Council Bluffs officially has a new mayor. Matt Walsh was sworn-in Thursday, replacing Tom Hanafan, a longtime fixture at the helm of the city.
It shocked nearly everyone back in 2013 when Hanafan announced his retirement. After a tough race, the city chose Walsh as his replacement.
The city hall ceremony on Thursday marked the first time the city has had a new mayor since 1985.
With Hanafan's endorsement, Walsh won the November election with more than 60 percent of the vote.
The swearing-in ceremony played out before a standing room only crowd.
Walsh, along with incoming councilman Albert Riggenberg and returning councilmember Melissa Head, made the promise to support and uphold the state and federal constitution and do their best in their roles as civic leaders.
Walsh said his first plan as mayor is to get to know the city staff. After that he wants to focus on issues such as personnel and management turnover, recertifying the levee, storm water management, and making sure there's a way to pay for all of those projects.
He says paying for those things will be the big challenge because he says he does not want to raise taxes.
Walsh said, “Since those issues facing the city are expensive, there's only one way to pay for them and that's with property tax dollars. We don't want to increase people's property tax dollars, so we need to broaden the property tax dollar base. And so we're going to make a strong effort at economic development.”
Mayor Walsh said he plans on diving in to work first thing Friday morning.