NELSONVILLE — Chuck Barga is saying farewell to the city of Nelsonville after nearly three years of serving in the city manager position.
Barga announced the move Tuesday, Jan. 21 in an email to the city workers. This is his second retirement, Barga said, noting he retired from the Southeast Region of the state auditor’s office after serving in that position for 19 years. He worked for the state auditor’s office for 33 years, he said.
As for why he’s retiring now, Barga said the decision had been made within his family “somewhat suddenly,” but had been an option discussed for many years.
“My wife is in real estate and I’ve always said that at some point I would help her out, and I already have my license, so I will probably dabble for a bit in real estate,” he said, noting this would give the couple more time to spend together and lighten his wife’s workload.
He plans to leave the Nelsonville position at the end of the month, which is about two weeks away. He said he plans to be available for questions and advice while the new manager is getting acclimated to the position, but the position has not been posted yet and the City Council will ultimately have to authorize the posting and hiring.
In February 2017, Barga took over as interim city manager from Gary Edwards, who served in the position for 10 months. Barga was hired on a full-time basis for the manager position in late April 2017.
“It’s been a good experience — I’ve enjoyed my time here,” he said. “The staff helped educate me on streets and electrical and sewer and more. They’re why I was here so long, and I will miss them.”
Barga noted many projects he is proud to have had a hand in during his time in Nelsonville government, but highlighted in particular the $20 million regional sewer plant project. The project was started as finding a new way to dispose of the city’s solid waste, as the contractor was stopping his service, and changed into the massive, regional project that it is now.
Barga said originally the city was supposed to provide half of that funding, but is now down to about 25 percent.
“That’s going to be for development,” he said. “It’ll be big enough to handle a lot more of the surrounding area, such as Doanville, so that would be big for new housing developments.”
Barga also noted an effort to change the city’s branding into a unified theme and messaging across all aspects of the city, as well as finding a way to tie the city into the Baileys Trail Project.
“We have cleaned up some of the city, and gotten started on the neighborhood cleanup,” he said. “With me, council, the auditors, we were able to get a better grip on the finances ... as a group we’ve kinda been able to reel them in and get better control of the finances for long-term developing.”
He also noted the $2 million downtown square revitalization project, as well as the ongoing project with a $500,000 neighborhood revitalization grant.
“I hope my successor has the same success that I’ve had in some of these projects,” Barga said.