The Ralston Area Chamber of Commerce held its monthly Chamber Chatter luncheon on Tuesday afternoon and had an important speaker.
Ralston Mayor Don Groesser was on hand to give his “State of the City” address to chamber members.
Groesser discussed everything from various city departments to the future city enhancement plans that are in the works. He also made the speech interactive by creating multiple choice questions about the city and quizzing chamber members in attendance.
During his speech, Groesser looked back at 2014 and all its achievements.
He also looked ahead to 2015 and what there is left to do for the year.
“I think it’s going to be a fun year,” he said.
Below are some of the highlights of Groesser’s address:
• Groesser praised the Ralston City Council for all its continued hard work.
“We are really blessed to have a council that gets along well,” he said.
• Moving the Ralston Arena’s responsibility to City Hall saved the city $113,000.
• Public Works is responsible for the care of 65 lane miles of streets and 40 miles of storm sewers in the City of Ralston. Groesser showed a video of the sewer cameras used by Public Works that displayed how they can spot blockages and leaks in the sewers.
• In 2014, the Ralston Arena saw 108,755 people attend ticketed events. The Arena also sold 58,108 cans of beer and had over 356,000 food and beverage transactions. Groesser played a video highlighting the events that came to the Arena in 2014.
• The Baright Public Library welcomed 79,953 visitors in 2014. Groesser showed a slideshow of various achievements and activities that took place at Baright.
• The city saw $19.8 million in revenue from keno in 2014. The city share of that revenue was $1.13 million.
• The City of Ralston’s levy was 58 cents per $100 of property valuation in 2014. The total property valuation was more than $332 million.
• Quarterly, the City of Ralston receives about $430,000 from the LB 779 turn-back tax.
• Looking forward, Groesser wants to hire an economic development/foundation coordinator to start work on the Hinge Project. He announced that he has selected John Yochum and, pending approval by the City Council, they will start working.
• As part of the Hinge Project, Groesser wants to enhance the entrance of the downtown Ralston.
“It can be prettier and more inviting,” Groesser said.
• Groesser discussed how the infrastructure of the city is in great shape and praised Public Works for its work on the city.
• For 2015, Groesser wants to focus on filling empty properties, especially those in the downtown area.
• Groesser ended his speech praising city employees and all their continued hard work.
“Every department has its assets,” Groesser said. “I could go on and on.”