By Mayor Melody Van Camp
It’s my great honor to deliver the State of the City Address. As Mayor, I feel that it’s imperative to keep the community informed as to the projects, plans, successes and hopes for the City of Ely.
City Hall has been very busy, the name of the game is STREAMLINING, making City Hall more efficient and reducing costs.
We redesigned several ordinances in an effort to make them more user friendly, such as the Special Use Permits, Liquor Licenses and Business Licenses. We have rewritten the Animal Control Ordinances and the X-cess Utility Pole Ordinance.
We have a bounced check policy, we have placed liens on uncollected landfill bills and aggressively collected thousands of dollars on the unpaid County Landfill bills.
The City and the County has negotiated an 8 year inter local agreement between the Police Dept. and Animal Control and the Building Dept. also have an extended agreement.
The only things that hasn’t happened, has to do with the City’s finances. They are still in excellent shape and the City of Ely is NOT in deficit spending!
The community wide clean up is an on going, never ending process. For the first time in years, we aggressively cleaned most of the alley ways and public right of ways. All this would not have been possible without the combined efforts of Dave Burkey and his crew from the Road Dept. and Mike Cracraft and his crew from the Parks Dept. and Honor Camp crews and community service workers and of course, our local volunteers.
The city has successfully torn down and removed two derelict properties and are in the process of the abatement of two more. We now have a Code Compliance officer, who is helping in the clean-up of unsightly properties and abandoned vehicles.
Once spring arrives, clean-up will resume with an aggressive weed control program and several more community wide clean-up days.
The city’s Recycling program is moving forward with the development of a committee that’s working towards a permanent recycling center. Hopefully, we will soon be able to bale recycled refuse at the landfill and there has been discussion on the recycling of concrete and asphalt.
We are very encouraged by the participation of businesses and local citizens, with regards to recycling. It will extend the life of our landfill for many years. I encourage everyone to recycle, as it’s good for our environment and our future. We’ve purchased movable little fences, which are located at the landfill. This was a state directive, which although quite un-slightly, they do a good job of catching trash during our windy days.
This past year we completed several long awaited projects. The Orson Ave. water line project, was complete quickly and professionally. It even came in under budget (you rarely hear that word – under budget).
The Ave. C water main upgrade added over 3,000 get. of line from the golf course to 15th St. This addition will increase water flow in the event of high water demands.
The main water line was replaced on Cedar St. in anticipation that the local residences would hook up to it and improve their service.
This spring, Murry St. will continue to have it’s underground utilities replaced and particle paving will start sometime early summer.
We’ve created an Historical City Hall Renovation Committee that is working on getting Old City Hall building replaced on the State and National Historic Registry, which, when completed will open up the availability of securing loans and grants for the buildings renovation.
SB238, the proposed bill for the dis-incorporation of the City, was firmly beaten down. Many citizens wrote, called and traveled to Carson City to voice their disapproval of this issue. The City of Ely is in good financial shape and shouldn’t be swallowed up by the county to fund their POOR performance.
Recently, the City Council spent two days creating a six year Strategic Plan for the City of Ely. We now have a mission and vision statement that will help move the City of Ely into the future.
Ely must look forward. With this in mind, the Strategic Planning Committee created three main goals that we must address to make Ely succeed.
The first goal – to increase tourism activity during the sumner and fall. Our community has so much to offer to tourists. We need to aggressively promote our outdoor resources.
Just as an example, the Fire & Ice competition and the fishing derby were huge successes.
I had the opportunity to visit with lots of people, many who just wanted something out of the ordinary to do during the weekend. 90% of our visors come from Vegas, but when these visitors arrive in Ely, there is no signage that indicates ALL we have to offer or where any of these attractions are located.
If we do not aggressively promote Ely, then all we will ever be is a gas stop.
The second goal – To increase and diversify our industries and business. As long as I can remember, we’ve talked about bringing in new, bigger, better industries from the outside. And truthfully, there hasn’t been a “BIG” business show up yet.
What we need to do is to encourage our citizens to take a chance and start their own small business right here at home. And we need to shop at home.
It’s our hope that we can have an increase of five businesses in the next two years. The small business is the backbone of our community.
The third goal – To install and maintain modern infrastructure within the city’s sphere of influence.
All over our nation, cities and towns have put needed replacement of infrastructure and roads on to the back burner until another time, well, that time is here and Ely is no different.
We have to address this problem now and a huge stumbling block is the funding to pay for those priorities. Be it through a possible percentage of room tax money, since many tourists use our roads or possible transportation money from our contract with S&S Railroad on the north line, we have to start somewhere. The city is aggressively pursuing funding. We must, We can and we will.
I recently read an article in the Sunset magazine called “The West’s Best Places to Live”, They created a list of 20 cities and from those they chose five towns from throughout the west that they felt would be “your next home town.”
Every place had much to offer, but not one was any different from Ely. Many of these towns embraced the arts and recycling. There were others that catered to tourism. Many offered unique restaurants, affordable housing, and friendly neighborhoods. Some offered skiing, others, fishing and hunting.
The one thing these communities had that Ely needs to improve upon is that the citizens banded together to promote their community. They went the extra mile to support and inspire those who worked tirelessly to keep their town alive.
Ely is no different. We live in the best community. We look out for our neighbors. We can leave our doors unlocked and the keys in the cars. We are surrounded by beautiful mountains, fresh air and wonderful people.
The Sunset magazine made a mistake by leaving Ely off the list, because we already live in the Best Place in the West.
We are looking toward the future. We, being me AND you. Because without YOU, WE can’t do anything. Together we are unstoppable.