OTTAWA - To kick off the new year, Ottawa village council held its reorganization meeting on Wednesday, January 2. During the meeting council reelected Tim Macke to serve as this years council president. This will be his second year as council president after former president Dean Meyer took over the mayor's seat last year.

Council also heard Mayor Meyer's annual village address during the meeting which was full of positive things that happened in Ottawa over 2012.

Meyer compared 2012 to a quote from motivational speaker Zig Zigler which was, "Those aren't stop lights, they are go lights." Meyer said that in 2012 council and village employees worked hard to make sure that Ottawa was a "go light community."

"In my address last year, I stated our challenge for 2012 is for each and everyone of us to find ways to cut and work within our budget and to do so in a fiscally sound way, while continuing to provide services to our residents. I am happy to say that there are many examples of that happening," he said.

Meyer thanked the Putnam County YMCA and the village's park board for their efforts in keeping the pool open this year. Along with that, Meyer thanked the many organizations that stepped up to the plate to keep the village within its budget by taking care of the parks.

This year, many organizations teamed together to reconstruct a Christmas display at Ottawa's Memorial Park that was nixed last year after an income tax was voted down by residents. Meyer also recognized the baseball, softball and disc golf associations along with the friends of the park organization for their help in keeping the parks clean.

Separately, Meyer highlighted the State Route 65 and Williamstown Road improvement project that cost nearly $800,000 but was 90 percent paid for through grants from the state of Ohio. The project entailed adding a turn lane into Ottawa's industrial park.

Mayor Meyer commended all the industries located in the industrial park of the internal growth and expansions they underwent this year. He said, "Their investments into the community helped us to secure grant dollars for road improvements in the Highland Industrial Park."

The mayor was excited about the new health care facility that is expected to begin construction this year after Trilogy Health Services announced the construction of a new $6 million facility that will add an estimated "20 new family sustaining jobs" to the village.

Some updates the village underwent in 2012 include being able to accept credit and debit cards for water and sewer bill payments and the development of a bi-monthly newsletter that is included with each residents utility bill statement. The newsletter is also available on the village's website.

An annual Ottawa's mayor address would not be complete without the mention of flooding and Meyer did not disappoint this year. He said that great strides have been made in the flood mitigation process this year as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released a tentative plan for flood mitigation. Meyer said that the Ottawa Township Trustees, the Putnam County Commissioners and the Putnam County Engineers office has helped in moving forward "during this critical time."

"Thanks to our State Representatives, grant money is available for us to make significant changes that will help a large number of our shared constituents that are affected by flooding. Now is the time to act in a unified effort," said Meyer.

Meyer also spoke about another natural disaster which was the "Derecho" that passed through the area in July causing devastating 85 mph winds and lots of damage throughout the village.

"I truly believe our previous experiences with flooding helped us with this disaster as our employees and the numerous volunteers of the town sprang to action and helped us recover. To all of you, thank you for your help," he said.

Meyer wrapped up his speech by thanking the residents for their support of the 1.1 mill, five year renewal levy for fire protection, commending Tony's on celebrating their 50th anniversary and sending luck to the new owners of Ottawa Chevy and the relocation of Ottawa Ordnance and Guys and Dolls. He then challenged council and village employees to live within the budget and to come up with new revenue streams for the village's general fund.

The village is currently undergoing a feasibility study to process cow manure which could result in a marketable product. Ottawa recently received a nearly $100,000 Ohio Local Government Innovation Fund grant to assist with the study.

In other business, the mayor received council's authorization to sign a letter to Army Corps of Engineers that encourages the Corps to move forward with a feasibility study that will look at flood risks and reduction, wetland restoration and recreation opportunity within the Blanchard River Watershed.

The next regularly scheduled village council meeting is set for Monday, Jan. 14 at 8 p.m at the municipal building.