Welcome from the Mayor
A New Year’s Note from Mayor John A. Smith
Happy 2022 to all of you! It is my distinct honor to begin a new term serving as Silverton’s Mayor. I am grateful to the residents of Silverton for entrusting me with this responsibility. I know I also speak on behalf of my colleagues on Village Council when I say that it is truly a great honor to represent Silverton as an elected official.
The new year holds great promise. While we are enduring a serious spike in COVID-19 infections from the Omicron variant, serious illness seems unlikely for those who have been vaccinated. It is my hope and indeed expectation that if we all do our part to get vaccinated and boosted, wear masks, socially distance, and follow the public health practices we have become used to, this wave will subside. Thanks to miraculous vaccines, I am quite hopeful life will be returning to normal later in 2022.
And this brings me to my top three priorities for this year: connectivity, sustainability, and equity.
By connectivity, I mean both physical and social. The Village has plans to resurface Plainfield Road between Montgomery and Diehl. We also will be replacing traffic signals on Montgomery Road in partnership with the State of Ohio, a project which will improve traffic flow and safety. And we are studying the best way to install sidewalks on Plainfield and Woodford to give pedestrians access to our central business district.
And connectivity also means social connections. Silverton Block Watch will return to in-person meetings starting on March 14th. Council will resume special events like the Mayor’s Brunch in March, the Great American Clean up in April, and the Taste of Silverton in June. Silverton will restart curbside chats this summer, bringing Town Hall to residential streets for community listening sessions and dialogue. The Village will host meetings to gather input on future park improvements and programming, with these dates announced this spring. By bringing people together, we want to reconnect with neighbors and friends and provide responsive government to you as taxpayers.
Sustainability is our second major theme in 2022. The Village will make more investments in solar and purchase two electric vehicles for use by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office. We are also inviting residents to consider installing solar on their homes or small businesses, and the Village is offering financial incentives to encourage participation. The Village wants to be a role model for leading sustainability in our region.
And equity is the third major theme of 2023. Silverton is known for its neighborliness, but too many of our neighbors are struggling to make ends meet. Predictably, many of those who struggle are Black, children, or senior citizens. The pandemic revealed just how vulnerable many Silvertonians are, and our recently completed housing study showed that 44% of Silverton’s households pay more than 30% of their income towards housing. This is too much. The Village is leading a project to build more transit-oriented, affordable housing along Montgomery Road. We are continuing the Homeowner Helper Program that helps fixed income property owners comply with property maintenance orders when they lack the means to do so by themselves. We are creating a new eviction prevention grant program to reduce the frequency and severity of evictions for households that are behind on their rent but are otherwise stable. And finally, we are adding an income-based solar incentive to make sure low to moderate income homeowners in our community can enjoy the benefits of solar too.
I am quite proud that our 2022 Village efforts focus on connectivity, sustainability, and equity. I hope you will participate in all of these efforts this year to make our amazing community an even better version of itself this year.