Council celebrates 20th anniversary of Tree City designation

Authored by Jim Langham on Mar 26, 2014

It was 20 years ago that Berne became certified as, “Tree City USA,” Berne Mayor Bill McKean announced at Monday’s regular meeting. In August of 1993 the Berne Tree Board was established by ordinance.
Tree Board members at that time were Peter Minnich, Mark Smith, Blaine Fulton, Janean Moser, Rose Kirchhofer and Tom Lerdal.
Current members of the Tree Board include Brad Yoder, Jerry Walker, Jon Rosswurm, Karen Martin, Nathan Sprunger and Amanda Patterson. For the past 20 years, Gregg Keller and Jack Ryf have served in an advisory capacity.
Council members at the time the ordinance was passed included Rod Lautzenheiser, Gregg Sprunger, Floyd Liechty, Lloyd Neuenschwander and Bill McKean. Blaine Fulton was mayor at the time and present Clerk/Treasurer Gwen Maller was already serving.
In the first year, said McKean, the Tree Board planted 200 new trees.
“This board continues to be committed to evaluating, trimming and planting trees,” said McKean.
“Trees in our city increase property values, enhance the economic vitality of business areas and add to the beauty of our community,” continued McKean.
In other business, city solicitor David Baumgartner recommended a few small changes in legislature dealing with super tax incentives for businesses.
“The question on sustainability was pretty vague,” said Baumgartner. “We needed to define what sustainability means. It can have something to do with design and construction, but it has more to do with long term.”
Baumgartner also recommended a more prominent presentation of the importance of those businesses applying paying wages at least 50 percent more than state minimum wages. Currently, stage minimum wage is at $7.65.
Council approved the recommended changes.
In other matters:
- McKean noted that city officials are purchasing a new pump, known as a, “trash pumper,” designed to pump 800 gallons per minute, as versus the current pump’s ability to pump 300 gallons per minute.
- Heard a report from Baumgartner that city officials are waiting for a reply from the EPA concerning matters the pertaining to the old Dunbar Furniture site. Baumgartner said that he expects to hear from the agency in a few days.

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