City Council says farewell to Douglas Bonar
True to form, Douglas Bonar closed out his first and final term as a city councilmember Monday night with a pithy pun.
"I think it is better to push the envelope than to stamp or sign it, because then it is stationary," he said, in response to comments by the council about his habit of asking hard questions.
Bonar, the administrator of sites and grounds at the Anoka-Hennepin School District, was elected in 2012. Before his time on council, he served six years on the Economic Development Authority, five years on the Planning Commission, and eight years as the building and grounds director. He lost his council seat to newcomer Robyn Craig who will be sworn in Jan. 2. Even if he had won, he had planned to leave politics after that term.
"I've done nothing but serve Farmington," he said. "I shall not return in any capacity. I'm looking forward to the next chapter."
During his tenure, he helped pass the ordinance allowing backyard chickens; he voted to remove old laws, such as one that banned public spitting; and he worked with the council to strengthen the city's fiscal position and draw more businesses, such as Hy-Vee, to Farmington.
Known for his well-thought-out responses to city issues, Bonar nearly always had something to say.
"He always asked the hard questions," Councilman Terry Donnelly said.
In a previous interview, Bonar called himself a "watchdog" for prudent spending. Even at his last council meeting, he expressed frustration at having to raise taxes 3.99 percent in 2017 in order to meet the budget needs.
"While it may not be where all of us wish it to be, it is where we're at today," he said.
Councilman Tim Pitcher also complimented his efforts.
"I've always looked forward to our conversations," he told Bonar. "I really appreciate how thoroughly you dove in, always thinking outside the box."
Several of the council members called him a good friend, and Mayor Todd Larson presented him with a plaque of appreciation.
Bonar joked that the compliments sounded like a "living eulogy," adding "while I am going to retire from public life, I'm not going to expire."