Jan. 15, 2007

Angvall resigns, Bruckschen named Lester Prairie mayor

By Ivan Raconteur
Staff Writer

In a move that shocked many of those in attendance, Lester Prairie Mayor Eric Angvall announced his resignation last Monday, and suggested that Acting Mayor Larry Hoof entertain a motion to appoint Council Member Roland Bruckschen as mayor to fill out the term.

Angvall explained that the move was symbolic, and was intended as a tribute to Bruckschen who has served as a member of the city council for 22 years.

After a moment of confusion, the council unanimously named Bruckschen mayor to serve out the remaining 10 minutes of the term of office before the oath of office was administered for Angvall’s new term.

“This way, you can end your service to Lester Prairie as mayor,” Angvall told Bruckschen.

Bruckschen did not seek reelection during the last election, and said he wants to spend time travelling with his wife.

Later in the meeting, Angvall presented a plaque of appreciation to Bruckschen, and thanked him on behalf of the city for his many years of service on the city council.

Bruckschen had praise for the council members and staff he has worked with over the years, and said they made his job as a council member easier.

Bruckschen conducted the remainder of the old business portion of the meeting.

His last official act as mayor was to administer the oath of office to Angvall.

Angvall then administered the oath of office to returning council member Larry Hoof, and new council member Andy Heimerl.

Trail plan update

The council heard from City Clerk Marilyn Pawelk that the city received about 25 letters of support for a proposed trail project.

The letters will be included with a grant application for a Safe Routes to School grant from the Minnesota Department of Education.

Jake Saulsberry of Bolton & Menk said the major safety issue that led the city to apply for the grant was the need to have a safe route for residents of the new developments on the east side of town to get to school and city parks.

The proposed route runs from McLeod County Road 9 along the north side of McLeod County Road 23 to Pine Street, and south on Pine Street to the city park.

The maximum amount for the grant is $175,000.

The grants will be awarded in March, and if Lester Prairie receives a grant, construction of the trail could be completed in fall 2007.

If the city does not receive a grant in March, it could apply for the next round of grants in August, Saulsberry said.

The council approved the grant application on a vote of 4-1, with Angvall, Bruckschen, council members Ron Foust, and Art Mallak in favor, and Hoof opposed.

Hoof stated that it would be in the best interest of the city to move the trail to the former Dakota Rail Line, which is currently owned by the McLeod County Rail Authority.

Hoof also expressed concern about having a pedestrian crossing and a trail crossing so close together on County Road 9.

Saulsberry said it is a timing issue, and the county is not ready to develop the Dakota rail property at this time.

“The county said it will be five years before anything happens with it (the former Dakota Rail line),” Pawelk said.

Fire department update

Fire Chief Jim Hoof told the council that the department responded to 74 total calls in 2006, down from an average of 100 over the past several years.

The council approved the appointment of the following officers for 2007: fire chief, Jim Hoof; assistant chief, Fred Pawelk; assistant chief, Dave Horseman; captain, Andy Heimerl; captain, Matt Tonn; fire marshall, Jerry Pawelk; secretary, Maurice Tonn; and treasurer Don Hoof.

Relief association officers are: president, Andy Heimerl; vice president, Wade Schultz; secretary, Jerry Christenson; treasurer, Matt Tonn; and trustees, Dave Dressler and Stebe Klobe.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• heard from Pawelk that the city received a $3,355 dividend from the League of Minnesota Cities insurance trust.

• appointed Robert Messer to fill a vacant position on the planning and zoning commission.

• approved a written agreement between the city and Joan Kocourek, who has provided transcription and typing services for the Lester Prairie Police Department for several years. Under the agreement, Kocourek will serve as a contract employee on an “as needed” bases at a pay rate of $11.50 per hour.

• approved the purchase of a digital camera system for the new squad car at a cost of approximately $4,871. Funds for the purchase will come from a $3,000 grant from the department of public safety, and sale of an impounded vehicle. The grant came from the police department’s first place finish in the Safe and Sober campaign. This was the second consecutive year that the department earned a fist place finish.

• approved 2007 appointments, including: acting mayor Larry Hoof, city forester Greg Mueller, emergency management director Stephen Berg; official newspaper Herald Journal; park board members Larry Roth, Chris Schultz, Troy Feltmann, and Julie Teubert; and planning commission members Brian Duncan, Charles Suedbeck, Kristi Carlson, and Bob Messer.

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