City Change Looms

The Yankton City Commission will have at least two new faces later this spring while only one commissioner has committed to running again.

This year, the three-year terms for commissioners Jake Hoffner, Chris Ferdig and Stephanie Moser are up.

For Hoffner, it will be the end of the line.

“At this time, I’m planning to take a break,” Hoffner told the Press & Dakotan Wednesday. “I feel it’s time to step aside and retire again and try to give some opportunity to people for their vision.”

Hoffner has served on the Yankton City Commission for nine years and acted as mayor for one year as well.  

“There’s a lot of good things happening and a lot of good things have happened,” he said. “I’m pretty proud of our whole commission and staff getting along and working together for progress.”

He added that he was thankful for the community’s understanding.

“City government is a challenge sometimes,” he said. “We struggle to get things done in a timely manner and there’s always those questions, ‘Was it done right? Is that the right thing to do?’ While there’s never absolute certainty, you’ve got to go forward with confidence in a decision, do all the research, spend the time and talk to as many constituents as you can to get the best opinions and move forward.”

Hoffner said he’s seen just a few changes in that time frame.

“Seven of the other commissioners weren’t on there when I first started,” he said. “There’s been quite a changeover since I’ve been there. Dave Carda’s the only one on longer than I.”

Along with Hoffner, Ferdig told the Press & Dakotan that he will be stepping aside.

“It was an experience a lot different than I thought it would be, but I enjoyed it,” Ferdig said.

The two-term commissioner added that he has a busy 2020 ahead.

“I’m actually getting married this year,” he said. “Combining families, I’ve got a lot of stuff going on — a lot of planning and doing other things.”

Ferdig was first elected to the board in 2014 after two failed attempts and ran a successful reelection campaign in 2017.

With her first term coming to a close, Commissioner Stephanie Moser told the Press & Dakotan that she intends to file for a second.

“I think I went in kind of having a pretty good understanding of city business and how it all flows together,” Moser said. “But it was really eye-opening to get in, to dig into the budget, to figure out how things work. I come from a unique opportunity in that I have a husband that works for the city, so I thought I knew more than I probably did.

She said this challenge actually makes going for another term more appealing.

“It’s been really eye-opening and really fun to learn the more behind-the-scenes part of the city,” she said. “That’s actually what’s driven me to run again — with three years under my belt, I have a good understanding of things. I don’t know everything and won’t profess to know that, but I’ve just got a good understanding how the budget works, how city business works — I feel I can use that momentum and learning to help Yankton grow and thrive.”

For the city’s school board, the sole incumbent whose seat is up at this time is Frani Kieffer. She told the Press & Dakotan via email that she remains undecided about a run.

For the city’s municipal election, candidates can begin circulating petitions Jan. 31 with a deadline of 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28. If needed, the municipal election would be Tuesday, April 14.

Several positions at the county level will also be up for grabs in 2020, including two County Commission spots. These will be addressed in a separate story.

Follow @RobNielsenPandD on Twitter.

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