Special to The Gardner News
Members of the Gardner city council discussed at length their options for future elections and terms with vacated council seats at their April 5 meeting.
Kacy Deaton, member, had been appointed to fill the vacant seat in February after Rich Melton, former member, resigned.
The discussion of her seat had previously been brought up at the March 15 council meeting.
Jim Pruetting, city administrator, had said at the March meeting he needed a clear direction to follow for the precedent of the remainder of Deaton’s term.
Ryan Denk, city attorney said he had looked into precedents for Deaton’s seat, and he had concerns about a special election.
“It’s exceedingly confusing for voters,” he said.
Denk said he didn’t know if the city had the ability to change anything and the qualifications were set by state statute.
“I have a lot of concerns about inconsistency,” he said. “We should have it the way we have been doing it.”
Steve Shute, mayor, said if the seat is treated differently it destroys the spirit of staggering terms.
Todd Winters, council member, said he also agreed that staggering the seat terms was important.
Randy Gregorcyk, member, said the community deserves an election to vote and decide.
Deaton said she wanted to know how often this situation comes up.
Shute said it wasn’t often.
Tory Roberts, council member, said she wanted to know why the seats have to be staggered.
Shulte said it was for continuity. “You don’t want to overturn an entire council in one election,” he said.
In other business:
Council discussed the possibility of bringing electric scooters to Gardner for another transportation mode for citizens.
Pruetting and Shute said they had met with Lime Scooters and been approached by Bird Scooters.
Pruetting said it was a divisive issue for many places.
“It’s not as conducive for our road network and a nuisance in many places,” Pruetting said. “It would also be problematic to have two different operators.”
Winters said he didn’t see a need for the scooters. “It’s premature and would need to look at our downtown development,” he said.
Council members Roberts, Baldwin and Deaton said the roads weren’t good enough to sustain a scooter transportation system, parking was lacking, and no one was requesting the service.
Randy Gregorcyk said he had used one in San Diego and had almost killed himself using it. “It has a good use for metropolitan places, but it is a bit premature,” he said. “We don’t have the infrastructure.”
Pruetting said it would diminish the sidewalks and trails.
Denk said the scooters aren’t allowed on sidewalks. “It’s prohibited by state statute,” he said.
Shute said he wanted to clarify statements he made at the last meeting about the fire board discussion and apologize. He said he hadn’t spoken with Don Roberts, Edgerton mayor, but Shirley and his statement hadn’t been intentional.
The city council also discussed during council updates the electric fund bill from the February cold snap, the delayed reconstruction project of US 56 Highway to July, supporting Gardner’s Project Grad with more funds for 2021 and relocating a tornado siren from the front of Symphony Farms home because it is leaning over the house. The city decided to relocate the siren and pole.
Election terms, bringing scooters downtown discussed by Gardner