Council informed about possible study concerning state facility
Bill to initiate an investigation of
GRAFTON – Grafton City Council members were informed by Mayor Chris West that the Developmental Center in Grafton may be coming under fire at the legislative level.
West updated the council on a phone call he received from District 19 State Representative Gary Paur. Paur told West he had been contacted by District 19 Representative Wayne Trottier who had been asked to co-sponsor a bill that would initiate a study of the inefficiencies at the State Developemental Center in Grafton. The bill is being sponsored reportedly by District 13 representative Alon Wieland. Paur said he made the call to West because he was concerned. “It is my job to watch out for the people and businesses in my district,” he said. “My plan is to keep them informed. As soon as I find out the number on the bill, I will notify the city so they can track the bill.”
West said he would like to go one step further and form a committee of council members to promote the State Developmental Center. “We need to stay proactive on this,” he said. “The Developmental Center is a major employer. Not to mention what the potential loss of valuable professional services would mean to this area.”
West plans to notify and update Developmental Center Superintendent Alex Schweitzer. West will be in Bismarck this week and plans to visit with Schweitzer then. Grafton City Administrator Nick Ziegelman also reported he would be contacting Schweitzer.
Council members were in full agreement with Greg Young, Chris Lipsh and Don Hutson volunteering to serve on a committee or do what was necessary to keep on top of the situation.
Reduction of council
members plan finalized
On November 6, 2012, citizens of Grafton, through the general election process, voted to reduce the city council size from 10 members to 8 members. The language on the ballot was left open-ended to allow the current council to determine the method of reduction.
At the January 14 council meeting, members were divided on which option to select. Nick Ziegelman presented the council with three options. Option 1 included changing all members to at-large. Council members were concerned about representation. Lipsh was in favor of the option. “We are here to represent every citizen in Grafton, not just the people in our ward,” he said. Hutson disagreed. “We don’t need special interest groups filling the council with their people,” he said. Option 1 could be completed during the 2014 election by only filling 3 of the 5 positions.
Option 2 would be to keep 5 elected ward positions with 3 elected at-large positions. The option could be completed during the 2014 election.
Option 3 would include 4 elected ward positions and 4 elected at-large positions. This would require a redistricting of the city wards. It could take up to 3 ½ years to complete but would continue equal representation between wards and at-large positions. Shane Moen made the motion to choose Option 3 with Mary Stark seconding the motion. On a roll call vote, the council was split with 5 votes in favor and 5 votes against. Mayor West cast the deciding vote in favor of Option 3. Voting no on the motion were Len Wysocki, Chris Lipsh, Jason DeGeldere, Don Hutson and Tim McDonald. Voting yes were Ken Gebhardt, Greg Young, Moen, Stark, Dave Fellman and West.
The council will now have the task of amending Section 2-16, 2-20, 7-1, and 7-1 to reflect the size of the council and will also need to determine how the Ways and Means Committee and the Public Utilities Committee will be organized.
In other business:
The council approved an option to purchase real estate by Cobblestone Hotels. The option gives Cobblestone Hotels the exclusive option to purchase Lot 6, Block 4, Replat Blocks 2, 3, and 4, Replat of Dakota Additon (land west of AmericInn between AmericInn and Zip Trip) based on a purchase price of $43,750 and a 10% up front payment to execute the agreement. Cobblestone Hotels has until June 14, 2013 to exercise the option.