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Ottawa’s economy struggles during 2009


August 22. 2013 6:49PM
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OTTAWA — Ottawa saw an 8 percent decrease in income tax revenue during 2009, Community Development Director Jeff Loehrke said Tuesday. The village also saw a 77 percent decrease in total building permit values during 2009 as compared to 2008.



During 2008, the total value was $7.75 million compared to $1.74 million in 2009.



Admitting that Ottawa had had joined the nation and state in struggling with economy problem, Loehrke quoted Mayor Ken Maag as still remaining hopeful.



During his state of the village address to the Ottawa-area Chamber of Commerce, Loehrke said his most lasting memory of 2009 would be the rebirth of the W.C. Wood Corp. through its purchase by Whirlpool.



“Just when we were dealing with how we would survive another major hit in our community, the hard work of many people paid off with the transition of the plant to new ownership,” Loehrke reminded the chamber members.



Loehrke also gave an update on the hazard mitigation grant program undertaken following the flood of 2007. He said 17 houses were taken down in 2009 and 17 mobile homes were removed in 2008. The cost to remove the houses was provided by federal and state money along with work-in-kind funding from the village.



Loehrke said five houses will be taken down in 2010.



“The projected net loss of 39 housing units represents about a 2 percent loss of our total housing units of 1,900,” he said.



Despite another flood, this one in March, the people of Ottawa proved once again just how resilient they were, Loehrke said.



“We seemed to be better prepared for this flood event because of what we have learned from past floods,” he said.



He said the flood mitigation committee has intentions to do something to avoid future flooding.



On a more positive note, Loehrke spoke of the ongoing activities on Putnam Parkway, including the construction of Ottawa Elementary that began last fall and the new library expected to be constructed this year.



Loehrke said the village is applying for stimulus dollars to assist them in extending Putnam Parkway all the way to state Route 15.



“If we are not able to obtain that funding we will be extending the road far enough to service both the school and the library with plans to then finish the road when funds allow,” he said.



Loehrke said Maag’s reference to Ottawa’s 175th anniversary celebration in 2009 during his annual address provided a footprint on how to deal with the issues of today.



Maag said, “During this time of uncertainty, it may have been the boost we needed to realize that the struggles of the present are no more real than the struggles our past citizens and community leaders experienced.”





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