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Retired Colonel John House discusses priorities following Columbus city council elections

COLUMBUS, Ga (WRBL) - Retired Colonel John House was elected to Columbus City Council receiving 56 percent of the vote.

House will be sworn in Friday and begin filling the shoes of now Mayor-elect Skip Henderson.  

House says during his campaign, he spent time visiting community forums and learning about the issues concerning citizens while also hearing the community's ideas for solutions.

"The number one issue I've heard is crime, but much of that really focuses in on ensuring that we have a pay system for our personal safety personnel, that will ensure, the pay compression you hear about,  we have to figure out over time to correct it," says House.

House says his plan to curb crime includes looking at law enforcement pay, along with working closely with community organizations and churches.

"We do need to sort out some way so that pay compression doesn't cause mid grade people to leave, and that's what's happening in law enforcement and I know pay compression also effects fire and EMS," says House.

Mayor-elect Henderson shares the same thoughts on curbing crime.

The two newly elected officials also agree that discussions on undoing the property tax freeze are no longer on the table.

"Nip it in the bud now. That's been brought up and talked about and voted on several times. We do not need to readdress that issue. We just had a vote. The property tax freeze at this point is done because the people of Columbus have spoken," says House.

"So, what I think we have got to do, is find a way to try to make sure we are economizing on delivering our services to our citizens and look for ways to grow our tax base," says Henderson.

As for House's approach and plans to work closely and interact with the community, it's a sentiment you may see more of come January.

"Not better not worse, but you're definitely going to see a different approach to advancing some of the initiatives we want to get done in Columbus we are going to be very collaborative and bring people to the table," says Henderson.

House and Henderson both say they are focused on creating jobs and expanding business in Columbus.

House also identifies strengthening the relationship with Fort Benning as a priority.

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