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Columbus News

Posted on: January 16, 2024

WATCH & READ: Mayor Bulkley delivers his '2024 State of the City' Address

Mayor (1)

During the Monday night, Jan. 15, 2024, Columbus City Council meeting, Mayor Jim Bulkley delivered his '2024 State of the City' Address. You can read it in full or watch the video of his speech.

First, you can watch the video of Mayor Bulkley giving his speech on the City's YouTube channel by clicking here. You can also watch the full stream of the entire City Council meeting by clicking here.

HERE'S THE COPY OF HIS FULL ADDRESS: 

THE STATE OF OUR CITY IS GOOD!

AS WE ENTER INTO 2024, I WILL REFLECT ON THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF 2023 AND HIGHLIGHT THE PROJECTS AND OBJECTIVES AS WE MOVE INTO 2024.

LET ME BEGIN WITH THE MISSION STATEMENT OF OUR CITY. THE STATEMENT THAT DEFINES OUR PURPOSE. “AMING TO SAFEGUARD OUR THRIVING AND INCLUSIVE COMMUNITY AND ENHANCE OPPORTUNITIES FOR A HIGH-QUALITY OF LIFE, SUSTAINABLE PROGRESS, AND A VIBRANT AND SECURE FUTURE FOR ALL”.

IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE OUR MISSION WE MUST RECOGNIZE THAT THE CITY IS OPERATING SEVERAL BUSINESSES THAT DELIVER THE NECESSARY AND WANTED SERVICES THAT PROVIDES THE ESSENTIAL ASPECTS OF DAILY LIFE AND OFFERS THE AMENITIES THAT MANY BELIEVE ARE NECESSARY. 

THIS INCLUDES PROVIDING A SAFE AND SECURE ENVIRONMENT PROVIDED BY OUR POLICE AND FIRE DEPARTMENTS. STAFFING OF OUR E-9111 JOINT COMMUNICATION CENTER. PROVIDING STAFFING FOR STREETS, WATER, PARKS AND REC, SENIOR CENTER, LIBRARY, AND SO MUCH MORE.

THE 5 FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT BUSINESSES THE CITY OPERATES EMPLOYEE 206 FULL-TIME EMPLOYEES AND NUMEROUS PART-TIME AND SEASONAL EMPLOYEES. WE WILL OPERATE THIS YEAR’S BUSINESSES WITH A $89,958,549 BUDGET. THIS BUDGET IS COMPRISED OF $15,756,740 IN ENTERPRISE FUNDS, $28,937,660 IN GENERAL FUNDS, $22,536,053 IN CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS AND $22,728,366 IN OTHER FUNDS. 

THE CITY’S SHARE OF PROPERTY TAX IS 17%-THAT IS CORRECT 17%! OUT OF EVERY $100 IN PROPERTY TAX ONLY $17 GOES TO THE CITY. THIS YEAR’S BUDGET ALLOWED FOR THE LOWERING OF THE CITY’S TAX LEVY TO .0226. OUR LEVY WENT FROM .315186 PER $100 OF ASSESSED VALUE TO .292617 PER $100 OF ASSESSED VALUE. THIS TOOK THE CITY’S SHARE OF A $100,000 HOME FROM $315.19 DOWN TO $292.62.

WHAT DID WE ACCOMPLISH IN 2023:

*THE OPENING OF THE COMMUNITY BUILDING. THIS PROJECT CONSISTING OF THE LIBRARY, CITY HALL, A NON-CITY OPERATED COLUMBUS ARTS COUNCIL, A PRIVATELY OPERATED AND FUNDED CHILDREN'S MUSEUM, AND COFFEE SHOP. THIS NEW FACILITY HAS BEEN OVERWHELMING ACCEPTED  BY THE PUBLIC AND WILL SERVE AS A PILLAR OF  DOWNTOWN PROVIDING TRAFFIC, ENTERTAINMENT AND OPPORTUNITIES  FOR THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY. 

*THE NDOT 23rd STREET ROAD RECONSTRUCTION. PHASE 1 OF THIS 3 PHASE PROJECT (COORDINATED BY THE STATE) WAS COMPLETED. OUR COMMUNITY LIVED THROUGH THE HEADACHES AND ARE ENJOYING THE END RESULTS. 

*COMPLETION OF FIRE STATION #2-CHARLIE LOUIS.  ALLOWING FOR THE ABILITY TO STAFF 24-7-365.

*HIRING OF A COMMUNICATION MGR. IN OUR ONGOING EFFORT TO BETTER INFORM THE PUBLIC. OUR GOAL-NEVER HEAR “I DIDN'T KNOW THAT!”

*REPLACING THE PAWNEE PARK MEMORIAL STADIUM FOOTBALL TURF. THE OLD TURF WAS YEAR’S PAST ITS EXPECTED LIFE THANKS TO GREAT

MAINTENANCE BY OUR PARKS DEPT.

*COMPLETION OF THE PAWNEE PARK LEGION BASEBALL FIELD LIGHTING REPLACEMENT PROJECT. PROVIDING DOWNWARD DIRECTIONAL LED LIGHTS THAT WILL PROVIDE BETTER AND SAFER PLAY EXPERIENCES. 

*COMPLETION OF THE GRAIN BIN SIMULATOR AT THE CFD TRAINING FACILITY. THIS IS UNIQUE IN OUR STATE ALLOWING NOT ONLY THE CFD BUT OTHERS IN THE REGION AN OPPORTUNITY TO PRACTICE AND LEARN.

*PAWNEE PARK AND GERRARD PARK MASTER PLAN.

*GERRARD PARK TENNIS AND PICKLE BALL COURT CONSTRUCTION. 

*APPROVAL OF DOWNTOWN BID ASSESSMENT WITH THE AMOUNT RAISED BEING MATCHED BY THE CITY. THIS A FIRST AND WE BELIEVE A GAME CHANGER.

* PAWNEE PLUNGE FAMILY SLIDE.

*SENIOR CENTER FRONT ENTRY RELOCATION AND RECONSTRUCTION.

*EQUIPMENT AND VEHICLE PURCHASES. ALLOWING ALL DEPARTMENTS THE ABILITY TO PERFORM THEIR DUTIES EFFICIENTLY. 

*COMPLETION OF LAST PHASE OF 48th AVENUE PAVEMENT REHABILITATION.

*SCHOOL AND PEDESTRIAN ACTIVATION SIGNAL REPLACEMENT.

*AND ALL OF THIS WAS ACCOMPLISHED WHILE THE COUNCIL WAS 1 SHORT BECAUSE OF THE NOVEMBER 20th, 2023 RESIGNATION OF COUNCIL MEMBER AUGUSTINE-SCHULTE. 

AND WHAT DO WE HAVE TO LOOK FORWARD TO AS NAVIGATE 2024:

*FIRST WE FILLED OUR VACANT CITY COUNCIL POSITION WITH THE APPOINTMENT OF CYNTHIA ALARCON ON JAN 2nd.

*EARLY THIS YEAR WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO THE ADDITION OF THREE ITEMS THAT ARE NOT CITY PROJECTS BUT WILL HAVE TREMENDOUS IMPACT ON OUR CITY.

 *THE OPENING OF THE COLUMBUS COMMUNITY HOSPITAL FIELDHOUSE-what a facility!

 *THE OPENING OF THE CHILDRENS MUSEUM-this organization is totally separate from the city, privately funded and operated by their own management team-this will bring full utilization of our Community Building and a unique environment to our area.

*HARRAH’S CASINO AND RACETRACK-the public eagerly awaits the opening of this permanent facility and the spring horse race season.

AND CITY PROJECTS IN THE WORKS FOR 2024:

*FULL STAFFING OF CFD ALLOWING FOR 24-7-365 at both stations later this year.

*THE BEGINNING OF “MORNING BREW COMMUNITY CHATS” WHICH WILL LAUNCH JANUARY 26, 2024. ANOTHER ATTEMPT TO REACH OUT AND COMMUNICATE WITH OUR CITIZENS. 

*INITIAL START OF WORKFORCE/AFFORDABLE HOUSING SUBDIVISION DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION.

*PHASE 2 OF THE NDOT RECONSTRUCTION OF 23rd ST. GOING BETWEEN 16th AVE. AND 25th AVE.

*CONTINUATION OF WI-FI IN CITY PARKS AND FACILITIES TO PROVIDE EXPERIENCES FOR THE PUBLIC AND EFFICIENCIES WITHIN VARIOUS CITY DEPT.

*CONTINUED DOWNTOWN IMPROVEMENTS COORDINATED THROUGH THE DOWNTOWN BID BOARD.

*CONTINUED STUDY OF DOWNTOWN GRADE SEPARATION/VIADUCTS.

*CENTENNIAL PARK RESTROOM/CONCESSION BUILDING AND SPLASH PAD.

*VAN BERG CLUBHOUSE RESTORATION.

*JOINT COMMUNICATION CENTER STATE RADIO SYSTEM EQUIPMENT UPGRADE- TO ENSURE COMMUNICATION NOT ONLY IN OUR AREA BUT WITH OTHER AGENCIES IN THE AREA.

*CONTINUATION OF ANNUAL PAVEMENT REHABILITATION PROGRAMS.

*CONTINUATION OF PURCHASES FOR NECESSARY EQUIPMENT AND VEHICLES THAT ALLOW OUR DEPARTMENTS TO WORK EFFICIENTLY AND EFFECTIVELY 

AND AS YOU CAN IMAGINE THERE IS MUCH MORE. THIS ONLY REPRESENTS THE HIGHLIGHTS. AND NONE OF THIS COULD HAPPEN WITHOUT THE DEDICATED WORKFORCE THAT WE ARE BLESSED TO HAVE. 

AN EXPERIENCED CITY COUNCIL THAT WORKS TOGETHER FOR THE BETTERMENT OF OUR COMMUNITY. NOT ALWAYS IN LOCK STEP WITH ONE ANOTHER BUT ALWAYS AFTER WHAT THEY BELIEVE IS BEST FOR COLUMBUS. 

CITY STAFF AND CITY EMPLOYEES WHO ARE THERE EVERYDAY DOING WHAT IS EXPECTED TO KEEP OUR CITY OPERATING 24-7. YOUR CITY DOES NOT SLEEP. ALL OF THIS IS COORDINATED BY OUR ADMINISTRATION AND STAFF THAT IS CONSTANTLY RAISING THE BAR ON WHAT WE CAN DO BETTER AND MORE EFFICIENTLY. THEY RECOGNIZE THAT VERY DOLLAR COUNTS. WE ARE ALWAYS CONSCIOUS OF BEING GOOD STEWARDS OF THE PUBLICS TAX DOLLARS.

I LEAVE YOU WITH GREAT CONFIDENCE THAT AS WE MOVE INTO 2024 THE STATE OF OUR CITY IS GOOD. GOD BLESS!

SOMETHING GOOD COLUMBUS. 

JIM BULKLEY-MAYOR

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