It's a new year and a fresh start for the Brainerd City Council as that body elected Kelly Bevans president Monday night.
The election of the energetic Bevans was a cake walk compared to the 23 votes and the 90-minute selection process that produced the 2003 council president. Bevans, who has represented much of north Brainerd since his 2002 election, appears to be eager to roll up his sleeves and get to work on city business. The owner of Brainerd Mobil also brings another valuable quality which should prove valuable during those long city council sessions -- a sense of humor.
There will still be divisions on the council. The democratic process ensures contrasting opinions and the right of citizens to voice their complaints. The key to success may very well be determined by the council's ability to give its members and citizens a fair hearing, make a decision and then move on without name-calling or senseless accusations.
Among the issues that are likely to keep the council busy this year are responsible management of the city's budget, planning for growth, maintaining and improving the city's park and recreation assets, providing first-rate police and fire protection and providing affordable housing options so the city can increase the number of home owners.
Newcomers who joined the council Monday are Ward 3's Kevin Goedker and at-large member Mark O'Day, who served previously on the council. Good luck to all the council members in 2005 as they take on the challenges and frustrations of running a city.
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