Powell City Council rang in the new year by electing a new mayor and vice mayor.

Council on Jan. 2 voted to name Jon Bennehoof to a two-year term as the city's mayor. Bennehoof, who joined council in 2012 and wrapped up a term as vice mayor at the end of last year, received unanimous support from his colleagues.

"It is an honor to serve as mayor of the Powell community, one of the most desirable places to not only live in Ohio but the country," Bennehoof said in a statement. "I appreciate the support of the community, staff and most importantly, my family."

Bennehoof, a U.S. Navy veteran who works as an IT consultant, previously founded One Community, a committee aimed at improving the relationship between Powell and Liberty Township.

Tom Counts, who has served on council since 2006, won unanimous support to succeed Bennehoof as vice mayor. Counts, an attorney, serves as the real-estate counsel for the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio.

Both Bennehoof and Counts praised the leadership of outgoing Mayor Brian Lorenz after being sworn in to their new roles. Lorenz will remain on council as he seeks the Republican nomination for the 67th District seat in the Ohio House of Representatives.

Counts said Lorenz worked to solicit feedback from residents throughout the community during his term.

"That's something that really didn't happen as much in the past," Counts said.

Bennehoof agreed Lorenz set a high bar concerning public outreach, particularly on social media. He said he hopes to display the "stamina and patience" Lorenz exhibited during council meetings featuring controversial topics.

Lorenz said his colleagues on council and city employees deserve credit for successes achieved during his term.

"Working through it together, we've made the community better as a whole," he said.

Council also welcomed its newest member at its first meeting of the year. Councilwoman Melissa Riggins took her oath of office Jan. 2.

Riggins, who works as an attorney, won her first term in office last fall. She succeeds Jim Hrivnak, a former councilman and mayor who did not seek re-election.

tgallick@thisweeknews.com

@twgallick