Redevelopment of the 1.6 acre City Hall site has long been a goal of the City’s, and after several attempts over the years, we’ve been working hard to make this the year that it all comes together. Who knows? 2013 might just be the year it does...

Redevelopment Challenges
A vacant and environmentally impacted gas station on North Cassady and troubled properties along Livingston Avenue are among the redevelopment challenges that the City continues to confront. We’d like 2013 to be a year of solid progress, and will continue to work towards solutions for these difficult challenges.  To view a roadmap of the City's redevelopment priorities, you can download the Bexley Land Use Strategy by clicking here.

Online Payment Options for Water Bill & More
We’ve prioritized this project and will be working on bringing online payment options to the City’s billing.

The Bexley City Arboretum
In March of 2013, the City of Bexley was accredited as an arboretum by the Morton Register of Arboreta, making it the first City in the United States to successfully obtain arboretum accreditation.  For nearly 25 years the City of Bexley has been a participant in the Tree City USA program, carefully compiling a catalogue of the over 14,000 trees that are managed by the Bexley City forester within the City's right-of-ways.  

Next steps for the City will include developing a more formalized educational component to the Bexley Arboretum and continuing to curate the City's extensive collection of over 100 unique tree species.  For more information, visit the City's Arboretum page.

The Main Event
"The Main Event" will be a monthly mingle on Main Street from May through September this summer.  This event will bring together Movies on Main (a free, outdoor movie series on Capital's main lawn), along with a revamped Music on Main, and based on strong interest from restaurants and merchants we are also working on adding restaurant specials and merchant open houses into the mix.  Each month will feature a theme based upon the movie being shown, with activities for kids and families centered on that month's theme.  To keep up with the main event, visit www.gobexley.com/mainevent.

Community Update
In March, community leaders from Bexley’s major institutions provided a preview of 2013 at the first annual Bexley State of the Community Address. To view video of the address, see the embedded video below (the City's portion of the address is at about the 35:50 mark):

 

Tuesday
Jan222013

Mayor's Position Paper on the Alternative Revenue Task Force Recommendations

Since the presentation of the Bexley Alternative Revenue Task Force report to the administration and City Council in late November of 2012, I have been, with the help of City directors, researching their recommendations, discussing some of the recommendations with Mayors and City Managers from Cities who have enacted similar concepts, and receiving public input, along with Council, on the recommendations.  The results of this research - and my own professional perspective on the recommendations of the Task Force - are encapsulated in the "Position Paper" that we have prepared in response to the Alternative Revenue Task Force recommendations.

There is no doubt that some of the recommendations contained in the Task Force report are potentially controversial, and may challenge some of our ideas about what is - or is not - appropriate for Bexley.  I am vigoursouly in favor of the sort of open thinking that allows the controversial to be explored alongside the mundane and the not-so-controversial.  I believe that ultimately, no matter the outcome of such conversations, the honest debate yields good fruit as ideas are checked against other ideas, and in turn beget new ideas of their own.  We encourage a free and open exchange of ideas at the City - it's how productive discussion occurs, and it's how we stress-test new ideas and new concepts against the reality check of who we are as a City and where we want to go together.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Dec282012

Bexley's 2012 In Review

As we prepare for a busy and exhilarating 2013, I want to take a moment to look back on 2012 and remember some of the key events and ideas that shaped our year.

We can’t celebrate the year without celebrating the life of Mayor John Brennan, and commemorating what he brought to the community over many years as Recreation director, City Council member, and Mayor of Bexley. Mayor Brennan is missed and remembered every day at city hall, and will be for many years to come. One way we’ve honored John’s memory is by moving forward to continuously improve our community. Here are some highlights from that effort over the past year.

A Year of Firsts

  • Capital's Blackmore Library added a new entryway off of Main Street, opening up the campus to Main Street.
  • Bexley Recreation pulled off a superb First Annual Bexley Family Community Campout at Jeffrey Park. 
  • City Council passed legislation allowing for the serving of alcohol at special events at Jeffrey Mansion, subject to the Recreation alcohol policy. 
  • The inaugural LoveYourAlley contest concluded with a winning individual alley on South Roosevelt and a winning alley block between Bexley Park and Brentwood. 
  • The City launched a communications initiative to alert residents of upcoming property hearings via blue signs on the subject property. 
  • The building department launched the Bexley Home Maintenance Assistance program, connecting volunteers to residents in need of assistance with property maintenance. 

Accolades and Achievements

  • Bexley High School was ranked as the #2 High School in the state of Ohio by US News & World Report, topping the list for central Ohio high schools and bringing national attention to Bexley’s excellent educational system. 
  • The third year of the Bexley Farmers Market started and finished stronger than ever, with an increase in vendors and traffic, and a steadily building reputation as one of the key farmers markets in central Ohio.

Infrastructure Investments

  • The South Cassady Avenue and College Avenue water line replacement and street reconstruction projects were completed in 2012. 
  • The City resurfaced six alleys in 2012, and worked with Columbia Gas to resurface alleys on the north side of Main Street.

Communications Enhancements
Enhancing the city’s communication was a top agenda item for 2012. This year, we released a revamped www.bexley.org, started the Bexley Blast weekly email updates (sign up at bexley.org/blast), and started live streaming and video archiving of City Council and Commission meetings.

New Grant Opportunities Shape the City 
With the launch of the Bexley Community Foundation, and the City’s strategy to increasingly seek out grant opportunities for project funding, the City was awarded grants for: 

  • Sidewalks for the entryway to Jeffrey mansion that will flank both sides of the drive (Bexley Community Foundation grant) 
  • Kayaks and canoes for Alum Creek (Bexley Community Foundation grant) 
  • Main Street water line repair, street resurfacing, and traffic signal upgrades (75% OPWC grant for 2013) 
  • Bexley community branding grant in partnership with the schools, the library, Bexley women’s club, and the Bexley Celebrations Assoc. (Bexley Community Foundation grant) 
  • Bexley Alum Creek Park planning grant (Bexley Community Foundation grant and Jeffrey Fund grant) 
  • Movies on Main grant - free family movie series on Capital’s front lawn during the summer of 2013! (Bexley Community Foundation grant)

Preparing for 2013 and Beyond

  • The City prepared and adopted the first post-estate tax balanced budget for 2013. 
  • The City worked on plans for infrastructure and streetscape upgrades to Main Street for 2013. 
  • Bexley was awarded the 2013 Chautauqua. The Chautauqua will take place on the front lawn of Capital University in mid July.

2012 was certainly busy, and we have plenty to keep us occupied in 2013 - we'll be releasing goals for 2013 over the coming weeks.  Until then, have a safe and happy New Year!

See you around Bexley,

Ben Kessler
Mayor