5/15/2013 12:34:00 PM Council chooses Lawler for vacant seat
Dan Lawler was elected to the City Council, and plans for a new gas station at Gordy's County Market were considered when the City Council met in regular session on Tuesday, May 14. The council also decided to change the bid specifications for street work at the North Industrial Park. Three candidates asked to be considered for the vacant council seat. They were Nathan Thom of 1520 Fencl Ave., Lawler of 224 Gerland Road, and Wayne Wick of 127 Elbert Drive. Thom dropped out on Tuesday because of scheduling problems. The vacancy was created by the resignation of Justin Wosepka, who moved to Barron. There is about a year left in the position, which is an at-large council seat, meaning candidates can live anywhere in the city. The council has four at-large seats, and four districted seats. Wosepka presented a short statement from Lawler, who is a real estate agent. Lawler's statement said he could not be there because he was attending to business in Washington, D.C. Wick said he moved back to Rice Lake 2 years ago after serving 20 years in the military and 14 years with the Nevada State Patrol at Las Vegas. Lawler was elected on a 6-1 vote, with Councilman Dan Schwab casting the dissenting vote. Schwab said he was concerned that Willers and Lawler were good friends and that dissuaded independent thinking. Willers said he has been friends with Lawler since he was 16, but that "Mr. Lawler is his own individual and he will vote based on facts." Councilmen Cory Schnacky and Stu Durkee said they supported Lawler because he had run for the council in the past. Thom ran unsuccessfully for an at-large council seat in April 2010. Lawler ran unsuccessfully against Schwab in April.
Gordy's In another matter, plans to develop a gas station and convenience store at Gordy's County Market on South Main Street made progress when the council waived a requirement for a lot subdivision. Gordy's, Rice Lake's newest grocery store, opened Wednesday morning. The gas station and convenience store will be northwest of the grocery store. A site plan is expected to go to the city Planning Commission on May 30. The waived requirement was that developed lots fully front a city street. In an unrelated matter, bids for the construction of new streets in the North Industrial Park will have a new option. That option was presented by Willers, who suggested that gravel dug from holding ponds be used for road construction. City engineer Dan Penzkover and Community Services director were concerned that the gravel would not meet road specifications, that a gravel crusher would be noisy, that nearby navigable waters could be a problem, and that a Department of Natural Resources permit was needed for a gravel processing site. Councilman Mark O'Brien was concerned that the city would be going into competition with private gravel pits. "If there's an $80,000 savings for the City of Rice Lake in crushing costs we have an obligation to meet it," said Willers. Schnacky said the amount of the savings, if any, is unknown. Willers moved to include an alternate bid for on-site gravel work when bids are drawn up for the road work in the North Industrial Park. The motion passed 5-2 with Schwab and O'Brien casting the dissenting votes. In another matter, the council approved hiring five seasonal workers for the Community Services Department. But one job, that of Dave Mani's, was being reduced from full time to part time with no benefits. Mani addressed the council, saying he had worked for the city for 14 years and that if the city reduced his job from full time with benefits to part time with no benefits he would have to consider leaving. "You don't even know how many people you need yet you're cutting people," he said. City administrator Curt Snyder said the city eliminated several positions, but there were still budget issues. "You're not out of the woods yet," Snyder told the council. Willers said the city should not cut Mani because of his experience and training. A motion to keep Mani failed on a 4-3 vote. In other action the council: Denied a claim against the city by Tim Soley of 102 Havel Road for alleged damage to a mailbox by a city plow. Renewed the city's commitment to the 20-year sister city relationship with Zamberk, Czech Republic. "The relationship has grown and remains strong today," said the brief to the council. - - - -