Mayor Norm Yoder Reviews Progress
Article by KPC Media | KPC News | April 25, 2019
AUBURN — In his final state of the city message Wednesday, Auburn Mayor Norm Yoder reviewed accomplishments during his nearly 20 years as the city’s chief executive.
Speaking at McKenney-Harrison Elementary School, Yoder said Auburn is in “a period of change and uncertainty,” but he expressed confidence in the city’s future.
He said residents’ involvement in community organizations is “a huge reason why Auburn is a great place to live, work, and play.”
“If I had one wish, it would be that everyone, of all generations, in Auburn are involved in at least one of these organizations,” Yoder said.
He said changes coming for Auburn include a new mayor, a school referendum vote and health care.
Yoder will retire Dec. 31 after a record-setting five terms as mayor.
“I do not intend to take an official position on the referendum,” he said about the May 7 vote on a proposed $37.6 million upgrade project for DeKalb Central Schools.
Yoder added, “… however, I implore the elected school board, school administration and those opposed to the referendum to be empathetic to the losing side, and do everything in their power to bring the school community together as one once the voters have spoken.”
DeKalb Health, the city’s independent hospital since 1964, recently announced a new partnership with Parkview Health.
“Whatever the outcome, I truly believe the services will be improved and this will not be a major consideration in the future,” Yoder said. “In the meantime, any communication and transparency that DeKalb Health or Parkview can disclose will go a long way toward relieving any lingering anxieties.”
Yoder described the city’s economy as “humming along.” He mentioned construction of a Team Quality Services building downtown, major upgrades at Metal X’s campus and equipment upgrades at Shiloh Industries and Tower Automotive. On the consumer side, he said, Auburn Brewery opened, downtown business revitalization is ongoing, and a Culver’s restaurant is under construction on the west side.
He added, “participation in and activity of the service organizations and nonprofit pillar are the sign of community pride.”
The mayor said, “my staff and I have approached the city as a service business,” before listing achievements of city departments over two decades:
• Street Department: Built Auburn Drive, completed the 6th & Main Revitalization and extended the
project to South Main Street.
• Building & Planning: Collaborated with the county in adopting extraterritorial jurisdiction,
developed trail and downtown revitalization plans, and worked with City Council to adopt a new
Unified Development Ordinance.
• Engineering: Adopted the use of GIS to be more accurate and efficient in their work.
• Clerk’s Office: Consolidated information technology and embraced its use. Due to this, there is
efficiency and attrition and fewer full-time employees in the clerk’s office today than when I first
• Police: Developed and built a training center and outdoor shooting range used by virtually all law
enforcement agencies in northeast Indiana and evolved a car take-home program.
• Fire Department: Created a fire territory with Union Township, designed and built a state-certified
training center that is used by most fire departments in northeast Indiana, and elevated the city’s
ISO rating from Class 5 to Class 3 (resulting in lower insurance premiums for all).
• Parks: Built Rieke Park, Courtyard Park, Thomas Dog Park, disc golf, the Pufferbelly Trail through
town as well as Rieke Trail. “Hopefully, soon will add a skate park,” Yoder said.
• Electric utility: Built a new substation on C.R. 34, installed automatic metering information
technology and installed all the fiber for Auburn Essential Services.
• Water Pollution Control: Completed 98% of the agreed order concerning combined sewer
overflows, implemented a SCADA system for plant and system automation, and extended the
collection system in all four directions out of the city.
• Water: Added the north water tower, implemented a SCADA system for plant and system
automation, extended service lines to the north, south and west of the city.
• Auburn Essential Services: This new department of the city is providing phone, gigabit internet
and video service to over 3,000 business and residential customers.
Yoder added, “The next administration will hopefully embrace appropriate changes to continue to
make Auburn a great place to live.”