Six near end of term, three want out
Fiegen seeks sixth term
February 12. 2013 5:21PM
With five city councilors nearing the end of their terms in office and three not seeking reelection, the Dell Rapids mayor could be forced to make a few appointment if no one steps up to fill the seats.
The two-year terms of Dell Rapids City Councilors Todd Wiebenga, Keith DeLange, James Rueckert, Mark Downs and Carrie Testerman are up in May. Weibenga, DeLange and Downs stated last week they will not pursue another term, citing time constraints and family as a contributing factors.
“I started working for the school district about two and a half years ago,” Wiebenga said. “My Monday nights are getting kind of precious to me.”
With two teens at home, Wiebenga, a five-term councilor, said his families window to spend time together is closing.
“I’m not going to have too many more years where they’re going to be around the house,” he said.
Now in his third term, Downs decided not continue serving on the council for similar reasons.
“The kids are getting older and life is getting busier,” he said.
Never anticipating a long stay on the council, DeLange said after each of his three terms, he had hoped someone else from his ward would step up. That never happened, so he’s approaching the end of his fourth term as well.
“I’ve never gone through the formal process of filling out a petition. I don’t plan to this time either. I was hoping to someone would,” he said. “I’ve talked to a few people in my ward about running but I haven’t convinced anybody to do it at this point.”
Downs said also that if no one steps up, he will consider continuing to serve, but hasn’t made up his mind.
“I’d hate to leave the council in limbo and not have a representative for our ward,” he said. “It would be something I’d need to think long and hard about first.”
City Administrator Justin Weiland said no petitions for candidacy have been requested through City Hall and was unsure if any one had requested petitions through the Secretary of State Office.
Now in his fifth term and his third consecutive, Mayor Scott Fiegen will pursue another four years in office. Dell Rapids mayors have historically served two-year terms, however, recent changes to council and city bylaws extended the mayor’s term to four years.
Fiegen said in the 10 years he’s been in office Dell Rapids has undertaken some major projects, like the main street road project and 15th Street reconstruction, all the while giving him valuable experience that he said will serve him well as he continues to serve as mayor.
“I’ve been doing this for a little while. I think I’m well in touch with the people of the community, and I think I make fair decisions,” he said.
Above anything else, Fiegen said he tries to provide an inviting municipal atmosphere for the citizens of Dell Rapids.
“I try to be fair. If somebody wants to come to a council meeting and speak about something, I let them talk, I don’t limit their time. I let them speak their mind,” he said. “I don’t try to edit anything. Sometimes it’s not popular with others but people want to be heard.”
Councilors Carrie Testerman and James Rueckert also to maintain their seats on the body.
Testerman, now in her third two-year term, said she’d like to see the council take a more proactive roll in attracting businesses to Dell Rapids.
“I’d like to see businesses, new businesses brought in to Dell Rapids,” she said. “I think the council could work hand in hand with the development committee to bring new businesses to Dell Rapids.”
Rueckert said he hopes to see the library renovation project through to completion and be a facilitator in reaching a compromise between the Library Board and the city council.
In the same resolution that extended the mayor’s term, councilors’ terms were extended from two years to three years, as well.