The votes are counted — Empire officially will become Minnesota's newest city on Tuesday when the new mayor and City Council are sworn in.

There were 319 votes cast in the Valentine's Day special election. Trent Larson will become Empire's first mayor after beating each of the other candidates by 200 votes. Tom Kaldunski, Danny Rubio, Eric Hanson and Marla Vagts will fill the four City Council seats.

"It feels pretty good," Larson said. "I didn't expect anything."

Empire made the decision to incorporate in order to establish borders and prevent annexation of new developments by the exploding Dakota County cities of Lakeville, Rosemount and Farmington. A judge signed off on the incorporation in June.

Although only about 10% of Empire's 3,200 residents voted in the special election, Empire City Clerk Charles Seipel-Tung said he wasn't surprised by the voter turnout.

"It was kind of what we were expecting for a special election," he said, noting his staff had sent out election information to residents via a newsletter and used emergency call services to try to spread the word.

The first meeting will set up some foundational building blocks for the new city. Tuesday's agenda consists of shoreline ordinances, winter parking guidelines, solid waste collection, liquor license regulations and setting up council committees.

Empire's final town board meeting will be 7 p.m. on Tuesday. After that, the new City Council and mayor will be sworn in. Larson said his family will be there to witness the event.