||A Tradition in Progress
STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS
by Mayor Terry Seitz
For the last two years I've often expressed my admiration for the employers in Jasper and Dubois County. Driven by the world marketplace, our locally-owned or operated companies have not only embraced new technologies and new techniques, they have enhanced existing methods and models. They have created opportunities from challenges. I admire their spirit.
As Mayor of Jasper, it is my privilege to see these activities from a unique vantage. At the same time, it is my duty to evoke the same spirit in our community - the enthusiasm, energy and enterprising essence which makes Jasper, Jasper. We have invested the last 12 months initiating what we had in mind for Jasper. We have done so
with three keystone attributes: People, Process and Perseverance.
In the book "Good to Great", author Jim Collins talks not only
about the importance of getting the right people on the bus, but
emphasizing that excellence comes from getting them into the right
After meeting with potential city appointees before and following
the 2011 election I quickly had two key understandings: 1) We had a
good team of people and, 2) The appointment process was NOT going
to become a political process. To that end, I re-appointed . . .
*Street Commissioner Raymie Ecklerle
*Assistant Commission Jeff Theising
*Park & Recreation Director Ken Buck
*The mayor's administrative assistant, Lois Kuntz
*City Engineer Chad Hurm
*Arts Director Kit Miracle
*Fire Chief/Code Enforcement Office *Assistant Chief of Police Nathan Schmitt
*Utilities General Manager Bud Hauersperger
*Gas & Water Superintendent Mike Oeding
*Wastewater Superintendent Ed Hollinden
*Electric Distribution Manager Jerry Schitter
I am pleased with the performance of these women and men and,
while we may touch on some of their departmental achievements
during these remarks, I encourage you to view the last few pages of this
address for details of the various activities of your city government in
2012. Four new department leaders were brought on board, three of
them due to voluntary retirement or resignation.
*Darla Blazey - Director of the Department of Community
Development & Planning.
*Renee Kabrick - City Attorney
*Cale Knies - Director of Personnel/Safety/Loss Control
*Mike Bennett - Police Chief
In additional to meeting and beginning to know the people in City
government, I have spent an enormous amount of time learning the
processes - attempting to comprehend why, how, and who does things.
And, I questioned many things. In fact, I still do and I always will, for I
believe the best results are achieved by asking "How might we?"
instead of "Why should we?"
The appointment of four new department heads last year and the
affirmation of our other leaders opened the door for consideration of
new processes. Here's insight into processes of the departments with
The City of Jasper and the Jasper Municipal Utilities share full-time legal
counsel. In 2012 we split those duties by utilizing the firm of Shaneyfelt
& Bohnenkemper the first six months of transition followed by hiring in-
house attorney Renee Kabrick since. Renee, a former member of our
city council, returned to Jasper to assume the lead in our law
department on July 1. She told me during the interview process she
had the ability to ramp up quickly many subjects. She has she been
true to her word and has become a very valuable resource to every city
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT & PLANNING
Former Governor Daniels had his Major Moves highway program. We
have had major moves in our building and zoning department. In fact,
we restructured the entire operation into the Department of
Community Development & Planning, broadening the duties of the
director to include all the work the building commissioner and zoning
administrator performed plus economic development, redevelopment
and marketing/branding. Knowing that building and zoning are
extensions of ordinances, I was confident Darla could learn those
detailed operations. Our focus was going to be on the other aspects of
developing our community and acting on our Comp Plan.
I consider ourselves very fortunate to have brought on board as
Director of Personnel/Safety/Loss Control, Cale Knies, a Jasper native
who has returned home. In 2012 Cale and the HR Generalist, Cindy
Hochgesang, attended a higher education course at USI and each
received a Professional in Human Resources designation.
I appointed Mike Bennett, a 33-year veteran of the Indiana State Police
and past Asst. Commander of the Jasper Post, as the Chief of the Jasper
Police Department. One of the first things Chief Bennett did was to
revise the patrol schedules and I can't tell you how many people asked
me last year if we added officers. The answer is "no", but we deploy
them better, and the proof is in the numbers. Traffic arrests/warnings
for 2011 totaled 2,615. For 2012, they doubled to 5,200.
With our people as our prime asset; our processes in place and
consistently monitored, we now focus on perseverance. This attribute
is one of mission - the dedication to identify opportunities or face
challenges, plan effectively and extraordinarily execute while exhibiting
the highest standards of legal, moral and ethical conduct.
12 SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENTS IN 2012
FOR THE CITY OF JASPER
*ReJuvenate Jasper Wellness Program
*Commencing a Downtown Jasper/Riverfront Master Plan
*Jasper Country Club parkland purchase
*Establishing the Department of Community Development & Planning
*Better utilization of our Economic Development Commission and Redevelopment
Commission and delivering four new tax phase-ins and preparing for Tax Increment
*New sign ordinance and funding of first review of zoning ordinances in 20 years
*Work on a new City of Jasper website
*Water emergency actions
*Change in gas line/water line standards
*Improvement of the City's ISO Rating to 4
*Arrival of new Fire Truck 7
At the beginning of 2013 with a large number of significant
opportunities in our great City in the coming months. Several of the
2012 activities will carry into the new year and beyond. In addition, I
look forward to:
*Funding of a comprehensive stormwater mitigation plan
*Support for and emphasizing the importance of connecting Jasper
and Dubois County to I-69 via a new highway.
*Exploration of other economic development tools for the City of
Jasper such as shovel-ready property, a certified tech park and a
In closing, I am confident and optimistic - confident in our employees,
in the elected officials who join me in leading your city government
and, most of all, in the citizens of Jasper. Optimistic as we create our
vision, set strategic direction and implement actions to benefit our
citizens, our county and our region. Jasper is indeed the Gem of
Indiana. I'm honored to be your Mayor.
2012 HIGHLIGHTS OF ACTIVITIES OF THE DEPARTMENTS OF THE CITY OF JASPER AND JASPER MUNICIPAL UTILITIES
POLICE - Chief Michael Bennett 812.482.2255
In 2012, JPD conducted or initiated the following:
o Promotion of Rick Chambers to Det. Sergeant
o Promotion of Jeremy Lee to Patrol Sergeant
o Promotion of Becky Schmitt to Chief Communications Office
*Computer-aided dispatch permitting more patrol efficiency
*Revised patrol schedules, resulting in?
o Doubling of 2012 traffic arrests/warnings from 2011 - 5,200 vs. 2,615
STREET DEPARTMENT - Raymie Eckerle 812.482.1130
Trivia: How many miles of streets are in the City of Jasper? Answer: 110
Street Commissioner Raymie Eckerle and his department led several major projects:
*Division Road, part 2
*Widening, paving and storm water work at 37th & Victory Drive
*Completing the 4th & final phase of Badendorf storm water project
*Repaving 5.41 miles of streets or alleys
*Over 2,300 feet of sidewalk was replaced along with installation of 45 handicap access ramps
In 2013, major projects include the repaving of a section of 3rd Avenue following a line
replacement and revamping of Kluemper Road. And, I wish to congratulate Raymie for being
elected by his peers to President of the Indiana Street Commissioners Association.
ENGINEERING & STORMWATER - Chad Hurm 812.482.4255
Most of our internal projects are developed and supervised by our City Engineer, Chad Hurm, including spearheading our Multi-Use Trail program. He also serves as our ADA coordinator and, as we have worked diligently on our city planning and economic development strategies, he has played a key advisory role. The City's stormwater program continues to implement
guidelines and work with residents and businesses to diminish run-off. We are currently designing a plan to mitigate several long-standing stormwater problems in a single repair program.
FIRE - Chief Kenny Hochgesang 812.482.1741
The Jasper Volunteer Fire Department had several key achievements in 2012:
*Through the efforts of the Jasper Volunteer Fire Department, the Gas & Water
Department and the JPD communications team, the City of Jasper received an upgraded
insurance rating or ISO rating going from a 5 to a 4 a feat very rare for a rural
community with a volunteer fire department. This designation lowers property and
casualty insurance rates.
*In March, a new pumper was put into service - Truck 7
*In December the Mayor was granted a long-time wish - to ride in the truck with Santa and operate the sirens.
PERSONNEL/SAFETY/LOSS CONTROL - Cale Knies 812.482.4255
In 2012 Cale Knies and HR Generalist, Cindy Hochgesang, attended a higher education course at USI and we congratulate them on earning a designation of Professional in Human Resources.
Also, this department:
*Kicked off the new Rejuvenate Jasper Wellness Program for city insured employees
*Began a monthly employee newsletter
*Conducted a review of the City?s insurance coverage
*Maintained our award-winning Safety Team
PARK & RECREATION - Ken Buck 812.482.5959
I would put our Park Department on par - pun intended - with any other in the State. Director Ken Buck and his staff operate approximately 24 assets in operation including several no other city has such as a passenger train and mill. And, of course, the park department led the interest
in the Jasper Country Club property.
*The Spirit of Jasper had a fantastic season in 2012 with sold out rides and lots of PR. In fact, we turned a profit of just under $10,000 with over 3,500 passengers. The 2013 schedule is posted and reservations are being taken online at spiritofjasper.com and our cars are available for private charter.
*The City Mill gave 34 group programs and hosted over 2,500 visitors including folks from Germany, Great Britain, Australia, Thailand, China, India, Japan & Austria. The mill hosted the Great Lakes Chapter of SPOOM - Society for Preservation of Old Mills in May and this year we?ll host the national convention.
*2012 was the best year in a long time in golf. Total revenues at Ruxer - $144,000, up $39,000; Muni - $435,000, up $83,000. The news for 2013 is that the Common Council
authorized the sale of beer at both courses.
*Over 800 kids were involved in youth baseball and softball and 625 kids were in soccer. The Sports Complex impacted local tourism and economic development by serving host to 8 traveling tournaments. The outlook is for 14 this summer and 4 others could not be accommodated due to scheduling or lodging availability. All this is in addition to our swimming pool, summer recreation programs and the Habig Center where we serve the senior citizens of our community, provide transportation community meeting space.
*One of the cool things we do is our Arbor Day tree giveaway. Mike Oeding and a team
of volunteers gave away 1,000 trees last year in just 3 hours and that's a continual
increase from the 200 trees the first year.
*In 2012 we installed public access wifi in the area of the Mill, Depot and Dave Buehler
Plaza, restrooms were added at the Sports Complex and Central Green and the sport of
Pickleball was introduced at the existing Gutzweiler Park tennis courts.
*Reserved bookings for 15 special events, 17 walks/runs, 14 weddings, 63 shelterhouse
rentals at the Riverwalk, in Jaycee or Bohnert Park, 3 barn rentals and 97 Depot rentals.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT & PLANNING - Darla Blazey 812.482.4255
This new department incorporates the former Building Commissioner/Zoning Administrator
role to include all those elements plus economic development, redevelopment, marketing/ branding and building out our 2010 Comprehensive Plan. 2012 achievements:
*Assisted five companies with successful tax phase-in applications
*Held education sessions on economic development and incentives such as TIF
*Began regularly scheduled meetings of the EDC and RDC to move conversations forward
regarding economic development
*Budget approved for update of the Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Control Ordinance
*Updated Sign Ordinance
*Planned and negotiated Downtown Riverfront Master Plan with CityVisions
*I-67 work and promotion
*Funded and started work on a new City website and community image
*Building permits were up 7% over 2011 and surpassed 2008, 2009 and 2010
*Permanent sign permits were up 40%
ARTS - Kit Miracle 812.482.3070
Jasper is the only city in the State of Indiana, and I believe, the Midwest, to have a municipal funded arts department. I wish to note the Jasper Arts Department generated over 45% of its annual budget - $215,301. It also operated $111,605 under budget leaving a taxpayer investment of only $90,706 of direct city funding. In 2012, Jasper Community Arts served nearly
40,000 patrons through several ventures:
*New Directions Series to reach 25-45 year old audience
*Senior Outreach program to area nursing homes
*Rental of the Jasper Arts Center and staff for arts-themed birthday parties
*First Thursdays ? a combined venture with the downtown merchants ? average of 50-75
*9th Annual Chalk Walk brought into the downtown 500 artists and 3,500 visitors
*2014 headliners include country music legend Clint Black and the Osmond Brothers
*10,000 Maniacs rescheduled for May 18, 2013
UTILITIES - Bud Hauersperger, GM 812.482.9131
Our utilities - gas, water, electric and wastewater - have capacity for us to grow as a city whether it is through residential growth as people move here to enter our workforce or in the commercial/industrial sectors. They are a key component of our economic development strategy.
ELECTRIC GENERATION - Windell Toby 812.482.3003
ELECTRIC DISTRIBUTION - Jerry Schitter 812.482.6881
In 2012, our central electric substation was converted from fuses to breakers, we continued to move distribution from overhead-to-underground and our power plant continues to be viable and is maintained as part of our contract with our power supplier, IMPA, and our contract with Jasper Clean Energy. The utilities also purchased a private residence and property adjacent to
the power plant.
WASTEWATER - Ed Hollinden 812.482.3277
Our wastewater plant is 20 years old and we'll be facing some expected maintenance issues due to the age; therefore a rate increase was adopted. In light of that, I also want to note that outside inspections lauded our maintenance program saying they have never seen this type of equipment in as good of shape for its age. We do work hard for our ratepayers.
GAS & WATER - Mike Oeding 812.482.5252
Our water department was in the news all summer long when we declared a water emergency. The cause for what lowered the levels of the Patoka River so quickly at the end of June has never been determined but when water stopped flowing over the dam and at Dubois and the one here, it was a concern. In times of crisis much can be learned and what transpired to declare an emergency and officially notify water customers was one of the City-s finest
Additionally, the rehab projects of the Beaver Lake spillway and the north water tower were completed and we-re planning to replace a 60-year old line from Staat Strasse to Hopf Ave along 3rd Ave in 2013. Most important of all - Gas & Water worked 44,000 man hours without a loss time accident.
Thanks to Utilities personnel, both in the office and in the field, for the work they do which keeps our lives go and growing each and every day.
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