Weitala joins County CommissionKim Weitala assumed her late husband David’s job as District 1 Davison County Commissioner on Tuesday at the courthouse in Mitchell.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
Kim Weitala assumed her late husband David’s job as District 1 Davison County Commissioner on Tuesday at the courthouse in Mitchell.
David Weitala died of a heart attack Jan. 17, and Kim, whom commissioners appointed to take his place, has vowed to continue his legacy of public service.
Following a brief swearing-in ceremony, she shook hands with her fellow commissioners, signed papers making her new job official and got down to county business.
“It’s a great group of people to be with,” she said afterward. “I’m excited and I anticipate a good year … or years.”
Weitala made good on that corrective comment immediately after the meeting by taking out a petition to run as a Republican this fall for the balance of her husband’s term of office, which ends in 2014.
During the meeting, she asked occasional questions, but said little. Weitala will also take over her late husband’s spot on the county Planning and Zoning Commission and eight other county committees.
County nursing offices
Commissioner Jerry Fischer, the commission’s liaison to the community health nursing offices, led the tour of the former Central Electric offices on North Main Street with Ken Schlimgen, Central Electric’s director of member services.
The commission has agreed to purchase the building for $575,000 and has budgeted $717,650 for both the purchase and renovation.
After the tour, the commissioners chatted briefly with Peggy Seurer, prenatal and community health specialist; Region 6 Community Health Manager Deb Haak; and local Community Health Nurse Natalie Van Drongelen.
All were impressed with the building.
“We’re very excited,” said Seurer. “It’s very spacious, and we believe it will greatly benefit our clientele.”
Van Drongelen called the space “patient friendly” and said “we would be very appreciative to be here.”
All were relieved that the new space is handicap accessible, unlike the current transitional nursing offices.
“It also gives us meeting space we use to do community education forums, which we always wanted to do to benefit the public, but we never had room before,” Van Drongelen said.
The nurses said new restrooms will have to be added to offices that will eventually become examination rooms in order to make them usable.
Fischer said good weather has accelerated construction on Central Electric’s new regional facility on Betts Road and the co-op could be ready to move out as early as this summer. That means the county must also move quickly ahead with space planning.
“We would love to rent you the whole place, but we have some other plans,” Fischer told the nurses.
The commissioners also see the new offices as the answer to a space crunch at the courthouse.
So far, tentative plans are to use the large Central Electric conference room for weekly commission meetings and to turn the Commissioners’ Room at the courthouse over to County Auditor Susan Kiepke, whose offices adjoin the space.
All commissioners agreed that professional design services will eventually be required to develop a final use plan.
Fischer said, in a written handout, that the county must soon make decisions on how much space will allocated to the nurses and the county, how much the county is willing to spend on renovation, and how much extra help will be required to maintain the renovated space.
Highway Superintendent Rusty Weinberg told the commission that recent thawing has made county roads soft and susceptible to damage from heavy trucks. He urged the imposition of spring weight load restrictions as soon as possible.
“Most of the other counties have already had theirs on for a week,” he said.
Fischer recommended waiting until next week to impose the limits to give truckers enough notice. The limits will become effective starting March 19.
Equalization Director Kathy Goetsch said the new consolidated board of equalization will have its first meeting April 10.
The board will allow local taxpayers protesting their property assessment notices to do so before one equalization board rather than two boards. Eliminating the step will be a convenience for taxpayers, Goetsch said.
This year, property owners with protests who reside in Mitchell Township and the city of Mitchell will be able to go before the new combined board.
The new board will be composed of three county commissioners, one member of the Mitchell City Council, a member of the Mitchell Board of Education, and a member of any township which chooses to become a member of the consolidated equalization process. To date, only Mitchell Township has chosen to take part, Goetsch said.
Members of the new board may only vote on matters within their respective jurisdictional boundaries.
Local equalization boards that are not part of the new consolidated process will begin hearing assessment appeals March 19, Goetsch said. That means all appeals must be submitted to those local boards no later than March 15.
Appeals to the new consolidated board must be in by April 3. Appeals will be heard between April 10 and May 1.
“This will be a good test pilot to see how that works,” Commissioner John Claggett said. “It makes sense.”
Goetsch said her office has received only eight appeals so far— considerably less than the roughly 100 appeals the county faced last year after major reappraisals of Mitchell business properties.
The commissioners also:
• Gave Linda Holmes permission to use the County 4-H Fairgrounds Building as an indoor backup facility in the event bad weather threatens the April 7 Easter Candy Scramble sponsored by the American Legion and the local Moose Lodge.
“It’s going to a good cause,” Fischer said.
Commissioner Denny Kiner complimented Holmes for her many services to the community.
• Approved a raffle permit for a May 15 event to benefit the Democratic Party.