“For the final time, I move we adjourn.”
So ended last week’s Scandia City Council meeting, with Councilman Chris Ness making the final motion in his final meeting after 20 years of service to the city.
Mayor Christine Maefsky, members of the city council and city staffers took turns recognizing Ness, who first joined the council in October 2010 after having serving more than a decade as a planning commission member, including seven as commission chair.
Maefsky, in particular, noted that she didn’t agree with Ness on everything, but she appreciated his calm and rational approach to decision-making.
The council approved a proclamation and allowed Ness to make the closing motion one final time. Ness has nearly always made the call for adjournment during his tenure, it having become somewhat of a council tradition.
“It’s his favorite motion,” Maefsky quipped.
In spite of the pandemic, which forced council meetings to be held online through most of 2020, Ness made it a point to sit in his chair on the council dais last week. Ness is easily the city’s longest tenured official, except for city staffers Brenda Eklund and Colleen Firkus.
“I have enjoyed most of (my time) and am proud of my service,” said Ness, who retired in 2019 from his sales job with Buerkle Honda. “I’m wondering what I’ll do on the third Tuesday of the month now.”
Maefsky, Councilman Steve Kronmiller and new Councilwoman Heather Benson, who won seats in the November election, will be sworn in prior to next month’s meeting.
• The council approved tobacco license renewals for Scandia Tobacco, Big Marine Lake Store, Big Marine Lake Liquor Store; and liquor license renewals for Meisters Bar & Grill, Rustic Roots Winery, The Scandia Creamery, and Big Marine Lake Liquor Store.
• The council approved an annual step wage increase for Public Works Director Adam Hawkinson, who will make $37.75 per hour. Hawkinson has been employed by the city for four years.
• The council hired Leo Kressin, Hailey McAdams, Ian Shaefer, Jake Taylor, John Ziegelski and Cameron Zuniga as skating rink attendants at $12.50 per hour and Tal Swenson as lead rink attendant at $15 per hour.
• The council granted a variance for a home expansion at 13110 182nd St. N. on Big Marine Lake.
• At the behest of the city’s Parks & Recreation Committee, the council agreed to form an ad hoc committee to gather community input for the replacement of the playground equipment.
• City staffer Bee Stignani reported that the city’s new website will launch on Jan. 1.
• The council formally adopted its 2021 budget and local tax levy of $2,429,946, a 3.2% increase over 2020. The budget includes rate increases for users of the Big Marine (7%) and Uptown (5%) sewer systems.
The next Scandia City Council meeting will be held Jan. 6. at 6:30 p.m.