The Hackensack City Council voted unanimously Jan. 4 to appoint Andrew Johnson to fill the vacant position created when Councilor Bill Kennedy was elected mayor last November.

Johnson was a candidate for city council in the recent general election but came in third in a three-way contest for two seats,  which were filled by current council member Lee-Ann Marchwick and former  councilor Char Wilkes

When the council asked for applicants to fill the two years left in Kennedy’s term, Johnson again submitted his name. Also expressing interest were former council member Gus Kaubish and Bruce Reeve.

Johnson was connected by Zoom to the Jan. 4 meeting, so his appointment became effective immediately and he participated in the rest of the meeting.

Temporary one month appointments were made to three positions on the annual list of appointments and stipulations: Jim Schneider, acting mayor; Johnson, water/sewer commissioner; and Char Wilkes, liquor store commissioner. Those positions had been held by outgoing mayor Larry Ciha and councilor Janice Pfarr. Other positions were held by current council members. The month’s delay will give everyone a chance to decide if they want to continue in their present positions or switch to another.

In his First Street Project update, Les Mateffy of Moore Engineering reviewed timelines, easement exchanges, and tentative tree and light pole placements along First and adjacent streets. In February, he hopes to advertise for bids on portions of the project, as well as water tower painting.

Mateffy will contact the Hackensack Chamber for a calendar of summer events that contractors need to be aware of when scheduling work.

Miranda Sater, Community Forestry Corps, presented an inventory of work done in the city between October and December. She has passed an exam and is now a certified Minnesota tree inspector for the city.  

Sater has compiled a list of acceptable trees for potential planting in the downtown area during the street project.  A tree canopy analysis of the city was completed which involves an analysis of what the city’s  tree canopy and green spaces look like. Sater’s work includes finding tree species that can handle climate change, especially temperature increases of 4-5 degrees in the next 50 years.

Deep Portage Conservation Reserve will hold a Candlelight Ski/Walk event Jan. 22-23 around Bass Pond, at night with the path lit by candles (bring your own skis). There is no charge but donations will be accepted. Funds raised will go back into projects Sater is working on at Deep Portage and the city of Hackensack.

In other matters the council

Approved transfer of $9,000 from the general fund to the park fund. Funds are used to cover insurance, electricity, maintenance and repairs. Clerk Jody  Knapp noted that normally the city would have received a portion of the Chainsaw Event proceeds to offset the transfer, but that event was not held this year.

Took under advisement a proposal by a local attorney to fill the vacant Hackensack City Attorney position. A decision is expected next month.

Learned that CARES Act money has been spent and paperwork is completed.

Set the next planning session for Jan. 25, 5 p.m., in person at the Community Center, with a ZOOM option.


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