Johnson resigns from Nevis Council

The council member and deputy mayor cited personal and employment issues and said he is moving out of town.

Rich Johnson (Enterprise file photo)

The Nevis City Council accepted the resignation of council member and deputy mayor Rich Johnson on Monday, July 12.

Johnson submitted his resignation via email Monday afternoon. His message said, “Due to changes in my personal life and employment situation, we will be moving out of the city. It has been an honor and a privilege to work with you all for these many years. I must resign my seat, effective immediately. … Please continue to do the wonderful job that you all have.”

Council member Sue Gray moved to adopt a resolution accepting Johnson’s resignation and declaring a vacancy on the council. The motion passed unanimously.

“Rich has served us for many years,” Mayor Jeanne Thompson commented. “It’s sad to see him go. He has been an important part of seeing things change and transition here in Nevis, and has been a good voice of reason.”

Thompson also acknowledged that Johnson was a civics teacher at the Nevis School for more than 20 years. “It’s sad to see that go, both from the school perspective and the community perspective,” she said. “I think I speak for all of us when (I say) we wish him well in future endeavors, and he will be missed here.”


Rental ordinance

City Administrator Dawn Veit brought back the rental ordinance that was tabled at last month’s council meeting, adding language specifying penalties for first, second and third violations.

“We’re not looking to penalize people out of their business, by any means,” said Veit, “but to consider this when we do issue a violation.”

Giving teeth to the ordinance are fines of $250 for the first violation, $500 for the second and $1,000 for the third, requiring the dwelling to be brought into compliance within 30 days or when specified, and threatening suspension, revocation or non-renewal of a rental license after three violations.

Also added was a “Rental Agreement for Crime-Free Housing” for the landlord, owner and resident to sign, emphasizing that violation of the agreement can result in eviction.

Council member Teresa Leshovsky moved to approve the ordinance, and the motion passed unanimously.

In other business, the council:

  • Appointed Sue Wilson to the city’s planning commission.

  • Set a planning commission meeting for 6 p.m. Monday, July 26. Veit reminded the council that their preliminary budget meeting begins the same evening at 5 p.m., and will resume after the planning commission meeting.

  • Heard public works supervisor Don Umthun report that the well company would be checking water levels in the city wells this week. “I’ll be curious to see how it’s maintaining since we got the new controls in,” he said. “We’re hoping that draw-down is still where it needs to be or better.” Umthun also noted that people are watering their yards a lot and this will be reflected on next year’s sewer bill.

  • Heard Umthun report that he hasn’t had to spray water on the fields at the old airfield due to evaporation keeping pond water levels under control. “With this dry weather, I’ve never been done this early” with irrigation, he said. He also reported that roof repairs were completed at a park pavilion.

  • Heard municipal liquor store manager Erin Rhoades report that Bands & BBQ on Saturday, July 10 was a success, and will definitely become an annual event. She did not have final income figures at meeting time but said that, in addition to 209 racks of ribs being sold by the bone to benefit the Nevis Fire and Rescue “sunshine fund,” several of the vendors also donated their revenue from side meat sales.

  • Heard Rhoades remind them that Muskie Days will be Friday and Saturday, July 23-24 and the city will also host a golf tournament on Aug. 24.

  • Heard firefighter Josh Winters report that the fire department will hold a pancake breakfast from 8 to 11 a.m. Sunday, July 25, pending approval of their food permit. He said the event will include a bouncy house for children.

  • Heard Deputy Josh Oswald report for the police department that he is investigating a couple of thefts. Oswald said the July 4 weekend went by with no major incidents. Thompson voiced appreciation for the Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office and the Mounted Posse for helping with Bands & BBQ and the funeral of Neal Todd on Saturday.

The council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 9 at Nevis City Hall.

Robin Fish is a staff reporter at the Park Rapids Enterprise. Contact him at or 218-252-3053.
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