Alta mayor reflects back on his term

Friday, December 6, 2019

Departing Alta Mayor Al Clark delivered his final mayor’s report during this week’s city council meeting, before leaving office at the end of the year. Here is the report in full:

By AL CLARK

Mayor of Alta

As I enter my last month as Mayor for the City of Alta, I would like to thank a few people for their support, advice and working relationship.

First off, thank you Megan Peterson, our City Clerk, for her knowledge and dedication to the City of Alta. If ever I had a question, she would always do her best to find an answer for me.

Brad Pederson, the City Street Supervisor, his expertise with all aspects of our city is immeasurable beyond comprehension.

Our City Street Department personnel, Fred Theisen, Gabe McCormick, and Thomas Lane, these three gentlemen are without a doubt three of the hardest working employees that any city could have.

Thank you, Megan, Brad, Fred, Gabe, and Thomas for being the best employees that any city would be proud to employ.

Thank you to the Alta Fire Department. I feel our Fire Department is second to none and is an invaluable entity of the city and for the community’s citizens. Kudos to the men and women of our Volunteer Fire Department.

I would also like to thank the employees of Alta Tec. Although the utilities is self-governing, there is still a need for a close relationship between the City and the Utility Department. Thank you, Randy and crew, for everything that you do.

Also, I would like to thank all of the members of our Park, Library, Planning and Zoning Boards and the Board of Adjustments for volunteering their time to help make Alta even better than it already is.

A special thanks goes out to Gary Armstrong for your expert knowledge and legal advice. The City of Alta is extremely lucky and grateful to have you as its City Attorney.

Now I would like to acknowledge Alta City Council members Denny Weber, Vi Tilk, Wes Bunjes, Kevin Walsh, and Willie Lang. All of you have done an excellent job as representatives of the citizens in looking out for their best interests. The citizens of Alta should be proud of the commendable job that you have done. In two short years this City Council has accomplished so much to make Alta a better community.

I wish to remind everyone of some of the many accomplishments achieved within the past two years. A hot topic of concern by the citizens was the desire to see the Westview mobile home community cleaned up and made safe for its residents. This issue had much negative history and was difficult to address, but the Council stood firm and took the appropriate steps in addressing this negative and unpopular issue. These steps had to be taken to ensure a safe and clean environment for, not only the residents of Westview, but also for other members of the community such as the Fire Department, Sheriff’s Department, and Utilities.

I know that we have accomplished a great deal to make this area of town better for everyone, even though so much had been done by certain individuals and media sources to scare and mislead the public. Even with the negative barriers placed in our way, we were still able to turn this community around. Much more needs to be done at Westview, but one thing is for sure, Westview is nowhere near like it was two years ago.

Other areas of accomplishments were taking Alta out of the mindset of “do nothing” on addressing future needs of the City. Infrastructure replacement was never on the radar prior to this City Council. We now have taken steps to start the planning and financing of infrastructure upgrades and replacements. This is a daunting task, and much still needs to be done in this area. I can only hope that the next City Council will continue this as a high priority.

We saw to it that the Street Department received much needed equipment which was far overdue such as a new garbage truck, Case front-end loader, pickup truck, stump grinder and nailer. Land was even purchased next to the sewage treatment plant for future expansion and replacement of the plant. This purchase is invaluable to the City as it can now be used for snow accumulation from our city streets and an area to put dead ash trees that we must remove due to the emerald ash borer.

Nuisance properties were high on our priority list. Much had been accomplished by the City Council and the City Attorney. If only we had had an effective and productive Code Enforcement Officer, much more would have been accomplished. One piece of property that had been an eyesore and safety hazard for many years has now been demolished and removed.

Many positive steps were taken to address issues such as lifeguard shortages, backup pumps, community building upgrades, rental apartment property and an agreement for the VFW to use the annex as their new home. New air conditioning units, along with restroom repairs were addressed. Even simplifying the rental of the community building was done.

Safety of the community’s citizens was addressed by working with the State DOT to expand a lower speed limit zone west of town on Highway 7. One stop sign was made permanent by the old high school on Main Street, and another was placed on Lake Street. These steps were taken to help lower the speed of traffic in these problem areas of town due to the high presence of children, daycare providers, and foot traffic. This was done on the advice and recommendation of the Sheriff’s Department. The safety of our citizens should always continue to be our number one priority.

I know there are many more issues that have been accomplished by this City Council, but I have rattled on long enough so I will move along.

Now I would like to thank the Storm Lake Pilot Tribune and the Aurelia Star for their factual reporting. It is encouraging and refreshing to know that there are still some honest news reporters that people can rely on, unlike some unnamed sources who revel at the first opportunity to twist and fabricate a story just to create drama so as to sell a paper. Drama sells newspapers, I guess. We also know these sources as fictional or fake news. A big thank you goes out to Dana Larsen and Steve Peterson. You both should be proud of your honesty and integrity.

Last but not least, I would like to thank the citizens of Alta for the opportunity to serve you as your Mayor. I had goals set in mind when I first took office. Some goals were accomplished and some were not. Many milestones have been achieved, and the City has made many positive steps forward. I knew going into this position that it would be impossible to make everyone happy. But one thing is for sure, every decision I made was based on what was best for the City and not one particular individual or group. I would not be bullied, and I would not waiver from what is right, morally or legally. Unfortunately, some people are resistant to change, even if that change will benefit them.

Thank you, Alta. I truly hope and pray that the next City Council keeps Alta moving forward and builds on what we have started.