Changes continued to take place within city staff in September.

We finalized our selection for our next police chief and the council gave their approval at the Sept. 5 meeting. We were fortunate to have three well-qualified individuals for this position. Chuck Sherer was selected to lead our police department based on his qualifications and the experience he brings to the position. Along with this we will see the opportunity for internal movement/promotions within the department.

Columbus should be excited about the quality and commitment of those who service and protect us. To have the ability to choose a successor from within our ranks shows the level of professionalism that exists. From our newly appointed chief to all our other police personnel, we are blessed to be protected by some of the best.

My excitement quickly went to disappointment when Drew Brookhart informed me of his resignation as our library director. In his short time here Drew has given the library professional leadership. He was instrumental in bringing the library/cultural arts center to a vote. And, although unsuccessful, he immediately began the process to look at what went wrong, why, and what could be done to tweak the concept and bring it back to the voters. Drew's opportunities back in Colorado are great for him and his family. If you see Drew, say thanks for a job well done.

The library board has selected Karen Connell as interim director. Along with this, the search for a new permanent director has begun. And they continue to look at what needs to be done to bring a successful library/cultural arts center package back to the voters.

The council recently was given a class in "TIF 101." City Administrator Tara Vasicek put an array of information together in the simplest manner possible to explain TIF (tax-increment financing). TIF is a tool used to stimulate economic development and is vastly misunderstood. Her efforts were to help clarify what TIF is and how Columbus can utilize it better.

The council also moved forward with the first reading of our new nuisance ordinance. This is the first of many steps we are taking to gain a stronger hand in dealing with community nuisances. There is common agreement in Columbus that we have many nuisances to address. What we are doing is giving our officials better and more effective tools to work with in addressing these.

One thing I have never mentioned in these monthly updates, because I just assume everyone knows, I am only an email, phone call or personal visit away from any of you who have questions or concerns. For me to be an effective mayor, I must try and have my finger on the pulse of the community. Your input allows this to happen.

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

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