Mayor Delivers State of the City

Information reprinted with permission of the Courier Times, local newspaper New Castle, Indiana www.thecouriertimes.com

Mayor delivers State of the City

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2017 6:00 am

New Castle has gone through some tough times, but has weathered the storm and is headed in the right direction.

That, in essence, was the message delivered by Mayor Greg York during his annual State of the City address, which he delivered before a full house Thursday during a luncheon hosted by the New Castle-Henry County Chamber of Commerce in the conference room of the new Henry County REMC headquarters just south of town on Ind. 3.

The mayor noted that the city recently closed out its fifth consecutive year “in the black,” with slightly more money on hand than was needed to pay its financial obligations.

“It’s a great feat for New Castle to say that we are not one of the communities that are struggling year after year after year to make ends meet,” York said. “At times it’s difficult, but we make it work.”

York credited his department heads for holding the line on spending and said all municipal employees have contributed by doing more with less in some cases and being smarter about how they spend tax dollars.

He also said the city has benefited from being aggressive when it comes to economic development and credited New Castle-Henry County Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Corey Murphy and his staff, along with the city and county redevelopment commissions, for working hard on behalf of the Henry County community.

He pointed out that in the past five years, Boar’s Head has brought more than 300 new jobs to town and expects to increase that number to around 400 by the end of the year. He also noted that Crown has grown to roughly 325 employees and plans to increase that number to around 500 in the next couple of years. TS Tech is hiring as they prepare to start a third shift, he said, adding that D.L. Couch, Xerox and Carquest have all helped add to local employment numbers.

York also welcomed Victory Range Armory, which is expected to open for business in the near future near the junction of Ind. 3 and I-70, describing it as the most elite and state-of-the-art facility of its kind in the entire country.

“Not only have we worked hard to get to the point where we can recruit businesses to come to our community, we’re getting the job done. We’re landing those new companies,” he said, noting a new venture he wasn’t at liberty to name was expected to locate next to Boar’s Head in the industrial park just east of Ind. 3 on Country Road 400 South sometime soon.

The mayor said the local real estate market has recovered with realtors looking for product to offer interested clients, that the community’s assessed value has increased in recent years, that the average household income has increased by about $5,000 during the past five years and that unlike many Hoosier counties, Henry County is not losing residents at an alarming rate.

The final portions of the mayor’s address focused on efforts to attract young families to New Castle and Henry County. That effort, he said, has included an emphasis on improving quality of life amenities. The mayor said New Castle is a great community and always has been and that he and other local officials are committed to improving the future for the children of today.

“I’m very excited about the momentum New Castle has. I’m very excited about the relationship the city has with the county and getting jobs to come to the city and our county,” York said. “Our commitment is to keep the momentum rolling. Not to relax. Not to sit back ... and coast. There’s no coast in New Castle. We’re going to continue to move forward, to be aggressive, and to make New Castle’s quality of life such that people of all income levels will want to raise their kids here.”

The mayor’s comments appeared to be well received by those in attendance.

“I enjoyed his speech,” Mark Taylor of Citizens State Bank said. “He always puts the best foot forward for the community.”

“Whenever the mayor speaks, you can hear his enthusiasm for our community,” New Castle City Council member Lynn Perdue said. “The passion and the love he has for our community is unbelievable. As a businessman and property owner in this community, I’m always so enthused after I hear him speak that when I leave I’m ready to re-invest again. It was very positive, a very positive meeting.”

“It’s always great to hear about all of the jobs, how well things are going, and the growth. It’s amazing, and that’s what I wanted to see in 2013 when I moved here. To see it happening is just absolutely fantastic,” Henry County REMC CEO Shannon Thom said.