Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

New mayor seeks to be 'approachable,' wants more involvement


Keith Prunty

It has been almost a month since Keith Prunty took over as mayor of Kimball. For some in the community, Prunty is no stranger, and for others it will be a name to become familiar with. The latter is something Prunty encourages.

"I came to Kimball in '96 and I married in '98. I live here now with my wife and granddaughter. I used to work out at Clean Harbors, but now I work for Western Sugar and I have for the past eight years," Prunty said.

Prunty served on the Kimball Board of Public Works, and as a result, saw some items concerning spending that made him do a double take.

"Being on the board of public works and seeing the spending that was happening and what we were needing to approve and pass on, it made me start thinking that there had to be a way to handle the spending better," Prunty said.

For those who have not sat in on a board of public works meeting, Prunty is well-known for asking a lot of questions.

"I'd see things that I didn't understand or that wasn't quite clear and so I'd ask, 'Hey what's this, what are we doing here?' I think sometimes I might've frustrated some people here and there, but you know, if I don't ask the questions there's no guarantee someone else will and we have to look out for our people," Prunty said.

In the candidate forum held prior to November's election, one of the points Prunty brought to the attention of those in attendance was that even though he might not be overly familiar with things like budgeting, he was familiar with asking questions.

"I just think that we really owe it to the community to work toward producing a better financial situation for them," Prunty said.

Thinking about the spending going on and how to help make sure it was not getting out of control is something that sparked the fire that made Prunty decide to run for mayor.

"I didn't want to be one of those people that just talked about how changes should be made but never did anything to make that happen. I thought that the city could benefit from getting some new blood in there and I ran, never really thinking that it would be a possibility that I would win and I am just so grateful to the city of Kimball and I really look forward to serving," Prunty said.

Prunty said that the campaigning journey was like a roller coaster and that he was very pleased to have won. While Prunty will be the first to admit that he is learning on the go, he said he is ready to put in all the work necessary to serve Kimball to his best ability.

"I'm just a regular guy, I am going to be learning and I have spoken to plenty of people that have experience and I'm trying to see how to best work out everything," Prunty said.

Prunty also emphasizes that he is a regular guy, who just wants the community to be the best it can be. He wants community members to be encouraged to be involved, to ask questions and to share ideas.

"If people want to get involved I really encourage them to contact me or someone at the city and we can see if we have a place to put you. I want to get nerd people involved. New ideas mean better chances for doing great things in our city," Prunty said.

Prunty does not want to replace board members, however, he does want to have a list of interested persons if a seat becomes vacant. He also encourages those in the community who want to be involved to not become discouraged if a place for them does not open up right away.

"We need more people passionate about our government and the way things work. I'd say come to the meetings, and be a part of the discussion. I want to hear ideas and concerns," Prunty said.

Prunty said that he hopes that by working on doing what's best for the city of Kimball he can inspire growth, but he does not wish to do this alone.

"I think that we all have to work as a team in order to accomplish anything and by doing that we can get things done faster and it will be beneficial for the community," Prunty said.

A self proclaimed, "T-shirt and jeans guy," Prunty hopes to be approachable in a way that the members of the community who may have felt their voice did not matter in the past, will feel it matters now.


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