Changes continue with city staff.

Dec. 1 was the first day for our new Library Director Laura Whitehead. She was in attendance at our Dec. 4 city council meeting and was introduced to the council and public. Laura comes from Texas and is getting closer to home, which is Norfolk. We look forward to her taking the reins and moving forward.

Last week, City Administrator Tara Vasicek announced the appointment of Chuck Sliva as our new public works director. Chuck has worked for the city for 36 years and was a great candidate for this position. We look forward to the leadership that Chuck will bring to this department.

This month the council introduced a measure that we hope will help move future development along at a quicker pace. Staff put together a map identifying "blighted and substandard" areas within the city. By having this map done and areas already identified, the process of applying for TIF financing can move along better. TIF financing is essential for some of the developments that we are hoping will be attracted to Columbus. By taking this step, having blighted and substandard areas identified, we can move quicker when the appropriate opportunity arises.

The council just approved a new five-year contract with the Platte Valley Humane Society (PVHS). The city and PVHS have worked together for the past 10 years and a mutual desire was there to continue this relationship. During negotiations there were discussions about how much the financial commitment from the city should be. But at no time during the negotiations was there ever a question regarding the working relationship between the two parties. And although the final financial commitment was more than I wanted, the council overruled my wishes — and that's how our system works.

We continue to move forward with the needs for our public safety facilities. Our selection committee met and interviewed four excellent firms this week. A decision will be made soon on who will lead this exciting program.

May I take this time to thank all of you who have helped make my first year as your mayor an enjoyable one. We may not always agree, but I hope everyone appreciates the time and effort that is put forth in trying to serve. As I have stated before, I am only a phone call or email away, and I look forward to hearing from you.

I would like to wish everyone a blessed and merry Christmas! May you all enjoy this special time of year. Until we visit again in 2018 — Columbus Something Good!

Jim Bulkley is the mayor of Columbus. He can be reached at jim.bulkley@columbusne.us.

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