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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Parker swears in new council member to have a quorum

New Parker Council Member Ivonne Clark is sworn by City Clerk Carrie Sewell at the beginning of the council's first meeting of the year on Jan. 11. (Photos by Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)

PARKER – Technically, the Parker City Council did not have sufficient members present for a quorum to begin its meeting on Thursday, Jan. 11. With only council members Jason Webber and Gary Earley present, Mayor Ashley Balthazor needed a third council member, Kandice Higgins, to show up.

For more than a year, Parker’s council has been plagued with attendance problems, and several council meetings have been cancelled, and it looked like the January meeting wouldn’t be an exception.

But once the meeting was called to order, the Pledge of Allegiance recited, the prayer offered, and the mayor sworn in for her first full term, City Clerk Carrie Sewell swore in Ivonne Clark. Clark, a write-in candidate on November’s ballot, and the council was ready to do business.. 

Kari Brandt recites the oath of office after she was appointed to fill an open council seat by Mayor Ashley Balthazor.

With Clark seated and Webber sworn in to a new term, Balthazor then appointed Kari Brandt to fill the vacant post left by Jerry Summers in the fall, and after a unanimous council vote, the governing body now had four members.

The order of business was fairly light for the evening.

The council approved a tentative calendar of events for 2024, including the following:

  • March 23, Easter Egg Hunt, Heritage Park, 1 p.m.

  • April 20, Citywide Cleanup

  • May 4, Annual pet clinic, city barn 9 a.m.

  • June 1, Annual Citywide Garage Sale

  • Aug. 13, Night Out Against Crime, Parker Senior Center

  • Sept. 13–14, Parker Days, Heritage Park, evening events on Friday, Sept. 13, all day on Saturday, Sept. 14

  • Oct. 31, Safe Halloween, Heritage Park, 6 p.m.,

  • Dec. 6, Judging for Christmas Lights contest, and

  • Dec. 7, Santa Comes to Parker.

The council also:

  • Approved spending up to $1,000 for R&R Equipment in Greeley to fix a hydraulic leak and service the city’s Case 420 skid steer loader. The company gave the city an estimate of about $670, but said it could need more parts.

• Heard a request from Earley to remove the three-way stop at Park and Main streets. He said that half of the people traveling down Main Street don’t stop there. However, Shawn Brandt, who lives on the street, said people race through there to beat the train through the intersection. The mayor suggested having police patrol that area more.

  • Heard an annual report from Officer Cody Kiser, who said he and Police Chief Craig Haley responded to 259 calls for service, made 12 arrests, served five search warrants, open 43 cases, cited 55 code violations and issued 27 citations. After saying that Parker needed both part-time members of the police department, Kiser also noted that the Linn County Sheriff’s Office responded to about 970 calls in the city during 2023, and the ambulance service responded to 40 calls.

  • Heard Haley report that the recent purchase of body cameras had already stopped a complaint about a traffic stop.

  • Heard a report from water and sewer contract operator Chad Page that Public Wholesale Water District No. 13 had eliminated a rate tier, which made the cost for the city increase. He said the district was hoping that adjustment would help contain costs and make the need for another rate increase unnecessary. He also said he had worked to insulate some water meters before the frigid weather expected over the weekend.

  • Listened as Balthazor introduced the new city maintenance worker James Hazelet. The mayor said that Hazelet and Webber did a great job in snow removal after the last storm. She also noted that Al Kerr, former maintenance worker, was rehired as the compactor operator.

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