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Since becoming Mayor over four years ago, our Country has been confronted with financial challenges some say have not been seen since the great depression. You have heard that before, and you have heard it from me. Each of my previous State of the City messages has included similar comments. However, today my optimism grows, as I am very pleased to tell you, that together we are writing a different ending to that story. One of survival not extinction, one of growth not status quo, one of success not failure. Where we once stood at the top of the economic downturn, we now lead the Nation in recovery. There were many financial hurdles thrown in our way, but we are succeeding! And in-spite of those financial challenges, we are in pretty fair financial shape. Controller The cash balance of the City's treasury at the end of dollars, a decrease from the
2010 2011

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was $91.3 million

ending balance of $95.4 million. The decrease is

attributed to completion of capital expenses for the Lerner Theatre, which re-opened in
,I

2011

after extensive renovation. One hundred sixty seven (167) of the City's one hundred sixty eight (168) funds
-f1.~

maintained a positive cash balance at the end of the year. The other is a reimbursable fund and is expected to have a negative balance until reimbursed. The original civil City budget contemplated receipt of revenues in the amount of $58 million. Actual receipts, totaled $54 million. Property tax credits and taxes

uncollected for other reasons caused revenue to be lower than expected. Of the $35 million property tax levy for the
2011

civil

City budget, $27 million was collected. $7 million remained uncollected.

$6 million of

that was due to property tax credits. By comparison, the loss of property tax revenue due
1

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to property tax credits in 2010 was $4 million. The effects of those credits continue to rise. The loss is expected to be even higher in 2012. The approved net civil City budget for 2011 was $55 million appropriated among

twenty-eight (28) funds. The original budget was increased by $2 million in the form of encumbrances carried forward from 2010 and by $4 million in the form of additional

appropriations for a networking civil City budget of $61 million. Actual expenditures and encumbrances were $57.5 million. We recognized a

reduction in operational costs of $3.5 million. The reduction was comprised of savings of 41% in personal services, 2% in supplies, 51% in other services and charges, and 6% in capital outlay. The greatest proportion of savings occurred in other services and charges due to a reconciliation of liability insurance and inter-fund transfers. The next largest savings occurred in personal services where changes in personnel that caused vacancies contributed to reductions in expenditures in the areas of wages, employer's share of

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Social Security, Medicare, PERF, and group insurance. Our budget for 2011 at the end of the year returned
.d

$3.5 million dollars to the funds they came from. Once again

reinforcing my policy that a dollar appropriated is not a dollar spent. We have taken a loss in revenue of over $6 million and have reduced our operating costs by $4 million. We always operate with a balanced budget but we have not yet balanced our operation when compared with our tax losses. That will be done. Another $2 million dollars must be removed from our operating budget. The City had long term debt in the amount of $10.8 million dollars aggregated between two revenue bonds on January 1, 2011. Principal and interest in the amount of
2

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$1.6 million was paid during the year. The Park District Bond of 2006 was retired in 2011. Outstanding debt on the remaining bond was $10.3 million on December 31. This is the bond that we expect to recover $3 to $3.5 million in interest thru the American Recovery Act bonding program. Some of the figures I quoted are rounded up and down. Human Relations In 1965, the same year that the landmark Voting Rights Bill passed, Mayor John Weaver's administration created the Mayor's Commission on Human Relations. Today,

I
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the Human Relations Commission function continues. Economic Development There were five attraction and expansion projects that selected Elkhart in 2011 resulting in 329 new jobs bringing in $16.9 million dollars in real and personal property. This we add to the 1,400 new jobs we assisted with previously and the 1,200 retained which included $70 million dollars in taxable property. We assisted Thompson-Thrift

with the development of the southwest corner of County Road 6 and Cassopolis Street.
As this develops along with our Gateway project more jobs will become available.

The

department assisted in hosting the Mayor's Economic Development Summit. The process has begun for the creation of the South Main Street Gateway TIF. The new TIF will allow the City to have a funding source to help pay for beautification efforts along the southern gateway of Elkhart. There are commercial properties in this corridor and having TIF funds available makes this a much more attractive area for future commercial development.
3

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Brownfields In
2011,

the Brownfields Office spearheaded

the redevelopment

of the former

LaBour Pump site into an environmentally acquiring title to the dilapidated

friendly park. Future projects include
700

buildings at

West Beardsley and

1032

East

Beardsley. The Brownfields Office helped to clear 4.5 acres at the corner of Wagner and 6th Street. Poplar trees have been planted on the site because of their unique ability to

eliminate heavy metals from contaminated soil. In the future they can be harvested and sold to the RV Industry which imports over annually. Lerner In year
2011, 1 million

board feet of poplar from Italy

we saw downtown Elkhart really come alive with the opening of the
I

Lerner Complex, a week long opening with great local talent culminating with the Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof. What a wonderful week and all provided by Arthur Decio, First Source Bank and the Rex and Alice A. Martin Foundation. Also thanks to everyone else who contributed funding, planning and design, or the

construction of the building, and to Jack Cittadine our project manager. After some tough economic times, if there was ever a definitive turning point in a

,

I II II

public's perception regarding the health of our community, one could argue that the grand re-opening of the Lerner Theatre was that milestone.
15,000

people came to the

Lerner to enjoy a spectacular week of events. Followed immediately by the Jazz Festival, another
25,000

people went through the building in its first

10

days of operation. It is

4

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estimated

that

over

85,000

people

have walked

through

the

doors

enjoying

performances, fundraisers, corporate and private events, tours, etc. Our first 6 months of operations provided everything from musical legends such as George Jones, Kansas, and WAR to emerging artists including Emilee Allan, the Paul Dunton Quintet, and Davina and the Vagabonds. The Lerner is fortunate to have the City's own Municipal Band to call its stage "home", as well as our Elkhart County Symphony Orchestra, Premier Arts' productions and youth and educational programs. The Crystal Ballroom secured 49 contracted

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events by mid-June and ended 2011 with 150 commissionable events. A portion of the mural from the former Miles/Bayer building as well as an art collection donated by regional artists is now on permanent display. According to the City Controller's
j

2011 figures, commission

from the Crystal

Ballroom, ticket sales, rentals, and miscellaneous $196,000!

items, generated revenues totaling but as I have said

The Lerner is on its way to becoming self-sustaining,
·r1"

before some things you cannot put in a calculator. education, relaxation and entertainment.

Things like cultural exchange,

One thing we can put into that calculator is

this. When the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed, I had my Stimulus Task Force look for opportunities. We found one in the availability of federal tax credits. over the life of the designed by the

,

As a result, our City will save $3.3 million in interest payments

Lerner bonds! It was an $18 million dollar public/private

partnership

vision of many to provide cultural exchange, education, relaxation and entertainment for many years to come.
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Street Department This past year the Street Department continued to make strides catching up on our street paving program. 15,000 tons of asphalt and 6,900 gallons of crack sealing oil were used last year alone. We completed $7,000 worth of paid sidewalk orders. We

assisted the Community School Corporation with their sidewalk program as well. Our new street lining equipment allowed us to apply 1,748 gallons of street paint and 10,485 pounds of glass beads, numerous stop bars at intersections, and 269 directional arrows. We maintained more than 18 miles of alleys, using soil stabilizer for dust. We

picked up more than 49,000 cubic yards of leaves, and collected 13,500 cubic yards of dirt and debris with our street sweepers which should be passing by your home at least once every 10 days. Department of Information Technology
I

The LT. Department

continues to do a good job maintaining

our network, in-

spite of our financial challenges. LT. eliminated two DSL connections by upgrading the Lerner to a wireless

connection. Every day we rely on our technology to conduct the business of the City. It is our LT. Department that keeps us in business. National New York Central Railroad Museum The National New York Central Railroad Museum made great strides in 2011. More than 4,611 admissions and 346 new members were collected, an increase of 20% over 2010 and 30% when compared to 2009. Altogether, the Railroad Museum revenues
6

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totaled $44,475. Since May, the Railroad Museum has hosted several events which have drawn visitors from all over the United States. In June, we hosted the New York Central Historical Society for a daylong event. They have booked their National meeting and swap meet here this year. They were also host for the Conrail Historical Society annual meeting. We continue to have visits from schools, scout groups, nursing homes, and birthday parties. Our rolling stock cars will be getting a face lift soon with sandblasting of the NIBCO Express, the Museum's
2

and a fresh coat of paint. The restoration

foot

gauge train, has begun. With the assistance of the Buildings and Grounds Department and Central Garage, a storage shed/tunnel was built which will house the Express

through-out the year. Complete with a track extension, NIBCO Express will be up and running ready to carry our younger visitors on an exciting excursion around the railroad grounds by the end of this May. Emergency Management
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Our Emergency Management volunteers are a stellar group of individuals who go above and beyond for their City. Night or day, bad weather, or holidays, you will see them doing whatever is asked of them so that our first responders are free to carry out their duties. In 2011, Emergency Management worked 2,547 hours saving the City an

estimated $55,000. Now 16 members strong and all very proud of what they do, I am very appreciative of their volunteer efforts. In 2011, 3 Tornado Warning Sirens were added bringing the total to 10. Of those, 2 will be replaced in 2012.

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Environmental Center The Elkhart Environmental Center continues to provide substantial

environmental educational opportunities to the community. 2,562 pre and grade school children participated in programs that were presented in their classrooms and during field trips to the Center. 1,699 adults and children attended a variety of other public programs as well. Over 1,000 people attended our EnviroFest which was held at the Wellfield Botanical Gardens last July. The Aquatics Program is now celebrating its 15th year of monitoring local waterways, and in 2011 the program reached out and educated over 1,700 kids and adults through hands on educational programs. Public Utility Our Utility provides safe drinking water and the treatment of our wastewater in the most efficient and cost effective way possible. In 2011 they took their collection efforts to another level resulting in the recovering of $131,000 for our rate and taxpayers. Year "5 of the extended 12 year contract with Borden's was once again
.:,1:

successful. The City negotiated a decrease in service fees in excess of $80,000 for 2012 and 2013. The Water Utility treated and distributed 2.8 billion gallons of safe, clean

drinking water. Revenue to the Utility totaled $7.2 million and expenses totaled $6.6 million. The Wastewater Utility treated 5-4 billion gallons of wastewater. Wastewater revenue totaled $8.9 million and expenditures were $9.5 million. Our challenge is
8

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meeting the mandate of the Federal Environmental

Protection Agency to reduce our

Combined Sewer Overflows (CSO) in the next 17 years. The cost may have to be placed directly on the shoulders of those paying a monthly sewer bill. Our Engineering Side
2011

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was another busy year where projects have moved forward in-spite of The engineering group saved the taxpayers over $590,000
III

reduced

budgets.

engineering fees by doing work with our in-house staff. The City is now implementing our approved Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO)

and Long Term Control Plan (LTCP) in a manner that allows us the time to improve the rivers. The challenge is to do so without over burdening those who pay a monthly sewer charge. I continue my hope that before this project is completed an alternative source of funding will be found in order to reduce the burden on those who use the service .
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The Main Street Streetscape project has been completed and one year ahead of schedule. The merger of the Utilities that began in 1992 is completed. With input from the public, we helped solve several neighborhood problems such as the Lawndale groundwater issue, McPherson drainage issue, and the Pierre Moran

Neighborhood basement backup issue. We managed bike route signage and marked 3 routes requested by the Mayor's Pedal Panel. Fifteen projects were constructed in 2011 at a total cost of $7.9 million dollars and another 14 projects are planned for 2012.
9

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The Prairie Street Overpass is continuing

to move forward. Environmental

documents are expected to be completed soon and we expect to begin land acquisition this fall. The City received
$311,000

in federal funding for the construction

and

inspection costs to replace regulatory and warning signs in the City. 2,473 signs have been replaced. The energy efficiency upgrades for the Municipal Building included all new windows, heating, and cooling system, and have been completed. These upgrades

will not only significantly reduce the City's energy cost, but also provide a much more stable and comfortable workplace environment. Buildings and Grounds The Buildings and Grounds Department consists of 25 employees and some parttime summer help. They maintain over seventy five (75) properties, including the new Lerner Theatre. Always looking for cost savings, they implemented a light replacement program that will make our facilities more energy efficient. year, the City earned the Tree City USA Award. This department is truly remarkable. They mow, trim, spray, plant, water, dig, They maintain our playgrounds, ball diamonds, For the 23rd consecutive

shovel, and build, year round.

landscaping, flower planting and manage our greenhouse operation producing perennial plants for use in City landscapes and manage all of our sprinkler systems. continuous and as I said before, it's a remarkable achievement. Their work is

10

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Police Department Through noise and selective enforcement, the Police Department has been able to make our City quieter and safer including a reduction in traffic crashes. The department as a whole made
20,351

traffic stops that resulted in some type of enforcement action.

In respect to crime, we have increased our police presence through visibility by having more cars on the street. Traffic enforcement by patrol and selective enforcement is at an all-time high. More cars are being stopped and more crime is being discovered. Traffic stops reveal suspended drivers, outstanding warrants, drug dealers, burglars and robbers. Traffic enforcement is one of the most effective law enforcement tools available to us. When compared with down
23% 2010

Part

1 crime 2%.

statistics are as follows: Robberies were
2

in

2011.

Bp.rglaries were down
28%.

We had

homicides in

2010,

we had

3

in

I

2011.

Rapes were doJo by

In

2011

there were 9,979 citations,

5,448

warnings,

411

Noise Ordinance tickets, and .,,'
..«

4,232

parking citations were written . it is apparent that the implementations of our

After looking at the department

actions have been successful in promoting a safer Elkhart. The department continues to evaluate our needs and the needs of our citizens. It is and will always remain a constant

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focus of the Elkhart Police Department to achieve our vision statement, "A Crime Free Elkhart".

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Grants In 2011, the Department of Grants Administration successfully procured the for the

I I

following totaling $2 million dollars: From the Federal Highway Administration Prairie Street Overpass $1.9 Million; from the Indiana Department

of Homeland

Security $30,675; and from the Elkhart County Drug-Free Partnership $12,400. Other accomplishments included receiving the 2011 Livability Award by the U.S.

Conference of Mayors and completing the City Hall energy saving renovations using $557,300 from the Department of Energy. In 2011, the ARRA Stimulus Funding ended and proposal requests for Federal funding were even more competitive and fewer in number. It is expected this will continue. Aviation Departmi!nt
~

The Elkhart Municipal Airport presently consists of 640 acres and offers three runways. Owned and operated by the City since 1960, the Airport continues to enhance its service to the corporate and business jet market. As an important part of the nation transportation infrastructure system, the Airport receives a steady flow of Federal and State grants for improvements. The next phase of construction will be the replacement of
.I

the second half of the north general aviation ramp. The Elkhart Municipal Airport continues to be one of the leading general aviation airports in Indiana with an overall economic impact of more than $70 million dollars annually.

12

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Community and Redevelopment Department The Community and Redevelopment Department's primary function is to administer the City of Elkhart's annual Community Development Block Grant Program. The 2010

I

CDBG entitlement award was $817,000. The 2011 CDBG entitlement award was $683,000. We assisted 26 existing homeowners with repairs to their homes. We leveraged an additional $97,000 in funds from the Elkhart County Lead Grant and Neighborhood Impact Program. An investment of CDBGfunds leveraged just over $1.6 million dollars in additional funds to provide programs and services for our community. $2.2 million dollars acquired

I I I I I
I

previously from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will be used to acquire and renovate 10 more houses. These homes will then be sold for owner occupation to income qualified homebuyers. The City acquired 50 vacant properties to populate the land bank activity in 2010. The City of Elkhart al~b demolished 54 dilapidated buildings improving the aesthetic value and safety of our community.
~ n

In cootdination with Habitat for Humanity of Elkhart County, four vacant properties were also acquired to provide buildable residential lots for families in our community. In 2011 the City received another $1 million from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Tax sale properties have been acquired for this project. Redevelopment Commission The Redevelopment Commission is a very important part of our local government. It would be difficult to take a drive through Elkhart and not identify the many improvements
13

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that were authorized and funded by the Redevelopment Commission.

The Commission

I

considers resolutions, special taxing district notes, and handles the appropriation of TIF revenues for payment of obligations and expenses. Commissioners approve purchase agreements and the transfer of property ownership when needed. Staff was authorized to proceed with a special use variance for the LaBour Pump property and to lease property at the corner of Sixth and Wagner to Elkhart County for an urban forestry demonstration project.
$100,000

is dedicated annually from TIF

funds on a pro rata basis for economic development marketing. TIF funds were also used for signal detection units at the intersection of Oakland and Indiana.
An additional appropriation of $85,000 for Phase I of the North Pointe project was

approved as was a contract with Council on Aging not to exceed $15,000 to assist with the
I

senior owner-occupiedhorne project. I could go-on and on but truly the work of the Commissioners and our Community Development staff is never ending and so vital to the well-being of this community. Communication Center Center's location is extremely

~

During critical emergencies, our Communication

advantageous for the Police Chief, Fire Chief and the Mayor, to come together and offer

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direction as needed. The Elkhart Communications events in 2011. We completed Center processed 106,000 calls for service and the Federal Communications
14

Commission

(FCC)

mandated safety.

requirement

of narrow banding the radio systems affecting all of public
800

We are working with the State Police to improve the

MHz radio system in

our area by installing microwaves on two antenna sites. What takes place in the first few seconds of a call to our Communications Center can make a difference as to a successful resolution of an emergency. Planning and Zoning The Board of Zoning Appeals and the Plan Commission play an important role in the ongoing and future construction in our City. Examples include the Associated

Mennonite Biblical Seminary, a dental practice office, four commercial buildings and various parking lots, building additions, and loading dock projects. Work on Big R in

the former south K-Mart location is completed and it is predicted that their customer base will patronize other south-side businesses.
,/

We reviewed $~O million dollars in declared costs. Our staff helped relieve some residents from increased property insurance costs by discovering a flood plain error
,pi

made by the DNR and getting it corrected. Fire Department The Fire Department has continued with the Mayor's austerity plan by holding the line on spending and returning The new
100 $238,000

from their

2011

budget.

ft. aerial platform is in service. This allows us to have a truck north,

one central, and one south.

15

Necessary repairs

to our Fire Department

buildings

have been completed

including a new roof on the Central Station. Our new event vehicle was utilized at Rhapsody in Green, the Jazz Festival, and the Elkhart County Fair. In
25,000 2011,

the Fire Department responded to nearly
5

16,000

calls for service, spent

hours in training, and hired

new recruits.

They continued the practice of

conducting school fire drills twice annually and performed 980 fire inspections with and follow-up on
202.

Central Garage The Central Garage is responsible for maintaining over
700

pieces of equipment.

Routine maintenance is obviously the focus of the Central Garage to minimize operating and capital replaceme$t cost. A Central Garage warehouse was constructed last year. The warehouse allows for inventory control as well as bulk parts purchasing such as tires, street sweeper brooms, plow blades, and many other essential items. This greatly
.'

~.

improves pricing, lead time, and supplier support. Two Stage
2

charging stations were also purchased for the two Think City vehicles

and are mounted at the Central Garage facility.

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To further reduce our fueling expense, we have joined the Wright Express system offering a fueling system that will allow the entire fleet to be fueled at over 64 locations City-wide and at other locations nationwide. This system eliminates the need to travel in excess for only three existing fueling locations.
16

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Cemetery Department Our main goal is to continue to maintain our City cemeteries in a professional and dignified manner and to provide kind and courteous service to those who use our facilities. In
2011,

I I I I I I I I I I I

the Cemetery Department performed cemeteries.

315

burials and entombments responsibilities, the

within our three

Along with daily departmental

Cemetery Department also assisted the Forestry Department, Building and Grounds, the Traffic Department, and the Airport, by providing both manpower and equipment to

help with various tasks. To help make it easier for family members to locate their loved ones resting places, we visibly marked every section in both Grace Lawn and Prairie Street

Cemeteries with new section markers. This past year

we planted

nearly

100

new trees both in and around the perimeters

beautifyi ng our cemetenes for many years to come. ~. eauti A terrible ~rosion problem along the banks of the Elkhart River running through
.J

Grace Lawn Cemetery has been going on for years.

$59,000

was appropriated from the

Mausoleum Fund to begin the Grace Lawn Cemetery Bank Stabilization Project which includes long term plans and conceptual plans and designs for the current two problem areas. We were very fortunate to work with the Boy Scouts and members of Elkhart's Echo Taps who donated their time and energy and cleaned all of the white Veteran's stones located in the Veteran's Sections of Rice Cemetery.

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Park Department
In tough financial times, recreation opportunities are more important than ever.

Recreation continues to be one of our quality of life measures. We experienced an increase in softball teams on our diamonds - renewing the softball fever in Elkhart. Many more visitors are also enjoying our aquatic facilities like the Pierre Moran Pool, McNaughton Spray Park, NIBCO Water and Ice facility, and Ideal Beach Water Park. The Summer Playground program posted another successful year. feature, Queen.
150

I

As added

youngsters and chaperons cruised the upper St. Joseph River on the River

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The Greater Elkhart Men's Championship tournaments again wpre held at Sims.

,

and the Middlebury

Golf Classic

Sims Oak Hills provides an affordable, well

maintained public golf course which is and can be experienced by every member of the community. ,
.,i

Tolson Center's mission is to utilize educational and recreational

programs to

I I I I I
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share experiences that have a positive impact on Elkhart's youth today and in the future. The residents of Elkhart have gained a beautiful park extension to High Dive Park on Baldwin Street. The once idle piece of property now welcomes bike riders, walkers and nature lovers to its natural setting. Another enhanced opportunity for residents to enjoy and have their neighborhood affording an

was the demolition

of the vacant LaBour Pump buildings,
18

additional green space.

A Charrett Study was done, neighbors and other interested

individuals participated in this process. The conclusion gave us another opportunity to increase recreational possibilities. A quarter of a mile meandering walking path was laid which stretches along the railroad tracks with plantings of trees by volunteers and offers easy access to wheelchair bound residents. With future donations, wind and solar will

generate lighting and power, for a much needed, greenhouse. Benches in Island Park, a drinking fountain in Central Park, two bronze pieces in Walker Park, have all contributed to the enhancement and enjoyment of our parks. Building Department The new Right-of-Way Ordinance went into effect in January of
2011.

This new

ordinance was prompted by the Elkhart Community Schools system change in policy. Now some students must walk two miles or more to school rather than one mile. This
~

resulted in many morlchildren

walking to school, therefore, the need to clear the walks

of snow. Residentf~ are required to clear the sidewalks of snow 24 hours after the snow ceases to falL' A provision was added to assist the handicapped and the elderly. They were asked to fill out a waiver requesting assistance from the City in removing the snow. With assistance from the trustees from the County Jail, we responded to 335 requests for this program. Request for assistance has since dropped to about half. I want to thank the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce and the Elkhart Christian Academy for helping the Building Department with the City wide cleanup.

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We expect a rebound in the area of new construction as the economy continues to Improve. Having said all of that about the various department activities I must note the

fact that there is another that gets our attention pretty quickly. Or maybe I should say we get their attention. It is our Legal staff that keeps our eye on the ball that sees to it that we address the public issues and concerns according to the dictates of the law. The Legal Department is a very important department. Also where I have said I, it would be better said we. Without the support of the Common Council our accomplishments been a benefit to the people of Elkhart. We have talked about the past and the present. As we look ahead to the future we cannot afford to rest on our laurels. We must continue to endeavor to make Elkhart a better place to live, raise a family, get an education and build a business. The economic experts say that tp_e recession is over, and I agree. Where we once led the nation in unemployment we now lead the nation in recovery! We created incentives that helped would be little. That relationship has certainly

to bring jobs from Sweden. Jobs that could have ended up in Norway or Finland are now scheduled to land in Elkhart. Communities across the Country are talking about the the importance of acquiring

necessity for green and hi-tech jobs. We also understand these jobs.

Job diversification must be part of our long term economic development

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plan. But this is a global competition. We needed to get our citizens back to work now.
As I have said before, we must never turn our back on the RV industry. It is part of the

fabric of our community. It has always rebounded, it is rebounding now, and I predict
20

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that the RV and manufactured

housing industry will exceed the so called expert's

predictions on growth expectations! They are truly recovery experts and this is primarily where our recovery is coming from. Yes we have recovered to some extent but

recognizing that the funds we control do not belong to the government we must be diligent in our thinking as well as our actions. We must question where we are in the recovery. President Obama has stated that the economy has not responded as quickly as he had hoped. He noted in order to reduce the deficit the action taken would be painful to many. Like the President, we too face some difficult decisions. Our City government has to come to grips with the rising costs of health

insurance, fuel, and trash and recycling. I have already made cost saving changes in our health insurance program. The spouse of a City employee that can get health care coverage from his or her employer must take it and come off of our plan. Employees not participating in our w1lness program will have to pay a larger share of the premium. I

I
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have taken measures to reduce the use of fuel including our vehicle operation and we will continue participating
$50,000

in the fuel hedging program. In

2011,

we received nearly

back on our fuel expenses. We added 9 more hybrid cars to our fleet. Working
$30,000

with MACOG we saved nearly

dollars per vehicle. This addition brings our

totals in hybrids to 13. Each one of these replaced a gas guzzling vehicle as well. We also operate
2

total electrics built in Elkhart. All of this helps to reduce fuel costs and

eliminate exhaust emissions into the atmosphere. Finding an alternative source for funding our trash and recycling program is currently our biggest challenge. Since
2007,

our City has lost over

$6

million dollars in

21

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property tax revenue.

This required us to reduce the cost of operating our City by $4

million. We have done that but leaves a gap of $2 million dollars. My goal is to keep all of our departments open, continue to provide the services you expect and deserve, and

keep all of employees working. But the trash and curbside recycling program is still supported by those funds that have been greatly reduced by our loss of property tax revenues. If we want to maintain the quality of life you deserve we must reduce our reliance on tax supported funds by another $2 million dollars. The challenge is ours. In the past we could turn to our Congressman and our Senators for assistance. request a congressional appropriation. We could

This is simply asking for our own tax dollars to

be returned to us. This is called earmarking. But the current Congress has said there will be no more earmarks. They call it pork or fluff. I disagree. On your behalf, I carried
$92 million in requests to Washington, D.C. Not a single project in that package could

be considered pork qr fluff. They are all projects that are needed and will be done over time with local taxp~yer dollars. Some are mandates that we cannot avoid. The

Congress will telJryou that they are appropriating

money for projects such as ours, but

the funds, what few there are, are going to the various Federal agencies. One must then apply for assistance through those agencies. The reality of that process is that it is a competition. It's Elkhart against every other governmental jurisdiction in the Country, the winners mostly being the heavily populated areas across this nation. The trash and recycling challenge has been with us for years. It is now literally at our door step and we must deal with it. I have established a special committee to study this challenge and come up with some solutions that will impact our residents as little as possible.

22

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During the toughest economic times that most of us can remember, the Federal government mandated that we reduce the combined water/sewer rivers. This
20

overflows into our

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I

year plan will cost

10'S

of millions of dollars to construct. We funded the

first four years of the plan with less than a $2 monthly sewer rate increase. We are now facing the need for another increase for the next phase. This will go on for the lifetime of the program unless another source of funding currently unseen materializes. Elkhart has renovated its downtown and as a part of its "livability" approach, I want to further enhance transit oriented development.
As a hub connecting

two

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urbanized areas and its major cities, the City of Elkhart will serve as a regional focal point for transit rider connections and I am proposing the development and

construction of a "green" energy efficient transfer station. This transfer station would be centrally located in the heart of downtown Elkhart, on the northern edge of Central Park making transit integration a major feature of the region's walkable/livable
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community

focus. The proposed Transfer Center will be located within walking distance of major community traffic generators, including downtown shops and businesses, the WorkOne Employment Center, the Lerner Theatre, Indiana University South Bend at Elkhart, the Amtrak rail service, and providing planned pedestrian access through transit oriented design. Further, the Transit Transfer Center, as proposed, will provide safe, off/street boarding and may house suggested passenger amenities, such as indoor shelter, a

natural foods mart, a day care center, and internet cafe bookstore. The facility will
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incorporate a band shelter with the park providing an urban garden atmosphere. The band shell will face the parks natural amphitheater setting and will be designed to

encourage a quality of life and community interactive atmosphere as part of the transit ~ experience. The proposed Transit Transfer Center will include bike racks and

accommodations

for riders allowing more transportation

choices to reduce the cost to

the user, aid in improving the air quality, and in a small way help to reduce our nation's overall dependence upon oil. The facility may also include high speed internet access and state of the art audio and visual equipment. Views from the transfer center facing the river walk will invite citizens to an urban garden area right in the heart of Elkhart. The Transfer Center focus supports the City of Elkhart as we target federal and local funding development toward the center of Elkhart, through transit-oriented, mixed-use

and land recycling. The project takes center stage in the center of

downtown Elkhart on the former site of a hotel and current site of our Central park and
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a parking lot. The park ~ll retain its current use with the added use as a venue for many events throughout the summer months inviting more people into downtown Elkhart.
fit

We have the opportunity to do all of this without using any local taxpayer dollars.
2011, 302,118

In

passengers depended upon the trolley system for their mobility. A 39% nearly 65,000, an increase of 15%. as well.

increase over 2010 and Heart City Rider transported

Those looking at us will look at our available transportation
As so many other communities

have done, we will revisit the idea of angled

parking in downtown Elkhart. Now that the Lerner when fully activated at times can accommodate in excess of 2,180 people and with so many enjoying downtown living and
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the need to have adequate parking for our downtown merchants, parking is at a

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premium. Our study includes, Main from Jackson to the railroad crossing and the 100 block of West Marion, East Franklin and East High. A quick look discloses that in these areas there are currently 139 parking spaces. It is estimated that parking at an angle will increase this to 208, a 48% increase. This is an added incentive to anyone considering locating in the downtown area and much relief to those already there. The malls offer

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angled and opposed parking and downtown needs that advantage as well. While studying the possible resolutions to our many challenges, only one thing is for certain. And that is that nothing is for certain. However, one of the keys to our

survival and our growth is recognizing just that. Uncertainties still exist and we must be
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prepared to face them at any time. We will not forget that government owns nothing of its own, no property, and no money. We are simply entrusted with the managing of the taxpayers business, nioney and the property they own, and we are obligated to do it in

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their best interest.
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To that end, over the past four years we have reduced our operating budget and will continue to look for more efficiency to further reduce our daily costs. Our constant endeavor is to continue to do what we can to produce additional jobs in our City. We will continue to utilize TIF funds to provide the infrastructure needed to

attract and keep new business in Elkhart. We are a cleaner, safer, quieter City. We understand the term vision and we understand the term planning but we also recognize long term planning is a challenge when you are facing the stark reality of a $6.6 million dollar loss in revenue in such a short time. That blurs your vision just a little. Waking up
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one morning and discovering that lout of 5 people in your City are unemployed doesn't help much either. Your long term plans can go out the window pretty quickly when this happens. In fact, so many long term plans have been commissioned in the past that I really wish we had the funds right now that were invested in those studies. Make no

mistake about it. Everything we do is designed to be sure we stay afloat. At the same time we are not stagnant and we are not in a passive situation. with the Central Park redevelopment amenities I mentioned, We will move forward

concept including the band shell and the other

and we will do it without utilizing local dollars. For the

foreseeable future, we must continue to be very careful of how we utilize our funding. We must choose our projects very carefully. Stay out of debt as much as possible. Recognize our greatest financial challenges and manage them wisely. We will keep this City operational and we will have a City that others covet, a City that is an attraction. A place desired by others and a place we can be proud of. We will do our best to find out how Elkhart would li~ to see itself in the future. But we will do it in a state of reality. Looking at the plate we were handed, always considering the cost of our vision. Being
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sure our dreams don't overrun our dollars. Current projects include the LaBour Park project, Lusher Avenue project, Shoppes at 6, the North Gateway project and the Central Park and parking lot renovation. Many of these will utilize TIF funds. I appointed a

citizen group titled SoMa to look at the South End of our downtown. I look forward to receiving SoMa's recommendations for that area of our City.

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We can display these words with a great deal of pride "We do not allow excessive noise in our City. We do not allow smoking in places where the public gathers or works

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and we mandate the clearing of sidewalks in winter so that our children do not have to walk in the streets on the way to and from school". From the outside looking in we appear to be doing pretty good. We are leading the nation in job growth and we have earned some positive national recognition. Forbes listed the Elkhart-Goshen area as
#10

in their Best Places to Live Cheaply article based rate, and

upon the housing affordability index, cost of living, crime rate, unemployment

school quality data. What I am asking you to do this evening is to join with me to keep us on the good list! I am beginning my 3'1h year of Municipal Government service. One of the most important lessons I have learned through those years of service is that I must listen to the people. I will continue to listen as promised and when the community tells us they are not lined up with pur ideas we will take note.
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We are blessed to have many citizen groups that play such an important
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part

through contributions, planning, and providing those things that government normally does not or cannot provide. I believe it makes for a pretty good village.

Thank you.

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