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Jasper County Tribune

Baxter appoints Milligan to fill empty city council seat

Orrin Shawl/Jasper County Tribune
Kelly Milligan (center) takes his seat with the other Baxter city council members after being chosen to fill the council's vacant seat during a city council meeting Monday night at Baxter City Hall, 203 S. Main St.
Orrin Shawl/Jasper County Tribune Kelly Milligan (center) takes his seat with the other Baxter city council members after being chosen to fill the council's vacant seat during a city council meeting Monday night at Baxter City Hall, 203 S. Main St.

BAXTER — Baxter City Council wasted no time in filling their empty seat Monday night.

During its regular city council meeting Monday, council members discussed and unanimously appointed Kelly Milligan, CEO of KELTEK and former city council member, to fill the spot vacated by former councilman Steve Wright.

The city put the ad out last month asking for interested citizens and applicants had to submit a letter of intent by the Aug. 31.

Gennypher Popenhagen, Baxter mayor, said Milligan’s experience and being a Baxter native set him apart from the other three applicants.

“He has been on the council before, so he already has that knowledge and background,” Popenhagen said. “He’s born and raised in Baxter, so he’s got that history, and he’s on the fire department.”

Milligan’s job during the day involves running a business with his wife that specializes in upgrading equipment on emergency vehicles such as the sirens on a police car. When he isn’t busy managing his business, Milligan is a volunteer firefighter for the Baxter Fire Department.

Milligan said he had to step down from the city council five years ago after serving nearly two, four-year terms after having two kids and to focus on his business.

“There was a council member who was a former police chief, that had some medical issues, and wasn’t able to participate in the meetings anymore,” Milligan said, referencing Wright. “I had some conversations with him. He had asked me if I would consider filling in the vacancy of his term, and I talked to a few other council members and we all found continuity. So I threw my name in the hat.”

While familiarizing himself with the current city tasks, one of the projects Milligan is excited to lend an assist is the search for funding in the West Avenue project.

Milligan said that project was in its infancy when he was last on the city council. The city was working on trying to enhance the corridor, which is a gateway to the city’s sports complex and a popular part of Baxter.

“Since I left five years ago, I didn’t have too much time to keep up on what was going on, so I’m excited to get back into the grove and find out what those challenges are,” Milligan said.

In other action Monday:

• The Baxter council agreed to table discussions on their time and transfer program, lot A at West Field Horizons housing development and discussions about a quote to replace some of the city’s facility lights.

• The council also approved to have Beggar’s Night for trick-or-treaters on Oct. 31.

• Public discussion focused on adjusting the position of the stop signs and yield signs in certain parts of town, specifically, on the intersection of Allan Avenue and Walnut Avenue, where there are no stop signs or yield signs.

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