For Tyrone Mayor Don Rehwaldt it one was of his last official acts. Rehwaldt delivered is annual State-of-Tyrone address Thursday night at the last Town Council meeting of the year.
As customary, the address centered on the financial status and general condition of the town during 2011 and included remarks about the future. But the address also began with a twist.
“At the end of this month, I will not be retiring,” Rehwaldt said near the beginning of the address. “Scares you, doesn’t it? But, I plan on doing other things that will be contributing to the town and county. One good thing about not continuing as mayor is that I don’t have to be sweet and lovable any more.”
Continuing his remarks in terms of the efforts of town staff and elected officials, Rehwaldt had significant praise for their actions during the past year.
“I would like to recognize the Town Council and the town’s staff for their often- trying endeavors to make Tyrone a fiscally sound, safe, and pleasant place to live. Our parks and recreation programs are among the counties finest and usage of the library services has increased over 30 percent. In addition, I would like to recognize the many hours of volunteer work by our citizens to assure the continuance of our annual Founder’s day and the successful recognition of the 100th Anniversary of Tyrone. And, I would like to recognize the support the town has received from members of the Fayette County government, the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce and our contractors. Tyrone’s progress would not have been as successful without the support of all – all looking for a better place to work and live.”
Rehwaldt in the address reflected on his previous four years and a number of accomplishments he deemed important.
One of those was the recommendation of former Councilwoman Grace Caldwell in recommending that former Fayette County Administrator Chris Venice be hired as Town Manager and the appointment of McNally, Fox, Grant and Davenport to serve as the town’s attorney.
Rehwaldt also recognized Planning Commission member Judy Jefferson and numerous volunteers for their work in securing needed equipment at Shamrock Park.
And it was the efforts of a group that included Public Works Director Rene Holt, town staff and many volunteers who bear responsibility for the upgrades to Veterans Park, Rehwaldt said.
“Items of accomplishment not generally seen by our citizens include furnishing a break room, adopting a 12-hour police shift, designing and developing the police department basement that provided the much needed office space in the police department building; the rewriting and updating of the town’s charter, an updated Purchasing Manual and Personnel Manual, a zoning ordinance and a sign ordinance,” Rewaldt continued. “In addition, all of the Town’s ordinances are now consolidated into one document with automatic updating as changes occur.”
Next up on the list of reflections was the topic of finances. It is a topic all the more important in the past four years due to the ongoing recession and falling property values.
“Especially heartening is the fact that Tyrone’s fiscal posture has continually improved over these past four years without an increase in the millage rate. A special thanks to Penny Hunter in accurately reporting the town’s monetary revenues and expenses,” said Rehwaldt. “The town now has over $3.2 million in unrestricted reserve funding. These funds will be invaluable in the next few years as both Federal and State funding are continually being reduced while our infrastructure needs via upgrading and repair continues.”
Rehwaldt then turned his thoughts to the town’s future needs. One of those was code enforcement.
“Is everything perfect in Tyrone? The answer is ‘no.’ The Town has several items that will require the next mayor and council to consider and incorporate into the town’s ordinances. Foremost in my mind is the need for a Code Enforcement Officer. This requirement has been on my agenda for almost four years. As the town continues to grow, a need for Code Enforcement Officer is more critical than ever,” Rehwaldt insisted.
Rehwaldt also noted the need for council members to look at increasing revenues through insurance license fees and he posed the concern about the accumulation of scrap tires and their disposal as a way to forestall the spread of disease since the rainfall that is trapped in exposed tires presents a breeding ground for insects. Scrap tires are also a potential fire hazard, Rehwaldt added.
“All in all, the town is in very good shape,” Rehwaldt said toward the end of the address. “Several projects have been identified and are in progress. Some personnel decisions are yet to be made, but I’m confident that the Mayor Dial and the Town Council will continue to move Tyrone on a path that will satisfy most residents, businesses and surrounding governments. In the coming months negotiations with the county and other municipalities in the county concerning the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) revenues will be taking place. Preparation for these meetings will affect Tyrone’s percentage of all sales tax receipts for the next ten years. I trust that our representatives will do their very best to assure that Tyrone and its citizens receive their fair share.
“All in all, it has been my pleasure to serve the citizens of Tyrone as Mayor for the past four years,” Rehwaldt continued. “As said previously in this message, I will continue to stay involved and assist when and where appropriate. I sincerely wish the town’s staff the very best and look forward to living here in safe, enjoyable surroundings.”
Elected four years ago, Rehwaldt opted not to run for re-election.