STEUBENVILLE - Tim Boland, Steubenville's new city manager, was guest speaker during the city Rotary Club's Friday luncheon meeting at the North Fourth Street YWCA.
Boland, who said he'd been on the job for exactly one month, said he was beginning to understand the needs and challenges facing the city and community.
"I've been fortunate to serve many communities here in Ohio," said Boland, adding he appreciated the opportunity to speak. "I've always had a passion for cities and how we organize ourselves."
NEW CITY MANAGER — Tim Boland, Steubenville’s new city manager, was guest speaker during the Steubenville Rotary Club’s Friday luncheon meeting at the North Fourth Street YWCA. -- Mark Miller
Boland said civilization had been grouping into cities for the past 6,000 years, and "I'm sure they had many of the same problems we do now. Hopefully, we're getting better at it."
Boland said on his first day as manager he met with the leaders from the city's police and fire departments, the health commissioner and finance director.
"I could hit the ground running if (I knew) those areas," he said. "I think those (departments) are part of the foundation.
"I was very impressed with the city department heads," Boland continued.
He also joked City Council held his feet to the fire by scheduling a public hearing about water rates on his second day at the job. But he added hearing the wishes of the community was "imperative. I'm, glad we had that meeting. (Citizens) have to know the reasons why (decisions) are made and the rationale behind them."
Boland said he realized one issue facing the city was its infrastructure, which was aging quickly.
"The (infrastructure) here needs a lot of attention," he said, adding it wasn't just a local concern. "It's a nationwide problem."
Boland said much of the infrastructure couldn't wait much longer before action is needed, and it would be costly.
"But deferring infrastructure is even more costly," he added.
Boland said he's been discussing problem areas and infrastructure issues with city planners, and one answer could possibly be finding grants and funding sources to help pay for needed upgrades. Boland added he's had some success acquiring grant funds for infrastructure projects in the past.
He also said the city can afford to waste no tax dollars, and city leaders needed to be flexible and pro-active concerning the issues.
He added he was impressed Steubenville had a strategic plan in place.
"I was very excited and pleased to see that (local leaders) looked at the physical land use initiatives needed and outlining a vision for this community," he said.
Boland also said he was hoping economic development would be an engine to help the area grow and proper and fulfill its potential. He also talked briefly about the overhaul of the city's charter. He added the community has welcomed him warmly.
"I really appreciate the outreach I've received," he said.