The commission was reorganized during the regular Thursday evening Independence City Commission Meeting. Commissioner Louis Ysusi was elected Mayor of Independence, and Commissioner Leonhard Caflisch was elected Vice Mayor. 

The Independence Daily Reporter was designated the official city newspaper, and Community National Bank was designated the official city depository. The commission considered changing the day of the week and time of the meetings but it was ultimately decided against.

Applications will be accepted until 1 p.m. Jan. 21 to be considered for a spot on the Tree Board or The Planning Commission. On the Tree Board currently two terms have expired, two terms are eligible for reappointment and two new terms have been created. One does not have to live inside city limits to apply for the Tree Board, but the board does require the majority of the members live within city limits.

Regarding the Planning Commission, three terms have expired, one term is eligible for reappointment, meaning two positions are open; one within city limits and one outside city limits within three miles.

Mayor Ysusi then took over the meeting, "I may be a little shaky at first but we'll get through it." Ysusi's first item for commission agenda was proclaiming Jan. 20 as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Day, after it was unanimously approved.

The board heard from Dean Hayes, who requested to know the commissioners' plan for the continued phases and construction of the 1916 City Hall. Hayes relayed his concern that the first phase of City Hall was estimated for $1.3 million, and was only the beginning of the necessary work, and was unsure the commission was looking forward at the total cost of renovation and the projected savings. "Ultimately, every dollar spent on the city hall building project will take tax dollars away from street repairs, infrastructure maintenance, the park and other quality of life assets," Hayes stated. He further inquired if Phase 2 of the construction would align with the Strategic Plan the city approved of in October. "Does [City Hall construction] consume all the available capital and leave us waiting for years for a solution to decaying infrastructure and crumbling streets?  And, what about funding?  Is this funded by sales taxes, or property taxes?  And, will the funding require a vote of the public?" Hayes called for a meeting to discuss the details of the building plan's phases, costs and timeline, calling for transparent and accurate information to inform the community.

A special City Commission meeting to discuss the future direction for City Hall and the Public Safety Facilities was set for Jan. 31, 5:30 p.m. in the Veterans Room. 

City Manager Craig Whitehead congratulated Ysusi on becoming mayor during his comments. 

Caflisch inquired if the commission would be interested in holding a monthly morning work session. The work session was described as a "roundtable discussion" that would be open to the public, where there would be no agenda and no actions taken but matters could be discussed. "We can always change the format -- start it and see where it goes and refine it," said Caflisch. The commission agreed and the first session will be held Wednesday, Feb. 20, 9 a.m. in the Veterans Room of Memorial Hall.  

The next regular city commission meeting will be held Thursday, Jan. 24, 5:30 p.m., Veterans Room of Memorial Hall.