City Council re-formed as new members sworn inThe Mitchell City Council changed its roster Tuesday night, as three members who didn’t run for re-election — Geri Beck, Scott Houwman and Doug Backlund — departed.
By: Tom Lawrence, The Daily Republic
The Mitchell City Council changed its roster Tuesday night, as three members who didn’t run for re-election — Geri Beck, Scott Houwman and Doug Backlund — departed.
Three new council members, albeit one with previous experience on the council, joined the eight-member city board.
Former councilman Ken Tracy once again represents Ward 1, Philip Carlson represents Ward 3 and Greg McCurry represents Ward 4.
Councilman Dan Allen, one of two Ward 2 representatives, began a new three-year term.
All four were sworn into office by Magistrate Judge Patrick Kiner, who also administered oaths to the city attorney and city department heads. Mayor Lou Sebert recommended the re-appointment of all city officials.
Jeff Smith was re-elected council president and Marty Barington was chosen for another year as vice president. No other candidates emerged. Councilman Mel Olson praised both men and said he saw no reason to make a change in something that was working.
When Barington was nominated, Olson said the council VP reminded him of another sidekick: “As Batman has his Robin …” he said. The entire process took less than 20 minutes. The departing council members took part in a meeting to deal with old business and then Beck, Houwman and Backlund accepted plaques from Mayor Lou Sebert.
Only Beck spoke to the council and the audience.
“I just want to say thank you to the city workers and council members,” she said.
Beck said she will depart with “fun memories” and some not as enjoyable. She also said she gained a fresh appreciation for the people who have served on the council in the past.
Sebert said he thanked the departing council members for their service. He shook hands with Houwman and Backlund, who both hurried for the back door to depart and declined to offer comments.
Sebert and Beck hugged and spoke briefly before she gathered her items and left after chatting with people in the audience.
The new council members dealt with a few issues during a brief second meeting Tuesday night. Other than casting votes, only Tracy spoke of the three new members.
Before it adjourned for the final time, the old City Council:
• Sat as the Board of Adjustment to hold a hearing on the application of Mark Bunker for a variance to construct an addition to his garage at 516 S. Kimball St.
It approved the variance.
• Declined to award bids for the Hitchcock Park and Pioneer Park irrigation materials installation.
Mebius Nursery had entered the only bids, $63,000 for Hitchcock and $17,000 for Pioneer.
Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department Director Dusty Rodiek said the department only had $40,000 budgeted for the Hitchcock Park job.
Rodiek said he will speak with Mebius to see if he can clear up some confusion over the projects’ timeline and also see if other firms are interested in bidding.
• Held a hearing and approved the application of the Exchange Club of Mitchell for a special event malt beverage license at Cadwell Park on Aug. 3-4 for the State Amateur Baseball Tournament.
• Held a hearing and approved the application of the Exchange Club of Mitchell for a special event malt beverage license at the Horseman’s Sports Arena on Aug. 17 for the Miller Lite Bull Bash.
• Held a hearing on an assessment roll for sidewalk and nuisance abatements, then consider Resolution 2917, providing for collection of special assessment rolls for 2010 construction projects.
People who have not paid for sidewalk and nuisance projects performed last year have 30 days, starting today, to pay their assessment interestfree.
After that time, they will have the bill attached to their property taxes and the city will set the repayment rate.
• Held the second reading and adopted Ordinance 2367, making the Corn Palace director a department head.
• Approved pay estimates.
• The new council:
• Held the first reading of Resolution 2930, the plat of Lot B in Beverly’s Addition.
• Set a July 18 date for a hearing on the application of Mitchell Main Street & Beyond for a special event malt beverage license for an event at the Fifth and Main parking lot, 500 North Main, on Aug. 5 for a promotion tied to the Sturgis motorcycle rally.
Smith said he thinks this is a “good idea” that could turn into an annual event.
• Approved a work order for engineering services for Project P3699 (01), Spruce Street improvements.
This project will be paid for by federal funds passed along to the city and then given to cities. Public Works Department Director Tim McGannon said Mitchell receives about $400,000 annually for such projects.
• Authorized the Department of Public Safety to accept a Bureau of Justice grant for 12 ballistic vests, in the event the grant is approved. The grant is for $9,020 with the city paying an additional $4,510 for the vests.
Public Safety Department Director Lyndon Overweg said the vests will replace 12 vests that need to be replaced.
The vests are fitted to each officer, Overweg said. They wear them under their uniforms every day on patrol.
• Authorized the finance officer to create the following debt service fund: 309 for Tax Increment District 15 for ProBuild.
• Approved these raffle requests: Prairie Stitchers, with the drawing to be held on Sept. 25, and Davison County Democrats with the drawing to be held on Oct. 18.
• The council said the July 4 fireworks were a major success. This year’s show was a return to larger, commercial fireworks after the 2010 show received poor reviews from many locals.
“Fireworks were awesome,” Olson said. “That’s what everyone was saying.”
Barington said he is still looking into the idea of having two simultaneous fireworks shows on the Fourth of July 2012. He floated the idea at a meeting in June and said Tuesday that having two shows at the same time may serve as a draw for people.
“We’ve got to take a look at new avenues,” Barington said. “We could pack the city of Mitchell for a few days.”
• A First Reformed Church member gave the invocation.