Watkins Wades into Work
Bill Watkins took the oath Monday as the new city manager, and outlined areas for improvement.
"The city organization, staff, can do a better job with communicating with our residents," he promised.
"I think there are some things we can do internally," he said.
"I believe we are behind the curve in terms of planning. Everything from roads, to the utilities, etc.," Watkins added. "We need to get those up to speed. And we'll be working on that right away."
Watkins says he'll start on those goals immediately, plus working with Mayor Darwin Hindman on growth issues and on the city's streets.
"We always have to be looking at how to finance further roads," Hindman explained. "And so, road building is going to be a sort of immediate issue, because we need to get started implementing what the voters allowed us to do."
Hindman and Watkins also will look at pedestrian and bicycle traffic. Columbia has a $25 million federal grant for non-motorized traffic such as trails, sidewalks and intersections.
Watkins was Columbia assistant city manager since 1995. He succeeds former City Manager Ray Beck, whose last day was Jan. 6.