Long-time Nevis mayor passes gavel to mayor-elect
Nevis mayor Ray Melander handed the gavel to mayor-elect Dave McCurnin Monday night, with an endorsement. "I've won a few and lost a few," Melander said of his bids for office. "This is the first time I'm turning over the gavel to someone with a ...
Nevis mayor Ray Melander handed the gavel to mayor-elect Dave McCurnin Monday night, with an endorsement.
"I've won a few and lost a few," Melander said of his bids for office. "This is the first time I'm turning over the gavel to someone with a vision. It warms my heart."
The Nevis Council will experience a changing of the guard, come January, when McCurnin, Heidi Schmeichel and Cammy Johnson are sworn into office.
Rick Carson and Bev Romer did not run for re-election in November.
Council member Paul Schroeder thanked the outgoing trio, noting, "We didn't agree on everything."
But each member contributed to the well being of the city, he said.
"Rick fought for the deputy, he said of Jeff Stacey's position.
"Ray had the best interests of the city in mind."
"And Bev worked for the senior center."
"I'm starting a new precedent," Melander said of passing the gavel to McCurnin, noting former council member Marlin Winters created the mallet.
Melander, whose political experience includes Hubbard County commissioner, returned to Nevis from Chicago in the mid '90s.
Attending council meetings concerning sewer construction, Melander said he was disgruntled with the water and sewer billing method being proposed. Jim Hukki was mayor at the time.
"If you don't like how things are being run, do something about it," he recalled of his credo.
"I decided to run."
Melander overturned Hukki's bid for re-election, subsequently running unopposed for a second term. Phil Harris overturned his bid for a third.
Harris gained statewide attention after raising his middle digit - "the finger" - at police officer Bob Potter during a council meeting.
The council attempted to oust him, with Harris taking the matter to court. A judge determined the council had no legal grounds for such action, and Harris finished his term.
The voters handed Melander the gavel in a subsequent election.
Melander was appointed to the office in 2006 when his victorious opponent, Elizabeth Foderick, resigned over residency issues.
Initially, Melander said he'd not intended to run for another term. He filed with just minutes to deadline to give people a choice, he said. "And at 4:59 Dave came in."
"I don't think the people of Nevis know how much effort you put forth on behalf of the city," McCurnin said Monday night.
"We wouldn't be in this building without you. Not everything you did followed the rules," he said of what became a contentious issue when Melander moved forward on construction, at times, unilaterally.
"But you've done a hell of a job."
Melander, who turns 75 this month, will not vanish from public service. He is chair of the Hubbard County Housing and Redevelopment Authority, serves on the Soil and Water Conservation District board and chairs the Headwaters Housing Development Corporation.
In other action, the council:
-Adopted the proposed $188,376 property tax levy and approved the general fund budget.
-Approved adding a second water meter to existing residences and businesses for irrigation of lawns. This meter will be read at year's end to determine the actual amount of water sent to the sewer system. The bills will be adjusted accordingly.
-Approved bids for confiscated vehicles, including $501 for a 1991 Geo, $1,255 for a 1996 Oldsmobile, $150 for a 1988 Pontiac and $2,531 for a 2002 Chevy pickup.
-Approved Miller McDonald, Inc. to prepare the 2008 annual audit and financial report at a cost of $7,500 and $500, respectively.
-Reported liquor store earnings of negative $101.52 in November, $44,220 year-to-date. This is up from $25,852 for the same period last year, but down from 2006's $65,298 and $80,442 in 2005.