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Hancock city clerk resigns

It will be diaper duty instead of number crunching for Hancock City Clerk Jennifer Ver Steeg in the near future. Ver Steeg submitted her resignation as city clerk at the city council meeting Monday night stating that after a lot of careful thought, she felt it would be better for her to be a stay-at-home mom for the next few years.

“My resignation is not an easy decision,” explained Ver Steeg. “It just comes down to with the new baby coming in ten weeks, I just decided for the family, that it would be better if I stay home full-time for the next couple years. I very much enjoyed this position and working with the mayor, council and all the residents in town, having interaction with them. I know it is hard for you guys and it’s hard for me too. Right now, where I’m at, it is a decision I had to make.”

The council members were equally regretful about Ver Steeg’s decision. She has been the Hancock city clerk since September of last year and been doing a great job, according to the council members.

Ver Steeeg added that she would be willing to help train the new clerk and fill in as needed over the next few years. And, if the position would ever be open again and the timing right, she would be more than willing to return.

The council members regretfully accepted her resignation and thanked her for her work for the city. The job will now be advertised with an application deadline of March 28. Ver Steeg’s last day at the city office will be May 2 so hopefully a new clerk can be hired by late April.

In other action, the council members tabled decisions on a couple of major items. There was again some discussion on the demolition of the former Owl’s Nest Cafe building with the county offering to pay half the costs. The council members would like to get more information about liability issues during the demolition in case something unforeseen would happen.

The council members also discussed action on the relatively new vacant building ordinance. The ordinance was established over a year ago with the first letters and bills for vacant buildings sent out this year. The city received payment from one party but the remaining parties responded with reasons that the buildings are still in use such as for storage.

The ordinance was first designed to encourage property owners to try and sell vacant properties and not allow them to sit empty. The Hancock Economic Development Authority suggested the ordinance and would receive a portion of the fees collected.

It was apparent to the council members that even though some of these properties are not being used for the intended purpose, they were still used for other reasons. The discussion focused on either abolishing the ordinance or pursuing the fees from all parties. Action was tabled until next month.

Other business

• Council members agreed to continue to rent the space for the police office on main street on a month to month basis. The property owner had informed them that the rent would be going up slightly.

• A bid from Wehking Electric for wiring in the city garage was approved by a 3-2 vote. The Wehking bid was $2700 and the second bid from Messner Electric was $2789. Two of the council members felt that the Messner bid should be accepted due to all the work the Messners do for and in the community.

• Council members received a letter from former city clerk Andrea Swenson about a dispute over a payment made to her. It was decided to send the claim to the Steven’s County Sheriffis Office with the council members all voting in favor and Mayor Bruce Malo voting against.

The next city council meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 8 in order to coincide with the board of appeals meeting also set for that night.