News from Councilman Tom Waniewski - August 2008

School Meeting

I hope you can join me as I host a neighborhood meeting with Toledo Public School superintendent John Foley as we start the new school year. We will specifically be addressing plans at DeVeaux Jr. High on Wednesday, Aug. 13th at 7 p.m. at Aldersgate Church on Douglas and Sylvania. DeVeaux has a new school, a new principal, and new traffic challenges. If you know a parent of a DeVeaux student, please pass along the info.

Utility Rates - Heating Assistance

It's not too early to be thinking about colder temperatures around the corner. Toledo Edison is already letting me know as your representative that their rates will be going up. The actual amount is not cast in stone. I will keep you posted on any public hearings or committee meetings that may be held in this regard. Edison says customers are paying about the same price per kilowatt hour as we did in 1996.

Meantime, Columbia Gas sent me a not reminding me that there is help for people who have trouble paying their utility bills this winter. If you have elderly parents, this information is helpful. They may qualify for Warm Choice. Call 419-691-2900 to find out more about this program. Also, the Ohio Energy Assistance Program provides assistance. call 800-282-0880 or learn more at www.odod.state.oh.us.

Finally, I always pitch 2-1-1. It's operated by the United Way of Greater Toledo. It is a wealth of helpful information and reference sources. If you're striking out on any of these numbers, call my office, and I will be happy to assist you.

Art in the District

As you know, getting more of our tax money back working for us in our neighborhoods is a priority for me. Some days I'm more successful than others. After much discussion with the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo, it appears an art project will be headed our way. Many years ago, voters approved "One Percent for the Arts." Much of that money goes to maintaining the many beautiful sculptures in the city.

But I noticed most of those are downtown or at the Botanical Gardens. Now we're bringing the art to the neighborhoods. My first area of concentration will be in Old Orchard. I will be organizing a meeting for neighbors' input this fall. Don't look for any Rembrandts, but a nice piece that compliments the area will add to the pride of the neighborhood.

Behind the Scenes

Here are some random thoughts I want to share with you, in no particular order, about other business I am conducting on your behalf.

1) There are two exciting real estate projects that I'm working on with Economic Development. Discussions remain confidential, but I can say they would fill a couple of vacant buildings in the area. I am happy that investors continue to look at our area as a vibrant place to do business.

2) On Tuesday (8-12), council will be asked to approve $139,000 for lawn mowing equipment. I understand some of the equipment the city is using to cut grass is not in the best of shape. However, I looked at this expenditure as if it were in my tight, household budget. Since it's near the end of the lawn mowing season, my decision would be to stick it out for a few more weeks and buy next year.

3) Councilman Joe McNamara and I are working to get a handle on loud, outdoor bars. I think I can speak for Joe when I say neither of us are looking to constrict these businesses. However, you can't be a good business if you aren't going to be a good neighbor. And there are laws already on the books that address this concern. Did you know Toledo's noise ordinance prohibits loud music within 200 feet of the source especially after 9 p.m.?

How Can I Help?

If I can answer any questions, address your concerns, speak at your events, meet with your neighbors, coordinate a block watch, or share a coffee with you, please give me a call. It's best to reach me at my council office at 419-245-1050. If I'm not there, JoAnne can schedule a meeting for me. You are also welcome to call my home at 419-754-3633.

My email newsletter continues to grow, thanks to you. Please ask your neighbors if they're receiving this information. If not, forward this to them so they can sign up. This is my 7th newsletter and, as promised, I don't innundate you and I don't sell your email.

Summer is winding down. Enjoy what's left of it with your family and neighbors.

Business Help
District 5 is full of successful businesses. Many are locally owned and operated. Please patronize these businesses and let them know you appreciate their work.

Many of these businesses are on my newsletter list, so I'm forwarding some information that may be good resources for you.

1) To get on the city's vendor list, call 419-245-1530 or go to the city's web site and click on "Services A to Z, Purchasing."

2) Does your business qualify as "Historic"? Call 419-245-1200 and tell them you'd like to know more about historic district designation.

3) Need a low-interest loan? Toledo's Department of Development has a variety of local and state loans for which your business may qualify. Call 419-245-1286 to learn more, or contact my office and I will deliver a packet to you.

Did you know in 2007, 87 companies invested more than $487 million in Toledo?

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3) Councilman Joe McNamara and I are working to get a handle on loud, outdoor bars. I think I can speak for Joe when I say neither of us are looking to constrict these businesses. However, you can't be a good business if you aren't going to be a good neighbor. And there are laws already on the books that address this concern. Did you know Toledo's noise ordinance prohibits loud music within 200 feet of the source especially after 9 p.m.?

What in the hell did you expect would happen when you all passed the smoking ban? These business owners pay taxes on a building they can no longer use. So they have to improvise, and try to please their customers by putting in outdoor patios. Instead of punishing small businesses, you should be working to rescind the law that bans smoking. SUPPORT SB 346! I want to hear how your working toward supporting that BILL, not how you don't want to constrict these businesses, but...........

As far as the 1% for the Arts tax goes, I didn't vote for it. Why are you not you doing something to get that off my taxes? Just because the money's there doesn't mean you have to spend it. You might work to get rid of that unnecessary tax.

I was happy when Tom was voted into office. I really liked when he told Rob Croak at the council meeting that he should buy the Erie Street Market. I thought finally someone gets it. Now I read this newsletter and I'm wondering if he really does?

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