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Council certifies election results

The Wadena City Council certified recount results confirming incumbent Toby Pierce as an election winner at a special meeting on Monday. Pierce abstained.

In a separate motion, the council with Pierce abstaining again determined a disputed ballot to give voters' intent toward Pierce, giving him a five vote lead instead of a four vote lead, although it would not affect the outcome of the election.

"If this voter intended to vote for Toby Pierce, then I believe that vote should be given to Toby Pierce," Mayor Wayne Wolden said. "Otherwise, you're just taking that person's vote and saying, 'forget it.'"

The council also discussed the prospect of hiring a grant writer for the Otto Bremer Foundation, taking no action.

"I think when Kathy Gaalswyk and Don Hickman from the Initiative Foundation were looking at it, they were probably thinking construction of the community center," council member Don Niles said.

City administrator Brad Swenson said the grant was $100,000 maximum and restricted to private nonprofit and public tax exempt organizations, and that if the city applies for the grant, the city would have to own the wellness center.

He said that even though the deadline is Dec. 30, applications are accepted any time during the year, and the group meets four times a year.

Council member Jeanette Baymler said the city could hire a grant writer down the road, but it was not urgent.