by Dennis Dalman
Sartell Mayor Sarah Jane Nicoll announced April 12 that she will not seek another term as mayor.
Nicoll said she is now serving her second term as mayor and that after eight years, she is looking forward to spending more time with her husband and their three young daughters. Before her first term as mayor, Nicoll served as a council member for one four-year term.
Nicoll’s decision not too run makes current council member David Peterson – so far, anyway – the only candidate vying for the mayoral position. Peterson’s term will be up at the end of this year, as will Nicoll’s term. Another council position up for election is the one now served by Pat Lynch. The other two council members are Mike Chisum and Ryan Fitzthum, both serving their first terms.
Peterson announced his decision to file for the mayor position April 10. Peterson is now in his 12th year on the council, now serving out his third term. The next election is Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Those elected to the Sartell City Council will take their seats at the first council meeting in January 2019.
Raised in Sartell, Nicoll has often noted how proud she has been to be able to represent the city she loves. During her mayorship, the city underwent many challenges and spurts of growth: city park improvements, road projects, continued residential and business growth, the ambitious Pinecone Road project, a new high school being built, clean-up at the abandoned paper mill, the addition of many roundabouts and – perhaps most notably – the planning and construction of a long-awaited Sartell Community Center in south Sartell. The planning of that center caused many hard feelings and controversy when many residents repeatedly requested it contain a branch library, which was one of the top resident priorities in Sartell in survey after survey.
At one point, library enthusiasts picketed a Sartell City Council meeting. Dozens of times they urged the council and Nicoll to fight for a branch library.
Nicoll, however, said she has never been against a library and emphasized the new center would house some kind of library service. The center, which opened last fall, does contain an area where items can be ordered from the Great River Regional Library System – items that are dropped off and picked up by GRRL employees on a regular basis. The center also contains many shelves of donated books.
Despite the controversy over the center, its lack of a branch library and its southern location, Nicoll has often expressed pride in her part in helping plan the center, in how it turned out and in how well it is used by so many residents and out-of-towners.
Just recently, Nicoll returned from a trip to Taiwan with nine other Americans, a week-long educational excursion to learn about city issues in that country.
Nicoll said she intends to stay involved in city issues in one form or another and is eager to help a new mayor succeed.
“It has been a tremendous honor and privilege to serve the city of Sartell for the past eight years,” she said in a press release. “And I thank the voters for the trust they put in me.”
Author: Dennis Dalman
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.