The City of Hamburg ended its year better off financially than it started it.
Mayor Dane Weindorf gave his annual State of the City address Monday, telling the city council that the city began the year with $3.465 million and ended it with $3.559 million.
Of course, the past year wasn’t exactly normal.
“Going back to January and February, they were normal months for us, but March came and COVID-19 hit,” Weindorf said. “It was really scary for us at first, and it still is.”
The mayor said the city’s employees have been able to stay safe, however, by keeping appropriate social distancing, wearing masks and keeping other protocols.
“What people don’t understand is all our workers are first responders,” he said. “We don’t have a safe city without our police, our fire fighters, our water workers, our sanitation workers. These past months, we have lost 10 days to the COVID. I think that is remarkable.”
Looking at what the city has done over the past year, Weindorf said it was notable that the council had entered into a contract with Christy Martin to catch and take care of stray dogs.
“It has worked out really well for us,” he said.
In his review of the year, Weindorf recalled that in August the city’s sewer pumps started to malfunction.
“It got bad,” he said. “We were going down there three times a day turning our pumps off and on.”
By the year’s end, however, the city had invested $174,000 in fixes and had new grinder pumps and a new sewer station in place.
Also noteworthy was the city’s $2 million grant for broadband access, work that is currently in progress and should be running by the end of February, he said.
At city hall, the city moved its water office from the front to a back room so workers could have a safer environment and city hall could stay locked down, Weindorf said. A significant portion of that work included installing a drive-through window for people to pay their water bills without having to enter the building.
Now 60 to 70 percent of receipts are paid through the window, he said.
“You can come in, you would be amazed,” he said. “We have remodeled the drive through water office three times already; we have so many people coming through there. We started with one way of paying, then went to another way of paying, and then bought a push out door and made the drive wider so these big trucks can get through.”
All in all, the mayor said he believes the city is in good shape for the year.
Fire Chief Tim Hollis said that in 2020 the fire department responded to 70 fire calls, 30 in town and 40 out of town. Among those calls, 37 were general calls, 11 were structure fires and two were car fires.
Vehicle extrications tripled in 2020.
“Normally we have three or four auto extrications; we had 15 last year,” Hollis said, telling the council that most of it was attributable to the road construction on U.S. 425 south of the city limits.
Police Chief Johnny Oliver said property crime reports were down by 40 reports last year, and call volume overall went down by approximately 200 calls per month.
Traffic tickets went up, with the department writing 620 citations and 477 warnings.
Oliver said a significant portion of that increase was also attributable to the construction on U.S. 425.
Traffic accidents the police responded to overall were down from 86 to 46, he said.
“2020 was a pretty calm year,” he said.