STATE OF THE CITYI would like to express my appreciation to our city council, Clerk-Treasurer, our department heads, our staff and our partners throughout the community. We often hear the term, “It takes a village….,” in a variety of contexts. We truly are that village that pulls together to meet the needs of our fellow citizens and that capitalizes on opportunities. In this short narrative, 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.
Through the work of our department heads and our Clerk-Treasurer, we ended the year on a sound financial footing. The county’s adoption of the Public Safety Local Income Tax allowed us to make some substantial investments in our public safety forces.
Through careful management, in the last two years, we have been able to provide some modest salary increases for our team.
A few key highlights:
Total Receipts of $23.8 million
Total Expenditures of $19.8 million
Cash Balance increased by approximately $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 tend to remain very tight due to the limited tax revenues that fund these accounts.
ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH
2017 was a good year for investment in our community. Our Building Inspector issued 165 permits representing an investment of over $28 million. Twenty-one of these permits were for new single family homes. Several more were for multi-family units. Through housing development we can continue to make our community attractive to new families. Over time, these investments help us grow our property tax base.
Through a partnership with a developer, we completed a housing study that shows we have additional opportunities to invite new families to join our community, if housing were available at various price points. The Whispering Winds at Woods Edge is one of those developments helping to meet our housing demands.
Recently Kristin Clary at the Development Center shared some updated employment numbers. In 2013, we had over 3,000 people employed by our local companies. As the country has moved out of the recession, that number has grown to over 4,500.
Crown Equipment and Heartland Automotive invested in expansions of their operations. Long term these investments will result in an additional 100 full time employment opportunities.
DOWNTOWN AND DEPAUW
We saw an increase in our promotional efforts and the opening of the Bridges project. Increased actions by the Putnam County Convention and Visitors Bureau have helped bring new visitors to the community. Main Street, the chamber, the CVB and other groups continue to work to encourage a family friendly environment as part of these activities.
Started in 2017 and continuing in 2018 our wayfinding planning efforts continue to make progress. If all goes, well, we should see the first sign installations later this year.
As a community we continue to partner with DePauw University on a wide range of projects, from investments by alumni to partnerships with students. For example, the university hosts the Women’s Basketball Tournament for Indiana Special Olympics. Over thirty teams and over 250 players participated. The event brought families, fans, and coaches to our community. We all continue to enjoy the great arts and sporting events offered on campus.
As a community, we provide a wide range of services to you, our residents. I would like to highlight some of the great work of our departments.
The fire department responded to 1,096 requests for assistance including mutual aid to our neighbors in the county. The department continues their fire inspection and public education work.
The members of the department are enjoying renovated living quarters, the first significant renovation since the fire station was constructed in the 1970s.
We also replaced all of the breathing equipment and radios This safety equipment allows our staff to return home to their families after protecting our families.
In the near future, we will be replacing one of our pumper trucks and the aerial tower. The Public Safety LIT will allow us to make these investments.
Our police department was able to add a 17th officer in 2017. In total, officers responded to 5,805 calls for service and made 2,162 traffic stops. The police department also benefited from new safety equipment, new radios and AEDs available to all shifts in patrol cars. 2017 was the first full year of patrol by our K-9 officer. This officer was deployed 40 times during the first 16 months of work with the department. In addition, the officer participated in a wide range of public relations events.
Notable work by the police department included 106 drug arrests, an area of activity that our Council has asked the department to emphasize. Officers were able to administer Narcan six times to individuals, thus saving their lives.
The day to day work of our officers helps to protect our families and insures that our community remains a safe place to live and work.
PUBLIC WORKS AND ENGINEERING
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
Zinc Mill Road Grant – Obtained $1,968,800 with engineering work started in
- Construction is expected in 2021 or 2022.
Locust Street – Obtained $1,284,506 for construction in 2023.
These grants total over $4.4 million that our public servants earned for our community through their creativity, grant writing skills, and hard work.
In 2017, our Department of Public Works repaired and replaced, 4,174 linear feet of sidewalk, installed 55 HC ramps, and for the first time, installed 1,676 linear feet of new sidewalk. An additional 3,895 linear feet of curbing was installed. These investments help make our community more accessible for individuals and families.
Investments were made on the following streets – 9,765 linear feet of paving:
West Washington Street – including curbs and storm drainage
Market Street – including curbs and sidewalks
Anderson Street – including curb repair
An additional 9,410 linear feet of preventative maintenance on the following streets was completed:
East Washington Street – Maintenance
Indianapolis Road – Maintenance
Jackson Street – Maintenance
Two Parking Lots
Other significant projects include the completion of South Street, repair of a significant sink hole on Market Street and completion of the sign replacement project. This work is in addition to the day to day work of patching, leaf removal, snow removal, and storm sewer maintenance.
Also, in 2018, INDOT is scheduled to install a traffic light at SR 240 and Percy Julian Drive.
Our planning department received a storm water planning grant in the amount of $35,000 that will be implemented in 2018.
The department continues to work on Healthy Communities initiatives and Active Living efforts with the Putnam County Hospital and the Purdue Extension Service. 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. Plans have been drawn up, grants obtained, and work will begin in the spring of 2018.
A significant amount of time by volunteers, staff and the board resulted in the adoption of a new five year plan for our parks. This updated plan now makes us eligible for a variety of grants. We are looking forward to implementation of various projects for the enjoyment of our citizens.
Enhancing our recreation efforts, People Pathways and its contingent of volunteers and community partners completed another two miles of trail to the southwest of Greencastle. INDOT has the campus link trail out for bid with construction scheduled for the spring of 2018.
Our Parks Department staff continues to offer a wide range of family friendly programming.
FOREST HILLS CEMETERY
Again, working in partnership with a community organization, the Heritage Preservation Society of Putnam County and many others, the wonderful Civil War Monument has been restored to memorialize our veterans for many more years into the future. We appreciate the financial support from the Division of Historic Preservation and Archeology at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
Our city attorney 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. Significant progress was made in 2017 in regard to our personnel manual, several zoning updates, and other legal matters. We have also developed a great deal of in-house expertise in complying with all of the requirements related to INDOT projects.
UTILITIES – Wastewater
New this year, the department completed 2,500 linear feet of sanitary sewer lining. The lining of existing pipes minimizes neighborhood disruption and brings lines back up to a serviceable standard.
The plant also has a new, much smaller, and far more efficient office building. Improvements continue to be made at the plant such as refurbishment of the two clarifiers.
Our efforts to operate our plant at or better than the required standards insures good water quality for our neighbors downstream.
UTILITIES – Water
At the water department, the plant renovation was wrapped up with the installation of new valve actuators and additional automation upgrades.
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.
Of significance to our local families, the Commission continues to move forward on the community center project. The architect has been working on the design and efforts are underway to acquire the site.
The Commission is also investing in Big Walnut Sports Park. Work has started on improvements to the girls’ ball diamonds with new ADA sidewalks and a paved parking lot. In 2018, work will continue on the boys’ diamonds with similar improvements.
In 2017, our Redevelopment Commission supported investments in the reconstruction of Jackson Street and completed the engineering work for Indianapolis Road.
Long term, we continue to work toward becoming a family friendly community. In 2018, we will continue to encourage our community partnerships, seek out more housing opportunities, and encourage the development of more educational opportunities at Area 30 and Ivy Tech to allow our young people to fill the jobs our employers are creating.
As I mentioned, “It takes a village…” I invite you to participate and play a role in creating our village and inviting others to join our village.
Thank you for your support during the last two years in my service as your mayor. More importantly thank you for the support of the men and women that work diligently to serve you, our friends and neighbors in our community.
William A. Dory, Jr.