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NY Mills loses a leader

Bill Warner, a former New York Mills City Council member and community leader, passed away unexpectedly last week. FOCUS file photo

New York Mills lost a leader recently when former city councilor Bill Warner unexpectedly died at the age of 59.

Warner had just begun serving his sixth year on the city council. He was recently nominated to serve as the acting mayor, as well as the council representative on the Economic Development Authority.

"Bill was very involved in our city government, organizations and events. As a city council member, Bill was very conscientious and his thoughtful comments greatly assisted us in making decisions relating to our city. His insights will be greatly missed," stated fellow councilor Marsha Maki in an email.

Warner was also very involved in the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center, serving on the board for almost six years.

"He was very interested in the economic development of NY Mills," cultural center director Jamie Robertson said in a telephone interview.

As a member of both boards, Warner took a lead role in keeping the creamery building historically accurate, while at the same time making it a long-lasting resource for NY Mills, Robertson said.

"He was always willing to help out," he added.

For example, Bill and his wife Connie would open their home to traveling musicians who were performing at the cultural center.

Warner was also involved in the New York Mills Lions, the New York Mills Elders' Home board and the East Otter Tail Dark House Association. He also owned and operated Warner Tax Service.

As per state statute, Warner's seat on the city council will be filled through a nomination process by councilors. Further discussion will take place at the February city council meeting.