EVART — When Evart city manager Zack Sczakas takes a step back and looks at the past year in review, he is pretty pleased with the way things have worked out.

It hasn’t necessarily been easy. There are continuing budget constraints and city planning teams are constantly juggling to keep things running smoothly.

Still, all in all, 2011 has been productive and progressive.

“This has been a great year for the city of Evart,” said a very upbeat city manager. “We got a lot accomplished.

“It really has been very satisfying to see all that we’ve managed to get done under the circumstances.”

Sczakas reported the city had managed to complete three federal grant projects involving construction, expansion, and improvement at the Evart Air Industrial Park.

These projects have enhanced access to the airport and extended usual space on the runways.

“Hard on the tail of the dedication of a new airport terminal, we saw the groundbreaking for a new business that is locating to our industrial park area,” said Sczakas. “That is very, very encouraging.”

The city manager pointed out that administratively municipal departments have managed well within a constrained budget.

“Everyone has been very responsible,” he said.

“Another real accomplishment was bringing about a realistic adjustment to our sewer and water rates which has improvement and will continue to improve our bottom line while not being too much of a burden on residents.

“The additional income will go a long way in helping us get some projects done within the city.”

Sczakas said he believed the “high point” in the city’s 2011 calendar year was the completion of the airport terminal building.

“We really need to give credit to Melora Theunick and the LDFA board for seeing that project through to completion,” he pointed out.

“I think their efforts and continuing action by the Council have pushed Evart into a competitive position when it comes to attracting new businesses and creating job opportunities for people in this area.

“We are marketing ourselves well.”

On the opposite end of the municipal spectrum, Sczakas believes the low point for Evart and municipalities around the state is what everyone is having to go through administratively while dealing with state government.

“The state legislature has created all sort of mandates that are supposed to make things more efficient and effective in municipal government,” he said.

“In fact, at our level, all these new mandates are simply complicating things.

“It’s become more and more a mess just trying to stay in compliance with everything that is coming down from Lansing.

“And while the mandates cost us money, the new rules are applied without any suggestion of state funding to see them through. It’s a mugging, and it takes a lot of time ...wasted time.

“State ‘management’ has become a real problem.

“I find it strange that many in Lansing are always crying about Big Government, but they themselves are creating more and more Big Government all the time.

“As a municipality, dealing with the State of Michigan is certainly the low point in this calendar year.

“It’s a mess.

“They are trying to take local control away from communities.”

With the occasional swing between high and low points, Sczakas believes the city has stayed on a pretty even keel.

“We have a great new Council that is really involved and active,” he said.

“We have people working for this city who really want to do the right thing for people already living here, and also want to see the city continue to grow in a way that is attractive to new folks coming to the area.

“Things really are looking good.

“The year 2011 has been very, very good for the city of Evart, and we certainly expect more and better things to come in the future.”