Viola ends 28-year run on Westover City Council

WESTOVER — When the next iteration of Westover City Council convenes for the first time on July 1, it’ll be the first time in 28 years — more than 670 meetings — that it’ll do so without Edie Viola as a member. 

Viola ended up losing her seat in a best-of-five drawing of lots after she and fellow incumbent Duane Tatar tied for the third at-large council seat in May’s municipal election.  

“We appreciate everything you’ve done for the city of Westover,” Mayor Bob Lucci told Viola. “The door is always open. If you need anything, let us know. And if we need anything, we’re going to let you know. We just thank you for all your service.” 

Monday technically marked the final meeting for Viola and Councilor Steve Andryzcik. Andryzcik, who didn’t seek reelection, said his farewells at the June 3 meeting and was not in attendance. 

Viola thanked the citizens of Westover for their support over the years. She thanked members of council and city administration she’s worked alongside, making a point to recognize former mayor Dave Johnson’s efforts to grow the city through annexation. 

She said she’ll likely check in on council meetings from time to time. 

“I will cherish the many memories we have made together,“ Viola said. “I love this city and I’ll always be part of this city … Good luck to everybody.”  

Randy Barnett and Mark Gall will join Lucci, Tatar, Alli Jackson, Jeffrey Friend and Shawna Cross on Westover City Council on July 1. 

In other news from Monday’s meeting, Thrasher Engineering’s Doug Smith said he remains confident the city’s long-awaited Holland Avenue project will be advertising for bidders by the end of the month. 

The project will address busted sanitary sewer and stormwater lines running beneath roughly 2,000 feet of the city’s main thoroughfare as well as the large retaining wall along the road’s lower section. 

On a related issue, council voted Monday to table a request for $35,000 for Thrasher to design, bid and manage a pedestrian safety/beautification project that will follow on the heels of the larger Holland Avenue repairs. 

The improvements would include a handrail with built-in lighting and some sidewalk work along the same stretch of road. 

Council previously approved $25,000 for Thrasher to bring in various preliminary designs.  

Smith said the additional $35,000 would cover Thrasher’s participation through the end of the project, which is estimated to be in the $150,000 range. 

“While I’m all for this, I still think we’re getting ahead of ourselves a little bit about where the money is going to come from and how we’re going to fund it,” Tatar said. “Before we put out another $35,000, I’d like to table it until we have a little more information about where we’re going to get the money from.”  

Lastly, council finalized the reconstitution of the city’s sanitary sewer board as a requirement of the Holland Avenue project’s financing. 

After consistently struggling to get volunteers, the city dissolved the board in May 2022 and brought sanitary sewer management on as a department of the city.  

Lucci will serve as the chairman of the three-person board. Council appointed Mike Weaver and Benjie Bradley to serve with him.