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Craig Schulte is new city councilor

Craig Schulte is the new member of the Grand Marais City Council
Craig Schulte is the new member of the Grand Marais City Council

The Grand Marais City Council met Wednesday, Dec. 12, and the first order of business was selecting a citizen to fill a council vacancy.

The vacancy was due to Carl “Pete” Gresczyk declining the council seat to which he had been elected in November. The city council announced the vacancy and asked citizens with interest in being appointed to the council to apply. Two Grand Marais residents did so, Craig Schulte, who ran for the city council in the November election and local business woman Anna Hamilton.

Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux said they were both “outstanding applicants,” a thought echoed by his council colleagues. The council asked both Schulte and Hamilton to give a brief statement explaining why they were interested in serving.

Schulte said he had given his statement in an election forum on WTIP, but restated that he wanted to help give business owners a voice, as well as represent the city taxpayers. He said he had some government experience, having served on the public utilities commission. He added he would like the opportunity to serve.

Hamilton also spoke, stating that she has essentially the same things to say as Schulte, but added that she had recently sold her business and now has time to be involved in local government. She said she has concerns about how growth is impacting the community.

Councilor Tim Kennedy noted that Schulte may have a conflict as the city purchases fuel from his business, the Grand Marais SuperAmerica. A business conflict is why Gresczyk decided not to take the council seat after being elected. However, Mayor DeCoux said it shouldn’t be a problem because Schulte doesn’t have a contract with the city.

City Administrator Mike Roth said the research done regarding conflict of interest for Gresczyk can be used in Schulte’s case. He said it is something that can be worked through.

Council members agreed to appoint Schulte to fill the vacancy, primarily because Schulte had expressed interest earlier and that he had put his name on the ballot. Councilor Anton Moody made the motion, Mayor Arrowsmith DeCoux seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

After the motion, council members thanked Hamilton for coming forward and encouraged her to consider serving on other city boards or commissions, such as the Planning & Zoning Board or Public Utilities Commission.

Schulte then took the oath of office and was seated for his first action as a councilor—taking part in the city’s Truth-in-Taxation hearing.
Administrator Roth gave a short presentation on the city’s 2019 budget, which he said includes a 2.72 percent increase, less than the 5.99 increase tentatively set earlier this year. There was an opportunity for public comment, but no citizens came forward.

The rest of the city council meeting was spent looking at the Highway 61 report from the Creative Economy Collaborative with recommendations for amenities such as benches, bike racks, and trees. Roth also shared the estimated costs of the projects. The council will review the plans for more discussion in January.