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Reflecting on 2018 and moving forward

December 28, 2018 GMT

We are always trying to explain what’s happening in our community.

At the Dec. 3 Columbus City Council meeting, we added a Committee of the Whole presentation to give Fire Chief Miller an opportunity to explain the department’s procedures when responding to ambulance calls. As we have grown, we have implemented a more professional concept to responding to calls, which now has a second vehicle rolling out behind our ambulance. This allows better service to the initial call and makes staff ready to respond should another call come in.

Like anything that is new or different, many residents noticed this second vehicle rolling and didn’t understand why we hadn’t done this in the past. And so often when something is not understood, you get rumors spread via the “coffee talk” groups. Having the Committee of the Whole presentation allowed Chief Miller to address the process and explain the whats and the whys.

On Dec. 6, I had the opportunity to join Centro Hispano and celebrate “Ignite the Change.” This was an event to highlight the work Centro Hispano does in our community and recognize those individuals and organizations that go above and beyond. We are blessed to have such an organization in Columbus that works to broaden the ties of our many diverse cultures. This diversity is one of the strengths of our community and we need to continue to work to embrace this. Centro Hispano recognizes this and works hard to cultivate this asset.

Many have asked me where things stand in regards to the future of our Library. Since the defeat of the original bond issue, many people have been working to understand what could work, what square footage is needed, how do we combine a library with cultural arts and other entities and what is the best location? With the failure of the first bond issue, this group wants to make sure they understand the errors of the first proposal and what could succeed.

The process of coming back with a plan has begun. We had an initial meeting of stakeholders (library board members, council members, staff, and myself) along with the architect. Ideas and concepts were discussed and more meetings are planned. Stay tuned-there will more information to come.

As many of you have heard and read in The Columbus Telegram, K.C. Belitz has announced his departure from our Columbus Chamber of Commerce to head up the Nebraska Community Foundation. I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the extraordinary contributions that K.C. has made to our community. He has been a true ally to Columbus and has helped with so much of our growth and development. And I must add that he has been a friend and confidant. I know that even in his new responsibilities K.C. will always find time to help if the need arises.

This time of year has all of us thinking of family, friends, and being thankful. I would like to give thanks to those that in there own way has helped make Columbus great.

I give thanks to our residents for their support. Supporting the day-to-day operating decisions that are made. Supporting with the approval of million dollar bond issues for new police/fire facilities. And the continued support of economic development.

I give thanks to our City Council members. They put themselves in front of the public because they care. They don’t always agree with each other but they analyze situations and come to conclusions that they feel best serve their constituents. They give of their time and talents and do so with little thanks or appreciation.

I give thanks to all of city staff. From our city administrator, to our department heads, to all of our employees. We have a very dedicated staff that serves our residents and are always on call to provide those essential services necessary.

I give thanks to our police and fire professionals. These individuals keep us safe and secure and with very little fan fare. They, like our other employees, perform their duties 24/7-365.

I give thanks for the extraordinary support and power of prayer that our citizens provided after the shooting of Sargent Wangler. Coming together and helping bring him home safe to us and his family.

And finally, I must give thanks to my wife and family. Without their love and support I would not be able to do this job. I am truly blessed and thankful to have the opportunity to serve as your mayor.

I hope we all enjoyed a blessed Christmas and have a blessed New Year!

Jim Bulkley is the mayor of Columbus.