Mayor Marsh gives annual State of the City Address
Greensburg, IN - Greensburg Mayor Joshua Marsh has released the 2023 State of the City Address. The following is a transcript of his address to the Greensburg Rotary Club and video address:
I am honored to share the 2023 State of the City address with you today. Our team at the City of Greensburg has worked tirelessly over the last year to serve our residents, and have met many milestones and accomplishments in the last year. I am excited to stand before you today to share just a few of the many accomplishments of our city overthe last year, and I am happy to say that the State of the City is strong.
Additionally, the financial state of the city very strong. We stayed on budget and ended 2022 in a strong financial position. Under the leadership of City Clerk-Treasurer Amy Borns, we continue to be good stewards of funds, exceed projections, and work with our financial advisors to ensure long term fiscal health. Her office has worked diligently to digitize and modernize the Clerk’s Office, allowing us to ensure that our departments continue to work together and that the city is running full steam ahead toward progress. The Clerk’s Office has upgraded to Civic Systems, a new, state of the art digital system that allows us to expand and be even more transparent in real-time withdepartment heads, which has brought the Clerk’s Office into 2023. The Clerk’s Office led the transition from paper timesheets to digital timesheets, allowing our city employees to interact with the Clerk’s Office effectively and efficiently. In collaboration with the Clerk’s Office, we continue to work on city employee benefits to see what our employees need. Amy and her team have worked continuously to ensure the financial success of the City of Greensburg. With strong finances since 2020, and well-planned investments, all of our departments can focus on providing our residents with the best services possible. And we can contiune to pursue investments in all areas to improve our community.
It has been a busy year for all departments. Our public safety teams in the Greensburg Police Department and Greensburg Fire Department have had a busy year, working to be engaged with our community, log thousands of training hours, and work day and night to keep our community safe. The Greensburg Police Department answered thousands of calls for service, but have seen a considerable decrease in crime- a trend we have seen for more than a few years. This reduction in crime and increase in presence it a part of Chief McNealy and I’s commitment to an engaged, active, funded, and present police force. Our officers with GPD patrolled over 250 thousand miles in 2022, and have logged more than 2,000 citizen engagements through our community events. GPD continues to be a leader in the law enforcement field by hosting and bringing nationally rated programming for law enforcement to Greensburg, brining agencies from across the region and state together, right here in Greensburg. GPD has added a couple of new faces over the last year, and I am happy to welcome them to the team.
The Greensburg Fire Department has also evolved, with four promotions and four new hires. GFD has logged thousands of hours of trainings in leadership, physical readiness, mental health issues, and much more. Our firefighters increased their EMS response capability to include advanced life support as a non- transporting agency, and are able to assist as the first on the scene of a life threatening accident. GFD has secured funding for a new headquarters and station one, which is to be located on North Broadway Street near the bypass. We are very excited for this project, a new home for the department for the first time in nearly 50 years. The new building will have the safetyfeatures, space, training room, and more for a growing fire department. With a separate living space from the apparatus bay to help prevent toxins spreading to the living areas, space for men and women firefighters, a dedicated physical fitness area, and space for department trainings. The new station will improve the quality of work life and will be part of our recruitment and retention strategy. In addition to adding a more robust emergency drone response team, GFD has also logged thousands of community engagements, working with GPD and my office to host the Public Safety Community Cookout series.
Speaking of the Public Safety Community Cookouts, something that many of you have joined us at and one of my favorite series of the year, be on the lookout for our postcard invite with the dates, locations, and time. We hope you can join us again this summer.
Our Utilities- the Wastewater Plant, Water Treatment Plant, and Utility Office, have also had a big 2022. The Wastewater Plant has worked toadvance the progress of personnel cross training, ensuring that staff are able to do more at the plant. They also had the successful submittal of all 2022 State/Federal regulatory reporting, and eliminated all polymer usage in VLR. The reduction of chemical usage is a huge accomplishment in taking a large step to further protect the environment and reduce operating cost. Our Wastewater Plant also saw the successful compliance of Phosphorus start up limitation, made lift station upgrades at North Broadway and Sand Creek, and purchased a new mobile backup generator. Our team also worked to purchase property to expand the Ohio Street lift station, which even further grants us room to serve growth in the northeast part of the city. The Wastewater Plant and staff, under new Superintendent Zeke Smith, completed two successful Indiana Department of Environmental Management audits, repaired and replaced outdated equipment, and treated 1.3 billiongallons of wastewater.
The Water Treatment Plant, operational since late 2021, has pumped more than 840,000,000 gallons of water since it went online. With themuch improved capacity, our water treatment plant staff has worked to treat and provide water to our residents. Our staff has repaired 24 water main breaks, installed and repaired services, replaced hydrants, and have located close to 2,500 utility services in the City of Greensburg for residents and businesses. The new plant capacity is 6 MGD with an average of 2.2 MGD at this time. In the new plant, the powder activated carbon room is up and running which reduces the past taste and odor issues. The Water Plant held a celebratory open house, so residents could see up close how we treat and distribute water to our residents and businesses. Later in 2022, the new self-service water station for industry and residents opened, and sold close to 74,000 gallons of water.
In coordination with both the Wastewater and Water Treatment Plants, the Utility Office processed 2,328 service orders, 62,267 payments, sold millions of gallons of water to industry, and implemented a new billing software. This software makes it even easier to pay your utilitybill online or through auto pay, and allows you sign up for text reminders.
The newly started Stormwater Utility was created in 2022 to fund the much needed repairs and rebuilding our stormwater infrastructure. The Stormwater Utility has raised funds for the completion of its first project, a storm sewer replacement that had failed on North Street, and thereplacement of 27 stormwater inlets. The joint efforts of our city engineer, Street Department and utility teams helped reduce the out-of- pocket cost for the project. The Utility Office staff is available Monday-Friday to take your utility payment and answer questions in person, at the drive-through window, and online.
Our City Engineer also had a busy 2022, issuing street cut permits, reviewing Stormwater Fee Appeals, and creating a Geographic Information System, also called GIS, Department. GIS is operated through the City Engineer’s Office, and works with all of our departments, public safety, and the county to store, visualize, analyze, and interpret geographic data. We use this data to map sewer lines, water mains, utilities, addressing for residents, and so much more. Our GIS program allows us to also create an online Citizen Reporter tool, which will allow residents to file concerns and complaints online. We will be rolling this new and innovative tool in the very near future. Other projects worked on last year include the application for Phase 3 funding for Park Road reconstruction, the completion of the Pavilion @ Pirate Park,the reconstruction of the streets, sidewalks, and parking around North Park. In coordination with our teammates, we have also worked to expand the City’s multiuse path, and create a more pedestrian friendly environment.
A major accomplishment that the City of Greensburg had in 2022 was the completion of the Comprehensive Plan, which was overseen and organized by the Building, Planning and Zoning Office. This plan, with community input during open house sessions hosted by AmericanStructurepoint last year, lays out the direction of the city for the next ten years. This plan includes areas of growth, services, the wants and needs of our residents, and housing opportunities. The Comprehensive Plan is available on the city’s website, and I encourage you to go take a look! The Building Office has also begun the process of creating a Unified Development Ordinance. A UDO brings all of the existing ordinances related to development, planning, and zoning together into one updated, detailed ordinance. The UDO makes it easier for developers and builders to do business in Greensburg, and helps us expand our housing and business markets. Additionally, the Building Office issued 157 building permits for homes, projects, and business structures around the city.
The Code Enforcement division sent 441 violation letters to home and business owners for grass, trash, and junk vehicles, regarding code infractions on their properties. The Building Office, working in tandem with the Street Department to oversee the mowing and cleaning of more properties in 2022 than the two previous years combined as we continue to work with our neighbors to enhance the appearance, health and safety of our neighborhoods.
In 2022, the Street Department oversaw the microsurfacing and repaving of 8.5 lane miles of city streets, which included the addition of curbramps to make our sidewalks more accessible. Road projects such as this are made possible due to the successful application and receipt of just over $500,000.00 of Community Crossing Match Grants. The City of Greensburg and Decatur County was awarded over $7.7 Million for the Park Road Reconstruction Project Phases 1 & 2 in a joint effort.
Sanitation collected over 7200 Cubic yards of trash in 2022, which weighed over 6.5 million pounds. The Street Department also saw the largest amount of trash ever recorded during last May’s Heavy Trash week.
In lock step with the Fire Department, the Street and Sanitation Department has also secured the funding to build a new facility on North Broadway near the bypass. The construction of a new building would ensure the health and safety of our staff, keep expensive equipment and materials covered during the rain and snow, and allow for space for staff to work inside. And for the first time, giving our teammates a place with appropriate restrooms, lunch facilities and space to thrive as a team. The City Council, Board of Works and our teams have beenunanimously supportive of this growth. I am excited to see this project come to life and see the teams move in, and I hope you will join us for the open houses when the time comes!
For 2023, the completion of our projects from 2022 displays what can be accomplished when our team at the city not only works together internally, but externally with our local, regional, and State partners. We can see that in our nationwide success of the MakeMyMove incentive program, our Accelerate Rural Indiana project list using the $20,000,000 in READI grant funds that will bring improvements to ourregion, and in the upcoming groundbreaking for multiple quality of life projects, including a new residential development and the new Fire and Street Department complex on North Broadway.
The City of Greensburg continues to build relationships and work to achieve greater results by partnering with others. After partnering with the Decatur County Commissioners on phase 1 and 2, we have applied for funding for Phase 3 of Park Road. The Park Road Reconstruction, a project I have championed since day one, would bring major improvements that includes a multiuse path and lighting to provide residents with a safe connector from the City Park amenities, including the recently announced plans to work on improvements toAlan Memorial Pool, to downtown Greensburg. On the other side of town, the city completed Pirate Park, a new community green space and soccer complex to be located by Greensburg Community High School and Rebekah Park. Pirate Park was awarded funds through the Indiana Destination Development Grant, the Greensburg Redevelopment Commission, READI, and brings Greensburg into the future ofsports tourism. We are excited to see tournaments, events, festivals, and so much more take place in this greenspace this year.
Moving North and West in the city, North Park was in dire need of an overhaul—with improved infrastructure, easily accessed parking, improved sidewalks and crossings, our kids and residents can enjoy this large park for generations to come. We’ve also improved thelighting for the park at night, and added an easily identifiable sign to give more security to our park goers. Through a partnership with the Decatur County Parks additional improvements inside the park have already been completed.
I am a firm believer in invest and more will follow. In addition to the work completed by Decatur County Parks, the 2022 Mayor Interns choose North Park as the location for their community improvement project. Cole and Marissa thought outside of the box and presented the idea for an outdoor game pad. This will include permanent cornhole, ping pong and others. These will be installed yet this spring!
As that was being announced, the Mayor’s Youth Council, a new countywide group of junior high through seniors from all two school systems and St. Mary’s, selected North Park as their area of focus too! They worked to apply for a statewide grant and are leading the charge on restoring the basketball court at North Park.
When we take the time and invite youth to the table to have conversation, we substantially increase the likelihood for continued involvement and investment in our community. I remain committed to welcoming them to the conversation and encourage them to find roles that benefit our community. I call on other community organizations and leaders to do the same. We work daily to encourage individuals to move to Greensburg, I also work to encourage those already here to remain here or return after furthering education or experience.
Speaking of attraction, a project that has been in the works for over 20 years has closed in on a completion date for later in the year. The Greensburg Municipal Airport should welcome its new identification numbers this year, which will grow our ability to work with our local headquartered corporations and factories to provide transportation. I look forward to how we can leverage this project into even more investment in Decatur County.
More investment is exactly the goal of the Greensburg Redevelopment Commission. When I was sworn in as Mayor in 2020 I immediately went to work on housing, and the Redevelopment Commission members stepped up to help find some solutions and have been leading the charge since 2020. I’m excited to share that we will see a spring groundbreaking for a new residential development on the north side of town. The Greensburg Redevelopment Commission has been working with Beacon Homes to bring mid-market rate, single family homes to the first new subdivision in Greensburg in years. This addition to our housing market will give even more variety to home buyers so thatwe can make sure that Greensburg continues to be the best place to live, work, and play.
It is not just physical successes or the ones we celebrate in this short annual recap that makes our community proud. Though we did have some major celebrations in 2022. We celebrated Honda’s achievement in being awarded North America’s 2022 Car of the Year for the exclusively produced in Greensburg Honda Civic Hatchback. We worked with Visit Greensburg to celebrate the Bicentennial with 40 plus events and historical learning opportunities. The community hosted the first concert series at the amphitheater and citizens had the opportunity to partake in celebrations all year. The City of Greensburg has also welcomed a new community partner to City Hall- the Indiana Drug Enforcement Association, a large law enforcement partner and a leader in training- has relocated their headquarters to Greensburg. We are proud to be home to the IDEA, and we look forward to seeing them be an active partner in Greensburg and Decatur County.
Our team at the City has been out in our community more than ever this year, working our Public Safety Community Cookouts, visiting schools, presenting proclamations, attending community fairs, conferences, meetings and representing our community across the state.One of the best parts of this job is getting to see you, hear your ideas, and see how we can all work together to accomplish great things.
In closing, our team working together is what makes our community the best to call home.
You may not see the water crew out in the dead of night in February fixing a broken water main. You may not see the wastewatercrew out on Christmas responding to a sewer lift station alarm.
You may not see the Police Department responding to a crime or overdose on a Friday night while you’re at the football game.
You may not see the Fire Department at a house fire on the Fourth of July.
You may not see the Street and Sanitation Department come by and get your trash every Monday. You may not see the work that isdone by our office staff to complete administrative work, pay bills, ensure building safety or any of the other many jobs we do everyday for our community.
You may not see any of it, but I do.
They are my team, they are our team and we have a great one. I am honored to come to work every day with them, for you.
Each year I make a commitment to remain committed to helping our public safety teams connect with members of our community, improving our infrastructure, working to better the quality of life through community investments and make sure that the work being done by all of our departments are shared. I make that commitment once again, because with our team, the state of our city is strong! We must keep up the work, the pace and progress. I am committed and I am fortunate to have had your faith and confidence through the last three years and look forward to a fantastic 2023.