Mayors message for 2012
2012 was another good year for the Borough of Washington. Many of the practices that were put in place in previous years started to pay off in 2012. Our finances are much stronger now than they have been in a long time, as evidenced by Standard & Poors upgrade of our credit rating! Our level of debt is dwindling, and our fund balance is getting stronger. Best of all, there was no increase in municipal taxes!
We had to begin a search for a new manager, when Richard Phelan resigned early in the year, to pursue another opportunity. It was Mr. Phelans responsibility to help guide us out of our financial crisis, and he did so admirably. But his leaving led us to our new manager/clerk, Kristine Blanchard. This combined position will help achieve more cost savings, and maintain the same level of service.
The forensic investigation was completed. It did not discover any fraud or fraudulent practices, which is excellent news. It also helped confirm that our financial path is correct.
A scrap metal recycling program has begun. There is a container for collection at our new DPW garage. Please see our website for details.
Our sewer operations were audited to ensure that we are getting the value that the contract states. Although there were some things that could be done better at the sewer plant, it was an overall good report. We also extended the contract with Veolia for another five years for operating our sewer plant.
We were able to sell the old DPW garage and associated property to the owners of Gibson’s’ Gym. They have converted that area in to another beautiful parking area for our downtown customers. Their dedication to helping our community is very welcome, and appreciated indeed.
Some of our other accomplishments include a re-establishment of Clean Communities Programs. Background checks are now being done by the Recreation Committee. Overnight on street parking restrictions have been lifted.
We said goodbye to Deputy Mayor Patrick Boyle, and Councilman John Valentine. Their insistence on getting the best for our town was unparalleled. But as with any ending, there is a new beginning. We welcome to council Mr. Richard Thompson, and Ms. Ethel Conry. They have big shoes to fill, and I am confident that they will live up to the challenge.
For 2013, we will continue on our fiscally prudent path, demanding accountability and transparency. We will begin looking at infrastructure improvements, like road paving and replacement of failing equipment. We will continue our partnership with the Business Improvement District to bring new business to town. Most importantly, we will continue to serve the best interests of Washington Borough.