LEXINGTON — Following nearly five years in office, the mayor of Lexington has announced his plans to resign from the position.
Mayor Mark Kurth first announced his plans to resign at a City Council work session last month. His last meeting will be Sept. 19 and his resignation will be effective Sept. 30. Kurth said he had to resign, after his decision to relocate to Blaine.
“There wasn't one house for sale in Lexington,” he said. Kurth didn't move too far away, however, as he is still close enough to remain on the Lexington Fire Department (LFD).
Kurth was elected in November 2014 and took office in January 2015. He has lived in Lexington since 2007 and has served as a member of the LFD since May 2008. Since 2015, he has served as the Lexington Fire Relief Association’s gambling manager.
One of the city's accomplishments that Kurth is proud of is the restoration of professionalism on the council. “We were all able to work together professionally,” he said. “We didn't always agree, but we respected everyone's opinion. We were able to work through it and compromise for the betterment of the city.”
The council's mindset has also changed, he noted. “I look at the way city was run and the people that were on the board when I first moved in, and I see how things are done today, and it is not even comparable,” he recalled.
“The city in so much of a better position than it was 10 years ago. It used to be the mindset, ‘Well, that's just the way we have always done it, so that's the way it's always going to be,’ and I wanted to change that philosophy.”
The city has also saved taxpayers money, he said. “We passed a 0% tax levy last year because of the decisions we made,” he said. “Was everyone happy with the decisions? No, but the one thing I have learned is that it doesn't matter what decision you make, you are not going to make everybody happy.”
For the past four out of five years, the city's police budget has also decreased.
Other accomplishments to note, Kurth said, include:
• Starting the city's Fall Festival.
• Reopening the city's ice rink without the use of taxpayer dollars.
• Putting up Ephesians Apartments, the Landings of Lexington and the consideration of a new proposal for The Lofts of Lexington behind Festival Foods.
• Keeping the roads in good shape.
• Remodeling the fire department without the use of taxpayer dollars.
• Attracting new businesses to the city, including Broadview Builders, Boulevard Bar & Grill and Gracepoint Dental Office.
• Making the municipal liquor store profitable again.
That list of accomplishments would not have been possible without the other council members and city staff, Kurth said. He praised City Administrator Bill Petracek, Finance Director Chris Galiov, Deputy City Clerk Mary Vinzant and public works staff members Jim Fischer and Travis Schmid.
“It takes a team effort. All of the movement forward would not have been possible without city staff. It isn't all me. I am one vote; it takes a majority, and none of this wouldn't have happened without the City Council having a vision that matched mine,” Kurth explained. “If I wanted all of this development to go on and all of these changes, but none of the other council members wanted it to happen, it's not going to happen.”
On Oct. 1, Councilman John Hughes will take over as vice mayor. The council will then decide together who should fill Kurth's seat until his term expires Dec. 31, 2020. Petracek said that will likely happen in October or November.
“Mayor Kurth has provided outstanding leadership to the city of Lexington over the past four and three-quarter years. His resignation is a tremendous loss to this community, and he will be missed,” Petracek said.
“Thankfully, he will continue to maintain his status on the fire department as a firefighter and the fire relief association as the gambling manager for the charitable gambling organization.”
Kurth hopes the city of Lexington can continue to move forward. “Whoever fills the council position, whoever runs in the future, I hope they have a vision for the city and not just run on a personal agenda,” he said. “Right now, the people that we have there don't have a personal agenda. They want to represent the city as a whole and make decisions that are best for the entire city.”
Editor Shannon Granholm can be reached at 651-407-1227 or email@example.com