After a short period of time, the City of Whalan is in the process of interviewing for a new city clerk again after Karla Merchlewitz recently resigned from the position. Merchlewitz began working with the city in November 2019 after former city clerk Lolly Melander suddenly resigned. Merchlewitz cited the demands of her other full-time employment as the reason for her resignation.
“We have been advertising for the position,” explained Tuftin, adding that “in the meantime we are in our mode of survival without a clerk – we have some backup plan, but we are doing the best we can with the staff we have and hopefully we will have this remedied soon.” Tuftin has two interviews for the position scheduled in the next few days.
Present at the February 15, 2020 regularly scheduled council meeting were Mayor Marlys Tuftin and council members Kim Berekvam, Everett Johnson and Tanya Cook. Council member Owen Lewis was absent.
Minutes and Treasurer’s Report and Bills Due from the January 18 council meeting were read aloud by Tuftin. Both were approved as read. Tuftin presented a review of bills which needed to be paid, all of which were approved.
Ben Ruberg asked the council when the next Zoning Meeting will be held, as the meeting for February 15 was cancelled due to having no city clerk at this time.
The council is hoping a Zoning Meeting will be held in March. “We are hoping it will be in March, our priority right now is to hire a new clerk, because we have been putting in lots of efforts into keeping basic business going, and so none of us had time – I didn’t have time – to do my assignment, so we are not going to meet today,” stated Tuftin.
“We are going to have to base it on our workload also because the Minnesota Basic Code and what we are doing is important, but it’s more important right now that we get our clerk position filled,” said Tuftin.
The City of Whalan has established an official address of 223 Second Ave. and has a post office box rented in Lanesboro, which is P.O. Box 7. An email has been set up for the City of Whalan, although as of now the city will be using the email for official city business only (which may change in the future). Any resident with questions can contact any council member.
Tuftin stated that she has a copy of the electric arrears report and the city will be taking action against one resident. An official letter will be sent to that person.
Andrzej Zalasinski, executive director of the Lanesboro Area Chamber of Commerce, attended the meeting and handed out copies of the new 2020 Visitors Guide. Zalasinski asked the council for their views on what their experience has been with the LACC and the City of Whalan collaborating in the last year.
“I think we can do better,” noted Berekvam. “Maybe we could communicate a little more going forward,” Berekvam added. “I think from previous years to this (2019) – I think it is improved, because there was absolutely no communication prior – so thank you for that – but I think that we, all of us, can do a better job – not just you, all of us – can do a better job communicating,” noted Cook. Cook would like the Whalan City Council to have a better understanding of where the City of Whalan’s money is allocated .
Tom Nigon, System Engineer with MiEnergy, will be performing a Cost of Service Study for the City of Whalan.
Tuftin and Johnson attended the Annual Fire Department & Ambulance Meeting in Lanesboro recently and gave a report. There is an anticipated 3% increase for ambulance service for 2020 and 2021.
The next regularly scheduled Whalan City Council meeting will be held Saturday, March 21 at 10 a.m. at the Whalan City Hall. The public is encouraged to attend.