A former math teacher returned to Northview High School Monday morning to offer students, as well as the general public, a lesson in local government.
A crowd of approximately 150 people filed into Northview's auditorium to hear Brazil Mayor Tom Arthur present his second State of the City address.
"Hopefully this won't be as boring as class," joked Arthur, his tone turning more serious as he described the school as "truly a special place for me."
While most of those in attendance will never have the opportunity to personally attend a state of the state or state of the nation address, Arthur wanted students to have the chance to learn more about Brazil government and understand the importance of employees' combined efforts to ensure smooth day-to-day operations.
The Mayor recognized a number of city department heads and other city employees, including City Council members Ann Bradshaw, Pat Heffner, Bill Lovett, Jim Sheese and Marty Beasley; Board of Works members Lovett and John Nelson; Fire Chief Toby Archer; Police Chief Mark Loudermilk; Clerk-Treasurer Tracy Webster; City Attorney Joe Trout; new Park Supt. Bill Houck; Jerry and Terry Robison, wastewater collection; Shirley Jolly, Wastewater Treatment Plant Manager; Ron Pavler, Pumping Operations Manager; Michele Driscoll, Planning and Zoning; Jake Raubach, Water Plant; Ron Muncie, Street Commissioner; and Debra Hobson, Human Resources.
Arthur said he also wanted to share what it takes to achieve goals. Being dedicated to that cause or goal, like the city workers he recognized, is the first step. Extensive planning, physical responsibility and planning are other facets of moving forward.
While the Mayor said his campaign goals were to create a city that was safe and clean, one that was financially stable with quality infrastructure and growing business appeal, he also explained that he didn't want to spend money Brazil didn't have in order to meet those promises. Doing so would merely create debt for future generations.
"I wanted to see a city we could all be proud of," he explained.
Stricter enforcement of clean-up ordinances as well as the creation of neighborhood watch programs have helped further those goals. In the past year, there have been 54 drug cases that have led to arrests and prosecution.
"It's a place where you can count on your neighbor," the Mayor said.
The Brazil Fire Dept. takes preventive measures in addition to having a three-minute response time, and studies are planned to address the problem of the 40-50 percent treated water loss rate. The street repaving plan is also progressing, and the city Web site will create awareness of what the city offers.
"As you know, studies are only a part of it. We mustmarket our name," he added. "Brazil is in the heart of the Midwest. It is the core of our community.
"I'm not afraid to roll up my sleeves and get busy," Arthur said. "Join me in moving Brazil a step closer in 2005."
In response to audience questions, the Mayor noted one method for young people in the community to become more involved in government is through a youth advisory council. Arthur said he will continue researching the feasibility of that possibility.
"I think this is a nice tradition to start. I used to say talking in front of adults made me nervous," he told The Brazil Times after the address, explaining he always felt more comfortable in front of students because of their openness. "It really wasn't weird. It was kind of just old nature."
Northview Principal Jim Church said the teachers whose students attended, primarily government and economics classes, were hearing positive feedback from their students throughout the afternoon..
"All the teachers had very positive things to say," he said, noting the opportunity for students to be involved and take a more active role in government. "I think it's excellent the city can come out here and use the school for this purpose."