Baldwin City Mayor Stan Krysztof gave the first state of the city address on Tuesday night.
Although Baldwin City endured a "turbulent" 1998, aggressive plans must be made to make the town a great place to live, the mayor said in his State of the City address Tuesday.
"What we know from the past is that if you do not set your sights high, nothing will get done," Mayor Stan Krysztof said.
His comments marked the first time a Baldwin City mayor has given a State of the City address.
Krysztof thanked city employees who have helped following the embezzlement of thousands of dollars by former city clerk Penni Porter, who has been convicted of the crime in Douglas County District Court.
"We have survived a very turbulent year, with half of the year without a city administrator and nearly that long without a city clerk," he said.
"That has changed and we feel very confident in the abilities of the new employees in those positions and we thank you for what you have already accomplished."
Krysztof said many challenges still face the city, including an uncertainty in city books remaining from the embezzlement.
"1998 was closed with little confidence that the books are accurate," he said. "We know the city closed the year with a positive cash balance in the bank, yet we do not know for certain the balance in each fund."
He also said accounting software needs to be updated in order to avoid problems caused by the Y2K bug, otherwise known as anticipated problems in computers associated with the year 2000.
The mayor said that several infrastructure improvements should be completed by this summer, including a new city pool and sewer.
Other plans for the coming year, he said, include:
- Working with Douglas County to acquire new land for industrial/business park.
- Preparing a brochure describing available development incentives.
- Examining the economic vitality of the city's needs.
"The city now has three (main areas) of business -- West Baldwin, downtown and Highway 56," he said.
"We need to develop a plan for coordinating the three areas and the economic vitality of (them). I will propose a task force consisting of members of the three business communities to work on this," Krysztof said.
In other growth issues, the mayor cited the following goals for the coming year:
- Analyze the growth potential and where it could impact the city.
- Develop a utility capacity plan that will dictate what areas can or could be developed and to what extent they would affect existing utility systems -- water, sewer, and electrical.
- A new water source for future growth must be examined. Very preliminary work is being done in this area now, he said.
- A development fee analysis must be undertaken to properly assess the costs of development to those other than the current residents of Baldwin City.
"We will not permit growth to change the character of Baldwin City and turn it into something other than what and why we came here," Krysztof said.
The mayor also suggested upcoming changes in user fees.
"In the next few years, we see the needs for financing general government operations changing from a reliance on property tax," he said.
"We will examine activities that will produce revenues from user fees that will reduce our reliance on the property tax.
"It is important for us to remember, however, that if we cannot provide a quality service, we will question going into that service."
Services that the city may consider, he said, are cable television, Internet and long-distance telephone service.
"This is where we see the city and where we think it should be going," he said. "It is an aggressive view, true.
"We are setting our sights high and we want to be prepared to meet the needs of this community into the new century."
-- Michael Dekker's phone message number is 832-7187. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.