By Ivan Raconteur
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN Who will be Lester Prairie’s next mayor?
The question came up suddenly at the end of Tuesday’s council meeting.
When the council had addressed all items on the agenda, Mayor Andy Heimerl announced his resignation, effective Monday, June 1.
Heimerl said he has purchased a house in the country, and will no longer be eligible to serve on the city council.
The city council has one meeting scheduled between now and Heimerl’s last day. That meeting will take place Tuesday, May 12.
The council will need to appoint someone to serve the remainder of Heimerl’s term as mayor, which will likely be one of the current council members. This term ends Dec. 31, 2016.
The mayor position will be placed on the ballot for the 2016 election.
There will also be two or three council seats on the ballot in 2016, depending on which current council member is appointed mayor.
Public access cable discussed
The council discussed the future of public access cable in the city.
Resident Stan Ehrke submitted a summary of the history of the channel and equipment, and a proposal regarding how the city could continue the station.
Heimerl said the city council did not vote to disband the station. He said the city purchased $10,000 in new equipment for the station a couple years ago when it was operated by the school, and then, less than two years later, the school informed the city it no longer wants to operate the station.
Heimerl said he has asked the school to take down the message on the cable station that states the city council voted to disband the station, but it has not been removed.
Ehrke urged the council not to give up control of the public access channel.
Heimerl gave Ehrke his commitment that the council will take action on the request by the May council meeting.
Heimerl noted he is in favor of keeping control of the channel because the city has invested in the equipment.
Council Member Ron Foust said could expand the information presented on the channel.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• approved the purchase of 12 lounge chairs at a cost of $116 each and 10 stacking chairs at a cost of $95 each for the city pool.
• approved removal, sandblasting, and painting from one of the fire department’s trucks at a cost of $4,400.
• approved closing of streets during the Prairie Days festival in July.
• approved contracting with Clarke Environmental Mosquito Management for mosquito control in 2015 at a cost of $5,712.
• approved the purchase of 28 street signs and posts at a total cost of $3,816.
• approved up to $2,900 for purchase of park benches.
• approved donating folding chairs that are being replaced at city hall to the Lester Prairie Ambassador Committee.
• approved pool staff including manager April Lee; assistant manager Morgan Roush; lifeguards Taylor Kriz, Emma Leverich, Morgan Roush, Kristen Madsen, Harley Hentges, Abbi Schultz, and Blair Jilek; instructors Morgan Roush, Emma Leverich, and Harley Hentges; water aerobics instructor Tifanie Shimanski; and on-call lifeguard Carissa Bull.
• approved purchase of signs to identify ball fields at the city park at a total cost of $220.
• approved a request from the park board to sponsor an animal show during Prairie Days at a cost of $375.
• accepted the resignation of Sarah Heuer from the trail committee, and approved the appointment of Kelli Machemehl and Larry Burandt to the committee.
• approved advertising for part-time police officers.
• approved a bid for concrete work at the city maintenance building from Birkholz Concrete at a cost of $10,165.