New Hesperia City Manager Nils Bentsen feels it is a huge honor to have been picked for the position, and is proud of the role he will play in the future of the city.
Working at the direction of the city council, Bentsen and his staff carry out the policies that they set.
Bentsen took office in January after serving as captain of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Hesperia Station, where he was employed for 27 years.
He was raised in Hesperia since 1975, and knows the area well. As a Sheriff deputy he got to know the area extremely well, covering the entire area between the Cajon Pass and Las Vegas.
Although this new job may seem to some like a big change from his last one, he says he is really happy with his decision to switch.
Of course, it’s a little less exciting than being on patrol or as part of a SWAT Team, but he is OK with that. He says he is one of those people who, when they decide to do something, they jump in with everything they’ve got.
There are some challenges, but he likes that, and is determined to make sure that Hesperia is providing the very best possible services to its citizens.
To him, it’s all about serving the public, just as he did with the Sheriffs Department. To help make people’s lives better, from dealing with water or sewer issues, to improving roads and building new infrastructure, these are all of the things that he is focused on for a thriving community.
Of course the Tapestry project is familiar to everyone in Hesperia, and he is involved in fine-tuning the agreements and determining the roles that city management and staff will play in getting it done. The process is long, with environmental impact reports being the one of the next steps, and then the master planning of the entire community.
Water is a particular concern, for the entire community, not just the Tapestry project. Residents are cooperating, and water usage is down, which is great.
The usual concerns are on Bentsen’s radar, with police and fire of course being near the top.
The city has seen a reduction in crime for three years straight due to gang prevention, and other programs. He’s counting on seeing a fourth year of reduced crime, which are now some of the lowest in the country.
A safe community is his goal. One of the new programs that he is very pleased as former law enforcement, is the Crime Free Rental Housing. This program requires both landlords and tenants to participate. Landlords must register their single family and multi-housing rental properties. They must also have their tenants sign a contract along with their lease that says they will not commit any crime. If they do, landlords are required to start the eviction process within 10 days. Just having the paper signed has been shown to be a deterrent. By partnering with the city and police, this program is very effective. Details of the program are on the city’s website.
Being city manager is a little different from his old job, but Bentsen says he has always been a problem solver, and it doesn’t matter what kind of problem. He will look for the most effective and efficient way to fix things, like roads, complex funding, and managing future growth. His great staff will be a big part of his success in the job and looks forward to working with them a long time.