It has been six months since I have taken office and they have been busy ones. We endured a long, cold winter; a cold, rainy, sometimes snowy spring and we are now enjoying the hot summer months; but many great things have happened in our community during this time.

I am here to tell you the State of our Delphos Community is Strong. But we must work together to make our community even stronger. Together we can accomplish this and together we can continue to have a community that we are proud to call our home, a great place to live, work and raise our families.

Delphos is a city with a rich and varied history. The city was originally four small towns. In the northwest was Howard, founded by Samuel Forrer. The east was called Section Ten, founded by Oramel Bliss, Benjamin Franklin Hillister and Samuel Pettit. South of Howard was West Bredeick, established by the Ferdinand Bredeick family and east of that was East Bredeick, established by Fr. John Otto Bredeick. A fifth village, Marble Town, established by Col. John M.C. Marble, the city’s first millionaire, never achieved independent status and was part of the original city of Delphos.

In 1851 the four towns agreed to merge into a single town, which was called Delphos. It was famous as a major port along the Miami and Erie Canal, with transshipment facilities for several major railroads.

We are still a thriving city today. To showcase some of our history, we have the Delphos Postal Museum and the Canal Museum. Both museums host many visitors each week. Visitors can learn about the history of our postal system and the changes that have occurred over the years. A visit to the Canal Museum can provide you with a look at some of the rich history of Delphos, including transportation, agriculture and the people who have helped to make Delphos such a great place.

But we must not stop with our history, we must continue to make our community stronger today. We have many wonderful businesses, both industrial and retail. Internationally we are known as a manufacturing center. It is vitally important that each of us support the businesses in our city. If we want to continue to grow and prosper, we must keep these businesses in Delphos. That means, when possible, we should be spending our hard-earned dollars right here in our own community and supporting those businesses who also call Delphos their home.

Our greatest asset is the residents of this community! A city isn’t just defined by streets or community programs, it is defined by the citizens that make up the community. Countless numbers of people work hard each day to help improve our city, not only as paid city employees and elected officials, but also as volunteers. You volunteer in nearly every corner of our community and you give back so that our city can stay strong. We have several volunteer organizations dedicated to the city. Just to name a few, the Delphos Stadium Club is continuously making upgrades to our park system. Last year, the Delphos Kiwanis opened the Splash Pad at Stadium Park and they continue to host our annual Fourth of July celebration.

Delphos Rotary Club continues to host Music in the Park events. The Delphian Club recently announced their upcoming Downtown Social Events. And the Delphos Canal Days Committee, along with the Delphos Chamber of Commerce, continues to host the annual Canal Days Festival in downtown Delphos. I give you my deepest, heartfelt “Thank you!” for all that you do to make our city the best place to live. And I promise to work with each of you and help to make our city the best it can be.

Residents of this city deserve the best drinking water that we can provide.

Earlier this year, the Water Department teamed with the U.S. EPA and the Ohio EPA to review our processes and to provide recommendations on improving our processes. We will continue to work together to provide the best quality and most efficient and cost-effective water services possible.

Along with the members of City Council, I have made a commitment to making ongoing investments in our streets and roads. Our streets and roads need many repairs after the long and difficult winter. They are an important part of the strength of our community providing a safe and easy transport for all of the members of our community. To this end, we will see over $1.5 million in road work this year. We have started to see the upgrades to many sidewalk ramps, making them handicap accessible and we are seeing road repair signs going up. These are both indicators that progress is happening in our great city.

Code enforcement is a priority for this administration. City Council’s Legislative Committee meets after council meetings to revise existing code enforcement ordinances. All of our code enforcement ordinances should make sense and be enforceable. By early 2019, you should see the addition of a Code Enforcement Officer to our staff. Legislative Chairman Scott Wiltsie and I have developed a Citizens Committee to review and suggest modifications to the code enforcement ordinances being proposed.

Our community doesn’t stop at the borders of our city, it includes the townships around us. To help foster better working relationships with those townships, Safety Service Director Shane Coleman and I began meeting with the trustees from Washington and Marion Townships. This will allow communication between our entities and promote a teamwork atmosphere going forward, so that we can assist one another and our residents.

The opioid crisis continues to be a huge in problem in our community. To help combat this problem, we have added a K-9 Officer to the ranks of our Police Department. You will begin seeing K-9 Officer Brutus patrolling our streets and working along with our other dedicated police officers to make our community a safe place for everyone. We have also added a drug officer to the drug task force. I am committed to cleaning this city of drugs and the crimes that go along with them. If you deal drugs in our city, your time in Delphos is coming to an end! We will no longer tolerate this in our great city.

But just getting rid of drugs and drug dealers isn’t enough. The members of our community who suffer from addiction to these horrible drugs need our help. I have developed a Drug Rehabilitation Committee, consisting of five citizens who have extensive work backgrounds, education and knowledge of drug rehabilitation. We are working on developing a plan to effectively communicate the programs and options available to those individuals who suffer from addiction. There will also be support available for the families of those addicted to drugs. Together we can make a difference and put an end to this blight that affects all parts of our society.

Delphos Aware is a Facebook group that promotes positive changes within our community. I encourage all residents to join this Facebook group to stay informed and to help promote the positive changes occurring in our city. But remember, this group is about promoting positivity in our community and should not be used as a sounding board for negative comments from keyboard warriors who choose to complain but do nothing to assist in the advancement and growth of our community. Delphos Aware Founder Laura Hayford along with Site Administrator Brian Altenburger have worked countless hours behind the scenes with me and I am dedicated in working with them to achieve their goals as an organization.

Staying strong requires us to look to the future to see what we need to change; to determine what we need to expand or eliminate; to decide what we must do; and what we can build upon to ensure that our young people and our families stay in Delphos. Currently, we have a strong workforce with people willing and wanting to work. We must grow our businesses and industry so that our city residents not only live here but have the opportunity to work here. The first step will be seeking innovative solutions to our current residential and commercial property limitations so that our community can grow. One of those solutions will be finding an investor who is willing to invest in our future and work with the city to develop another residential subdivision. It is very important that we begin working to expand our infrastructure in the industrial areas to open additional industrial lots. This will encourage and entice new businesses looking to relocate to Delphos. Along this line, I have developed a program that fosters a stronger relationships between elected officials and our business leaders. This creates open discussion and allows the elected officials to understand and be more responsive in assisting the businesses in their plans to grow and also allows us to show our thanks for making Delphos their home.

Planning for the future is a serious investment in our community. Future City Budgets need to reflect sound financial responsibility and a planning for the necessary investments, with as minimal of an impact on the taxpayers as possible. I requested Finance Committee Chairman Andy Daley to begin the process for planning for this future. From this point forward, the Finance Committee will meet regularly to develop a long term strategy and to promote fiscal responsibility. These meetings will be open to the public and I encourage the attendance of our citizens.

In May, along with representatives from Delphos Aware, I implemented a monthly roundtable event, “Coffee with the Mayor.” At these events, relaxed discussions will allow for a personal, friendly atmosphere to learn from each other and promote open, honest communication between myself, Safety Services Director Coleman and concerned Delphos citizens. If you are interested in participating in one of these events, please go the Events section of the City of Delphos’ Facebook page.

To encourage awareness and involvement from citizens like never before, we have begun to live stream City Council meetings. We all have busy lives and we are sometimes limited with time to attend council meetings, but this allows for citizens to watch the meetings live as decisions are being made and it also allows for you go back and watch meetings at a later time to help keep you informed on the decisions being made by your local government officials.

In April, we started having open houses at our various city facilities. Citizens can become informed and educated on each of our facilities and the technology and employees who work for them. I encourage all of our citizens to take advantage of theseopen houses and learn what it takes to make this city function. Our initial open house was a tour of the Water Treatment Plant given by Water Superintendent Todd Haunhorst. In July, we will be hosting a similar event at the fire and police departments. These events are open to a limited number of citizens, so please watch for future announcements on how to register.

Delphos boasts a great park system with many family friendly things to do. We need to maintain and expand those parks. We are exploring the possibility of adding a dog park in the near future. Dog parks have been a great addition to many communities and I think it would be a great addition to our community as well.

Finally, I have developed a Mayoral Advisory Committee, made up of three city residents who can help guide me through this journey and ensure I stay in touch with my plan and will continue to help me grow and prosper as your Mayor.

While our community is strong, there is still much work to be done to ensure that we stay strong. We must all work together and support one another and I seek to serve this City and its residents to best of my ability.

God Bless You, Your Family and the City of Delphos.

Mayor Josh Gillespie