“City Government 101” is an ongoing series that debuted in April 2023 and highlights different aspects of municipal government as it pertains to Columbus, Nebraska, in hopes to provide information on how the City of Columbus operates.
Every City of Columbus department head was recently asked some questions in regard to their department, the current fiscal year budget and plans for their department in the upcoming fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2023-Sept. 30, 2024).
Columbus Area Transit is under the direction of the public property director.
DEPARTMENT HEAD: Doug Moore
(Interview conducted in September 2023)
Q: How many people are in your department?
A: One full-time employee
Q: How long have you been head of your department?
A: Since 2007.
Q: How do you think things went for your department in fiscal year 2022-2023?
A: It was a difficult year with the drought causing problems. We do not have an irrigation system so the only way to irrigate is to haul hoses and setup sprinklers in the cemeteries. We try not to irrigate very much because the water can stain some of the headstones. The grass did turn brown and go dormant in some areas. Of course, the cemeteries don’t look very nice when the turf isn’t thick and green
Q: What were at least two of your department’s biggest accomplishments in the last fiscal year and (why?)?
A: Tommie Riedmiller taking over for Steve Wortman as the Cemetery supervisor when Steve retired was a major accomplishment. It was extremely important to get Tommie hired before Steve left so that he could help with the transition. Very thankful to Steve for allowing Tommie to call him whenever he has a question. Tommie also had to become the leader of the cemetery department and the many seasonal staff. He had to earn their respect which he did. That can be difficult when some of the guys are old enough to be Tommie’s grandfather, a couple could be his great-grandpa.
Q: What are some of the problems your department faced in the last fiscal year and how did you overcome them?
A: We had to deal with the construction on the highway as far as the entrance to Rose Lawn cemetery. It made it difficult to get to the cemetery. We put out information regarding using the back entrance along 19th Street. We also had some water line breaks in Columbus Cemetery that we needed to repair.
Q: What are at least 3 major things you’re wanting your department to accomplish in fiscal year 2023-2024 and how is the new budget going to improve that?
A: We have some issues with some of the older trees in Columbus Cemetery starting to decline so we will need to replace some of them along with trimming some of the younger trees. Would like to replace some of the water hydrants that have become hard to repair.
Q: What can the public expect from your department in the next fiscal year?
A: Hoping to get timely rains so that the cemeteries will green up nicely. Tommie continues to learn about the different aspects of the job and come up with new ideas for the future.
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