LEXINGTON — It can be easy to take certain actions for granted, turning on a faucet, having the trash taken away or turning on a switch. Yet there is a whole host of infrastructure and workers behind this to ensure daily life goes on smoothly.

On Saturday, Jan. 11, the City of Lexington held a banquet to honor their employees for the vital work they perform every day.

Lexington City Manager Joe Pepplitsch said to the group gathered at the Holiday Inn Express that the employees of the city are spread over a wide area and cover multiple different types of work.

“We don’t get to say thank you enough,” Pepplitsch said, “We are getting the job done, I am lucky to have a group like you guys.”

Pepplitsch went on to say the city has much to accomplish in 2020 but he is excited for it and thanked the employees again for all their work.

Assistant City Manager Dennis Burnside gave the State of the City speech and reviewed what had happened throughout Lexington in 2019.

“People rely on clean water, quick fire and police response, solid infrastructure, along with waste water and garbage being handled,” Burnside said, “You are the ones who do that hard work, we really appreciate it.”

Looking back, Burnside said the city experienced significant flooding on July 8 and 9 and the city employees really stepped up during this time period to handle what needed to be done in the face of the flooding.

The city was also able to complete the lake restoration at Kirkpatrick Memorial Park, new fishing areas were added, the bank was stabilized and new trees were planted.

Phase one of the northwest hike and bike trail was also completed with 50 new trees being planted along the way. The city also completed a multi-year plan to replace the street lights throughout the community with new energy efficient bulbs, 13,000 in all.

Jake Saulsbury was hired on as a the new city recreation coordinator, Burnside said, he has brought new activities like pickle ball to the town.

While it was kept quiet to maintain anonymity for the participants, 10 needy homeowners received a grant help to improve their homes, said Burnside.

Looking ahead to 2020 and beyond, Burnside said, among other things, Central Community College is close to opening the Workforce Training area which will benefit people looking to gain trade skills for hands on work.

The city is also planning a face lift of the entrances to Greenwood Cemetery to keep them updated and in good condition.

Work will also begin on phase two of the northwest trail project and extended it farther throughout the community. There will also be a new solar array near the airport as well as water main upgrades.

The Veterans Memorial Pavilion is also in the works which, when completed, will occupy space at Kirkpatrick Memorial Park, flanking the brand new amenities created by the restoration efforts, Burnside said.

Oak Park is also on the list of parks to be renovated, this particular one with a new splash pad which will help draw people to a park on the south side of the community.

Since the banquet had not been hosted in at least two years, new employees were welcomed who joined both in 2018 and 2019.

In 2018 new employees who joined were,

-Edwin Perdomo - Lexington Police Department

-Joshua Smith – Lexington Police Department

-Al Campuzano – Community Services

-Anthony Chali – Community Services

-Kareem McDougall – Lexington Police Department

-Jose Torres Garcia – Lexington Police Department

-Rose Phillipson – Lexington Public Library

In 2019,

-Melissa Nevarez – Lexington Grand Generation Center

-Joseph Renderos – Lexington Police Department

-Amanda Woolley – Business Office

-Jake Saulsbury – Recreation

-Pam Brand – Lexington Public Library

-Dawne Hernandez – Lexington Public Library

The city also handed out perfect attendance awards for the past year, the award winners were,

-Judy Dukes

-Philip Lauby

-Chad Reutlinger

-Edwin Perdomo

-Cyndi Osborne

-Leon Friedrichsen

-Gary Glaze

-Doug Glaze

Service awards for years of service were also handed out by Pepplitsch and Burnside.

For five years of service,

-JoAnn Grove – Lexington Public library

-Lucas Pinkelman – Lexington Police Department

-Juan Jimenez – Community Services

For 10 years of service,

-Lois Underwood – Lexington Public Library

-Angie Sund – Lexington Grand Generation Center

-Leon Friedrichsen – Community Services

-Kristie Wagner – Administration

For 25 years of service,

-Tom Nelson – Community Services

-Doug Monter – Parks

For 35 years of service

-Ann Luther, Lexington Grand Generation Center/Parks/Recreation

-Barbara Hodges – Administration

Retirees in 2018 were Ken Skiles and Manuel Razo.

The city extended a thank you to the sponsors of the banquet which included, Cash-wa Distributing, TL Sund Constructors, JEO Consulting Group, Olsson Associates, Service Master of Mid Nebraska, Miller & Associates, Paulsen Inc. and Downey Drilling Inc.

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