A Central Elementary fourth-grade teacher is the new council member for the City of Cologne.
Kyle Evenski, who has lived in Cologne for five years, was selected unanimously Monday for the position vacated by Jill Skaaland, who had announced her resignation in May.
Also vying for the position was Jackie Hamre, a six month resident of Cologne who works as an employee relations business partner for Carver County.
Council members had debated about who to select at their past several meetings, even considering a coin flip, but choose Evenski for his interest and experience living in Cologne.
One major concern was Evenski’s ability to attend meetings as he also teaches eighth grade football for Central and B squad baseball.
That concern was quieted though as Evenski, who was present at the meeting unlike Hamre, was up front about his other responsibilities and told the council he was intent on attending meetings.
“To be honest, I feel I am able to multi-task pretty well,” he said. “If I would be elected, I would do everything in my power to not be at the 80 percent or whatever. I’d do everything I could to make it 100 percent of the time, because I know that’s what it takes to help the city succeed with the decisions that are made.”
Kyle and his wife, Nicole, have two children, Kyson, 4, and Ashlyn, 2.
“I’ve seen what the city council has done and what the city in general, in the six years I’ve been here now, the direction that we’ve gone,” he said. “I’d like to take a more active part in helping us get to that next step. It’s fun to see the growth, it’s fun to see the things that are going on as an outsider. It would be fun to see how things work and be part of that process and feel that sense of commitment and success from within.”
In regular business, council members approved a street reconstruction project not to exceed $116,000.
Among the facets of the project, explained by City Administrator John Hendel, were bids of $58,587.60 from WM Mueller for pothole and street reconstruction in town, $6,536.70 from Bargen Inc. for crack sealing and $44,145,09 from Pearson Bros., Inc. for seal and chip coating and the possible mill overlay of Playhouse Street.
Hendel said they will reexamine streets in the future budget process to ensure that they are kept up and last 30 to 40 years.
“If we don’t stay on top of and don’t stay in line with what we’re supposed to be doing, we’re going to get bad roads in newer parts of town,” he said. “We have to make sure we take care of our infrastructure. It may hurt a little bit here and there, but at the same time we have funds sitting around to help us with things that we need to pay attention to.”
Hendel explained there is $65,000 allocated for streets and roadways in the budget, $81,644 in the streets fund balance and an additional $69,898 in local government aid, more than the $79,597 originally in the budget.
Council members questioned whether to use that local government aid right now or save it for the future, ultimately deciding to pay for the project using the other two sources.
“I think our streets are getting bad and we’ve got to spend some money on them otherwise it will be very costly,” said council member Don Meyer.
One additional concern raised by council member Jeff McInnis was the impact of the inflow/infiltration plan and whether they would have to pay for street reconstruction twice.
Hendel said while the scope of that project is not known, most of the I/I plan could be done without impacting the street,
In other news, council members approved switching some of the city’s funds and banking transactions to Klein Bank in addition to Security State Bank, approve a bid from G&K Services for uniforms for city workers and cleaning services and approved a contract with Owatonna-based Jaguar Communications for city phone services. While there are costs associated with each of these, all of these measures save the city money compared to prior services. The Cologne City Council will next meet on Monday, Aug. 5, at 7 p.m.
Contact Adam Gruenewald at [email protected]