Judi Morville, former broker/owner/partner of LUV Realty, has closed the real estate office at 1060 W. Harrison, Decatur, due to the death of her partner, George Owrey. Judi told me they had been partners for 38 years and had lived through the highs and the lows in the real estate industry. “After George’s tragic and unexpected death due to choking on a piece of pulled pork at a local restaurant on Christmas Eve, I decided it would not be LUV Realty without him,” she said. Judi is now a Realtor Associate with Area One Realtors, LLC at 2828 N. Main, Suite 104. She welcomes her friends, past clients and anyone wanting an experienced Realtor to call her at 620-7600. She puts her heart in selling homes. “I still ‘luv realty’ so my email address will continue to be email@example.com,” she said. Best wishes to Judi. I’m sure it’s been a difficult adjustment time, losing a partner after working together for 38 years.
City Manager Tim Gleason
Tim Gleason Will Do
Great Job For City
I enjoyed getting to know our new city manager, Tim Gleason, one recent morning. Gleason hasn’t been on the job long but he is getting acquainted with many in the community and I was pleased to be included on his list. Although we talked at the Tribune for quite-a-while, it was not an interview, but an opportunity to get to know each other. I can see why the mayor and members of the city council selected Gleason -- and have spoken in glowing terms about his abilities and the job he will do for the community. Gleason has been city manager for only a month, so it is too early to make any evaluation on his performance -- but I think he is off to a great start. Best wishes to him.
Decatur Water Rate
Increases 25% May 1
It’s going to cost you more to take a bath, drink a glass of water or wash your car after May 1st. (I hope that doesn’t stop anyone from showering or climbing into their bathtub.) The reminder went out on Friday that the third and final water rate adjustment for Decatur’s Reliable Water System Program will occur on May 1. “The 25% increase is being implemented as part of a plan to provide the revenue necessary to fund several important water capital projects critical to the growth and development of the Decatur community,” stated the memo to members of the news media. “The adjustments were implemented to support very specific capital work representing the largest investment in our water system since Lake Decatur was constructed in the early 1920s. The work will fix water supply challenges that we’ve had for decades and in some instances will replace system components that are 50-80 years old. Annual adjustments of 35% and 30% also occurred in 2013 and 2014 respectively.” Reliable Water System Program capital projects already underway include: Lake Decatur Basins 1 through 4 Dredging, South Water Treatment Plant Clarifier Basins Improvements, St. Louis Bridge Rd. Water Main Replacement, Water System Master Plan & Hydraulic Model Update. So, all of those kids who argue with their parents about not wanting to take a bath, for the first time, will actually have a legitimate argument as in “I don’t want to take a bath because of the water rate and I want to help the family financially.” Of course, it is not going to work, but, for the bath-shy kids reading this, it might be worth a shot. (smile)
Some Heat Over Old Depot
Nathan Pierce, executive director of the Macon County History Museum has been taking a lot of heat lately for something that really isn’t his fault. I was copied by one of the residents of the area who sent Pierce an email: “As a resident of Timberlake subdivision (and your neighbor) I am concerned about the condition of the Museum grounds and remaining structures. “It was my understanding that the building was to be moved to Rockome Gardens, not destroyed. What happened? The derelict structure is quite unsightly and an eyesore to those of us who live nearby.” Pierce told me he had received quite-a-bit of criticism, but the decision to donate the old train depot to Rockome, for a contribution to the museum by Rockome, was made by the board before he arrived as the director in 2013 -- although he agreed with the decision because the depot didn’t fit the era of the Prairie Village and wasn’t even from Macon County. Apparently, a contractor hired by Rockome damaged the structure in trying to move it and that caused the unsightly scene that neighbors have been seeing. That has resulted in a long, drawn out process, (which is much too long to explain in print) with Rockome even taking the contractor to court. Anyhooo, thanks to the efforts of Pierce, the situation is on its way to being “cleaned up”. Bottom line: the plans for the old depot to be converted into a restaurant at Rockome didn’t work out for either the museum or Rockome -- and Pierce has been taking criticism, although he has been working to resolve the problem which was created through no fault of his own.
Friday Was Last Day As
City Clerk For Linda Swartz
Although I focused some attention on retiring city council members Larry Foster and Patrick Laegeler in this column last week, I want to also point out that the April 20th council meeting was also the last for retiring City Clerk Linda M. Swartz, who had served in that position since April 28, 2012. Linda’s actual last day was Friday, April 24, 2015. As I mentioned in this column in January, even though Linda served as city clerk for three years, she was a city employee for more than 25 years, spending most of those years in the city legal department. I was in my first term as mayor when Swartz was named administrative secretary to the city manager. I always found her to be friendly, professional and efficient. My best wishes go with Linda Swartz for what she chooses to do in the next phase of her life -- and thanks for her years of service to the City of Decatur.
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Some Personal Thoughts About Councilmen Foster, Laegeler And
Monday night was the last regular Decatur City Council meeting for Larry Foster and Patrick Laegeler -- at least as city councilmen. Both men have served on the council for many years. Larry Foster served terms in 1977- 81, 1995 - 1999 and since 2008. I don’t believe there’s ever been a city councilman who has served at three different times on council. When his term ends on April 30th he will have served for some 15 years. Larry was not a city councilman during the same years that I served as mayor, so I never had the opportunity to serve with him -- which was my loss. However, during the time he was a private citizen, and I was the mayor, I found him to be very supportive of what the City of Decatur was working on at that time. I have always appreciated his friendship, which goes back 50 years. Larry’s contributions to many other efforts in the community have always been very positive in making our area a better place to live. Patrick Laegeler was already serving as a councilman when I was elected to my first term as mayor in 2003, so he has served before, during, and after the time I was there. I always found Pat to be someone who did his council homework and was prepared for his votes at council meetings -- but was also ready to listen to opposing points of view. I thought of him as the “numbers guy” because he studied what the dollars and numbers in city finances meant and could be counted on to make solid decisions and cast his votes based on whether there was “financial sense” connected to programs. He always treated me with respect during the years I served as mayor, and even if there was an issue on which we disagreed, he never made his point in a hateful or disagreeable way. As Larry and Pat return to the private sector at the end of the month, newly-elected Bill Faber and Lisa Gregory will take their places. Over thirty years of city council experience will leave with Larry and Pat, and the community owes both of them a debt of gratitude for serving all of those years to make the community a better place. Best wishes to them, and to their replacements who will step into the roles of city council member with zero experience on the council. However, Bill and Lisa will bring fresh ideas, new perspectives and enthusiasm to the council that always happens when there is a “changing of the guard”.
LIVINGSTON HONORED: I am so pleased that the Decatur City Council voted unanimously Monday night in support of honoring the late Horace Livingston by naming Marion Street, just north of Mueller Park, after him. Mr. Livingston, who published the weekly “Voice” newspaper passed away last year at the age of 92. I met Horace when both of us were starting to publish our newspapers back in the late 1960s -- and we had a lot of differences between us at the beginning. Over the years, as we often talked, a mutual respect developed. I appreciated him as not only a newspaper publisher, but an advocate for the African-American community in a variety of ways that made all of us better. As mayor, it was my great pleasure to honor him, with the Stephen Decatur Medallion -- the city’s highest honor for his decades of service -- and, more recently, to add my support for other honors recognizing his efforts. Things are a lot different now in Decatur than they were in the 1960s -- and Horace Livingston is one of the reasons for that difference.
SAD NEWS: I was saddened by the news last week that former Decaturite Tom Daly, 77, had passed away on April 14. One of his daughters, Catherine Daly, sent me the sad news: “My Dad, Tom Daly, passed away on Tuesday evening at the West Palm Beach VA Hospital, with Mom (Joyce) by his side. He had been ill for many years.” Catherine also wrote she wanted me to know, because “we have many dear friends there, as well as many dear friends from Decatur who live in Southwest Florida”. Many of us remember Tom Daly as manager of the popular Swartz Restaurant for years and later as having a successful career in commercial real estate. I got to know him better covering the two terms that he served on the Decatur City Council. I had not seen Tom in several years but I learned several weeks ago from a mutual friend that he was ill. My condolences to his wife, daughters and other family members. It seems like we’ve been losing a lot of good people in recent months.
Listen to the “City Hall Insider” hour with Paul Osborne on Byers & Co. at 7:00 every Thursday morning over NEWS/TALK 1340 WSOY.