Water treatment facility still needs permanent fix, Sander ready to serve

Chuck Wickenhofer

The June 20 meeting of the Devils Lake City Commission began with a moment of silence for state legislator Curtis Hofstad, who died Saturday of a heart attack.

Hofstad, who served many roles in local and state government, including the State Water Commission, was an active member of the Devils Lake community for decades. Mayor Richard Johnson acknowledged Hofstad’s contributions Monday evening.

“We’re a better community for his efforts,” Johnson said. “He is going to be missed.”

Johnson also acknowledged the service of four term commissioner Tim Heisler during Monday’s meeting. Heisler is on the way out after sixteen years of service following his defeat in last Tuesday’s election.

“We owe you a debt of gratitude for what you’ve done for the city,” Johnson said.

Newcomer to the City Commission Ben Sander was in attendance and was greeted by several members of the board following the meeting. Sander reports that he is eager to get started in his new role, though he acknowledged that there will likely be a learning curve.

“I’d like to get a better feel for how things are working,” Sander said. “We have the meeting on Tuesday to have the portfolios assigned; there’s a lot for me to learn.”

Next Tuesday’s special meeting at noon will include a swearing in of the new commissioner and a designation of duties.

“You have to know a lot about what’s going on; there is a lot involved,” Sander said. “Half the stuff in each meeting I’ve attended, I haven’t known the backstory on.”

Sander believes that his aggressive push to familiarize himself with voters, as well as his focus on bringing a fresh view to city government, helped galvanize support during the campaign.

“I put my name out there a lot. I wanted to make sure everybody knew my name, and (I think) social media got me a lot of attention,” Sander said. “I ran on the fresh perspective thing, and no disrespect to anybody that’s served for a long time. I’ve heard a lot of comments, people saying that it’s great to get some new views in there.”

Monday’s agenda included an update on the roof of the water treatment facility, which has yet to be permanently repaired.

City Engineer Mike Grafsgaard said that work on a permanent fix for the roof, which was heavily damaged late last year due to strong winds, will exceed $30,000 and therefore must be put up for bid.

Grafsgaard also stressed the importance of finding a permanent fix for the roof.

“It’s a very important municipal building that treats drinking water for residents,” Grafsgaard said.