A lot to be proud of in 2018

January 26, 2019

As we move into 2019 I’d like to take this opportunity to reflect on the past year and highlight the accomplishments of 2018.

Columbus continues to move forward and grow progressively. The citizens have had the opportunity to express their approval of their leadership and many of the projects that are underway.

The November election returned all current Council members to their seats. Along with this the citizens were asked, and gave a resounding yes, to the continued support of economic development. As we have constantly expressed, the continued growth of our community is essential and economic development funding is one of the engines that fuels this.

The earlier passage of the up to $16 million bond issue for new Police and Fire facilities is now turning into reality with construction well underway. And let’s remember all this is being done without a tax increase.

The Third Avenue viaduct is open. For so many years officials and citizens kicked around the need/desire for viaducts. Finally it has happened. But not only has Third Avenue opened but the 18th Avenue pedestrian viaduct is under construction and should be open within weeks.

Along with this we have moved along with the preparation to begin constructing the 12th Avenue viaduct. Right of way acquisitions and other necessary items have been taken care of and bidding for this project will take place in early February with construction starting soon after.

TIF financing has evolved into an extremely valuable tool that can be used to spur development. A current example of this is the old Walmart property moving forward and developing.

TIF financing is also helping with development of new residential areas. We are expecting over 350 new housing units (doors) built this coming year. This compares to the previous years averaging about 75 units.

We received $850,000 in Rural Workforce Housing grant (the highest award in the state) to assist with our need for workforce housing. We have pointed out the need for workforce housing and finally we are addressing this need.

We have finished upgrading our Comprehensive Plan and Long Range Transportation Plan. This is a blueprint used to guide us as we grow. Along with this we are in the process of updating our Land Development Ordinance. We are reaching out to those involved for their inputs so that we can craft an ordinance that makes sense as we grow but also fits the needs of our developers, builders and other parties.

Future growth from new development is not our only means of growing. The annexation of Country Club Shores brought a neighboring development into our city limits. Although we don’t have a blueprint for the annexation of other neighborhoods, in the future I can assure you that more annexation will occur when the proper parameters line up.

To address the concerns of many that we need to maintain our property and enforced our codes we implemented the Community Development Code Enforcement. Having personnel that specifically address code violations, correct them when possible and serve citations if necessary. This position has been received well and has been very busy. But like many things, progress takes time and citizens want more results, faster. We are working to address these needs.

A unique and exciting project got underway in 2018 - the Joint E-911 Communication facility. The city and Platte County collaborating and moving forward together with this collaboration will give us a state-of-the-art facility providing state-of-the-art services.

Many projects have been on going and under the radar of most citizens. The continued expansion of our Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP). This multi-million dollar/multi-phased project allows our WWTP to handle all our needs today and for years to come as we continue to grow. We also replaced three complete lift stations and replaced or repaired miles of streets.

This past year year we saw many familiar faces say goodbye. Because I do not want to forget anyone I will not attempt to list those that left. I will say their service and dedication was utmost and they will be missed. But as with any organization we replaced them with qualified individuals eager to serve.

Our safe/secure community grew up fast this past June. The shooting of Sgt. Bradley Wangler shocked all of us and made us realize that what we read about, hear about and see on TV can now take place in Columbus. But what was truly amazing was the strong show of support and prayer that brought Sgt. Wangler back to us and his family.

As we move forward into 2019 we will continue to build on these many projects that began in 2018. The completion of our Police and Fire facilities. Construction of the 12th Avenue viaduct. The startup and operations of our new combined E-911 facility. Continued growth in workforce housing and other development. And continued work on an appropriate blueprint for the future of our Library.

I have always taken pride in being a good steward of your tax dollars. This will not end. We will continue to look at needs verses wants. And challenge spending where we can.

It was an honor serving as your mayor in 2018 and look forward to serving you in 2019.

Thank you.

Jim Bulkley is the mayor of Columbus.

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