ROCK FALLS – First Ward Alderman Mark Vandersnick resigned from the City Council during Tuesday’s meeting, ending a 10-year run in council chambers.
An emotional Vandersnick told his colleagues he didn’t want to give up his seat, but a recent move forced his hand.
“I’m just a stone’s throw outside the city limits now, on the east side of Rock Falls,” Vandersnick said. “This is tough; I’m really gonna miss it.”
Vandersnick was active on several committees, currently serving on the Ordinance, Personnel and Licensing Committee, Planning and Zoning Commission, Building Code Committee, and the Police and Fire Commission.
“We will miss Mark on the council, especially all of the good work he has done on the Ordinance and Personnel Committee,” Mayor Bill Wescott said.
As a Planning and Zoning Commission member, Vandersnick had a great deal of input on the zoning changes that were recently put in place to pave the way for future development along the riverfront.
The mayor reminded Vandersnick that there are other government bodies on which he can serve, regardless of where he lives. Vandersnick said “if something tickles his fancy,” he would certainly consider serving in another capacity.
Vandersnick said the most memorable event during his 10 years on the council was this year’s pump station failure that led to a citywide water shutdown Feb. 13.
“It was both the darkest and proudest moment during my time on the council,” Vandersnick said. “It’s something you never want to see happen, but the way everyone stepped up was incredible – both at City Hall and all of the volunteers.”
Vandersnick said he also took great pride in the city’s new sewer plant and the string of balanced budgets that were crafted throughout his time on the council.
“The current and previous administrations always had a balanced budget in place,” he said. “I’m really proud of the fact that we didn’t spend money we didn’t have.”
Vandersnick said he learned a great deal during his tenure at City Hall. He said he will miss the up-close view of the city government’s inner workings.
“What I’ll miss most is just seeing how everybody contributes to make the city click,” he said. “I had lots of ideals about how this worked when I started, and I learned that to make things happen, you have to be patient and make sure all your ducks are in a row.”
Vandersnick was one of four incumbent city aldermen to run unopposed in the April 2013 election. In Rock Falls, eight council members, two from each of the four wards, serve for staggered 4-year terms.
Wescott said state statute gives him 60 days to appoint a replacement for Vandersnick.
“It will be more than 130 days before this seat will be on the ballot again in the April 2015 election. The person appointed will have to run for a 2-year term then and run again to get back in the 4-year cycle,” Wescott said.
The term of the city’s other First Ward alderman, Daehle Reitzel, will also be up next April.
Anyone interested in the vacant First Ward seat can call Wescott at 815-380-5333.
The Rock Falls City Council next meets at 6:30 p.m. July 15, at City Hall, 603 W. 10th St.
The agendas will be posted at www.rockfalls61071.com and at City Hall. Call 815-622-1100 for more information.
The City Council meeting also can be viewed live on Channel 5.