Mayor Dory presents State of the City Address

 

From Mayor Bill Dory

For the Year Ending December 31, 2018

 

I would first like to thank our city council, clerk-treasurer, our department heads, our staff, our volunteer board members, and our partners throughout the community.    Greencastle is truly a great community where people step up to meet the needs and aspirations of our fellow citizens.

In the short time that I have today, I cannot possibly list all of the individuals and organizations that contribute time, talent, treasure, collaboration, and partnership to make Greencastle a great family oriented community and a great Midwest college town.

 

FINANCES

Through the work of our department heads and our Clerk-Treasurer, we ended the year on a sound financial footing.    2018 was the third year the city was able to benefit from the Public Safety Local Income Tax.  In 2019 and 2020, revenue from this funding source will decline due to the county retaining more at their level.    Regardless, the funding continues to allow us to support our public safety forces.

We compete like other businesses to recruit and retain talent.  Through careful management, in the last three years, we have been able to provide some modest salary increases for our team.

 

A few key highlights:

Total Receipts of $24.1 million

Total Expenditures of $20.7 million

Cash Balance increased by about $3.4 million

While our cash balance increased, some of the increase was due to grant/project funds not fully spent, modest increases in our utility funds, and TIF revenue accumulating for future projects.  Our operating accounts, such as our general fund, tend to remain very tight due to limited tax revenues that fund these accounts.

 

ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH

 

2018 investments were down from 2017; however, the 2017 numbers included some significant projects.    In 2019, we will again see some significant numbers with the forthcoming construction on DePauw’s campus.

Our Building Inspector issued 132 permits representing an investment of over $8.8 million.   Twenty of these permits were for new single family homes.   We are actively working to promote housing development.   Late in 2018, the Emmert Group started site preparations for their new apartment complex.   I expect that we will see full blown construction work starting any day now.

We still have unmet single family housing demand in the city and county.   Over the course of 2018, we averaged only 123 listings per month on MIBOR.   That number dropped to less than 100 in February of this year.

Chiyoda USA and once again Heartland Automotive made investments in their operations.   Long term, these investments will result in an additional 92 full time employment opportunities.   Other businesses such as Ascena Retail Group and Crown Equipment continue to quietly add to their workforce.   Our county participation in the workforce is up a bit from 2017 and should be in the range of 16,800 to 17,000 when the final numbers are processed.    Our major industries employ over 4,500 people.

Unfortunately, Dixie Chopper/Jacobsen/Textron closed their operations in Fillmore.   Fortunately, many in the community such as Area 30 and Work One, stepped forward to lend assistance.   The employees now qualify for assistance under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program (TAA) which makes available income subsidies, training, relocation assistance, and educational benefits.   Many of these individuals have already found positions.

 

DOWNTOWN AND DEPAUW

2018 was a great year for the First Friday events and the Farmers Market.   Main Street and the Chamber provided the ongoing leadership and management for these programs.   Support from the CVB was also critical.  I would also like to thank the many businesses and organizations that provided sponsorship, volunteers, information booths, and overall support.  We are already off to a great start for 2019 with the launch of our First Friday last week.

As a community we continue to partner with DePauw University on a wide range of projects, from investments by alumni to partnerships with students.   Judson and Joyce Green and Lee Tenzer continue to invest in our downtown.   Mr. Tenzer has also recently taken over the golf course, now Tiger Pointe Country Club and has projected great things including a new clubhouse.

Starting in 2018, DePauw will be making significant improvements to their campus including a new heating and cooling system and a new dormitory that signals the start of the reconstruction of south quad.   DePauw also is funding improvements to our storm sewer system and to Olive Street.

 

DEPARTMENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS

As a community, we provide a wide range of services to you, our residents and to our business community.   I would like to highlight some of the great work of the staff of our departments.

 

FIRE DEPARTMENT

The fire department responded to 1,425 requests for assistance, a 30% increase, including mutual aid to our neighbors in the county.    They continue their fire inspection and public education work.  Some 958 hours of staff time was invested in fire prevention activities to keep our community safe.

In November, the Board of Works ordered a new pumper truck at the cost of $592,000.   In 2021, we are scheduled to replace the aerial towner at a projected cost of nearly $1.5 million.  Despite being significantly reduced by the County Council in 2019, the Public Safety LIT will allow us to make these investments.

 

POLICE    

In total, police officers responded to 6,405 calls for service and made 1,434 traffic stops.   Our police department continues to work on drug related issues including 64 drug possession arrests and an additional 93 related arrests.   Officers responded to 21 alcohol and drug related overdoses.

The department also provided a number of active shooter training exercises for local businesses, churches, schools, and organizations.

The day to day work of our officers helps to protect our families and ensures that our community remains a safe place to live and work.

 

PUBLIC WORKS AND ENGINEERING

Although not a city project, in 2018, INDOT finally installed the long awaited traffic light at SR 240 and Percy Julian Drive.   In part, this improvement was a result of a letter written by our own Judge Headley.

Just a quick reminder – we are responsible for 48.1386 miles of streets as well as sidewalks and storm drainage.

Our Engineering and Public Works team has helped us obtain several significant grants:

Community Crossings 16/17 – Obtained $654,832 in 2016, spent in 2017.

Community Crossings 17/18 – Obtained $520,500 in 2017 for implementation in 2018 and 2019.   These funds are helping to underwrite the investment being made on Indianapolis Road.

Zinc Mill Road State Grant – Obtained $1,968,800 with engineering work continuing in 2018.

Locust Street Federal Grant – Obtained $1,284,506 for construction in 2023.   Engineering work is underway with this project as well.

That is a total of over $4.4 million that these public servants earned for our community through their creativity, grant writing skills, and hard work.

In 2018, our Department of Public Works repaired and replaced over 100 signs, crack sealed nearly a mile of city streets, and replaced nearly 400 feet of storm sewer.

Significant investments were made on the following streets to the tune of 8,800 linear feet of paving:

Franklin Street – significant maintenance work including sidewalk repair

5th Street – including sidewalk, curb and gutter and storm water

Ritter Avenue – pavement reconstruction

Spring Street – including curb and gutter

Walnut Street – including curb and gutter

An additional 10,700 linear feet of preventative maintenance was performed on the following streets:

Capital Drive

Fillmore Road

South Locust Street

Redbud Lane

East Washington Street

 

I would also like to highlight the Indianapolis Road project.   Now under construction, the utilities are being relocated in preparation for the road work.   Later this summer, the community will enjoy a new three lane road with sidewalks on both sides.   We appreciate the patience of our neighbors and businesses in the construction area.

Your Public Works Department and Engineering team manages all of this work…in addition to the day to day work of patching, leaf removal, street sweeping, snow removal, storm sewer maintenance, and our day to day engineering projects.

In 2019, the following streets are under consideration for improvements:

Elizabeth Street

Sherwood Drive and possibly Ravenswood Drive

Woodhaven Drive

Elm Street

Berry Street

Ridgeland Road

Deerfield Drive

Quail Ridge

Draper Street Area

10th Street

Seminary Street

Howard Street

 

Final determination will be made after receipt of bids and determination of any in-house work.

In part these projects will be supported by the new local license plate fees that are now being received by the city.

In 2019, INDOT will be doing resurfacing work on US 231 through the city.   The existing pavement is simply not going to last until major reconstruction in 2021.

These investments make our community more accessible for individuals and families, residents and visitors.

 

PLANNING

Our planning department completed a storm water planning grant that has resulted in a list of 18 areas that need storm water improvements.  The study also proposed the development of a storm water utility.

This department also coordinates all of the project reviews, property maintenance complaints, planning issues, zoning issues, and other related actions.

The planning department continues to work on our Healthy Communities initiatives, our Clean Cities work, and our MS4 storm water responsibilities.    Long term these efforts make our community a healthier and more active place to raise a family.

 

PARKS AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT AND PARK BOARD

In 2017, a great group of volunteers from the Friends of the Park and the Greencastle Civic League came together to develop a strategy to replace the band shelter.  While it took a bit longer than expected, the new band shelter is in place and will be dedicated with the start of Park Fest this summer.

With the completion and adoption of our five year parks plan, the City Council has amended the EDIT plan to make funds available for improvements.  In 2018, the RDC completed the parking lot and ADA access at the girls’ ball diamonds at Big Walnut Sports Park.  In 2019, we will be working on similar improvements at the boys’ ball diamonds.

For 2019, we have engaged an engineering firm to take an in-depth look at the city aquatics center.   The facility is over 25 years old and we expect it to face some significant maintenance costs.  We also are working toward some paint up/fix up improvements to the bath house.

Currently, INDOT is finishing up the campus link trail from Ivy Tech to Indianapolis Road that was started last fall.   Our first event will be a “Bike and Hike for Conservation” on April 27th.

Our Parks Department staff continues to offer a wide range of family friendly programming such as the annual Easter Egg Hunt scheduled for this weekend.   We appreciate the support of local businesses for this fun event.

 

FOREST HILL CEMETERY

In 2018, volunteers stepped forward to establish the first annual Friends of Forest Hill Memorial Day 5K as a fund raiser to support care and improvements at the cemetery.  This year will be the second annual run.

With the support of Quail Forever, the Putnam County Soil and Water Conservation District, the State of Indiana, and many others, a 10 acre pollinator garden was established at the cemetery.   It is my understanding that it takes about three years to fully establish all of the wild flowers.   Again, we appreciate these partnerships that add beauty, support sustainability, and offer savings to the city.

 

LEGAL

Our city attorney, Laurie Hardwick, continues to work diligently to keep us in compliance with the many rules, regulations and oversights that we are subject to as a unit of government.   In the last year she partnered with our Clerk-Treasurer to complete an update of our personnel manual.   She spent a great deal of time on the property acquisitions along Indianapolis Road.

Given all of the contracts and agreements that a city has to deal with, I am grateful for our attorney’s patience, expertise, and professionalism.

 

UTILITIES – Wastewater

Our wastewater team televised over 27,500 linear feet of sanitary sewer and cleaned over 37,000 linear feet of sanitary sewer.   These efforts help us to maintain our system for the long term benefit of our customers.

In October, the city renewed its 5 year NPDES permit that sets the standards of treatment for the 1.75 million gallons of sewage treated each day.  Compliance with the permit standards helps to insure that we discharge clean water from our treatment process.

We continue to look at our wastewater infrastructure.  In 2019, we will be rebuilding the IBM lift station based on recommendations from a study completed in 2018.

 

UTILITIES – Water

With our water system, we continue to update our meters and we have updated our meter reading technology.   In 2018, we treated over 487 million gallons of water.  That’s an average of 1.36 million gallons per day.

Our local water placed first in regional competition and just missed being named the best tasting water at the state competition.

 

Board of Works and Public Safety

Our Board of Works supports the operations of our utilities, public works, and public safety forces.   The members provide guidance on operations and investments and oversight for many of the projects I have mentioned above.

 

Redevelopment Commission

Of significance to our local families, the Redevelopment Commission continues to move forward on the community center project.   We close on the site next Tuesday.

The Commission will continue its investment in Big Walnut Sports Park with parking improvements at the boys’ ball diamonds.

In 2018, our Redevelopment Commission supported investments in the reconstruction of Indianapolis Road.

More than 10 years ago, the RDC supported the proposed Ivy Tech project by paying off a loan to make the site available.  Later this year, we will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the opening of our Ivy Tech campus.

 

Summary

As our elected representatives, our city council acts as our “board of directors” to provide long term guidance for our efforts.   They also provide the financial tools and mechanisms in support of the work of the city.   They have been a great team to work with during these past three years.

Our city employees continue to do their best for our residents and businesses.

We will continue to promote housing opportunities despite not being the only community in central Indiana with similar needs.

During 2019, I would ask for everyone’s patience and understanding.   There will be a lot of construction going on around the community.   From time to time roads may be closed and detour routes will need to be taken.   The Indianapolis Road project will cause some disruption.   Work in and around DePauw will cause some disruption.   Work on US 231 will be an issue.  Our own public works projects will add to the disruption.   We ask that everyone slow down and keep an eye out for our construction workers.

In closing, I extend my annual invitation to you to participate and play a role in creating and improving our community.  Thank you for your support during the last three years in my service as your mayor.  More importantly thank you for the support of the men and women that work diligently to serve the citizens of our community.

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