New mayor weighs budget options

By Laura Gossman

WEST CONCORD — Many recently elected city officials across southeastern Minnesota have said budgets will be their main concern, and West Concord’s mayor-elect Jeff McCool is no different.

"With the economy the way it is, we’re going to need to take a look at our budget and our finances," McCool said.

He said the city needs to build up emergency funds, because they’re currently sitting at zero.


McCool ran against incumbent mayor Burton Boe and Larry Athey in the November election. McCool got 182 votes; Boe, 164, and Athey, 41.

Also elected to the council were Al Gilbert and Ryan Fay.

West Concord attracted unwanted attention during Boe’s tenure when the former police chief was charged with shooting cats, sometimes firing from a squad car.

The police chief was put on leave and then signed a separation agreement to leave.

In the Post-Bulletin’s Voter Guide, McCool wrote that business growth was a key issue for the city.

"For the community’s survival, businesses must be welcomed with open arms," McCool said.

"This not only provides industry and jobs for the community but also increases the tax base so we all pay less."

McCool grew up in West Concord and is a member of the West Concord Fire Department. He’s also the West Concord Ambulance director.


Another issue facing newly elected officials is the possible closure of the Triton Middle School, located in West Concord.

As the process of building an addition to the school in Dodge Center continues and the West Concord school is closed, McCool said the city will need to find ways to keep people from moving to other towns.

"We’re looking into starting a charter school so that we have something to offer the young people in town," McCool said. "Losing the middle school could hamper the growth of West Concord."

He said the school district hasn’t talked with current city officials about any plans for new ways of using the middle-school building.

"If the district can’t maintain the school, how can we?" McCool said.

Laura Gossman covers news in Olmsted, Dodge, and Houston counties. If you have news tips and story ideas, call her at (507) 285-7619.

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