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P. O. Box 29
Jasper, IN 47547
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Mayor's Blog

Mayor's Blog

Jun 1st, 2018
07:53 AM
May 1st, 2018
08:21 AM
about 1 month ago

You’ve got to think about the big things
while you’re doing the small things,
so that all the small things go in the right direction.”
                               Alvin Toffler - American writer, futurist, and businessman

Big things, little things, all sorts of things are happening right now in Jasper and I promise you if it weren’t for all the “small things”, none of the big things would be taking place!

On the list of “Big Things” we include:

  • The Parklands of Jasper
  • The Astra
  • River Centre
  • The Jasper Cultural Center
  • …and the many residential, commercial and industrial projects including the conversion of two former, abandoned factories into housing!

Every one of these successes has been the result of Vision and Planning followed by Execution.  Each of them has involved dozens, perhaps hundreds
of people and even more appointments, meetings and lists of items to complete.

When you experience The Astra, see the beams go up at River Centre, watch the grass grow at The Parklands and prepare for demo on the Jasper Cultural Center site, I ask that you contemplate all the little things as we celebrate the big ones.

Grow With Us!

Mayor Terry Seitz

Mar 29th, 2018
02:06 PM
about 2 months ago

Through their day-to-day work, City of Jasper staff members have the wellbeing of the City at heart and the future of the City in mind. We thank the people of Jasper for the support and the gratitude which is regularly received by our staff.”

Mayor Terry Seitz
2018 State of the City

These were among the many activities in the City of Jasper in 2017!

                       Jasper By the Numbers 2017

135 – number of events conducted by the Jasper Arts Department.

99.9% – the percentage of tickets sold for the Spirit of Jasper.

8,500 – feet of sidewalk replaced throughout the City.

5,640 – feet of curb and gutter replaced throughout the City.

353 – number of runs made by the Jasper Volunteer Fire Department.

170 – number of false alarms responded to by JVFD.

4 – ISO property insurance rating for the City of Jasper.

75 – acres.  Size of The Parklands of Jasper – opening Spring 2018.

$31,295,121 – value of the new building permits issued in 2017.

13,000 – calls for service by the Jasper Police Department.

400 West – a joint City/County road improvement project led by the Jasper Street and Engineering Departments.

$42,150,000 – total sales of the Jasper Municipal Utilities.

$6,513.06 – bad debt written off by the Jasper Municipal Utilities.

47.75 – inches of rainfall recorded by the Jasper Wastewater Department.

576,874,050 – gallons of water processed at the Jasper Water Department.

Mar 1st, 2018
07:40 AM
about 3 months ago

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
                                                                                  Abraham Lincoln    

     Our 16th President was known for his wit and wisdom, much of it honed during his formative years here in Southwest Indiana. In the quote, Lincoln was responding to the ratio between planning and action. I am in agreement with his statement that proper preparation yields a better outcome.

     As a municipal government the City of Jasper has a responsibility to be prepared for sudden occurrences and an even greater role to lead in planning for the future, to be proactive about where the community needs to be in five years, ten years and beyond. A key way we do this is through a Comprehensive Plan.

     In the next few months the City of Jasper will embark on developing a new Comprehensive Plan and there will be many opportunities for you to become part of this process.  Comp Plans – as they are referred to – are required, but putting them to use after they are complete is not a requirement. However, Jasper’s 2010 Comp Plan and the subsequent 2013 Downtown/Riverfront Master Plan have been tremendous guiding tools for almost every aspect of what is happening in Jasper today.

     This is your invitation to watch and listen for your opportunity to set the stage for the future of Jasper by helping on our new Comprehensive Plan. You’ll be glad you did!   

Mayor Terry Seitz

Feb 1st, 2018
07:35 AM
about 4 months ago

"Know safety; No injury.  No safety, Know injury.”

                                                               Author unknown

         This past November, the City of Jasper and its employees, were recognized with another INSHARP designation by the Indiana Department of Labor. It begins our 14th year of INSHARP certification.

         INSHARP is a federally recognized program, providing recognition, rewards and ongoing support to small Hoosier employers that operate exemplary safety and health management systems. Certification in INSHARP is an achievement of status that will single employers out among business peers as a model worksite for occupational safety and health.

        What does INSHARP certification mean to Jasper citizens?

  • It means city employees are provided the highest level of safety and training.
  • Of more than 150,000 organizations in Indiana eligible for INSHARP, only 40 have met the stringent qualifications.
  • Jasper remains the only government – state, county or municipal – INSHARP-certified in Indiana.
  • Every workplace in the City is part of INSHARP – not just one. That is an astounding achievement.
  • Thank you to our Safety Committee and our Personnel/Safety/Loss Control Department – Cale Knies and Cindy Hochgesang – for all your work!

SAFETY NEVER TAKES A HOLIDAY!


Mayor Terry Seitz

Dec 27th, 2017
08:54 AM
about 5 months ago

"Nobody makes a greater mistake than he who does nothing because he could do only a little."

Edmund Burke, British statesman

          I am writing these words as an invitation to “do a little” for the City of Jasper in 2018.  This is your invitation to participate in our second annual Jasper Citizens Academy.

The Jasper Citizens Academy will deliver information about how your local government operates.  You’ll meet elected officials and every department leader.  Plus, you’ll visit City Hall and all other city departments.

Participants in the Jasper Citizens Academy will attend classes at City Hall, Jasper Arts Center, Jasper Wastewater Facility, Jasper Gas & Water Treatment Facility, Habig Center, Jasper Street Department, Jasper Police Department and Jasper Volunteer Fire Department Kiefer Fire Station. You’ll see equipment operate and have a chance to ask questions.

Classes will be held the second and fourth Tuesday of each month, February 6 - May 15, 2018 from 6:30PM – 8:30PM.  To enroll, email Lisa Bower at lbower@jasperindiana.gov or call at 812.482.4255.  A minimum of 10 participants will be required with a maximum of 15 in the class.  “Do a little” in 2018!

LEARN ABOUT WHERE YOU LIVE!

Mayor Terry Seitz

Dec 1st, 2017
08:30 AM
about 6 months ago

“…quality of place is a useful and important element
in attract
ing talent and building healthier, happier,
and more prosperous communities
.”

Richard Florida, American author

     The quote above emphasizes why the City of Jasper has set the tempo for the future with every action we have undertaken since 2012.  We are determined to take the best of what our city has and to improve upon it for the greater good of all. In today’s world, two essential components must be put in place by municipalities:  One is that we have to compete; the other is that we must collaborate.

     Jasper has an employment base equal to our population. The investments we are making in our community contribute to our leadership role and we must be reminded that other cities and regions are doing the same.  It is important for us to continue to be the regional center for employment, healthcare, shopping, lodging and dining.

     Collaboration is an equal force.  Such cooperation can achieve spectacular results such as the Jasper Community Arts and the Jasper Public Library joining together in the Jasper Cultural Center. We strive daily to work hand-in-hand with neighboring communities, our county or nearby regional partners.

     It truly is our goal to become a better, more attractive community for you, your family and future citizens to call home.  Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Mayor Terry Seitz

Nov 1st, 2017
08:17 AM
about 7 months ago

As Mayor of Jasper I am grateful for…

  • Our community spirit

  • Our city employees

  • Our city boards and commissions members

  • Our thousands of volunteers for hundreds of causes

  • Our military and our veterans

  • Our businesses – small and large

  • Our love of parks and arts

  • Our students, teachers and schools

  • Our churches

  • Our cleanliness

Most of all, my wife and family, whose love and support make every day special.

Give Thanks Daily

Mayor Terry Seitz

Sep 29th, 2017
07:44 AM
about 8 months ago

      On Friday, August 25, the City of Jasper lost a phenomenal leader – Chief of Police J. Michael Bennett.  The outpouring of sympathy indicated the impact Chief had – on his family, his department, his city and the law enforcement community.  This month’s message - the lyrics to “That’s What Brother’s Do” - written and performed by Indiana State Police office Kirby Stailey - is dedicated to Chief Bennett.

 

THAT’S WHAT BROTHER’S DO

Written By: Kirby W. Stailey

Copyright 2015

 

V1

Well after twenty weeks of Hell….the dream was coming true

He stood there while his dad, pinned a silver badge on blue

He knows he’d never made it, without his friends to pull him through

You’re never left behind, yeah that’s what brother do

 

V2

He worked most every night and raised a family too

There were struggles in his mind, from things he had to see and do

He knows he’d never made it without his friends to pull him through

They’re always by your side, yeah That’s What Brothers Do

 

C1

Side by side, they form the thin blue line

With honor and pride, try to keep the wrong from right

With a shiny coat of armor in brown, tan, or blue

They’ve always got your back, yeah That’s What Brothers Do

 

B

Well they had no way of knowing, that his next call would be his last

And the thin blue line was broken, with the news that he had past

 

V3

They led a flag-covered coffin, all the way through town

To a final resting place, where they laid the warrior down

And as they laid that folded flag on his widows lap

They said “You’ll never walk alone, cause we all have your back”

 

C2

Side by side they formed into a line

Salutes held high as they said their last goodbye

Then with shiny coats of armor and badges broke in two

They went back to the fight, cause That’s What Brothers Do

Oh, in his memory they still fight, cause That’s What Brothers Do

 

Kirby’s video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeXYlCiUwic

Aug 29th, 2017
02:55 PM
about 9 months ago

"Leadership is an opportunity to serve."

--J. Donald Walters, Author

Leadership is a quality only defined by its absence. Perhaps its best described by the phrase, "I’ll know it when I see it." Well, I saw it daily from Jasper Chief of Police, Mike Bennett.

Mike defined leadership at the highest level through respect. He respected his officers, communications team, auxiliary officers and staff. In turn, he received it back tenfold.

He respected the community he represented and the citizens he served.

He respected the position he held with honor.

And I respected him greatly.

Rarely a day passed without the two of us speaking in person or connecting by phone. He was always there, like a shadow...a gentle reminder that things would be okay. Some mornings I'd unlock the door to my office lobby and he'd be sitting inside waiting for me with a smile.

I'm going to miss him terribly. The City of Jasper is going to miss him even more. But I already know the Jasper Police Department will remain steadfast in carrying forth his leadership legacy.

A good leader doesn’t leave a leadership void; they leave a legacy of leadership into which another leader will ascend. That’s what Mike did.

May God be with Ann and Chief's entire family now and forevermore.

Mayor Seitz

Jul 31st, 2017
11:28 AM
about 10 months ago

“The whole purpose of education is to
turn mirrors into windows.”

Sydney J. Harris, American Journalist

          The quote for this month’s message represents the difference between inward thinking and outward thought.  When one is staring only at a mirror, there is but one focus:  the person in the mirror.  When one looks through a window there is an entirely different view.

          This month is back to school time for area students of all ages and opportunities will be created which could change lives or change the world.  I am an advocate of lifelong learning.  I am also a proponent of career and technical training in addition to a traditional four year degree after high school.

          A skilled and trained workforce will enable Jasper to continue the productivity which is the envy of the rest of Indiana.  Our products and services will remain desired and praised around the world because of the commitment to quality taught in our schools and at our workplaces.

          This school year I ask you to do two things:

1)  Observe for school children and school buses and
     never pass a school bus with the stop sign displayed.

2)  No matter what your age, learn one new skill or task
     before Christmas.

Let’s open some doors!

Mayor Seitz

Jun 30th, 2017
11:40 AM
about 11 months ago

Progress lies not in enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be.”

Khalil Gibran – Lebanese writer/poet

There is a great amount of construction work underway in Jasper.  Much of it is from our wonderful companies who are building commercial structures, a clinic and homes. Other projects are those the city is involved in and here’s an update for you:

We have over 20 street projects, numerous sidewalk improvements and much stormwater work underway.  We are also performing repairs and updates in all our utility departments and in many parks.  I’d like to thank city staff and our summer help for a job well done.

Smithville Fiber continues its giga city buildout.  You can learn more about their project at https://jasper.smithville.com.

Work at The Parklands of Jasper is ahead of schedule.  Formation of a center pond, foundations for the bridge, parking and The Pavilion are well underway.

It’s almost time for residents to move into Jasper Lofts, the 67-unit workforce apartment complex on the old JOFCO property at 13th & Mill.  Across the street, Miller-Valentine is wrapping up demolition work for Vine Street Lofts on the site of the former Jasper Wood Products.

The River Centre development by Boxer Girl recently received formal approval of tax credits from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation which enables them to complete the pre-construction planning.

Finally, the Jasper Arts Commission and the Jasper Public Library Board have awarded a design and construction document contract to CityWorks of Louisville for the Jasper Cultural Center.

Jasper is advancing toward what it will be!

Mayor Seitz

May 26th, 2017
01:12 PM
about 1 year ago

“The flag is the embodiment, not of sentiment, but of history. It represents the experiences made by men and women, the experiences of those who do and live under that flag.”
- Unknown


          There is a group of staff members who have a special role in the City of Jasper.  I refer to them as our “Flag Corps”. They are on call to lower and raise the flag as directed by the President of the United States or, at times, the Governor of Indiana.

          Jasper has many flags flying high across our skies and those that are on City properties are our responsibility to care for and symbolically lower to half-staff no matter what the time or day.  Often a notice is sent after hours or on weekends.  A system is in place to call upon staff at each department to perform the duty.  Other Flag Corps members attend to the flags at parks and other public places.

          The City can only lower the Stars and Stripes by official order from state or federal leaders.  As Mayor, I cannot order the American flag to be lowered.  However, in front of City Hall, we have three poles, one each for the American, State and City flags.  I can order the City flag only to be lowered for a commemoration.

          With the observance of Memorial Day, Flag Day and 4th of July occurring, I offer my thanks to all our Flag Corps members for the behind-the-scenes work they do!

Mayor Seitz

May 1st, 2017
01:56 PM
about 1 year ago

Individually, we are one drop.
Together, we are an ocean.”

Ryunosuke Satoro, Japanese author


Every year, I accept an invitation to speak to High Ponies participants, a springtime gathering of youth built around the topics of citizenship, exercise and activity, developed by Jill Wigand of Jasper.  My 2017 message was about CITY:

Communities

Investing in

Today’s

Youth

It’s rather fascinating to see what our youngest citizens know about local government.  For me, it’s back to basics as we explain about the obvious – police and fire – to the not-so-obvious such as running water and lights which magically come on with the flick of a switch.

Then I speak about citizenship and how many of them it takes to make us a community. Finally, we wrap it all up with a message about what Jasper will be like when they grow up and how Jasper leaders are focused on our future.

CITY – Communities Investing in Today’s Youth – is an acronym which represents the approach we are taking with Jasper today.  We are very fortunate for the vision, plans and implementation underway and for the city staff, boards and elected officials who are striving to make a better tomorrow possible.

Mayor Terry Seitz

Mar 31st, 2017
08:03 AM
about 1 year ago

Tell me and I forget.
Teach me and I may remember.
Involve me and I learn.”


-- Benjamin Franklin

          In 2016, the City of Jasper held its first “Touch a Truck” event.  Little did we know the impact we would have for the 700 children and adults in attendance. We had people of all ages ask about the work our city staff performed each day of service to our citizens.  Small children asked their parents if they could do work for the City when they grew up. Everyone loved to get close to the trucks, equipment and machinery they see around Jasper every day.  Mark your calendars for the 2017 City of Jasper Touch a Truck!

 

CITY OF JASPER TOUCH A TRUCK EVENT

Saturday, April 29th 9:00-11:00AM

Jasper Train Depot area

Open to the public & Free for all

Rain date:  May 6

Touch A Truck-2016

Mar 1st, 2017
12:40 PM
about 1 year ago

“At the end of the day, the goals are simple:
Safety and Security.”

-- Jodi Rell, former Governor of Connecticut”

            There is nothing better than to be healthy.  It’s so easy for us to take our health for granted until we have a minor bout with a cold or flu which knocks us down for a few days.  In the City of Jasper, we take a long-term approach to health, wellness, and safety.

            Through our Rejuvenate Jasper Wellness Program all employees of the city on duty have participated in wellness screenings several years running.  These annual events help us identify areas we need to improve upon and where to focus regular wellness activities.  In addition, a majority of employees undergo bi-monthly wellness sessions featuring blood pressure and weight checks and conversations with a certified counselor.

            On the job, our Personnel/Safety/Loss Control Department leads the way. The City of Jasper is the only government entity in Indiana which is INSHARP certified meaning we have met all standards for inclusion in the Indiana Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program.  Together, the City of Jasper has achieved more than a year of without a lost time injury!  For these efforts I thank Director Cale Knies, HR Assistant Cindy Hochgesang and our Safety Committee:

  • Tim Berger – Street Department/Fire Department
  • Mike Cravener – Gas and Water Department
  • Mike Gould – Gas and Water Department
  • Jeff Durcholz – Electric Department
  • Duane Lindauer – Police Department
  • Steve Hall – Park Department
  • Mark Pierce – Waste Water Department
  • J.P. Stemply – Park Department/Fire Department
  • Cindy Hochgesang – P/S/LC Department

Like the quote above says, at the end of the day it’s all about safety and security!

Mayor Terry Seitz

Feb 1st, 2017
01:53 PM
about 1 year ago

“Heroes don't wear capes they wear a police uniform.” 

A day doesn’t pass without a significant action by one or more members of the Jasper Police Department.  Under the direction of Chief Michael Bennett and Assistant Chief Nathan Schmitt, the 22 officers serve the citizens of Jasper well.  From homes to our schools, from highways to neighborhoods, JPD responds to calls from an ever-growing city.  In fact, Jasper has grown by nearly 1,000 people since 2010 - from 14,572 to 15,538.  JPD statistics indicate the increase and the changes in our society:

 

  • In 2016, there were 9,397 calls for service, a 28% increase since 2012.
  • In 2016, there were 4, 582 traffic stops resulting in 921 citations issued. This is a 9% increase in stops since 2013 and reflects a 4:1 warning-to-citation ratio. 
  • In 2016, there were 804 reports taken (accident, criminal, incident, etc.) a 34% increase since 2012.
  • In 2016, there were 517 criminal arrests, a 7% increase since 2012. There were 62 drug arrest with the K-9 in 2016, a 79% increase since 2013.
  • In 2016, officer reports show 71 community relations details (programs, car seat inspections, tours, etc.) an increase of 58% since 2012.
  • In 2016, there were 216 domestic violence calls, a 48% increase since 2014. This was a major factor in the Department becoming involved in the Lethality Assessment Program to help victims following an incident.
  • In 2016, officers drove 218,700 miles, a 3% increase over last year.

 

I am grateful for the work of the Jasper Police Department and you should be, too.

Mayor Terry Seitz

Jan 2nd, 2017
08:18 AM
about 1 year ago

How Jasper Is Implementing Our 2010 Comprehensive Plan
& Our 2013 Downtown/Riverfront Master Plan

In January of 2015, I provided an update on where we were as a city in response to the 2010 Comprehensive Plan which says: “There was overwhelming agreement the community should aggressively pursue ways to diversify its economy, continue to promote Jasper’s unique cultural history, as well as strengthen its quality of life.” The plan listed eight key issues and ideas:

  1. Support and strengthen local businesses in the community especially in the downtown area.
  2. Continue to support and expand recent development along the Patoka River.
  3. Capitalize on, and provide greater variety of, accommodations for visitors.
  4. Seek innovative ways to retain and/or redevelop underutilized factories or similar buildings in the downtown area.
  5. Preserve the surrounding rural setting (avoid sprawl) and seek ways to support local farm practices.
  6. Continue to support and strengthen Jasper’s unique arts and cultural programs.
  7. Encourage new development that reflects and enhances the unique character and qualities of the community.
  8. Provide a greater variety of affordable housing options as one method to attract families to Jasper.

That document also called for investing in planning for our downtown and riverfront leading to the 2013 Downtown/Riverfront Master Plan which states: “With this Plan as a blueprint, Jasper has put itself in the enviable position to re-imagine the character of the community in ways never before envisioned.” Key components are:

  1. The Courthouse Square
  2. Enhancing the City’s Relationship to the River
  3. Reuse of Former Industrial Properties
  4. Downtown Connectivity
  5. Integrating Art Into the Public Realm

As of January 2017, millions of dollars of private investment has been unleashed, local Economic Development Income Tax revenues have been judiciously leveraged and millions of dollars in donations have been received to be invested in our city core.  All these projects have included a very high degree of public transparency – from public information sessions attended by hundreds, numerous public advisory teams and actions taken at public meetings.

 

Jasper Quality of Place Investments

Project                                                 Investment      Funding Source(s)

Smithville Giga-City Fiber Build              $  7.0M (est.)    Private 

The Parklands of Jasper                        $  6.5M (est.)    City, State, Gifts

Jasper Lofts (old JOFCO)                       $15.0M (est.)     Private, City, State 

River Centre (old Jasper Cabinet)          $30.0M (est.)      Private, City infrastructure

Jasper Cultural Ctr. (old Hoosier Desk)   $17.0M (est.)      City, Library, State, Gifts

Vine Street Lofts (old Wood Products)    $14.0M (est.)      Private, City, State, County 

Astra Theater (Next Act LLC)                 $  1.6M (est.)      Private gifts, State grant

Multi-use Trail                                      $  2.5M (est.)      City, State grant

Downtown Jasper Revitalization             $  4.2M (est.)       State, City, Gifts

It will be wonderful to see construction begin on many of these projects in 2017 and continue with the development of others.  With so much support from the public, elected officials, boards and city departments we are truly “re-imaging the character of the community”! 

We’re very glad you call Jasper home!

Mayor Terry Seitz

Dec 1st, 2016
01:47 PM
about 1 year ago

“I’m stronger because of my hard times; wiser because of my mistakes; happier because of my sad experiences.”

Kushandwizdom

The holiday season is upon us.  Virtually every event, activity and workplace is filled with the gifting, helping others and many measures of kindness as we celebrate. Similarly for many, this time of year is replete with emotional triggers for which joy is not present.

          The quotation above symbolizes life’s balance.

          First, there is no adult among us who hasn’t faced challenges at some point.  Using those moments as learning experiences is essential and overcoming obstacles enables us to be compassionate to others facing them.

          Secondly, none of us has gone through life without making a mistake and we’re probably annoyed with a few people who think they haven’t!  One should always attempt to minimize errors and, when they occur, to gain knowledge which prevents them from being repeated.

          Finally, the most significant negative impact this time of year is sadness – often from the loss of loved ones who are not able to share with us any longer.  Here is where understanding the root of happiness is so very important.  That is:  Being happy comes from within not from another.

          I extend my prayers for happiness to all citizens of Jasper and our city employees now and in the future. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Mayor Terry Seitz

Oct 31st, 2016
04:10 PM
about 1 year ago

“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.” 

Alphonse Karr, French author


          It’s human nature to complain rather than give praise.  Traditionally, gossip spreads much faster than the Gospel and none of us are immune.  For example, recently I had an elective medical procedure to alleviate a condition that’s bothered me for years.  Yet, within 24 hours, I found myself expressing disappointment for having to temporarily wear a sling!

          We really do need Thanksgiving!

          Thanksgiving remains a nationally-treasured holiday…not because it’s a precursor to the holiday shopping season…not because of parades and football…but because of the simplicity of its two basic tenets:  Food and fellowship.

          The opportunity to share a meal with another opens the door to conversation and talking leads to understanding.  Thanksgiving enriches us through human outreach, community meals and gatherings of all kinds of “families”.

          I wish to thank employees of the city for the work they do, especially for those working on holidays on our behalf.  And to the citizens of Jasper, we are grateful to be your hometown.

 

Blessings,

Mayor Terry Seitz