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Keeping receipts and balancing budgets seems to be the theme for these start-of-the-year council meetings here in Dubois County, and Jasper’s January City Council Meeting was just that, a “recap” of years past.

“State of the City” Presentation to the City Council, by Mayor Vonderheide

Mayor Dean Vonderheide, who started his term as Mayor in 2019, ran through a myriad of discussion points in his “State of the City” address for 2024. From 2022, going into 2023, the Mayor provided insightful information on all of the various City Department’s performances over the past calendar year. Some highlights from this presentation include:

  • The “Rainy Day Fund” for Jasper is higher from the previous year of 2022.
  • The City is finding that the “baby boomer” generation is retiring en-mass, causing them to lose many who have been working with the city their whole lives. They are currently working to replace those roles in an efficient manner.
  • In 2023, the City was awarded the Indiana Uplands Quality of Place Attraction award.
  • The City Utilities Department saw $44 Million in sales in 2023.
  • The Jasper City Police conducted 482 arrests in 2023, five more than in 2022, but the Mayor noted the decrease in drug-related arrests compared to 2022.
  • The Jasper Volunteer Fire Department had a total of 452 alarm responses in 2023. And Mayor Vonderheide stated his confidence in the eventual future of turning the Volunteer Fire Department into a paid position, with time.
  • The Parks Department celebrated Buffalo Trace Golf Course making a profit in 2023, despite many years of financial losses. 1,162 Rounds of Disc Golf were recorded at the newly established Ruxers Disc Golf Course last year, which only accounts for those who were using the app to track their scores. The parks Department also spent $20,000 on repairing the Jasper City Mill wheel.
  • The upcoming project for the Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council will be installing Nonverbal & Spanish Communication boards at City Parks, so that people can learn to better communicate with others, in a nonverbal way or by using a different language. The Mayor ensured the Council that these students will be funding this project using donations that they receive.
  • Upcoming projects for 2024 include a Backup Water Supply with Patoka Water, a multi-use trail expansion that would connect Mill Street to St. Charles Street, The Aquatic Center, which received higher than expected bids this month, adding a shelter house, restrooms, and walking path to Buehler Park, renovating and adding a new deck to the Jasper City Mill, which is projected to cost $150 Million, with construction starting soon, alongside bridge replacements for the Riverwalk. There are several housing projects being planned this year, and the long-awaited Regional Wellness Center continues to gain momentum.

After the Mayor’s presentation, Phil Mundy was elected the President Pro-Tempore, the City approved spending money on the appraisal of the E.H. Hamilton Trucking Property located at 455 Clay Street, and detailed discussion on ROJAC was held before the meeting was adjourned Wednesday evening.

18 WJTS-TV will air Jasper Mayor Dean Vonderheide’s 2024 “State of The City” address on Tuesday, January 30th at 8PM EST and Sunday, February 4th at 1PM EST. Cutting cords? Subscribe to our YouTube page to view the address in it’s entirety.

The Jasper City Council meets on the third Wednesday of every month, starting at 5:30PM EST, in the City Hall Council Chambers.

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