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City Commission approves change in term length from three to four years

Posted: Wednesday, Jan 16th, 2013

HURON — Candidates seeking election to the positions of mayor and city commissioner would be running for four-year terms instead of three starting in 2014 in a proposal offered by Mayor David McGirr, who leaves office in a few months.

Members of the governing board currently serve for three years before running for re-election.

The proposed ordinance, given first reading Monday, is being recommended by McGirr as he winds down his commission service. He is not seeking re-election in April.

“I’m in the position to do this and not benefit from it,” he said of the ordinance. “So I think I’m in a position to recommend it.”

In order to transition to the new schedule, one commissioner will be elected to a three-year term and one will be elected to a four-year term next year.

In 2015, one commissioner will be elected to a four-year term and in 2016 one commissioner and the mayor will be elected to four-year terms. In 2017, one commissioner will be elected to a four-year term.

McGirr said new commissioners have a big learning curve when they take office and often don’t become effective until their third year on the job.

There would also be orderly turnover each year if only one commission spot was open, he said.

In years past, commission seats ran for five years. But that was reduced because it was felt that potential candidates believed the terms were too long and didn’t run.

Meanwhile, commissioners had a lengthy discussion on a proposal to authorize preparation of documents for a debt service reserve agreement with the Huron Housing & Redevelopment Authority.

A resolution was adopted to “green light” the drafting of the documents. The authority wants to refinance its debt to take advantage of interest rates as low as 4.75 percent for the next 25 years.

A $500,000 reserve fund would be established. Should the authority fall on hard times in the future and need to dip into that reserve, it could also approach the city to ask it to replenish the fund.

However, it was stressed it’s a moral obligation of the city only and it would be under no legal obligation or financial commitment to help.

Should it decide to contribute funds, the authority would reimburse those monies when it can in the future.

Commissioners also:

• Increased the speed limit on Frank Avenue Southeast to 25 mph after improvements and to be in line with other main residential thoroughfares in the city. The change was recommended by the Public Safety Committee.

• Approved a weekly rotating schedule for towing services with Lincoln Auto Salvage and Rudy’s Towing & Repair.

• Approved a variance request filed by Dakotaland Federal Credit Union regarding a potential buyer for a house at 369 16th St. S.E. if a double car garage can be added to an existing single stall garage.

Building the addition would make it closer to the east property line than allowed by code. It would also mean a shorter rear yard setback.

• Set Feb. 4 for bid openings for sanitary sewer manhole renovation, sewer main lining and a new two-way live floor trailer for the solid waste department, and a Jan. 28 bid-opening date for a new skid steer for the solid waste department.

• Approved a $273,467 progress payment for the Huron Aquatic Center.

• Approved a raffle request from the Huron Eye Opener Lions Club.

• Renewed a $3,500 contract with the First District Association of Local Governments for maintenance of the E911 mapping database.

• Approved a right-of-way easement with Dakota Energy Cooperative for installation and maintenance of an electric transmission and/or distribution line or system.

• Approved a resolution for a Huron Housing & Redevelopment Authority debt service reserve agreement.

• Hired Chad Borgan for the full-time information technology specialist position and Laura McGirr to be the first manager of the new Central Park development. McGirr starts Feb. 1.

• Accepted the early retirement resignation of Brenda Mann as 911 telecommunicator and agreed to issue a civil service call and advertise for a replacement.

• Agreed to issue a civil service call and advertise for a police officer and part-time library clerk.

• Announced that the commission will not meet next Monday due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

The rubble site will be closed Monday and the solid waste routes will not be collected. Instead, the routes will be done on Wednesday, Jan. 23.

• Had an executive session on a personnel matter and a work session to review a draft rental housing ordinance.

For the complete article see the 01-15-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 01-15-2013 paper.

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