Mayor's Memo (2/8/24)

This is a great place to live


I’m always amazed at the paths our lives take. My best friend lives in the house where he was brought home from the hospital following his birth. I, on the other hand, have had the opportunity to live in nine Iowa counties and nine of Iowa’s cities.

Both experiences (being rooted in one area and having lived in several communities) have their benefits. The benefit for me is to realize how many great things the community of West Liberty has to offer. Top of the list is the friendliness and the desire for West Liberty to always be an outstanding community.

I rarely go out in public without someone saying, “Are you the mayor?” Friends tease me about calls concerning potholes and other problems. What I am hearing from people in the community is focused on ensuring this is a great place to live.

It was a surprise that since Mayor Anderson was appointed, I was to be sworn in as Mayor on the day the election was certified. It was a bit of a shock when I was sworn in on December 11, 2023. I’m grateful that Mayor Anderson devoted much of his time to enable a smooth transition from his administration to mine.

Shortly after being sworn in, I selected and the Council approved, Josh Houser as the Chief of the West Liberty Police Department. Chief Houser comes to this position with previous service on the West Liberty Police Department as well as experience in other communities. This past week, I had an opportunity to sit down with Chief Houser and the other members of the Police Department to discuss the importance of their jobs in protecting all of you. These meetings will occur on a regular basis.

I also trudged through the snow for a meeting with the Fire Department, but that meeting was canceled due to the bad weather and the work our fire fighters were doing. Again, the services of our fire department are critical and it is my aim to have regular meetings with them as well.

The Poet Robert Frost has a line, “It will not do to say of night, since darkness is what brings out your light.” The back-to-back storms put our street department to the test. Through the dark times of heavy snow fall and subsequent bitter cold, these dedicated employees were out clearing streets. We also were more fortunate than many communities because our electricity, water, and sewers worked well during this difficult time. Several times, the ambulance was called out to help with people who suffered accidents and failing health.

The work of these employees and volunteers are some of the reasons I treasure West Liberty.

An important proclamation was signed at the January 16, 2024 City Council Meeting. It was recognizing that human trafficking occurs and that it should not. From 1839 forward, Iowa has openly opposed the enslavement of our brothers and sisters. The very first Territory of Iowa Supreme Court Case (In the Matter of Ralph) established that in our state, “people are not property, and therefore are not subject to the rights of property.” Our ancestors stood up against human trafficking and so should we. On Tuesday, January 30, 2024, I was going to the Post Office and ran into a group of middle school boys. “Mr. Mayor,” they said, “Did you know there was a child abduction?” The Amber Alert that day, gave us an opportunity to discuss what they should do if anyone ever tried to abduct them. It makes me sad these discussions are needed, but they are. 

February is upon us and it’s a good time for sled riding, hot cocoa, board games, attending school sporting events, and being with friends. Enjoy!