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'You have made this a better community'

Mayor Mike Wendel delivers his "State of the City" address
Prineville Mayor Mike Wendel delivered his annual state of the city address at the city council meeting on Tuesday night and in it, he cited the challenges faced by the city in 2007, including the housing downturn, several dry wells that led to water shortages and demand for his resignation after personnel issues.
   He also mentioned that most of these issues, save the housing market downturn, have been resolved.
   "Let's face facts. The housing downturn will be very challenging for the city's budget, but we will make it through this downturn and move on," he said.
   "In 2008, we will still be dealing with the housing downturn, but this can also be good for us. It allows our planning commission and staff time to get caught up on issues, being proactive and not reactive. It will also allow the council and staff to look more at long-term goals for the city."
   Wendel was asked to step down by a handful of citizens last year after the dismissal of former Public works director Jim Mole.
   "As far as my resignation, there never were 2,000 people who signed a petition, more like a couple hundred, and a lot of those did not even live in the community. Heck, somehow my name was even on the petition," Wendel said. "As of today, I think most people are happy with what we are doing."
   As for the wells, Wendel reasoned that there were some bad ones, but the biggest and most successful one was also drilled this year.
   He also stated his firm belief that citizens should not only come forward with their problems, but with solutions as well.
   "I want to thank all of you who came forward with problems ideas and solutions," he said. "You have made this a better community."
   He cited the addition of more public handicapped parking, the addition of the Pledge of Allegiance to city council meetings and approval of Prineville's first ever comprehensive plan as ideas that were not his, but ones that he was happy to help bring to fruition.
   Wendel closed by thanking the citizens of Prineville for their letters of support, prayers and those who stopped him in the store with well-wishes.
   "That is what makes me proud to be from Prineville," he said. "I believe I have the best job in the world: mayor of the City of Prineville."