The Williston City Commission held their first meeting inside the new renovated City Hall’s John Kautzman Chamber Room.
The meeting room was named for the longtime City Auditor, who retired after 35 years of working for the City. Mayor Howard Klug reflected on Kautzman’s contributions to the city prior at the start of the meeting.
“I don’t know if I’m sad or what it is, but I kinda miss John Kautzman sitting here,” he said. “Twice a month he was in this chair right here; as the auditor for the City of Williston for 35 years I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else to watch our money.”
Klug thanked Kautzman, who has relocated since his retirement, saying that he had told Kautzman his plan to name the chamber room for him, to which he replied, as Klug said in “typical Kautzman fashion:”
“That’s fine, but I’m not coming back for a ceremony.”
The previous commission chamber had been in use since 1975, up until last fall, when the City Hall project began.
“The last chambers were remodeled in about 1975, which is almost 50 years ago,” Klug said. “I’m hoping that this one here will last at least 50 years so Williston will thrive and our government offices will be downtown.”
Klug said that he hoped to be able to have a formal open house and dedication for the chamber room in the future, when gatherings are permitted. He said he looked forward to showing off the building that the city is so proud of.
“I am proud of this building,” he said. “We put it together, we had a committee that put it together, thought about the things that should go into a modern chamber room.”
City Administrator David Tuan addressed the commission, recognizing Klug’s hand in vision for the building and commission room’s remodel.
“There was a lot more that went in to not only the design, but the vision for what the City Hall remodel became,” Tuan said. “It’s not really just in the finishes and the features, but the overall layout, the floor plan, and even the ambiance and the environment you feel when you walk in the front door, is really the mayor’s vision for creating a welcoming central and open space.”
With that, Tuan and Public Works Director Dave Bell present Klug with a unique memento to commemorate the project. The bars from the city’s original jail were still in place on the windows at City Hall prior to it’s remodel, and one of the bars was removed and transformed into a gavel, which was presented to Klug with the inscription “Howard D. Klug, Mayor of Williston, City of Opportunity.”
“It’s a work of art,” Klug said, thanking Bell and other city staff. “It goes back probably 100 years in the City of Williston’s history. It’s something I’ll always cherish. Once again thank you to everyone who was involved in the project and those that could see that vision that we had as a commission.”