ELY – Longtime Ely Mayor Chuck Novak was honored for his service to the city Tuesday night at what represented his final city council meeting as the top elected official for the city of …
ELY – Longtime Ely Mayor Chuck Novak was honored for his service to the city Tuesday night at what represented his final city council meeting as the top elected official for the city of Ely.
Following a special election next Tuesday to fill the post, the election of Heidi Omerza or Roger Skraba as mayor will be canvassed at a special meeting prior to the Aug. 17 council meeting and Novak will step down from his brief stint as interim mayor.
“I would like to recognize Chuck’s service to the Ely community,” said Clerk-Treasurer Harold Langowski prior to presenting him with a crystal memento.
Novak served partial city council terms in in 2005 and 2006 before serving multiple terms as the city’s elected leader in 2007-08. Since then he served three more terms as mayor before being appointed interim mayor earlier this year.
“With sincere gratitude for your faithful dedication, guidance and friendship, your selfless contributions of service over all the years have been valuable to Ely’s continued success. Thank you on behalf of the city council and city workers and on behalf of the citizens of Ely,” Langowski said.
“I appreciate Chuck’s dedication to the job,” he continued. “Another point that most people don’t realize is that Chuck has served on the city’s Charter Commission since 2005 as well.”
At the Tuesday council meeting, the city’s financial audit for 2020 was presented, and Novak leaves his post as mayor with the city in positive financial shape.
“I’ve been around here long enough to remember times the city of Ely didn’t even have a fund balance and we had to pursue general obligation bonding just to meet payroll,” Langowski said. “We’ve been through some bad times and we’ve been through good times. The mayor was always there helping to make a path forward. As an employee, I would like to thank Chuck and I appreciate the efforts he has put in on behalf of the city.”
Novak spent countless hours lobbying on the state and federal level for funding for Ely projects and causes.
“Everybody knows who Chuck is, and everybody knows what city he comes from. That is important at both the state and federal level,” Langowski added.
“This has been a fun ride,” Novak said as he accepted the appreciation plaque. “I got in a lot of trouble at home for all the time I spent at the city,” Novak said as his wife, Nancy, looked on. “A lot of calls come in at the last minute. And you go. I think we’ll be in good shape here in Ely. We’ll move on. Thank you.”
In other business, the council:
• Approved a $15,000 taxpayer donation to partially fund a $60,000 Pioneer Mine Memorial planned by the Ely Area Heritage Center. An $8,000 donation from the Ely Arts and Heritage organization, $7,000 in additional donations, and an anticipated $30,000 Arts and Cultural Grant from the Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation will also be used for the project. While the donation is not in the city budget, Langowski said the Budget Committee will discuss funding for the donation next month.
• Received letters of intent to retire from Ely Utility Commission employees Judy Niemela, Mick Shusta and Anthony Gornik. Langowski said that represents “nearly a century of experience” and the EUC will be looking at how to move forward. The employees all gave a six-month lead time to help with the transition.
• Approved offering the Equipment Operator II position to John Sjoberg.
• Approved a two-year legal representation contract renewal with Klun Law Firm for 2022-23 for the current $5,000-per-month retainer fee.
• Approved a temporary liquor license for the Ely-Winton Rod and Gun Club for Sept. 18 at Miner’s Dry for an ATV riders convention event.
• Approved the 2021-22 liquor licenses for the city pending receipt of proper fees and paperwork.