ELY – Council member Heidi Omerza traveled many miles across the state and wore a path to St. Paul during the last year as she advocated for Ely and other municipalities as the president of the …
ELY – Council member Heidi Omerza traveled many miles across the state and wore a path to St. Paul during the last year as she advocated for Ely and other municipalities as the president of the League of Minnesota Cities.
Her term ended last month as she handed over the gavel at the organization’s annual summer conference in Duluth.
During the July 2 city council meeting, Ely Mayor Chuck Novak lauded Omerza for her service to Ely as well as to the state organization, that represents more than 800 cities across the state.
The Ely council was well represented at the conference with Novak, Omerza, council members Paul Kess and Angela Campbell, and Clerk-Treasurer Harold Langowski all in attendance.
“It was really good to have a member of this council as the president of the league,” Novak said, “and now as a member of the league’s board, our city’s initiatives will continue to be on the agenda.”
Omerza, on the council since 2007, was the first Elyite to serve as president of the League of Minnesota Cities, and she said it was an honor that she won’t soon forget. “I’m glad its over because there was a lot of traveling, but it was also an awesome experience,” she said.
Not only did she spend considerable time in St. Paul lobbying on behalf of the organization, Omerza traveled to Washington, D.C. to represent Minnesota cities on many federal issues.
“It means a lot to me and I think to this city to have someone from a small city in greater Minnesota to represent our point of view and to actually help set the agenda,” Omerza said. “It truly was an honor and a privilege.”
She credited former Ely mayor and council member Frank Salerno, who was a past board member of the LMC, with instilling her passion to serve. “He lit a fire under me,” she said.
Langowski touted Omerza’s presence on the LMC board. “Having attended a conference 12 years ago, if you said ‘Ely’ they might not know where Ely is,” he said. “Now when you say ‘Ely,’ everyone on that board fully understands Ely, and they all want to be in Ely. We can thank Heidi and her good work for that.”
Ely Police Department Sgt. George Burger said his recent community presentations on traffic safety resulted in a major donation from the Ely Rotary Club for four “Drive Safely, Protect Our Children” signs that will be installed this summer around the Ely school campus and Whiteside Park areas.
He displayed one of the four-foot signs and the council unanimously approved their installation.
Langowski noted that the Rotary Club continues to support the youth and the entire community. “They approved new benches and signs at a recent project in town, the Chapman Street pocket park project,” he said. “They will be working with the Otts on a design for the park as well. Thank a Rotary member when you can.”
In other business, the council:
Approved the 2020 budget calendar with a special meeting set for Tuesday, Sept. 3 to release the preliminary budget and set the maximum levy. A Truth in Taxation public hearing will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 26.
Approved a recommendation from the Budget Committee to transfer $200,000 from the general fund to the capital projects fund.
Approved a recommendation from the Park and Recreation Board to establish rules for the new Wheel Park at the Rec Center, and to purchase and install two security cameras at the facility for $1,585.
Heard an update from the police chief on the season’s “war on grass” where he reported that 46 warnings and eight citations have been issued for failure to mow lawns.
Approved a resolution authorizing a raffle permit for the Ruffed Grouse Society.
Approved a $10,000 residential rehab loan for James Reed, 1350 N 18th Ave E, for new roof, windows, siding and insulation.