Residents, businesses and visitors alike are fortunate to be equipped with prominent community leaders dedicated to providing Kearney with a vibrant future through progressive thinking, outstanding services and facilities and much more.
The city of Kearney is operated as a council-manager form of government. Under this specific form, the city council acts as the legislative and policy-making body in the community. The city council is comprised of five members elected at-large to serve four-year overlapping terms. The council members elect one member to serve as the president of the council, who in turn is recognized as the mayor.
The city council appoints a city manager to serve as the administrative official in charge of both recommending and enacting council policies, overseeing daily operations, preparing the annual budget, directing the city workforce, and a number of additional undertakings. The city council meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. The meetings are televised for public viewing on Cable Channel 6.
Additionally, Kearney is the seat of Buffalo County, adding county administration to the mix. A seven-member board of supervisors, elected from seven districts, oversees the activities of the county.
The city government is on-line, allowing access to government meeting agendas, regulations and a number of further public documents. Enhanced 9-1-1 services provide the safety and protection benefits that Buffalo County residents rely on, while improved communications keep law enforcement and other public officials in touch with each other and the community. Operations shared with Buffalo County are the Library Bookmobile, Solid Waste Agency Landfill, Emergency Management, Cottonmill Park and the Law Enforcement Center.
The Kearney Police Department (KPD) stands as a dynamic and progressive law enforcement agency, servicing the community through public safety initiatives, emergency response, educational programming and much more. The community enjoys a relatively low crime rate, with the department maintaining a crime-clearance rate well above the national average. The KPD is equipped with 48 sworn officers, six clerical staff members and four community service officers (two full time and two part time).
The KPD and the Buffalo County Sheriff’s Office make up a unique collaboration in the community. In July of 1993, the two entities both located into downtown Kearney’s modern Law Enforcement Center, located at 2025 Avenue A, representing a model for inter-governmental cooperation throughout Nebraska and the central states. The city of Kearney owns the facility, and services are offset by each agency to avoid duplication and additional expense to the taxpayer.
Since 1883, Kearney has been served by the Kearney Volunteer Fire Department (KVFD), which stands as the state’s second largest volunteer fire department. The KVFD is served by 75 volunteer members, plus an 11-member staff comprised of eight firefighters/operators, a fire administrator, an administrative assistant and a secretary throughout three stations. The department is also equipped with a training facility and an airport station for ARFF response. More than 270 square miles in Kearney and the Suburban Fire Protection District #1 are covered by the KVFD—which totals approximately 40,000 residents.