Ibisch thankful for his time in BE
Tim Ibisch has been the city administrator in Blue Earth for five years, but will be leaving this week for his new position as the administrator in Kasson.
Last week Ibisch said he wanted to make it clear that he has really enjoyed his time working and living in Blue Earth.
“I’m excited about going to Kasson, but I am also a bit sad to leave Blue Earth,” he says. “This is a really nice community, and I plan on coming back often to visit.”
Ibisch almost did not come to Blue Earth in the first place. He was recently out of the Navy and was trying to decide just exactly what he wanted to do.
“A friend of mine, who is a city administrator, pushed me to apply for the job here,” he recalls. “And I decided to go for it. Then Wendell Sande called me to tell me I was a finalist. I was very surprised, since I did not have much experience.”
He says now he was also very surprised he was the one the council chose.
“I found out later the vote was split, between me and another person,” he says. “I knew then my first job was to win over some of the council members.”
At the last City Council meeting, council member Glenn Gaylord said he was one who voted against hiring Ibisch.
“I want to tell you I was wrong,” Gaylord said. “You were a good fit for us, and you have done a great job for Blue Earth.”
Ibisch says he feels that the city has gotten a lot done over the past five years, but he does not takethe credit for it all. And the council itself is the first he gives credit to.
“I have had a very good council to work with,” he says. “They have been very supportive.”
For instance, when he first started work in November of 2014, the council knew they wanted to be aggressive about doing more street projects, but they did not know how to pay for it.
“I worked on that right away,” Ibisch said. “I love working on the budget and the financial part of the city.”
Plus, there was the Main Street reconstruction project just in the planning stages. And, he notes, that was pretty contentious, dealing with sidewalks and parking issues.
Luckily, Ibisch says, county engineer Mark Daly was very knowledgeable and so was city engineer Wes Brown of Bolton and Menk.
“When it was all done there was a big sigh of relief and we had a party out on the street to celebrate,” Ibisch says.
Then there was the work on the North Industrial Park, now called the Golden Spike Business Park. Ibisch says Lindsey Preuss of the former FCDC worked with him on that project and she deserves a lot of credit for it. Especially when they got Kibble Equipment to build there the second year.
“Now we have another business there and one more coming,” Ibisch says. “Mary Kennedy (the EDA specialist from CEDA) gets credit for a lot of that. Mary has been here two years now and does a great job.”
Ibisch also gives a lot of credit to the city staff.
“Bonnie (Ankeny), Sue (Hauskins) and Nancy (Thompson) were all very experienced and knew their jobs well,” Ibisch says. “Sue and Nancy are retired now and we have some new people who also do a great job.”
Other projects Ibisch refers to includes the new housing development, which he says the council felt is necessary for growth in the city.
“We needed to add housing in the city,” he says. “Plus, it will open up some older homes for families as well.”
He adds the goal is that it would be revenue neutral, and would not cost taxpayers a dime.
“I always am cognizant of that, protecting the taxpayers’ dollars,” he says. “We have a lot of older residents, living on fixed incomes.”
Other projects include the new Public Works building, the new Chamber Welcome Center, the Wastewater Treatment Plant rebuild and many more.
“I am surprised by how much we have been able to accomplish in these past five years,” Ibisch says. “I have been able to be a part of some really cool things, and gained a lot of experience doing it.”
Ibisch says Blue Earth is a special place.
“With all these improvements, it looks like a town with pride,” he says. “And it is a community with good people, good volunteers. We have terrific community members serving on our EDA, HRA, street committee, senior center and library boards and more.”
Blue Earth is a full service community, too, he adds, pointing to a great hospital, school, parks (including new dog parks), pool and much more.
Ibisch adds that he is most proud of the way he has tried to treat everyone fairly.
“I have always tried to keep things open and be honest,” he says. “And be up front. We have had very few closed meetings. And I am happy to say I follow up on things. Some people promise that, but do not always follow up. When I say I’ll look into something, I will.”
Although he is now leaving and moving to Kasson, Ibisch feels he is not truly abandoning Blue Earth.
“I think the city is doing well financially and we are set up for the future,” he says. “The new city sales tax will help us keep doing street projects. We are set to have $5.5 million in street projects just next year alone. We do more streets each year than Fairmont does. Plus other projects on the slate for next year are a new veterans memorial and a new animal shelter.”
Ibisch says when he first came here he made it a priority to live in Blue Earth and to get as involved in the community as much as he could.
“I wanted to live in the town,” he says. “I can’t imagine not living here, as the city administrator. My other priority was to get out and meet as many people as I could. I joined the Kiwanis, Legion and Eagles, and tried to get involved in the town’s activities, attend events, as much as I could.”
While he is excited for his next opportunity, Ibisch says he will miss a lot of things about Blue Earth.
Especially the people.