McKean reflects on first year in office

Authored by Jim Langham on Jan 4, 2013

In reflecting over his first year in office, Berne Mayor Bill McKean says that he is even more impressed with the quality of teamwork among city employees than he had anticipated.
“We have a strong team effort and God is blessing that,” said McKean in reflections concerning his first year in office. “We have lots of good people in this community; I feel very fortunate to work with the fantastic people in office.
“I’ve worked with these people before, they work at a higher level than I had even thought,” continued McKean. “These are great employees.”
McKean said that one 2012 happening that may seem insignificant, but that could have a bearing on improved living in future days was the legislation formed to help address the situation of the abandoned house that had suffered damage in fire on North Jefferson Street.
“The legislation we developed to address this situation will give something to refer to in future similar situations,” McKean said. “There was some valuable information that attorneys Bob Biberstein and James Beitler laid down to bring this about.”
McKean also reflected on the continued growing business climate. He referred to such projects as Smith Brothers building projects, the large German press recently purchased by FCC that will help enhance the business work force.
The mayor noted that Smith Brothers now has a work force of over 300 workers and FCC has topped the 200 employee mark, a total of over 500 jobs between the two plants.
“Dynamic Resources Group has purchased some new equipment,” commented McKean. “Even when the economy was struggling, our businesses continued to provide jobs for our workers. “
McKean said that much of the successful business climate has been enhanced by the visible improvements around town, such as continued activity at the Swiss Clock Tower, street improvements such as that at the intersection of highways 27 and 218, the dedicated work of the park board to improve Lehman Park and the new roof placed on the Berne Senior Center.
“We have crossed our first hurdle with Safe Routes, a program designed to make the safest routes possible to school,” said McKean. “We’ve worked with INDOT (Indiana Department of Transportation) on this. Shannon Smitley has done a lot of work with this.”
McKean said the next phase will include installation of a sidewalk and other approaches guaranteeing a safe route to school.
Other items McKean felt were significant in 2012 include:
_ a major paving job from Parkway Street to County Road 700
_ continued management of the city compost pile, headed by Jay Sprunger, with provisions for city residents to acquire compost for their own use
_ increased water rates designed to help offset financial losses that were occurring annually
_ repair of softener tank at the water plant that saved city residents up to $100,000 in costs.
“After being out of city government for four years, it is good to get back in office. More than ever, I appreciate the great work force which is really focused on doing its part,” said McKean.

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