After nearly 20 years as leader of the Maple City, Goshen Mayor Allan Kauffman is ready to pass the torch.
Currently working his way through his fourth and what will ultimately be his final term in office, Kauffman got his start in the mayor’s seat back in April 1997 when he was appointed to the position via precinct caucus following the resignation of former mayor Mike Puro. Prior to his appointment as mayor, Kauffman served 16 years as a member of the City Council.
“On April Fool’s Day of this year it will be 17 years,” Kauffman said of his mayoral service. “... So when I’m done at the end of next year, it will be about 18 and two-thirds years.”
While the decision to finally step down as mayor was by no means an easy one, Kauffman pointed to factors including his age and the improving economy as making it just about as perfect a time as any to say goodbye to the seat.
“I’m 65 now, so I’ll be able to retire at the end of this term,” Kauffman said. “I don’t want to hang onto a job until I don’t have my health. I want to be able to enjoy my retirement. I also think things are going fairly well for the city at this point. I would’ve hated to step out a term ago, because things were really looking bad due to the economy and things like that, and I’d kind of hate to have turned it over to somebody else and made them handle that. So from that standpoint, I think it’s good timing.”
Talented young people
Kauffman also pointed to what he feels is an emerging crop of smart, talented and capable young people coming up behind him as giving him confidence that the city will be in good hands when he ultimately steps down.
“If you go back to Mike Puro, he took us from point A to point B, I took us from point B to point C, and I’m counting on somebody else to take us from point C to point D,” Kauffman said. “There are good, younger people coming up behind me that I’m kind of hoping will take over.”
In looking back on the successful legislation and accomplishments that make up his political legacy, Kauffman pointed to things including the push for neighborhood preservation and the expansion of the city’s parks and bike trails as the work of which he’s most proud.
“I think probably the biggest thing has been the focus on neighborhoods and neighborhood preservation ordinances,” Kauffman said. “People still complain at times that our ordinance enforcement isn’t tough enough, but we’ve put some things in place to try to stem the deterioration of neighborhoods. I also think we’ve done a good job with rental registration, although I inherited that when I came in. But I think we’ve done a good job with that, setting some new standards for neighborhoods so they can be better building blocks for a strong community. And I think the bike trails and the parks have been a big part of what we’ve done, and adding the kinds of amenities that attract people to a community.”