Mayor Reed Dupy and City Administrator Darin Chappell gave the annual State of the City address on Wednesday.

During the Chillicothe Area Chamber of Commerce’s March luncheon Mayor Reed Dupy and City Administrator Darin Chappell gave the annual State of the City address.

Chappell, who has been Chillicothe’s city administrator for 18 months updated the crowd on the status of various city departments. He said, in his time here the police department alone has seen major changes and advancements.

Recalling a standoff incident in August 2017 where shots were exchanged, Chappell said police officers inside the home, including now Police Chief Jon Maples, had to yell out of a window because the department’s communication system did not allow them to be able to speak with other law enforcement or dispatch.

“It was a scary situation,” Chappell recalled. “Because of the antiquated communications system we literally had officers inside the home who were unable to communicate with dispatchers and other law enforcement who were right outside the same home. It was unacceptable.”

Soon after the city council approved the purchase of a $250,000 digital communication system, which was purchased last year.

“The police have a job to respond as quickly as they can,” Chappell said. “They have a job to respond and they do their job well.”

Chappell noted the police officers have new uniforms, and have increased their non-policing involvement and interaction within the community under the leadership of Chief Maples. Maples has also been able to secure numerous grants, which have increase safety for police officers and aided in purchasing new the uniforms, among other items and allowed for additional training.

The fire department, Chappell said is a shining star in the city’s departments.

“Chief (Darrell) Wright doesn’t just think about how to increase safety today - he is looking years ahead,” Chappell said. In the next year the city is planning to purchase a new ladder truck, and by doing so the city’s ISO rating will decrease. An ISO is a rating calculated on how well-equipped fire departments are to put out fires in their community and is a number that insurance companies use to, in part, set homeowners insurance rates. Currently, Chappell said Chillicothe has an ISO rating of a four. With the purchase of the new ladder truck he and Wright expect the city’s rating to decrease to a three.

When the fire department's ISO goes down, it can save taxpayers money.”

The parks department is continuing to provide area residents with a variety of activities, and safe places to take part in those activities. Chappell noted that Chilli Bay will open at the end of May for the season.

“Our parks department has done a great job running and maintaining Chilli Bay,” he said. “It has become a great place for groups outside of our county even, to come and enjoy.”

During the 2019 Chillicothe MudCats season, Chappell said the field at Shaffer Park will be named in honor of former Mayor Chuck Haney.

Due to issues with funding availability from the FFA the new 5,000 foot runway at Chillicothe’s airport is on hold. While the city has saved its $400,000 share of the runway costs, Chappell said the FFA has put projects on hold.

“We have been told May 1, 2020, but we are still not sure that is going to happen with the FFA putting new projects on hold due to national debt,” he said.

The project is slated to cost $4 million, however Chillicothe is only responsible for $400,000 of that.

Chillicothe has 160 miles of roadway for which the street department is responsible. Chappell said it is important to note, as he and other city officials have done countless times this winter, that Washington Street, or Highway 65, as it is also called is maintained by the Missouri Department of Transportation.

“MoDOT does not permit our street department to do any work on their roadways,” he said. “Our street department is a very hardworking group of people who have determination and drive and they do everything they can for our city streets and they do a good job.”

Dupy noted the street department worked long hard hours this winter to plow the roads and then fill potholes as they could. The pothole repair work is ongoing on side streets and alleys.

“Considering the revenue, amount of work and the integrity of the people who work for the city - in all department,” Chappell said. “I could not be prouder of the city government and the employees of this city.”