Mayor gives annual state of city report
Baldwin City has faced a number of challenges during the past year, but has also seen some growth and made strides in improving the life of the community.
That was the message Mayor Ken Hayes expressed in his State of the City speech Tuesday night at the Baldwin City Council meeting.
"Since the election of 2001, there has been a process in Baldwin City of the newly elected officials coming to grips with the responsibilities of office, and settling in to the job at hand," Hayes said. "The city staff and current council members were instrumental in making this a smooth transitional process and approaching the changes that were wrought with an open mind and a healthy dose of experience to temper our exuberance for change."
He said the city has been able to accomplish a number of items including the beginning of construction of the new wastewater treatment plant, the beautification of city parks and the downtown area, the addition of a part-time fire inspector and the televising of city council meetings.
Also important to the city that the administration accomplished, he said, was a three-mill tax reduction in the 2002 fiscal budget, the evaluation of city service and utility rates and an implementation of a chain of command of the city staff.
"These accomplishments are an excellent step toward improving our city and thereby increasing our quality of life," Hayes said.
The city will also be looking at a number of new projects, he said, in upcoming months including the construction of a power plant, rerouting the water line around the Baker Wetlands and the planning of bridge replacements on 11th and Fifth streets.
Hayes said growth has been an important aspect in Baldwin this past year.
"We have seen an abundance of small enterprises spring to life in the city," he said. "Our services and infrastructure have improved and will continue to do so."
He said the growth has attributed to the recent circulation of money in Baldwin.
"One of the striking revelations of 2002 is that continued investment in our community is the key to controlling our rates of utilities and taxation," Hayes said. "Raising taxation of our residents is not the answer. Offering the opportunity for them to spend their hard-earned dollar in Baldwin City is the goal.
"The encouragement of businesses, and more importantly employers, to locate in Baldwin City is another means to an end," he said.
Amid all of the successes, the city has also seen its share of problems, he said, but has managed to work through them.
"Baldwin City has faced many challenges over the course of last year," he said. "As a community we have dealt with ruptured water supply lines, power failures and challenges of management in our police force. We have persevered and are looking to the future."
Hayes said he expects to see some of the same type of successful results the city experienced last year.
"Our city has made great strides in the last 12 months and has enjoyed an openness and interaction between citizens and government not previously experienced," he said. "This trend will continue and I will seek to accomplish the goals ... while fostering the development of our community as a better place to live."