Special to The Gardner News
Looking Back 2015 and Moving Forward in 2016 was the topic of Mayor Don Roberts state of the city address Feb. 18. After an introduction by Jason Camis, Gardner Edgerton Chamber of Commerce, Roberts noted that 800 jobs had been created since 2013.
A program that Roberts referred to as “One Stop Job Shop” opened in 2015. Designed to help fulfill the employment needs of companies located at Logistics Park Kansas City (LPKC), the project was the result of several public and private partners that joined forces to create the Logistics Training Center at LPKC.
Partners include NorthPoint Development, Johnson County Community College, the Edgerton, Workforce Partnership, BNSF Railway and the Southwest Johnson County Economic Development Corporation. The program helps connect residents to career opportunities by providing no cost employment services such as training, classes, recruiting and hiring fairs.
Roberts also reviewed how active the city has been in improving parks and recreation properties. The city sponsors activities for residents of all ages, from youths to senior citizens. He said that improvements had occurred while simultaneously lowering residents taxes, by saying, thanks to partnerships with Northpoint Development and growth in Edgerton taxes were lowered but services were increased.
Discussing the city’s direction for moving forward , Roberts referred to citizen surveys done in 2013 and 2015 that showed increases in citizen satisfaction.
“Council uses this survey and the background from it, to really design what our goals are for Edgerton, and our focus. We try to keep that pretty tight, where we spend budget money where it most impacts citizens – and we’ve done that since we’ve been doing citizen” (surveys),” he said. There was a 15 percent increase in satisfaction with animal control services, which occurred during a time period that also saw an increase in calls for service.
Covering the city’s continuing efforts towards investing in infrastructure, Roberts highlighted the five year street maintenance program, plans for new sidewalks, renovations to Manor Park, installation of new water meters and a conversion of waste water treatment facilities.
Roberts encouraged citizens to participate in providing input on the planning of Big Bull Creek park and said “There is an endless value to citizens participating in that project” as it will be a “major piece of our community”.
Using colorful charts and graphs, Roberts detailed the 2016 Budget Overview. This included information on where city revenue comes from, how property taxes are used and how budget is distributed by department.