ELLSWORTH — When Tasha (Domeyer) Bus announced her resignation as mayor of the city of Ellsworth in December, her greatest regret was that she wouldn’t get to preside over a city council meeting in the new council chambers.
The community’s new city hall wasn’t completed until the end of December — six months behind schedule, and a few weeks after Bus’ last meeting. The mayor, who had served the community for the past decade — and through several catastrophes, including the Jan. 15, 2019 fire that destroyed the historic city hall — left her post to move to Rock Rapids, Iowa. She and her husband were married on Sunday.
The Ellsworth City Council, which includes three newly elected members, voted two-year veteran councilwoman Colette Smythe in as interim mayor in January. The action was followed by Smythe’s appointment to the mayoral post earlier this month. She will fill the remainder of Bus’ term through December 2022.
Since Bus will continue to work as business manager for Domeyer Implement in Ellsworth, she will remain on the city’s fire department and first response team — a critical need in a small community. She’s already been asked to serve on the ambulance crew in Rock Rapids as well.
Bus led the city of Ellsworth through the ice storm in 2013, which knocked power out to the community’s residents for days. In 2018, they went through a similar experience following an electrical storm. Then there was the city hall fire in early 2019.
“Those were three very big issues — very expensive,” share Ellsworth City Clerk Dawn Huisman.
Seeing the television images of the power outages in Texas last week was a reminder of what Ellsworth went through in 2013 and 2018 — without national media attention, or even statewide attention, for that matter.
“Anytime there’s a disaster, you’re really thankful you live in a small town,” Bus said. “There’s out-of-town people, country people, that come in. Everyone’s just proud to be from where they are.”
Bus is grateful for the people that stepped in to help during each of those major community disasters. While she will miss the role she held, she said, “Life moves on.”
She’s already promised the new mayor that she’ll be around to help whenever there’s a question.
“I’ve got her phone number,” Smythe said with a laugh, glad that she’s had two years experience on the city council.
“You got to see it from the worst to the better,” Bus said.
“And now we can just look forward to the better,” Smythe added.
In addition to her new role as mayor, Smythe works as a paraprofessional with Ellsworth Public School and serves as the city council’s representative on the Parkview Manor board of directors. The nearly lifelong resident of Ellsworth retired in June 2019 from Nobles County Community Services.