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City of Columbus, City Council, Ward 4

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    John Lohr
    (NP)

Biographical Information

If elected, what are your priorities for economic development in your city/town/village?

If elected, what would be your top priorities in an extreme weather event?

If elected, what would you consider your top three priorities? Please detail.

What is the biggest challenge in your community and how would you address it?

Occupation Retired Businessman.
Education Bachelor of Science in Political Science/ Master of Science in Economics/ University of Utah
Current Public Office, dates held Columbus City Council 2004 to the present.
Past Public Office, dates held Columbus Parks and Recreation Board 1975 to 1980
Military experience Volunteered for U. S. Army/ Volunteered for Officer Candidate School/ Volunteered for Vietnam. Served one year in Northern I Corps in Vietnam and received The Bronze Star Medal.
Volunteer experience Columbus Hospital Board (Chair) Northeast NE Econ. Development Dist. Board (Chair)/ Exec. Board of the League of NE Municipalities/ Federated Church Governing Council/ Columbus Chamber Volunteer of the Year/ Columbus Library Foundation Board (Chair).
Address 301 Pershing Road Columbus, NE 68601
Marital Status Married - 40 years.
Age 78
The city of Columbus has used an LB 840 fund to collect part of the sales taxes paid locally and allocate those dollars in grants and loans to local and new business for expansion. The fund has been renewed by voters and housing has been added to the list of uses for the “840” funds. We have also utilized LB 518 housing funds to enhance our inventory of workforce housing. We must continue to incent developers to build workforce housing in order to attract permanent labor for our employers. We have been very accommodating to existing business as far as zoning, permits, and other requests. We need to continue this relationship with our existing corporate citizens. Our Chamber is constantly looking for prospects for locating in Columbus. With our low utility rates, an abundance of water, a state of the art sewage treatment plant, and other attractions, we feel that Columbus is the right place to be especially with the prospect of four lanes of travel to and from Omaha in the works.
Columbus is the County Seat of Platte County with all of the County services generated by the County Board of Supervisors when they meet in Columbus. Platte County has an internal Civil Defense unit that monitors weather data, flood data etc. and issues watches and warnings accordingly. Essentially, the Civil Defense calls the shots and if they need help from the city police department (for instance) it is rapidly provided. This situation came into focus during the floods of 2019. Columbus proper was untouched by the 2019 floods. Some ice and water poured around the end of our levee damaging seven holes on our municipal golf course, but that was the only damage in the city. The levee held as it was supposed to do.

Personally, I have studied meteorology in college, worked for the National Weather Service during some summers and had a lifelong hobby of studying meteorological events. I believe this gives me a slight advantage when bad conditions are imminent.
I have worked with housing providers for years to provide workforce housing in the community. Now that we have numerous projects in the works, developers must be encouraged to complete their work for that part of the development puzzle. This is my top priority.

A new library is under consideration. I have been on the “Library Steering Committee” for the city for several years. The funds have been approved, but the people must vote to issue the bonds for the project. I feel that a new library in the downtown area would enhance the quality of life in the community and be one more draw for our existing and prospective employers and their employees.

Many of the large employers in town are divisions of national companies. They have managers here and though those managers are community oriented, we need to do more to enhance their involvement in the community. We need to enhance our access to corporate largess and we have determined that closer ties with the local managers helps.
We need to do more to train people for jobs in the community. There are hundreds of jobs available in our community with very few prospective employees to fill those jobs. I believe we need to work more with the High School and Community College to provide the training to people so that they have the skills needed in the community. Enhanced training should provide more earning power for local employees, they should be able to consider enhanced housing options, and their quality of life should improve. We as a community need to encourage people to go to school and learn a new trade if it means an improved quality of life. It can be done; it just takes a dogged determination on the part of the city administration and the corporations. A great example is the local hospital providing nursing scholarships to high school students if they will come back to work at the hospital. Our STEM program in our high school is a great example of sowing the seeds for future employees.