Special city election set for March 7, 2023

City Council
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

   In late October, residents of the City of Monticello informed the Monticello City Council that they were circulating a petition around town to force a special election.

   During the Nov. 21 council meeting, it was noted that the petition secured the adequate number of signatures.

   County Auditor Whitney Hein confirmed that 59 signatures were needed. City Clerk Sally Hinrichsen received the petition on Nov. 7 with 151 signatures. The purpose of the petition is to call for a special city election to change the city council representation from four wards and two at-large council members to all six at-large.

   Hinrichsen noted the earliest a special election like this could be held at Tuesday, March 7, 2023. She would have to work with Hein to set the election and craft proper ballot wording.

   This change would also allow all residents of the city to vote for all candidates running for city council, regardless of residency.

   If this special election, which requires a majority vote, were successful, all council members would be elected at-large in the November 2023 city/school election. They would then take office in January 2024. The three highest vote-getters would serve four-year terms; the next three highest would serve two-year terms to stagger the seats.

   “We’re required by law to set a date,” Hinrichsen informed the council.

   Mayor Dave Goedken commented that people were surprised that the council was still set up by wards.

   “Everyone should vote for every candidate representing them,” he said, in agreement with abolishing the wards. “It’s just unfortunate considering the cost.”

   During the Oct. 24 council meeting, it was noted a special election like this could cost city taxpayers between $4,000 and $6,000.

   The council approved a special election on March 7, 2023.

In other city business:

   • The council approved the final change order and pay request to close out the East Seventh Street Utility Improvement Project.

   This was the seventh change order in the amount of $24,051.05. City Engineer Patrick Schwickerath explained the change order is related to a reconciliation of the final construction quantities.

   Pay request number seven was in the amount of $10,776.74. This includes the release of the retainage to the project contractor, Pirc-Tobin Construction.

   “The project is complete,” remarked Goedken.

   • The council approved the hiring of a new Water/Wastewater employee and set the wage at $23.10 an hour, plus one week of vacation time.

   Jim Tjaden, Water/Wastewater superintendent, said they received eight applications.

   “Two were very strong candidates,” he said of those they interviewed.

   The hope is to have the new employee start on Nov. 28.


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