“We have something special in Sunbury,” Mayor Tommy Hatfield said in his annual State of the Village speech at the first Sunbury Village Council meeting of the year held Jan. 8.
“We continue to live in a community where the combination of people — in their roles of schools, businesses, churches, civic organizations — still come together for the greater good,” Hatfield said. “While much of the world would want you to think that we’re divided (and in many places of the world we are), the Sunbury and Big Walnut community continue to show we can all work together and care for each other.”
Hatfield praised the citizen-based Charter Commission, who “hit the ground running” to create a document to determine the type of government for Sunbury moving forward as it achieves city status with the upcoming U.S. Census. He said council had a vacant seat with Len Weatherby stepping down, and those were “big shoes to fill.” Later in the meeting, Cindi Cooper was unanimously appointed to take Weatherby’s place on council.
There are also spots available for residents on the Sunbury Zoning Commission and Sunbury Board of Zoning Appeals, Hatfield said.
Although the population of Ohio may be declining enough to lose a congressional seat, Hatfield said, “Every facet of our community is growing.”
While growth was inevitable, Sunbury wants to manage it in a smart and responsible way, he said.
Hatfield added officials will try to attract “a diverse mix of residential, commercial and industrial” development to be “financially sustainable.”
Sunbury is “in great shape” financially, Hatfield said, trying to “maintain a low tax rate while providing the best possible service.” He thanked the village staff in its role of transitioning to becoming a city, as well as the police department. Hatfield added several projects should be completed this year. Among those projects are a new parking lot on Columbus Street, making the up-ground reservoirs a park (dismantling the water plant and transition to Del-Co Water), and renovations to the Town Hall, which should finished before Memorial Day.
As Sunbury grows, Hatfield said he will continue to work with partners Big Walnut Local Schools, Delaware County, the Village of Galena, and neighboring townships in “communication and cooperation” in their relationships.
“Sunbury will continue to look for ways to keep our Town Square vibrant and capable of handling visitor traffic,” Hatfield said. “We look forward to the betterment of our community in 2020. We will always put our community first.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.