Urbana City Council members resign posts

By Charles Menchaca

The Urbana City Council formally recognized the resignations of Alderman Milton Otto and Alderwoman Laura Huth at a meeting Monday night.

Otto, who has served for Ward 7 on the council since May 2001, submitted his letter of resignation at the beginning of the meeting. He said he will move into his new home, located in Ward 5, after he marries his fiancee this Saturday. City law requires him to resign because he is moving out of the ward he was elected in.

Ward 5 Alderwoman Huth, who has served on the council since May 1997, was not present at the meeting.

She announced her resignation over the weekend in a statement released to the media. Huth resigned because of a conflict of interest between her being an alderwoman and her position at Habitat For Humanity.

She recently accepted the position of executive director for the Champaign and Piatt Counties chapter of Habitat for Humanity, a group she has worked with since January. Huth attributed the conflict of interest to complicated federal regulations.

“It’s been a great privilege to work with Urbana in this position,” Otto said. “I thank you all for the opportunity to serve you.”

After Otto spoke, Urbana Mayor Tod Satterthwaite mentioned Huth’s statement. He accepted the resignations of both Otto and Huth and presented honorary street signs for them made by the Public Works Department.

“Both of these council members can be very proud for the job they have done over the years,” Satterthwaite said.

Otto said he wants to focus on getting married and is not sure whether he will be seeking the city council seat for Ward 5.

Huth expressed regret in a phone interview and talked about her accomplishments while serving on the council.

“I believe I was effective in bringing lots of parties together,” Huth said.

She ended her statement with a request to the City of Urbana to submit a waiver. This waiver would allow Urbana to grant funding to Habitat for Humanity from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Huth also said in her statement that she will offer her support to Ward 5 resident Dennis Roberts to complete the rest of her term representing the area. Roberts was present to address the council and express his interest in the position.

Some Ward 5 residents addressed the council in support of Roberts, who picked up an application after the meeting.

Satterthwaite said he has not attached a deadline to find replacements. It is his duty as mayor to appoint replacements who must then be approved by the council. He also said all applicants will be considered equally for both wards.