A week from today, Council Bluffs voters will head to the polls to elect a new mayor – the city’s first new mayor in a quarter of a century. While we are truly fortunate to have two well-qualified candidates seeking the city’s top elected position, new leadership in the mayor’s office – as is the case with any position – brings with it a learning curve and the need for the assistance of a qualified City Council.

At the same time city residents will be selecting a new mayor, they will be asked to pick two from a field of four City Council candidates, only one of which is an incumbent. While we are again fortunate in having four well-qualified candidates from which to select the two who will sit on the council for the next four years, the importance of selecting the right”people to hold those positions cannot be over-emphasized.

Bob Mundt, president and CEO of the Council Bluffs Chamber of Commerce, summed it up well when he commented recently, “Having a new mayor for the first time in over 20 years and the changes that have taken place recently and that will face us in the next few years, the next leadership team at the mayor/council level is critical to our future. People need to make an informed decision.”

In an effort to help in this all-important decision-making process, the Chamber and The Daily Nonpareil have joined forces to sponsor a pair of candidate forums. The forum featuring the two mayoral candidate was held last Thursday, and the four City Council candidates will answer questions at a forum being held this evening at Community Hall.

The questions at tonight’s forum, as was the case of questions asked of mayoral candidates, will focus on three key topics: The candidates’ vision for the future of Council Bluffs, their views on economic development and their views on the day-to-day management of the city. Questions in those three areas will cover everything from property tax rates, to infrastructure issues, to how the city plans to grow and attract new job opportunities.

The questions will be asked by a three-member panel made up of Daily Nonpareil Publisher Tom Schmitt, Jane Bell from Ameristar Casino and Tom Johnson with Iowa Western Community College. Mundt will serve as moderator for the two programs.

We encourage residents to attend and take part.

In addition to the public forums, this newspaper will be publishing a variety of questions and answers from all six candidates beginning today and continuing through Saturday. Both candidates for mayor will be asked 10 questions, while the four candidates for the City Council will be asked a total of five questions each. The questions being published differ from those asked at the public forums.

With so many changes coming in the city’s leadership, it really is critical that we select the best possible people to fill those positions for the next four years. The actions of those we select on Nov. 5 will set the course of the city for the next several years and possibly for decades to come.

Learn as much as you can about the candidates then make your choices known on Nov. 5 by voting.

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