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January 16, 2014

State of improvement: Leaders describe city, county status

Sailors, Franklin declare state of county, city

Cass County and Logansport have improved over the last year and will continue to improve, their respective leaders say.

Cass County Commissioner Jim Sailors and Logansport Mayor Ted Franklin delivered their annual State of the County and State of the City addresses to an audience of hundreds at Angie’s Catering Wednesday. Through the avenues of economic development, education and improving appearances and amenities, both leaders declared the states of their jurisdictions strong and listed the ways they hope to make them stronger in the year ahead.

Franklin referred to the city’s unemployment rate of 14 percent in 2009 and the 1,500 jobs it lost in the five years preceding 2011. Unemployment has since improved to 7.3 percent, a figure he wants to further progress through long-term economic sustainability.

One way to accomplish this is by improving electric rates in the city, Franklin said. He referred to the imminent closing of Logansport Municipal Utilities’ generating plant within the next two years after expensive requirements are enforced on coal-generating plants by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“We are in this position now, not because it is a new issue, but because of our failure to decisively deal with the issue in the past,” Franklin said.

Franklin continues to pursue a result to the city’s and Logansport Municipal Utilities’ rate stabilization initiative through negotiations with Pyrolyzer LLC, out of Boca Raton, Fla. over a generating plant that would be powered by refuse-derived fuel.

Logansport City Council recently passed a measure authorizing Franklin to negotiate with other parties over the initiative as well.

Franklin and other city officials traveled to Germany and Canada last year to view technology associated with the proposal.

“As the mayor, I find myself, and our team, negotiating the final points of a three-quarter billion dollar investment in our city,” Franklin said. “From this perspective, I realize that this investment opportunity is real, but it is also tied to global business standards, nothing like we have ever experienced before.”

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