By MARK EVANS
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
Mayor Paul Hassler believes lots of good things – and just as importantly, not too many bad things – took place in 2021.
“It was a good year, I thought,” he said. “It was uneventful, and I like that.”
Updating aging infrastructure was one of the 2021 accomplishments.
“We got some more infrastructure work done up there in the first ward, up on North Fourth Street and Biltmore,” Hassler said. “We got some new water lines in and got some asphalt on the ground. That’s important to people. It’s important to me, too.
“We’ve got a lot of old infrastructure in this old town. I think that’s good. I think we’re doing a little bit better job.”
He had praise for Happy Welch, who went through his first full year as city administrator.
“Happy is planning out stuff better to keep being proactive on the infrastructure and that’s what I’m looking forward to next year,” Hassler said. “We’ve talked already about some waterline replacement and more paving and then try to get it set up – we talked about it at our last meeting – we’re going to try to get some help every year with what’s the worst that needs to be done, and tackling that. I’m kind of looking forward to that. I think that’s going to be good.”
He named the transfer of the street department to Alliance Water Resources as one of the accomplishments.
“That was hard for me. I really didn’t want to see that happen,” Hassler admitted. “But, with hindsight, I’d like to thank [aldermen] Ashley Armbruster and Bob Donovan and Joe Prince. They did a very good job of navigating through that. They did their homework on that. Looking at it now, after talking to employees, it looks like it’s been a good transition. Happy worked well in that and the Alliance folks.
“I thought we might lose a little bit in that, some of the little stuff, but man, they had this licked. I’ve got to give it to all those folks who made it happen. Even though I wasn’t for it, but now looking back on it, it was a good deal. My hat’s off to the folks that made that happen.”
One key personnel move was also important in the historic town.
“I think hiring Jeff Wix as our tourism director was a good thing,” the mayor said. “I think he’s very knowledgeable. I think he’s going to be a good fit. I was excited about that.
Hassler expects to see more positive things happen in 2022.
“Looking toward next year, I think we’re going to be a little more proactive on our stormwater management,” he said. “We had a big hiccup in the fall of the year with flooding. It made us all take a good hard look at it. Is there anything we can do to be proactive to prevent that? We’re going to spend some money with some engineers. We need to continue that, be proactive next year and try to mitigate and solve some problems if we can.”
The city hall project is also moving along.