New Albert Lea mayor, councilors sworn in

Published 6:02 am Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Albert Lea’s new mayor and four City Council members took the oath of office Monday in what was the first council meeting of the year.

Taking the oath of office Monday were new councilors Brian Anderson, Rachel Christensen and Sherri Rasmussen at the Albert Lea City Council meeting. Larry Baker, who was first elected in 2006, was sworn in for another term. Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune

Former 1st Ward Councilor Rich Murray will lead the city as mayor after being elected to the position in November.

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Rachel Christensen will lead the 1st Ward; Larry Baker, the 2nd Ward; Sherri Rasmussen, the 4th Ward, and Brian Anderson, the 6th Ward. Baker will also serve as mayor pro-tem.

6th Ward Councilor Brian Anderson, 1st Ward Councilor Rachel Christensen, 5th Ward Councilor Sherri Rasmussen and 2nd Ward Councilor Larry Baker were sworn in Monday night at the Albert Lea City Council meeting. Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune

“Your council and your mayor are excited to be in these seats this year,” Murray said at the close of the meeting. “We look forward, but we need your help to make this community grow, to improve the community, to provide more things for people to do in this community. We’re ready to go to work, and we need your ideas — we need your help. Everyone needs to be helping to serve others in this community. So join us, be part of it and let’s do something exciting for the city of Albert Lea.”

Murray has served on the council previously for six years as the 1st Ward councilor, and Baker was first elected in 2006. The other three councilors are new this year after winning their respective elections in November.

Third Ward Councilor Jason Howland and 5th Ward Councilor Robert Rasmussen did not have an election in the fall and will continue in their roles.

The council approved the boards that each member will serve on throughout the year as well as the rules and procedures the council will follow.

In other actions, the council:

• Passed a resolution approving Lakes National Law LLP for legal services for the city.

The council also amended part of the city ordinance to change legal service for the city from a department to a contracted service.

The action came after the council last year opted to go with a firm for legal services instead of hiring a new city attorney.

• Authorized $43,250 in Broadway Ridge Renewal Grant Funding for a new roof on 113 S. Newton Ave. The grant can provide up to 50% of costs associated with roof replacement.

The total cost was $86,500.

• Accepted a feasibility report and called a public hearing for Feb. 13 for the reconstruction of parts of Fifth Street and Frank Hall Drive.

The project will be on Fifth Street from St. Joseph Street to Frank Hall Drive and Frank Hall Drive from Third Street to Fifth Street, and includes removal and replacement of pavement, curb and gutter, sidewalk, sanitary sewer, storm water and watermain.

New sidewalk is proposed on Frank Hall Drive along Academy Park and to fill the gap between Fourth and Fifth Street.

The estimated project cost is $1.64 million, and 33 properties are expected to be assessed.

• Designated depositories of city funds as US Bank, Stifel, Moreton and the Minnesota Municipal Money Market Fund and signatories for withdrawal of city funds as City Manager Ian Rigg, Murray and Baker.

• Named the official newspaper as the Albert Lea Tribune for matters required by law to be published.

• Approved a resolution with the Minnesota Department of Transportation authorizing the state to act as the local government’s agent in accepting federal funds from the Federal Highway Administration on the city’s behalf for road projects. The agreement is passed every few years.

• Approved a grant agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation for airport fueling system updates and new LED airfield guidance signs.

The current system has frequent breakdowns.

The update will upgrade the fueling system to a chip card reader and replace the fuel monitoring system.

Estimated cost is about $149,000 with 70% to be paid for by the state.

Check back for more information from the Monday meeting.