Jasper Mayor Terry Seitz appeared before the Jasper Rotary Club during the noon hour yesterday and delivered the first of three 2013 State of the City addresses
Seitz expressed to those on hand how the mayor’s office has pursued improving the city of Jasper through three attributes of People, Process and Perservance.
Aside from reminiscing about his first year in office, Seitz applauded the work of city employees both former and newly appointed. Seitz had reappointed all city office leaders in 2012 except four. Three voluntarily retired or resigned.
He said the city already had a good team of people assembled and didn’t want to play politics. But, he explained his reasoning and justification of appointing the four new positions.
The Chief of Police was the only department head replaced by Seitz. Indiana State Police veteran Michael Bennett who had previously served as Assistant Commander of the Jasper Post assumed the Jasper Police Department’s top position at the beginning of last year. Seitz said no additional officers were added to force, but under Bennet’s command patrol schedules were revised to use officers more efficiently.
Seitz said the police department under Bennett’s direction, more than doubled traffic arrests and warnings in 2012. He added that most were warnings, and he felt like the department had a fair understanding of violation fees during hard economic times.
Other new appointments included Darla Blazey as Director of the Department of Community Development and Planning, Renee Kabrick as city attorney and Cale Knies as Director of Personnel Safety Loss Control.
The mayor spent most of the speech elaborating 12 significant Achievements in 2012 for the City of Jasper which involved many city departments. The first was a Rejuvenate Jasper Wellness Program that will officially kick off April 1, when the city receives results from health screenings of all employees.
Seitz’s second noted achievement encouraged public involvement in starting a downtown Jasper and riverfront master plan.
Seitz said the third major achievement was the purchase of Land from the Jasper Country Club which closed it doors at the end of the year. Seitz said Parks Director Ken Buck recommended the opportunity for a large central city park. He commended city entities for working together in a public arena of discourse in acquiring the property.
Seitz said the next step is approval from the city council to borrow the nearly $17,345 per acre needed to purchase the property from the city’s rainy day fund. The city plans to acquire around 58 acres.
He also previewed work on a new City of Jasper website which would allow for better communication among employees, a center for doing business outside of Jasper, as well as creating electronic forms to rent city facilities.
Seitz also noted achievements in modernized changes to gas and water line standards, which he says will save millions of dollars while maintaining safety standards. Lastly he noted the purchase of the Jasper fire Department’s newest fire engine, pumper 7. The department’s vehicles are replaced on a rotating cycle of oldest engines first.
Seitz says in years to come he looks forward to carrying on 2012 activities as well as future projects that include funding of a comprehensive storm water mitigation plan, support for and emphasizing the importance of I-67 and connecting to I 69 and exploration of other economic development tools such as shovel-ready property, certified technology parks and a port authority.
Mayor Seitz will provide his state of the city address two more times in the next couple weeks. Feb. 27th at 7 am before the Jasper Optimist Club at Shoney’s Restaurant and finally the mayor will speak before the Lions Club at their lunch meeting at noon Wednesday March 6th at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 673 located along Newton Street.