Bell defends decisions, offers hope in second State of the City address

Toledo Mayor Mike Bell gave his second State of the City address Thursday night, defending some recent unpopular decisions while offering some hope for the future.

Bell told the gathering of city council members, city officials and residents that despite the backlash he has received for cuts and concessions imposed by his administration, the city has decreased spending by about $20 million.

The mayor also detailed the city's business relationship with China, specifically his plans to sell The Docks property at International Park to Chinese investors. He told the audience he was disappointed in the way many in the area have reacted to the idea.

Other talking points during the mayor's address included the fire department's merger with Ottawa Hills and Bell's recent push to raise utility rates to improve old infrastructure. "We have inherited a water system that is right on the brink, to me, of a catastrophic failure," Bell said during his address. "If we don't put things in place right now to start to fix it, by the time it breaks, it will become an emergency."

On the positive side, Mayor Bell did reveal that the city has seen growth in the last year, despite the need to continue to grow. "We've got to find some jobs, we've still got to take care of the budget, and we've got to keep ourselves moving forward, not backward," he said.