The Golden Valley City Council gave outgoing member Larry Fonnest a proper send-off – complete with balloons and well-wishes – during his final meeting last month. Fonnest did not seek re-election last fall, capping eight years of public service to the city of Golden Valley.
Fonnest said serving on the Golden Valley City Council “has been my great pleasure,” and that it felt like his two terms had gone by “in a flash.”
Among his favorite initiatives were creating an action plan with Xcel Energy to reduce utility costs in the city by nearly $9 million dollars, the passage of a conversion therapy ban, and the continued work in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion. Topping the list was the passage of an ordinance regulating the sale of tobacco and vaping products, which Fonnest called “one of the strongest in the state.”
Finally, Fonnest highlighted his “pet project,” work to amend the state’s fiscal disparities formula, as something he hoped the council would continue to carry on in his absence.
“It’s high time that formula was revised and revisited, and could mean literally millions of dollars for our city,” Fonnest said.
City Manager Tim Cruikshank provided Fonnest with mementos of the city’s thanks, including a plaque.
Councilmember Gillian Rosenquist thanked Fonnest for his camaraderie and his work on long-term goals like the environment that the city would be enjoying “for decades to come.” Councilmember Kimberly Sanberg recognized Fonnest for his approach to “tough issues,” and Councilmember Maurice Harris said Fonnest was an “example of how government can work for everyone.”
Mayor Shep Harris called Fonnest “a prototype for this council.”
“Our community has changed for the better – our community has changed for good, because of you,” Shep Harris said.
Fonnest was first elected in 2013. In addition to his regular council responsibilities, Fonnest is actively involved with the Municipal Legislative Commission, the Golden Valley Historical Society, the Sochacki Park Joint Powers Authority and the Association of Metropolitan Municipalities (Metro Cities).
Fonnest told the council that he was leaving with “mixed emotions,” but knowing the city remained in good hands. He added that he was confident his replacement, Denise La Mere-Anderson, “is going to be stellar.”