Jan. 8, 2007

New mayor, council members begin terms

By Ryan Gueningsman
Managing Editor

Delano’s new mayor, Joe McDonald, and recently elected council members Larry Bartels and Brad Hotchkiss, took the oath of office Tuesday and began, or in some cases, continued, their terms of service to the city.

McDonald was elected to the four-year term of mayor, and Hotchkiss and Bartels also were elected to four-year terms on the council.

Because McDonald was on the city council while he ran for the office of mayor, this left a vacant city council seat upon his winning the election.

At a work session prior to the regular meeting Tuesday, the council discussed ways to fill the vacant seat.

It was noted a special election could take place to fill the spot, or the council could simply appoint someone to the position.

Hotchkiss noted the occurrence of having to appoint a council member to fill the remainder of a term has happened three years out of the past five.

Current Council Member Holly Schrupp was appointed to the council four years ago when Jon Steinmetz, who was serving on the city council, was elected mayor.

Two years later, Tom Emmer resigned mid-term after being elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives, which is when Hotchkiss was appointed to the council.

Now with McDonald making the transition from council member to mayor, the council decided to contact those who ran for council seats in the November election, and see if any are still interested in serving the remainder of McDonald’s term.

Those included Harlan Lewis, who received 479 votes, Mike Russek, who received 469 votes, Paul Stansberry, who received 314 votes, Peg Polingo, who received 275 votes, and Marc Plese, who received 241 votes in the election last fall.

It was decided the city would contact only those who ran for council; not for mayor.

“They ran for mayor; they didn’t run for council,” commented Schrupp. It was decided to give those who ran for council first shot at the open position.

Following interviews, the council will make a decision on who to appoint to the seat. If a decision can’t be reached by the council members, the mayor has the authority to make the appointment.

City staff was going to contact each of the candidates for interviews, which have been set for Tuesday, Jan. 9.

Other appointments made

In other appointments, the council appointed Schrupp as mayor protem, which means if McDonald is absent, Schrupp will assume the duty.

The council also conducted its election for its economic development authority, with McDonald being named president, Schrupp being named vice president, Hotchkiss being named treasurer, Brian Bloch being named assistant treasurer, and Phil Kern being named secretary.

The city also named the Delano Eagle as the official newspaper for the period of January through August, at which time bids will be taken for the remainder of the year.

Newspapers have to be in existence a full year before being able to be an “official paper” for a government body, so at that time, the Delano Herald Journal will also be qualified to seek that designation.

Hotchkiss indicated he would like to see subscription numbers for each publication.

The council held off appointing anyone to the various council sub committees and commissions until interviews with those who applied can take place.

“Everyone who filled out an application deserves a right to speak,” Hotchkiss said.

Partnership with township approved for rail guard

The council discussed a letter recently received indicating state and federal funding available for a railroad stop guard at the intersection of Davidson Ave. SE and 72nd Ave.

Presently, the city’s boundaries reach to the northeast corner of the intersection. The other three corners of the intersection are in Franklin Township.

Both the city and the township received notice of the Central Minnesota Area Transportation Program, which uses federal funds to make roadways safer.

The program stated a proposed cost of $225,000 for the improvements, of which all but 10 percent will be paid for by state and federal funds.

The city agreed to enter into a joint agreement with Franklin Township to split the cost, based on where boundaries stand at the time of the project.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• heard a presentation from Delano Area Sports Arena (DASA) representatives Kurt Lofrano, Andy Barnauskas, and Lindsay Wallace.

The three spoke of the continued need for a partnership with the city, school, and other organizations to better utilize the arena, as well as make improvements to it.

Recent discussions have included possibilities of adding a second sheet of ice adjacent to the existing arena, and improving the current arena to meet short-term needs.

“The possibilities really are endless,” Barnauskas said. The trio asked the council for support for moving forward with the short-term bonding needed.

• appointed Kern and City Clerk Marlene Kittock to serve as city representatives to the SWC4 Cable Commission.

• authorized the closing of the Third Street railroad crossing, and approve installing a stop sign on Third Street South at Franklin Avenue E. (see related story).

• authorized city staff to accept sealed bids for the sale of miscellaneous retired equipment and materials.

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