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Year in review for Greenwood presented at talk

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Greenwood is growing, has been able to invest in projects and equipment and is not overspending anymore, the mayor said in his State of the City speech Tuesday.

The city was able to invest in economic development and improve its services while having a balanced budget in 2013, Mayor Mark Myers said.

“It’s comforting that growth is being accomplished in a safe and economical fashion,” he said.

Myers recapped his first two years in office during the speech at Valle Vista in front of a crowd of local officials and businesspeople. He highlighted the city’s accomplishments, especially in the past year.

In 2013, the city was able to replace 52 city vehicles, install a splash pad and playground equipment at City Center Park, design a new city pool and plan how to use land around a future Interstate 65 interchange along Worthsville Road, he said.

The new vehicles were one of the reasons the city has successfully cleared its streets of heavy snowfall this winter, he said. Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard complimented Greenwood on how well the street department handled snow removal, he said.

“He was actually kind of jealous. I liked it,” Myers said.

The city also took the lead on revitalizing downtown Greenwood by renovating the future city hall, which had been the nearly empty former Presnell office tower. The project will let the city consolidate its offices that are currently in separate buildings, such as the planning and legal departments on Emerson Avenue, into one building on Madison Avenue, he said. The city will open its new offices early in April.

After investments were made in new police cars and the splash park, the city had $300,000 left over at the end of the year, he said.

The city is not only on track to have two years with a balanced budget but by the end of his term in 2015 should have enough money saved to cover six months of operating expenses, Myers said. He plans to run for a second term.

Last year, the city sued Elona Biotechnologies, a failed pharmaceutical firm that received nearly $9 million in tax dollars, after the company was unable to successfully manufacture and sell generic insulin. The Greenwood Redevelopment Commission, which gave the company a loan and grants, is financially healthy and has had more successes than failures, Myers said.

“I certainly do not intend to minimize the loss because it was both large and to some extent avoidable, but it would be unfair to judge the work of the commission by its worst decision,” he said.

The city board’s successes include funding runway work at the city airport and paying for the new city building’s renovations, and the failure taught the city to be more careful about large investments in the future, he said.

“We have learned to live within our means,” he said.

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