Updates from Aurora's City Council

Seth Kinker
Aurora Advertiser

Oplinger steps down, Lewis elected Mayor

On Apr. 13, at the first city council meeting of the month, Dawn Oplinger, a council member since 2016, was elected as Mayor and Jason Lewis, a council member since last year, was elected as Chairman Pro-Tem.

But on Apr. 27, the second meeting of the month, Oplinger stepped down before the meeting’s official business began.

“I want to thank you for this, naming me as Mayor of the coming year,” said Oplinger addressing her fellow council members. “It is always an honor to serve and I appreciate the vote of confidence from you all. However, after consideration, I’ve decided I would like the council to step aside from my position and simply serve as a council member.”

“I believe that the unspoken tradition of promoting the Chairman Pro-Tem to the Mayor position promotes cooperation among the council and provides insight to the council members regarding the responsibility of leading,” added Oplinger. “I have previously had the honor of serving as Mayor for the community and there are others on this council who have not had the opportunity that are certainly qualified to lead us in this position.”

After first being voted onto council in 2016, Oplinger is serving her second term that began in 2019 and ends in April 2022. Oplinger served as Mayor in 2018.

Lewis, who’s term began in April of last year, was then elected as Mayor.

Former council member Don McWade spoke shortly after during public comment, thanking fellow council members and city administration.

“I’m here to extend my thank you and appreciation to the council,” said McWade. “And to the rest of the council I want to thank you for the three years I got to serve and be apart of this city. (City Manage) Jon Holmes, (City Clerk) Kimberly (Breedlove) and all the employees, I gratefully appreciate all their input they’ve given me and helped me to grow.”

“He and I got off to a rocky start, but he set his expectations and pushed me to better,” said Holmes before presenting McWade with a plaque thanking him for his service. “He talked about growing and I would say we both grew. I learned a lot from him about doing my job better and he’s made me better as a City Manager and I appreciate that. To you, Don, I appreciate having the opportunity to work with you.”

McWade, who served as the council liaison to the Planning and Zoning Commission all three years he served on city council, was also named to the Planning and Zoning Commission later in the meeting.

Harriet Daniel proclamation

The first order of new business was to declare May 11, 2021 Harriet Daniel Day for the city of Aurora.

The proclamation was passed unanimously as Daniel will be honored by friends and family for her 100th birthday.

Born in Mulberry, Kansas on May 11, 1921, Daniel has lived in Aurora since 1962.

Daniel married Edward Daniel of Caserta, Italy and has two children, four grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

Daniel is also a veteran of World War II, serving in the Woman’s Army Corps from Mar. 8, 1943 to Jul. 9, 1945 in North Africa and Italy.

“She has demonstrated in countless ways her dedication to the welfare of others and has earned the respect of people from all walks of life and all ages,” said a portion of the proclamation for Daniel. “She has lived during the most eventful century of this world’s history; and in her quiet was has been a force for good and a stabilizing influence on those around her during these turbulent years.”

Special Event applications

City council approved to special event applications, one for the Light the Night Fireworks Festival and the other for the Senior Class of 2021 Parade.

Light the Night will take place on Jun. 19 from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. in Baldwin Park.

Shannon Walker, representing Aurora’s Chamber of Commerce, submitted the application for the event and was at the council meeting to take questions.

Walker noted the event would once again look different this year with some changes similar to last year.

“Last year we worked very closely with the health department regarding COVID,” said Walker addressing council. “Because things still aren’t 100%, we are going to keep it a little bit smaller. We’re going to start at 5 p.m. like last year. Were going to have a band again. We’re only going to allow non-profit organizations and food trucks to come this year. Were not going to open it up to a whole lot of vendors. The committee just didn’t feel like it was time to open the gates wide open. We are going to have some kid’s activities.”

Walker also told council that this year there would be a contest for designing t-shirts for the event. She said the contest would be open later that week.

“We have lots of artists out there that are so very talented, were going to have a contest and see who can come up with a logo for the Light the Night t-shirts,” said Walker.

The Senior Class of 2021 Parade was also approved by council.

The parade is set for May 7, 2021 from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Last year, a parade took place, but the route differs slightly this year.

“The only stipulation we would have to this application as it is before you,” said Carrie Howlett, Community Development Director. “is that the route not include Church Street to try and stay off the state highways as much as possible. That helps our police department greatly and we don’t have to involve the state highway patrol.

“The route would in fact be from the high school, to Prospect, to Locust, to Lincoln, to Hadley, to Carnation and back to to the high school,” added Howlett. “that’s the route I’ve been given from the police chief that’s acceptable to his department.