Preston seeking citizen to fill
soon-to-be vacant council seat
Wednesday, November 07, 2012 8:58 AM
The Preston City Council will be getting a new member after all as Kay Spangler submitted her resignation Monday during the regular meeting of the council.
In Tuesday's election, only incumbents filed for office, but with the resignation, a new member will be sworn in with the incumbents at the first meeting in January under the timeline approved by the council Monday. The council will be taking applications for a replacement through Nov. 29 and make a decision by the end of the year.
Spangler is moving to Chatfield on Dec. 1, which is the date her resignation is effective.
"I am honored that the people of Preston elected me to represent them on the Preston City Council and gave me the opportunity to work on their behalf," she wrote in her resignation letter. "I enjoyed the challenge of addressing the thought-provoking array of issues a city deals with each and every day, and working with all of you."
The city doesn't need to hold a special election for the seat, which has a four-year term expiring Jan. 1, 2015. Instead, the council has the option to appoint a new council member.
Mayor Kurt Reicks noted that the appointment process is less expensive than a special election, adding that the council and mayoral openings didn't attract much interest from challengers in the general election held Tuesday and the appointment made last time there was an opening worked out well.
The council agreed and voted to request letters of appointment from the community with a deadline at the close of business on Thursday, Nov. 29. The council will review the applications at the following council meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 4, possibly inviting candidates to the meeting, and then make a decision at the last council meeting of 2012 on Monday, Dec. 17. The new person would be sworn in with the other two council members and mayor at the first meeting in January.
"I hate to see it happen," said City Administrator Joe Hoffman in recommending the council approve a resolution of candidacy, which passed unanimously.
Spangler, in her resignation letter, had equal praise for Hoffman and the professionalism of his office. "I've enjoyed every minute of it," she told the council at Monday's meeting.
She noted in her letter that she would still like to be involved in projects important to Preston's future, such as the National Trout Center, the "fintastical" trout sculpture, a new city comprehensive plan, a community center and a Preston Community Ambulance Board.
In other action, the council approved a preliminary proposal to request funds to rehabilitate up to 15 low to moderate income homes in Preston. This is an expanded application on a request to assist Bluff Country Housing Redevelopment Authority (HRA) and Semcac in acquisition and renovation of Vesterheim apartments that the council approved in May.
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) approved the original application and encouraged the city to expand the request to include the funds for rehabilitating single family homes. Up to $471,000 could be used on these homes for improvements such as energy efficiency, roof replacement and appliances, said Hoffman.
There is no financial obligation of the city, although city staff would need to oversee the process to make sure it is done correctly. Deputy clerk Sheila Marzolf said she didn't think it would take much of her time.
The council also continued its review of ordinance revisions, a project Hoffman has been working on since the time the late Robert Sauer brought it up when he was on the council. Hoffman has been bringing ordinances a few at a time to the council for discussion before the entire package will be brought back for final review and adoption at a later date.
Monday's ordinances dealt with traffic, parking and snowmobiles.
In regard to traffic regulations, the only change is on vehicular noise that the council already had approved, but it hadn't been set in the city code.
Parking regulations that the council approved two years ago included the new language from that action. The parking schedules were also updated with no parking from 2 to 6 a.m. Nov. 15 to March 15 on Fillmore between St. Paul and St. Anthony, St Paul between Fillmore and Mill, St. Anthony between Fillmore and Main and Main between St. Paul and St. Anthony.
Council members noted that they need to get the word out since Nov. 15 is coming up for these winter no parking regulations.
The language in the snowmobile ordinance is being brought in line with how the city currently enforces things, said Hoffman. For example, the city will treat parks and public grounds the same as city streets. That means no operation of snowmobiles between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. and operators may only come and go to places such as gas stations or restaurants while just touring around the city on streets or park land is prohibited.
Another change is that the city will designate areas that prohibit operation of snowmobiles rather than being required to post those areas. Hoffman said the city wouldn't be responsible for maintaining signs under this description.
In other action, the council set the canvassing board meeting for Friday, Nov. 9, at 8 a.m. to approve the vote totals from the citizens and decided to request proposals for city attorney, official newspaper and city audit. The council had the option of negotiating rates for those proposals, but has always sought proposals. The audit proposal will continue to be for two years while the others for one year.