Mayor to give his first State of the City


Seymour Mayor Matt Nicholson will deliver his first State of the City address during a city council meeting Monday.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in council chambers at city hall, 301-309 N. Chestnut St., and is open to the public. Those planning to attend should enter from the Third Street entrance on the south side of the building.

Nicholson has only been in office since Jan. 1 but said he has plenty to talk about when it comes to the city’s past, present and future.

The first part of his address will be a look back at the accomplishments and milestones reached in 2019. Although Nicholson wasn’t mayor at the time, he did serve on the city council.

“We’re going to take a look at finances,” he said. “We’re not in a bad spot, but we could always be in a better spot. I’ll share with everybody how we did, where we were and where we’re headed.”

Last year, the city spent less from its general fund than it brought in revenue, which is a good thing, Nicholson said.

“We’re on the upside there, which will help us add to our cash on hand,” he said. “One of my goals long term is to end up with a six-month operating balance because of the way tax distributions are made just twice a year. That way, we won’t have to borrow from the sewer fund.”

The State of the City address also is an opportunity for Nicholson to highlight the different city departments, including planning and zoning, parks and recreation, street, trash and recycling, water pollution control, public transit, police and fire.

There’s a lot going on in the city when it comes to sewers, Nicholson said.

“I’ll talk about the crazy amount of lift station pumps that (water pollution control) pulled in 2019,” he said. “When they get a call that a pump is down or a pump is having an issue, they go out and pull the pump, clean it or rebuild it. They pulled 313 in 2019. That’s almost one a day.”

Once the ongoing southeast sewer interceptor project wraps up this year, seven sewer lift stations will be taken offline, saving the department around 70% in labor and costs, Nicholson said.

“That means we can do more work in other areas of our sewer department, which is great,” he said.

But the city also is going to have to look at doing a sewer rate study and possibly increasing the amount it charges for sewer services and trash/recycle collection, he said.

“It’s something we’ve got to take a serious look at,” he said.

When it comes to development in Seymour, Nicholson said he has some surprising numbers to share in regards to building permits.

“We’ll talk about something that we haven’t had since 2006,” he said. “It’s a pretty amazing thing because it shows growth, and I hope people see this and we keep going in this same direction.”

Turning the page to the police department, Nicholson said he is proud of the work being done by the city’s police force in addressing drugs in Seymour.

“There has been an amazing amount of drugs taken off the streets for 2019 — 6.4 pounds total with the majority of that being meth,” he said. “Everybody wants to complain about our guys not working the drug side, and that’s not true. Every day, we have drug arrests.”

Not to overshadow the fire department, Nicholson said the amount of calls firefighters respond to also continues to increase. The department is facing some major needs, however, including a new station on the city’s west side and renovations for fire station headquarters.

The city’s transit system also is experiencing growth, reaching record ridership of 39,000. Around a third of those riders are senior citizens, Nicholson said.

He also plans to talk about ongoing work to improve downtown Seymour, including more murals and the renovation of the former One Chamber Square, as well as major road projects.

“We’ve got seven federally funded road projects in the books, which is amazing,” he said. “We’re changing the face of Seymour.”

For his finale, Nicholson said he is introducing a new Mayor’s Youth Council program to get high school students interested and involved in city government.

“We will launch it in the 2020-21 school year,” he said.

The council will consist of around 12 members from Seymour High School, Trinity Lutheran High School, Sandy Creek Christian Academy and homeschool students. The students will meet twice a month with the mayor and city department heads.

“It’s a chance for the kids to get some feedback into our community,” he said. “I’m only here to tend to things until they are taking over. When that time comes, I want them to be prepared.”

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”If you go” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

What: 2020 State of the City address

When: 7 p.m. Monday

Where: Council chambers at Seymour City Hall, 301-309 N. Chestnut St.

Who: Public and press are invited


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