Editor’s note: Following is a transcript of Hillsboro Mayor Drew Hastings’ remarks to city council on Monday, the first council meeting since Hastings’ re-election last week.
If city council or anyone else was ever unsure of what your constituents and residents want for this city, this last election should make it clear.
What they want is action. Progress. Improvements. They want this administration to keep doing what it has been doing and for most voters it can’t happen fast enough.
What meant little to voters of this last mayoral election was how many years you lived here, what your last name is, and negativity. Negativity in any form that gets in the way of moving Hillsboro forward.
Uptown Hillsboro. The center of our city, the county seat.
When I was out talking to voters in every one of your wards almost everyone agreed that uptown revitalization was a priority, among other things.
I’ve obviously thought it was – I bought property uptown at a time five, eight years ago when you couldn’t give it away. Four of the five buildings that I purchased were vacant or uninhabitable and I was the only bidder on any of them.
And that was long before I ever thought of running for this office.
I think there is a tendency among some that think that a mayor who owns uptown property has a built-in agenda to focus city efforts towards uptown.
My answer to that? I believed in Hillsboro’s uptown as a private sector developer and I continue to believe in it as a public sector developer as mayor. I own six out of approximately 100 buildings uptown.
Do all of us property owners hope someday our investments will become more valuable? Of course we do – but it will be because the city itself becomes more valuable.
But we obviously have more to tackle than just our uptown and the upcoming budget reflects that. The budget that we put forth to pass next month reflects residents’ concerns and our efforts towards fighting blight, the drug problem, sidewalk repair program, paving, and a number of other issues.
I’m excited, I’m re-inspired, and I think the voters have made our jobs easier by eliminating much of the guesswork about the direction they want our city to go.
I look forward to working with all of you in the upcoming four years. We have big plans and big challenges ahead, but it will be an exciting time to be in public service in Hillsboro, Ohio.