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‘Wonderful quality of life’ cited by mayor

January 11, 2011

Decatur Mayor John Schultz...'Can all take great pride...' (Photo by Eric Mann)

    "As we stand on the threshold of a new decade, we can all take great pride in what we have accomplished this past year and look with great enthusiasm to Decatur's future."
    That opening paragraph of Mayor John Schultz's annual State of the City address summed up his theme as he added, "We are fortunate to enjoy a wonderful quality of life: great parks and trail system, good public services, wonderful police and fire protection, low crime rate, quality neighborhoods, successful businesses, and diversified industrial base."
    Schultz spoke on Monday at a Decatur Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Porter Auditorium at Woodcrest Retirement Community to an audience of some 80 people.
    He interjected a humorous aside when he declared, "The biggest news of 2010, besides my announcement that I'm running for another term, is the first business to build in Decatur's newest industrial park."
    That firm is Prime Inc., which will locate in the industrial area on the southwest corner of town to wash the interiors of tanker trucks that haul edible oil from the Bunge North America plant here.
    Schultz said Prime will begin with 40 people and may add 20 more in the coming five years, while working out of a 14,000-square-foot building. Construction will likely start in February or March..
    Schultz also praised the strong efforts of Larry Macklin, executive director of the Adams County Economic Development Corp., for convincing Prime officials to locate in Decatur rather than Van Wert, Ohio. The mayor said Macklin "worked very hard" and was the differencemaker in this process.
    The city's chief executive hit these other topics on his checklist of achievements in 2010:
    • Decatur will be 175 years old this year, so he enlisted two longtime residents to help plan and organize celebratory events: retired banker Larry Isch and businessman Max Miller. They will also work with Wes Kuntzman, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, on anniversary activities.
    • The city remains "in good financial condition" as departmental leaders continue spending reductions and budget modifications.
    • A new program ground up 6,200 cubic yards of old concrete that will have many uses in road, sewer, water, etc. projects. That total equals the tonnage carried by 620 large dump trucks.
    • The street department put in 2,500 feet of pavement on Stony Point Way in Anthony Wayne Meadows.
    • Chamber Dr. in Industrial Park underwent major repairs.
    • More than 10,000 feet of streets were repaved.
    • Officials from the city and Adams County are continuing to define which government has oversight of several roads around the edges of Decatur.
    • A new bridge was installed over the St. Marys River near the Bunge North America plant and the old bridge was dismantled and given to Soutth Adams Trails Inc. to be made part of the initial hiking and biking trail between Geneva and Berne.
    • The street department improved drainage on the south side, plus the Stratton residential area, and continued the annual anti-mosquito spraying program.
    • The storm water and sewage departments paid for a project that connected 18 homes to the sanitary sewer system — eight in town and 10 in rural areas near Decatur. Schultz pointed out that $1.80 per home per month for storm water services is a low rate.
    • The sewage department received a five-year permit from state officials and is continuing to work with Indiana's Department of Environmental Management to maintain compliance.
    • The water department improved water-softener controls and flow meters for efficiency and to reduce chloride discharges.
    • More radio-operated residential water meters were installed and Phase II of the wellhead protection plan was completed.
    • One water department employee retired and was not replaced to keep expenses down.
    • The police had more than 13,000 dispatched calls in 2010, averaging 36 per day.
    • Schultz lauded the decades of service of city police detective Eric Meyer, who retired on December 31 to become the chief deputy sheriff under the new sheriff, Shane Rekeweg.
    •The drug dropbox in front of the police station received more than 250 pounds of drugs last year, all of which was properly disposed of.
    •The fire department made 280 runs in 2010, down from 2009, and kept up a training schedule for its members and for area fire departments.
    • Ten houses were built in 2010 and the average cost rose from $109,000 in 2009 to $152,000 last year.
    • Commercial permits for new buildings rose from $500,000 in 2009 to $2.7 million in 2010.

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