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Larson's position absorbed, city to save $40,000

The Wadena City Council voted to have Lea Ann Motschenbacher, city clerk and customer service, and Wadena Development Authority Director Dean Uselman take over most of the Planning and Zoning Office duties starting Feb. 1 due to the retirement of Planning and Zoning Director Byron Larson.

Motschenbacher would work 22 hours per week for planning, taking care of most zoning permits, signs and other duties. She would work eight hours per week in the front office for a total of 30 hours per week.

Uselman would supervise zoning and help with more challenging permits on top of his other duties for a $4,000 salary raise for the extra responsibility.

Larson would work 80 hours over the year to maintain the mapping system and up to 80 hours for support or extra work load.

The budget included $1,000 in government training classes for Motschenbacher and Uselman.

The savings from the 2010 budget would be around $40,000.

The motion by Wayne Wolden and amended by council member Toby Pierce was supported by council members Kay Browne and Don Niles, with council member Jeanette Baymler voting nay for a 4-1 margin.

According to its 2010 annual report, the Planning and Zoning office saw a triple increase in permits issued mostly due to the June 17 tornado.

The council also discussed budget concerns in general.

"We are not going to get the same amount of money that we had in the past, I don't think, from the state," Baymler said.