By Marina Starleaf Riker

The Bulletin

Bend’s new mayor wants to focus on core services — and doing them well.

Casey Roats, who was selected by his peers as Bend’s new mayor during 2017’s first city council meeting Wednesday, said he wants to focus on city services, such as street maintenance and aligning budget decisions to get the work done.

“I hope we overachieve and surpass people’s expectations,” said Roats.

Roats, who lives in south Bend and works for the family business, Roats Water System, said the new council is made up of representatives from all parts of the city. All the councilors have a diverse set of views and Roats said he’s looking forward to the challenge of working together to improve Bend.

“I am dead set on making sure that as we move forward as a council we respect the rights of the minority and the will of the majority,” said Roats after accepting the nomination to be mayor.

Also during Wednesday’s meeting, Councilor Sally Russell, who was elected to a second term in November, was selected to serve again as mayor pro tem, which is similar to a vice mayor. Meanwhile, three new city councilors were sworn in. Technology company founder Bill Moseley, real estate broker Justin Livingston and former Mayor Bruce Abernethy took oaths to start four-year terms, replacing councilors Doug Knight, Victor Chudowsky and Mayor Jim Clinton.

“The work starts now, and I’m looking forward to it,” said Livingston, who replaced Chudowsky.

Abernethy, who took the seat held by former Mayor Jim Clinton, said he liked the combination of Russell and Roats as council leaders.

“I’m quite excited,” said Abernethy.

Meanwhile, city councilors leaving their positions were given a chance to reflect on their time served.

“Doing this for the past four years has deepened my love for the city even more,” said Chudowsky. “It’s a fantastic place with a bright future.”

Councilor Doug Knight said it was a privilege to serve, adding that he hopes to do so again.

“It’s bittersweet for me because I know there is much more to be accomplished,” said Knight. “Yet I have to trust the new council.”

Clinton was not present at the meeting.

Within the next couple of months, city councilors will start a lengthy process to figure out what city problems they want to address during the next two years. In the coming weeks, councilors will hear from the public and city staff about what problems they want addressed.

City councilors serve four-year terms and are paid a $200 stipend each month.

­— Reporter: 541-633-2160, mriker@bendbulletin.com

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