Ron Thomas

Outgoing mayor Ron Thomas. 

The Corcoran City Council, Dec. 21, honored outgoing Mayor Ron Thomas and outgoing City Councilor Brian Lother, both of whom have served the city in a variety of ways for a number of years.

At the meeting, the council also took up other business. Here are meeting highlights.

RESOLUTION HONORS LOTHER

Thomas read the resolution honoring Lother.

The city council appointed him to a vacant seat on the council on July 9, 2020. He succeeded City Councilor Brian Dejewski, who moved to Maple Grove. Lother served through Dec. 31, when Dejewski’s term ended.

The council chose Lother “as the most qualified candidate following his years of service to the city on the Charter Commission,” the resolution said. He “placed considerable time, effort and thought into his role of City Councilmember.”

During Lother’s temporary term, the council reviewed numerous development proposals, approved remodeling of City Hall, drafted the 2021 budget, saved the city over $400,000 by refinancing bonds, authorized implementation of body cameras for police and oversaw city operations during the pandemic.

Thomas said about Lother, “He has been a member of the city for some time, a very active member. He has been helpful with a lot of things while on the council. We appreciate your stepping up for these six months.”

Lother answered, “I was glad to be here. It has been an honor to serve with the staff and council. Thank you very much.”

RESOLUTION HONORS THOMAS

City Councilor Jon Bottema read the resolution honoring Thomas, who has had 20 years of service in elected positions.

According to the resolution, he was elected to the city council for the first time for a term beginning Jan. 1, 1999. Voters re-elected him for three additional terms. After 16 years as a city councilor, he was elected twice to serve as mayor.

During Thomas’s years of service, Corcoran transitioned to a 24 hour a day/seven days a week police department and authorized implementation of body cameras. Recommendations from the city’s crime, drug and safety committee resulted in creation of a new police canine program and addition of the city’s first police detective. Corcoran also completed a fire service comprehensive growth plan.

The city also constructed the new public works facility, got a community development block grant for construction of the Hope Center in Maple Hill Estates, approved remodeling of City Hall and oversaw significant public infrastructure projects, such as the first public water and sanitary sewer project.

Corcoran also purchased 60 acres of new parkland, created a master plan for City Park and constructed Wildflower Park, the city’s first new park in several decades.

Thomas was involved in much more, including drafting of Corcoran’s 2020, 2030 and 2040 Comprehensive Plans.

After Bottema read the resolution, Thomas said, “I will take credit for a few of those things, but I happened to be here when a lot of other people put in a whole lot of effort. I was happy to participate. I am thankful to the citizens who elected me and for all the support I have had over the years. I am glad I spent time doing this.”

He added, “I’m looking forward to seeing how things continue to go on in Corcoran. There’s a lot of good momentum going on. We have a good council right now. We have a good council coming up next year.”

FAREWELLS TO THOMAS, LOTHER

City Councilor Bottema said about Thomas and Lother, “Both are mentors and are really friends. They have guided me. I have learned so much from Ron as far as being a city councilman. Whenever we have a discussion, it’s how it affects people in Corcoran. We’re saying goodbye to a city councilman and a mayor, two good men who served the city really well. I am very proud to have served with you on the council. Thank you for your service.”

EVALUATION OF CITY ADMINISTRATOR’S PERFORMANCE

Turning to personnel matters, the city council went into closed session to evaluate the performance of City Administrator Brad Martens.

Mayor Thomas said after the closed session that Marten’s performance was “very good.” The council approved a 2.75% salary increase for Martens – the same as salary increases for other city employees. When city councilors said he deserved a larger increase, Martens turned it down.

OTHER

The City Council also:

APPROVED the 2021 water and sanitary sewer budgets.

ADOPTED the 2021 schedule of city fees.

APPROVED the final plat requested by Nate Kariniemi for creating four lots from two existing lots at 6780 Rolling Hills Road and 6855 Willow Drive.

ACCEPTED the resignation of Paul Moretto from his city planner position.

AUTHORIZED city staff to offer the public works maintenance worker position to Cole Lenneman.

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