Street Superintendent Leaving; Council Gives Nod To Nextremity MOU

(Carli Luca / News Now Warsaw)

Street Superintendent Jeff Beeler resigned from the city effective June 1 to take a position with the private sector.

Mayor Joe Thallemer made the announcement at Monday’s Common Council meeting. He said Beeler formalized it last week.

Thallemer said Beeler has done a fine job on the city streets during his time as superintendent. He talked about how Beeler has improved the street department and saved it money.

“It’s going to be hard to say bye to Jeff,” Thallemer said, noting Beeler was a God-fearing and family man. “We wish Jeff the best and wish him well.”

The city has started looking for Beeler’s replacement.

Beeler thanked everyone for giving him the opportunity, as well as the encouragement.

“The stuff our guys have been able to accomplish, I’ve been able to go and share at different conferences,” Beeler said, noting some of the work the Warsaw Street Department has done has been read about across the globe. “And that’s a really exciting thing to be a part of.”

He said it was sad and exciting to leave.

“I know that Warsaw, with the great support you guys are able to provide … whoever comes in will be able to continue on,” Beeler said.

Beeler has been with the department for about six years.

Councilman Mike Klondaris wished him the best, while Councilman Jerry Frush said, “I don’t know that anyone could do any better.”

Diane Quance and Cindy Dobbins, councilwomen, highlighted some things Beeler has done that made them appreciate his efforts.

Before his resignation announcement, Beeler gave an inventory report of all the city roads, with grades, as part of his Paser 2020 report to the Warsaw Common Council Monday night.

The purpose of the report is to give an accurate description of the city’s roads, using the Paser rating system. It rates each road segment from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best.

The street staff collected data on every road earlier this year.

Warsaw is responsible for over 102 miles of roadway, with some roads being three lanes. The city has one gravel road – West CR 300N – in its system but was excluded from the report.

Beeler reviewed some types of work the council may have seen over the last few years and talked about road funding.

The Paser rating average on the city’s streets have improved since 2015, he said. “I’m really proud of that.” He said his department is making Warsaw better and appreciated the support of the mayor and Common Council for their part in helping roads get better.

Dobbins gave Beeler and his department kudos and said it was amazing what they achieved in a short amount of time.

The council also approved a memorandum of understanding with Nextremity Solutions, which also was approved by the Redevelopment Commission at its 4 p.m. meeting Monday.

City Planner Jeremy Skinner said the Redevelopment will purchase $250,000 in equipment for Nextremity, while the city will provide a five-year loan from the Economic Development Income Tax Fund for that equipment. The structure of the loan agreement is not yet written, but the MOU gives an outline of it. The funds from Redevelopment for the equipment are coming from the Northern TIF District, he said.

Nextremity is consolidating into the Tech Park shell building on Polk Drive, adding improvements and more jobs.

“The exciting thing for us is being able to occupy that second shell building,” Skinner said.

Thallemer said with Nextremity’s expansion plans and to go into manufacturing, this creates a perfect tenant for the shell building. He said the city doesn’t want the Tech Park, it wants companies like Banner Medical and Nextremity.

The livestream video of the meeting to the public then cut off at 8 p.m., an hour into the approximately 90-minute meeting. Local media had to run over to city hall to catch the remaining portion of the meeting.

Nextremity Chief Financial Officer Dan Stichter said, “Our desire would be to have the building in the state that would allow for partial occupancy and manufacturing potentially by the end of the year. And then, as Jeremy mentioned earlier, there’s a significant amount of office space to be finished internally in the building. That would likely not be finished until early ’21, potentially April time frame, when the remainder of the business would be able to locate there.”

He said ideally, by year’s end, there will be parts being made out of the building.

Council President Jack Wilhite said, “I think this is a very unique and great opportunity for Warsaw. I’m very excited about it. … I’m very much in favor of this.”

Klondaris said, “I was just sitting here, thinking, how many other communities wish they were in our situation. Here we are in the middle of a pandemic and we have the foresight, the cooperation, the willingness and we’re just so fortunate. It’s amazing how fortunate we are.”

Skinner said the equipment purchase process will probably start in late summer this year.

In other business, the council:

• Approved tax abatement continuations for Banner Medical, Milestone and Torrent.

• Approved an ordinance to make it easier to move around the city hall parking spaces.

• Approved transferring all the funds remaining in the Eastern TIF Fund to the Northern TIF Fund. Last year was the final year for the Eastern TIF Fund budget.