Following results from the November 8 mid-term election, the City of Whalan is in urgent need of a resident to step up and volunteer to become mayor of Whalan.
Present at the regularly scheduled council meeting on Monday, November 14 were Mayor Marlys Tuftin, along with council members Sheila Higbe, Kim Berekvam and Thore E. Johnson in person, with council member Owen Lewis attending remotely. City Clerk/Treasurer Michele Peterson was also in attendance.
Election Results were added to the agenda under New Business.
Minutes of the October 11 council meeting were approved, with an amendment. The Treasurer’s Report was approved as presented.
Peterson reported on the results of the election. She read Resolution 2022-8, which would certify the results of the election. There was an open seat for mayor for a two-year term, as Tuftin was not planning to run for re-election, and two council member seats, each for a term of four years.
There were approximately 40 people who voted, including absentee votes. For mayor there were 24 write-in votes. For council member for four-year terms, Sheila Higbe received 34 votes, Kim Berekvam received 34 votes and there were three write-in votes.
Higbe and Berekvam will serve their terms from 2023-2026. For the mayor’s office, there were three candidates who received more than one write-in vote; however, none of those three people are able to accept the nomination.
Peterson spoke to the League of Minnesota Cities about the issue. Tuftin will continue on as mayor until the position is filled, and agreed to come to the January meeting.
“We need people to come forward if they are willing to serve on our council,” stated Peterson. Someone could show an interest in serving on the council, if not for mayor, and perhaps a current council member would step up to serve as mayor of Whalan.
Anyone that lives within the city limits of Whalan is eligible to become mayor. Any interested person can come to the January 2023 council meeting. A resolution would be passed vacating Tuftin’s seat and then the council would appoint someone as mayor.
The election results were approved.
Every three years each city is required to complete a Pay Equity Report with the State of Minnesota. Peterson submitted her own and city maintenance worker Berekvam’s pay information, and received a response that they are in compliance. The PERA report was approved.
Landscaping along the river was discussed. Landscaping in a specific problem area for mowing will be reassessed in the spring once city maintenance begins mowing, to see if the area needs to be landscaped, which may include planting wildflowers. The discussion was tabled until spring.
A discussion was held on the 2023 Budget with several council members asking for clarifications from Peterson. The budget will be approved at the December council meeting.
A discussion was held on the siding on the town hall and its possible repair and/or replacement. There is not much activity with the project other than waiting to hear back on a grant application.
The Zoning Board is still in need of another member. Anyone interested in serving their community in this way can call the Whalan City Hall or contact any council member.
Public Right of Way and Maintenance of the annexed area was discussed, and the agreement was approved. Peterson stated that the League of Minnesota Cities had a draft of an agreement which City Attorney O’Koren tailored to the City’s needs. The agreement will automatically renew each year if things go smoothly. If not, there is a clause in the agreement with the option to end the agreement.
Striping of 2nd Avenue needs to be done. Johnson and Lewis will take care of this in the spring after the snow melts.
The next regularly scheduled Whalan City Council meeting is scheduled for Monday, December 12 at 5 p.m. at the Whalan Town Hall. The meeting will also be available through Zoom. The public is encouraged to attend.
For further information visit the City of Whalan website at cityofwhalan.weebly.com or phone Whalan City Hall at (507) 467-2212.