SUNBURY — As this village transitions into a city, its mayor, Tommy Hatfield, gave a sobering State of the Village speech on Jan. 6, just hours after a mob descended on the U.S. Capitol.
“Welcome to 2021 in Sunbury,” Hatfield said during the first Sunbury Village Council meeting of the new year. “I am going to keep this short and sweet this year. Who would have thought one year ago we would have been holding our council meetings in the virtual setting of Zoom and streaming the meeting on social media?”
Hatfield said the pandemic not only battered the country and state in 2020, but it also presented many challenges for the village.
Despite everything 2020 and the pandemic threw at the village, he said, “I can share this evening the state of Sunbury is promising!
“This will be the year Sunbury becomes a city. While we have embraced the charter and started moving forward, we expect the census to be certified in 2021,” he added. “We continue to live in a community where the combination of people, businesses, schools, churches, and civic organizations come together for the greater good, and this has further been demonstrated in this difficult COVID-19 year.
“While much of the world is divided, and today (Jan. 6) we have seen events at the nation’s capital that I thought I would never see in my lifetime, we will continue to pray for our nation and our community.
“We continue to be blessed to live in a great community. We have something special in Sunbury, and it is something that we can all be proud of. 2021 will be a pivotal year for Sunbury. We continue to see unprecedented growth within Sunbury and the larger Big Walnut area.
“It will remain a challenge for Sunbury to continue to embrace inevitable change but continue to do it in a responsible way. I know that my peers on this board will work hard to hold the values and principles that have made Sunbury the place that so many want to live and raise a family.
“I personally want to thank this board for the time and effort that you put in behind the scenes to keep Sunbury great. I also want to thank all the staff. We have a great group of people that keep the village up and going. In 2020, the Village of Sunbury did not close or go remote, but all our people stepped up and looked how we could make adjustments in our business. They have done a great job. From the administrative side and working with residents, the streets and wastewater teams with the leadership of Brad Gerwig and Dale Wampler have adjusted for how they work with customers.
“Our police force has also really stepped up. When you think about a group of people who work closely together and in proximity of the public, our police department continue to do a great job. Thank you, Chief Howard, and team.
“As I said at the beginning, I would keep this short. 2020 has been full of challenges, that we will look back at as a crazy year. I do not mean to sound as if I take it lightly, because I know many people have fallen victim to the virus. Last but not least, thank you for the support and the opportunity I get serving as mayor,” Hatfield said.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.