For the next several weeks, the Redwood Falls City Council will be one member short, as the city goes through the process of appointing a new member to fill the vacancy in the first ward.

That seat, most recently held by Paul DeBlieck, was officially declared vacant at the city council’s Dec. 18 meeting following the submission of resignation by DeBlieck at the end of the Dec. 4 council meeting.

With the seat now vacant, the process to find a replacement has officially started, and, according to Keith Muetzel, city administrator, state law and the city charter allow for the position to be appointed by the mayor and council rather than through a special election.

Applications to fill that position are available at city hall, and those applications will be accepted until Jan. 18. Muetzel said the window does not typically remain open that long, but due to the holidays, city staff felt it was best to allow more time for people to consider applying for the position. 

Once the application window has closed, a series of interviews will be conducted, and following that process the appointment of a new council member will be made. Muetzel said he anticipates that the appointment could come as early as the first meeting in February 2019.

Residents of the first ward for the city are encouraged to participate in the city’s decision making process by applying to serve on the city council.

The appointed individual will serve the remainder of the term, which is Dec. 31, 2020.

Learn more about the process, eligibility requirements or to receive a copy of the application by contacting the City of Redwood Falls by calling (507) 616-7400, sending an e-mail to info@ci.redwood-falls.mn.us or by stopping at city hall.

Additional information can also be found on the city’s Web site at ci.redwood-falls.mn.us.

In other action during its meeting, the city council:

• Approved a purchase agreement for the property at 504 Veda Drive. The purchase price for the property, which was submitted by Jared Barber, is $130,500. The home at 504 Veda Drive was purchased by the city in anticipation of a major renovation of the municipal hospital, but the agreement to sell the hospital and the decision by that new owner to build a new campus meant ownership of the residence was no longer necessary. The 504 Veda location was one of three pieces of property being offered for sale. The property at 512 Veda Drive has already been sold, with 508 Veda Drive still on the market.

• Held a hearing regarding an alcohol license violation for Freedom Bar and Grill. According to Amy Busse, city attorney, during a compliance check conducted in December 2017 by the Redwood Falls Police Department, establishment owner Mark Garrison failed the compliance check, as an underage individual cooperating with law enforcement was able to purchase alcohol at the establishment.

At the close of the hearing, the city council approved the recommendation from Busse to suspend the liquor license for Freedom Bar and Grill for seven days, with that suspension stayed on the conditions that the license holder have no alcohol sale violations for a period of two years, pay a $110 administrative penalty and show proof to the city attorney or other city staff that staff and/or management attended an alcohol sales continuing education course.

• Authorized city staff to offer an incentive for people who opt to choose paperless billing. Missi Meyer, city director of finance and administrative services, said the city has 2,289 residential utility accounts, as well as 489 commercial accounts each month. Of that number, 250 have chosen paperless billing. In order to attempt to get more people to use the paperless system, a $1 per month credit is being offered. Meyer said the cost to print and mail each utility bill exceeds that $1 amount.

• Approved a recommendation to move forward with a change to the desk area in the city hall council chambers in order to meet Americans With Disabilities Act requirements for slope and corridor width. The cost of the renovation is $12,915.67.

• Recognized Corey Theis for his service to the city as a member of the city council and as mayor. Theis was first elected to serve as the Ward 1 council member in 2005 and began his service as mayor in 2013.

As of the end of this month, Theis will be stepping down from that role.

John Buckley, council president, expressed appreciation to Theis for his service.

“You have done a tremendous job,” said Buckley, adding Theis did that work with honesty and integrity.

Theis said he enjoyed the opportunity to serve on the council and as mayor, adding his job was made a lot easier by the city staff and other council members who served with him the past 13 years. He admitted it is hard to leave, adding the city has been very supportive.

Photo courtesy of Amy Busse