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Chatfield seats new mayor

Fri, Mar 29th, 2013
Posted in Chatfield Government

Russ Smith (left) presents a plaque to Don Hainlen for his service to the city. Photo by Karen Reisner

Mayor Don Hainlen handed over the gavel to Chatfield’s new mayor Russ Smith at the March 25 meeting. Hainlen, having sold his home in Chatfield, resigned his position. The city charter directs that the vice-mayor shall assume the office of mayor upon the resignation of the mayor. As vice-mayor, councilor Russ Smith assumes the mayor’s position. A councilor vacancy has now been created. Councilor Ken Jacobson was absent.

Councilor Paul Novotny suggested discussing possible candidates to fill the vacant councilor seat at the second meeting in April when all sitting councilors are expected to be present. City Attorney Fred Suhler said there are no specific rules on how to select a new councilor. Councilor Robert Pederson suggested Chatfield residents who are interested in serving the remaining two years of Smith’s council term, ending in December 2014, should notify them or send a letter of interest. Councilor Dave Frank believes anyone interested should contact everyone on the council and he would also like to hear from people that support a particular person for the position.

Hainlen said he was optimistic about the future of the city of Chatfield, adding he enjoyed working in the community both as school superintendent and as mayor. He thanked both the councilors and the city staff. City Clerk Joel Young said he appreciated working with Hainlen, stating, “we will miss you.”

Support for New LGA


Young maintained that the new Local Government Aid (LGA) formula is a good thing. It would increase LGA aid for Chatfield in 2014. If there is no action on the new formula by the state legislature, LGA would be distributed under current law.

The council unanimously approved a joint resolution in support of an additional appropriation of $80 million (included in Governor Dayton’s budgets) for LGA which provides for a change in the LGA formula calculation. Also included will be an annual inflationary increase for the LGA appropriation. LGA helps local governments operate with less dependence on local property taxes. The joint resolution includes support from Byron, Chatfield, Eyota, Kasson, Rochester and Stewartville.

A letter of support was also approved to be sent to Senators Nelson and Senjem and Representatives Benson, Liebling, Norton, and Quam.

Destination Medical Center

Two resolutions of support were approved for public investment toward the Mayo Clinic vision to ensure Minnesota’s status as a global medical destination. The resolutions encourage the Minnesota State Legislature to support the proposal for the benefit of southeastern Minnesota and the state. One resolution expressed the city of Chatfield’s position of support and the second was to demonstrate support through the Southeast Minnesota League of Municipalities (SEMLM).

Resolutions of support recognize the importance of Mayo Clinic to the economy of Rochester and the surrounding communities in southeastern Minnesota. The proposal to create a “world class” community around a “world class” medical center will require major investments of public resources for the construction of public infrastructure, likely more than can be supported by existing revenue sources available to the community.

Other Business In Brief

•The first consideration of ordinance number 408 was approved. The amendment to the code will adjust particular fees. Dispatch of equipment and personnel to the location of a reported fire will cost $500. Each additional hour spent at the location costs $250. The maximum charge for an individual call is $1,500. Dispatch of equipment and personnel to a motor vehicle fire or collision will cost $500.

•Steve Horsman’s retirement as of April 26 was accepted. Tony Lammers said Horsman has been a good asset to the city over the last eleven years. Authorization to advertise to fill the position was approved.

•The Arbor Day Proclamation proclaiming April 26 as Arbor Day was approved.

•Dave Frank discussed the school district’s idea of expanding the northern ball field in Mill Creek Park. The school district would fund the cost.

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