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Progress of NYM highlighted in State of the City address

On her seventh day as mayor of New York Mills, Julie Gerber delivered her first State of the City address, highlighting events of the past year.

Gerber told a crowded room at the 20th annual NY Mills Civics and Commerce dinner on Monday night that there was a building permit surge last year, with estimated total cost of building projects coming in at $3.1 million, more than in the last five years combined,

"The most exciting part was that this included three new homes," Gerber said.

Many residential rehab projects took place last year, partly because of a small cities grant that contributed more than $1 million to residential improvements within NY Mills.

Gerber said the business world also had some exciting changes.

Some building projects included the Hardware Hank/ Cenex store, Casey's and various rehab projects on the Otter Tail County building. There were also four new businesses started in town: Midwest Industries, LuLu's Picks, A Better Wireless and Marro's ATV.

City finances are stable, as well, she pointed out, holding the levy flat: "Once again the auditors have given us a positive report. They continually commend us on our accounting practices as well as the knowledge and availability of our staff."

"We continue to take advantage of refinancing options on our bonds, as doing so results in significant savings for the city," Gerber added. "Since 2009, the city has refinanced five bonds for a savings of over $200,000."

Following Gerber's speech, Chief of Police Jim Van Shaick also addressed the crowd, sharing his State of the Police Department. This year's call volume has increased by 20 percent, to 1,654 calls of service. This number is 4.6 percent of the total number of calls received within Otter Tail County.

Calls for crimes such as burglary have been down.

Van Shaick also said the amount of traffic citations have increased from 81 tickets in 2011 to 143 in 2012. And though he has heard a lot of complaints about that increase, Van Shaick said, "We truly want people to be safe."