NEW ULM The New Ulm City Council appointed Lisa Fischer to the Ward 2 Council seat Tuesday to fill the position left by the departure of Todd Olson.
Fischer previously worked at New Ulm Public Utilities from 1987 to 2009. NUACT Executive Director Paul Warshauer was the other applicant.
Councilor Ruth Ann Webster said that Fischer's prior experience with City of New Ulm operations, especially committee operations, was one of the factors that favored her selection.
Fischer took the oath of office and participated in Council activities. She will fill the position until November when an election for the remainder of Olson's term will be held.
The Council also approved further implementation of the local performance measurement system, which is a survey sent to residents to have them rank their satisfaction with city services.
City Manager Brian Gramentz said the survey's benefit is tracking the preference of residents over time. He said it would allow city officials to track how different methods of city work succeeded, what services are preferred and whether residents noticed improvements. The City surveyed for 10 factors of operations last year. Some questions will be tweaked for clarity. New factors the City wants to track could be added to the survey.
Gramentz said that participating in the survey also guaranteed the City exemptions from any levy limits by the state. He explained that the state had pushed the survey as a tool to help cities manage budgets and save money.
In other business, the Council tabled a decision on options for repairing the downtown sidewalks and the concrete paver crosswalks.
Street Commissioner Tom Patterson said the decorative inlaid brick and pavers tended to collect water, which caused damage by freezing in the winter, in the gaps between them and the traditional concrete material on the sidewalks.
Webster mentioned that the designs for the sidewalks and walkways came as part of a "streetscape" idea of city planning from the 1980s. The Council expressed general interest in returning to the solid concrete for the area because it is more resilient to changing weather conditions and less expensive. The Council will seek input from the Heritage Preservation Commission on the sidewalk design.
(Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org)