Cortland Says ‘Good Morning’ by Touting Rankings

CORTLAND, Ohio — The awards and rankings just keep coming for Cortland. After being named the best place in the state to retire by, Cortland was named the 39th-safest city in the state and the safest in Trumbull County by ValuePenguin, Mayor Curt Moll announced at Good Morning, Cortland, an event put on by the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber.

“It was for our low tax rate, low cost of living, high opportunity for recreation and medical treatment, things like that. From a retirement standpoint, all of those are important,” he said.

When combined with the safety rankings, he added, that makes Cortland “a pretty nice place to live.”

Moll kept his presentation at the community breakfast short, instead allowing the city police and fire chiefs to update local businesses on what went into achieving those rankings.

Fire and Emergency Medical Services Chief David Rae told the crowd of about 50 that the EMS department has consistently had a better-than-average response time, something that all involved are quite proud of.

“We found that with our EMS, we’re beating the national average not just with the first EMS responder out the door or the second, but also with the third,” he said. “We’re working hard to maintain a high level of service for Cortland and the adjoining areas.”

He also noted that efforts for the Cortland fire and EMS department to assist the municipalities around the city are beginning to be implemented.

“Just because you drive across a line on the map, doesn’t mean we can say, ‘We’re not going to come help you.’ We do have limitations but a foot outside the city of Cortland isn’t it,” Rae said. “We want to build strong relations with the townships around us so they can provide public safety for their residents as well.”

Andrews’ news was less upbeat, reporting that heroin use in the city has skyrocketed over the past couple of years. But, he added, the department is adapting and learning what needs to be done.

“Our guys are becoming much more educated on the problem, how to deal with it in court, what we need to do to get good convictions and work with the courts to resolve the matters,” he said.

The number of heroin-related arrests this year is already in the double digits and last year 75% of drug arrests were for heroin.

“We don’t see that number increasing. This is not Cortland-specific problem. This is something that’s moved from the cities to us and we are dealing with it,” Andrews said.

There was good news from the police department, as Andrews said property crimes were down, thanks in part to social media efforts led by the department’s younger officers.

“Our social media campaign is working tremendously. It’s second nature for our younger officers and they like it and can work with it from wherever,” he said. “What we’ve gotten back is fantastic feedback and knowing what’s going on out there.”

Moll also noted after his speech that the city’s service outside of fire, EMS and police were doing well. A program to ensure that all roads are repaved every decade is under way and other public works efforts are “under control.

“We know what’s going to happen and when,” Moll said. “We’re seldom surprised and while we do have water main breaks and things like that that do come up, we’ve planned things out so we can manage maintenance and upkeep. It’s all working well.”

Lakeview Schools superintendent Bob Wilson said the district is doing well despite a decreasing student body and receiving less funding from the state, highlighting the fact that Lakeview spends about $8,400 per student each school year. The state average, he said, is about $10,000.

“The benefit is direct to our taxpayers in that it lowers everyone’s taxes, something we like to do as stewards of the public’s money,” Wilson said. “I attribute the low costs to a very professional, caring and nurturing staff in all of our schools.”

On May 5, a bond levee will be on the ballot to build a new Kindergarten through 8th grade building on the site of the current middle school building, built in the ’20s.

“The [middle school] we have was built in 1927. For some perspective, that’s the same year Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic,” he explained. “So we have an old one and we want to combine two old buildings and build a new state-of-the-art building on our current middle school.”

The levee would bring in $10 million from the state to help pay for the new building, Wilson said.

As for students, Wilson reported that 80% of Lakeview students are accepted into college, nearly half of high school students are involved in Lakeview’s 19 varsity sports, and high school seniors receive, on average, about $1.5 million in scholarships from local organizations.

“We’ve had some better years and some worse years, but it’s all come out to about that much every year,” he said. “A lot of it is through local initiatives from the Kiwanis, Lions Club, Rotary, Optimist Club. A lot of local groups and organizations contribute to help our students.”

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