Ken Tracy has been mayor of Mitchell for 77 days.
You’re forgiven if it seems much longer. Tracy has been a busy man, and Mitchell has seen a truly amazing run of activity. Monday night, the City Council authorized issuing $13.9 million in bonds for four major projects that could impact the city for decades.
Since Tracy took office after winning a six-candidate race for mayor, steps have been taken to expand and improve the Corn Palace, build an impressive new city hall at the south entry to downtown, add a second sheet of ice at the Mitchell Activities Center, as well as expanding and updating the Mitchell Public Library.
That’s where the $13.9 million will go, and almost assuredly more than that.
The city will have 25 years to pay it back at a very low interest rate. Other projects are coming off the books, sales tax revenue is on pace for a record year and studies are to be released next week on how to provide more housing while disclosing how Mitchell and area residents earn their incomes.
A building boom is predicted by the chamber’s top official, Bryan Hisel, who also said more jobs are being added to the city economy.
Tracy, a retired state employee, was a council veteran before filling the mayor’s chair after Lou Sebert retired from public life. Sebert served two terms marked in the end by public rejections of city decisions, including adding a city manager, converting three streets to two-way traffic, and offering off-sale alcohol on Sundays.
Of course, big steps on these projects were taken and the city’s finances improved despite a rocky time in the national economy. Give Sebert credit for manning the helm when that happened. But Tracy has taken control and led the council, and the city, have no doubt of that.
During the campaign, Tracy, 65, said he was ready for the promotion and the challenge. Since he became mayor, he has teamed with Council President Jeff Smith, whom he has known and worked with for years, the rest of the council and an experienced city staff to create all these plans and progress. It’s one of the most vital periods in city history.
Oh, and Tracy also showed up during the Traffic Commission meeting before the start of the council meeting Monday to call for a ban on texting and driving in the city. Smith then asked to have it added it to the commission agenda for Oct. 15.
That’s all. There hasn’t been any proposals to pave Main Street with corn-colored squares, double the size of Lake Mitchell or annex Mount Vernon.
Yet. I’ll check on those in the morning.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt took dramatic action when he was sworn in as president in 1933. Since then, presidents are always assessed on what they accomplish in their first 100 days.
Tracy still has 23 days to go. What’s next?