Archive for Thursday, March 1, 2007

Mayor says city on path to greatness

March 1, 2007

In Eudora Mayor Tom Pyle's view, things are falling into place for the city.

"A city can be great when it has the right people at the right place at the right time," Pyle said.

With that thought, Pyle began the annual State of the City address Saturday during the Eudora Chamber of Commerce's annual dinner and meeting.

Pyle briefed the group on progress the city has made over the past year. The August passage of the Eudora Community and Aquatic Center was the first improvement Pyle mentioned.

In particular, Pyle lauded the volunteers who helped make the $1.8 million project a success with voters.

"Without the volunteers, Eudora would not be as good a place to live," Pyle said.

Throughout the year, the city has continued to benefit from outside expertise and from the more than 50 workers currently employed by the city.

"I applaud and thank every employee," Pyle said.

Pyle listed the improvements and changes within each of the city's departments.

The city street department started a tree-trimming program and conducted a full inventory among its programs this year, he said.

In 2006, the city started a new stormwater utility, Pyle said. The utility will help the city deal with issues arising from the inflow and infiltration of stormwater.

Pyle briefed the members on the city's newest department heads.

In August, the city council approved the appointment of Tammy Hodges as the city's new parks and recreation director. She in turn created a new parks supervisor position.

Hodges will oversee the construction of the new pool and recreation center. She will focus on the organization of recreational programs. The parks supervisor will focus on maintaining and growing the city's parkland.

The city's electrical department continued to generate money in 2006, Pyle said.

"This is our cash cow," he said.

Within the year, the department will install turtle meters in order to enable remote readings, he said.

The city saw an increase in both police and fire calls last year because of growth, Pyle said.

The city also welcomed new faces to both the fire and police departments, Pyle said.

Earlier in the month, Eudora Police Chief Greg Dahlem promoted Tom Willis to become the city's first investigative officer. The city is also in the process of building a new interview room at the police station, Pyle said.

In 2006, the city hired a full-time fire chief after more than 18 months without one, Pyle said.

Chief Randy Ates took over the department from Deputy Chief Mike Underwood in August.

"There's no doubt the fire department is getting busier," Pyle said.

For the coming year, the city will draft a series of long-range plans and the planning commission will start revamping the city's subdivision codes.

In addition to drafting subdivision codes, the city will embark on a long-range plan that will focus on the future from now until 2030, Pyle said.

"So, we're looking down the road quite a ways," Pyle said.

Also within the year, the city is looking to form a tax increment financing district in east Eudora, launch a city Web site and finish improvements to city hall, he said

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