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Crosslake Council Certifies Election Results, Revives Sewer Assessment Policy Work

By Paul Boblett, Editor
Web posted November 17, 2020
The Crosslake City Council met for their regular monthly meeting on Thursday, November 12. The change from the regular meeting date (second Monday of the month) was due to giving council the ability to canvass and certify the vote totals from the November 3, 2020 general election.

A full council was present along with city staff and department heads. Council approved the agenda (with a few additions) and consent calendar as presented.

• During the first Public Forum session, resident Pat Netko presented to the council some information on the “Lids for Benches” initiative, wherein the public can donate lids from certain types of plastic containers that can then turned into plastic benches.

Netko said that she has turned the program over to the Crosslake Community School but until they’re back in session (the school has gone to distance learning due to the their COVID-19 plan and MDH guidelines), she would be happy to answer any questions at her store, Lake Country Crafts and Cones.

• Resident Sue Scharenbroich attended via Zoom and asked council to look into clearing walkways on West Shore Drive so residents can walk safely during the winter months, citing a lack of exercise opportunities due to the pandemic.

The council directed the Public Works Department to look into options for snow clearing along city walking trials during the winter months.

November 3 Election Results Certified
Clerk Char Nelson presented information regarding the general election held November 3, 2020. Nelson reported a total of 1830 total voters out of 1953 registered voters for an 88 percent turnout. Council unanimously approved certifying the election results.

Nelson, the head election judge in Crosslake, thanked the election judges stating, “They worked so hard, they go to training, I am lucky to have the best judges in Crow Wing County.”

Mayor’s Report
• Mayor David Nevin reported that the Fire Hall remodel project is going well and no more issues have been discovered. He said they that the workers are now pouring concrete and hanging drywall and that progress continues.

• Council approved a request from Mayor Nevin to obtain Requests for Proposals for 2021 Services for the City Engineer and City Attorney. He said it is a good thing for the city to review these positions every couple years.

• Council discussed changing the make up of the Personnel Committee. The current committee consists of Nevin, Council member Aaron Herzog, Police Chief Erik Lee, and City Administrator Mike Lyonais.

Lee told council that he is now on year three of a one-year appointment to the committee and that he would like someone new to be appointed in his place. The make up of the committee is determined by city ordinance, two members of the council, one member of city staff, and one non-union department head.

A motion to change the committee from four members to three was made by Marcia Seibert-Volz, but failed by a 3-2 vote (voting yes was Nevin and Seibert-Volz; voting no Schrupp, Andrews and Herzog). Committees are traditionally determined by council at their organizational meeting in January.

• Nevin also brought up changing the city’s assessment policy. He stated he thought the road assessment policy was equitable, but that the sewer assessment was not.

The City does not have a sewer assessment policy in place, much work was done on it last year, as well as the local sales tax option (as a way to help fund upkeep and expansion of the plant), but the COVID-19 pandemic stopped those discussions.

The sewer plant will need upgrading in the future, and the city would like to expand the service area to include CR66 to Moonlite Bay. Nevin added that the sewer provides a regional benefit, as maintaining the water quality of the Whitefish Chain of Lakes is a high priority and is vital for area tourism.

Council directed the Public Works Commission to continue working on the Sewer Assessment policy and to bring some options forward to council in the coming months.

Parks and Recreation
Council approved a request to move the installation of the irrigation system at the Community Center to the spring of 2021 due to the early snowfall in October. Also approved was a request to purchase picnic tables and shade umbrellas for the Pickleball court area. The funds will come from the successful Crosslake Days Pickleball tournament and from Pickleball membership fees.

Public Works
The Council approved a resolution ordering the preparation of the 2021 Roads and Improvement Report.

Three other items were sent to the Public Works Commission for review and recommendations: a Proposal for Lift Station Control Panel Replacements; a Biosolids Proposal from Bolton & Menk; and the Clarifier Rehabilitation Proposal from Bolton & Menk.

These items were added to the agenda due to the Public Works Commission not being able to reschedule a meeting due to issues at the sewer plant that required immediate attention from Public Works Director Ted Strand.

Public Safety

Fire Chief Chip Lohmiller told council that as of November 12, a total of five Crosslake Firefighters had contracted COVID-19. He added that the hospitals in Duluth, St. Cloud and Brainerd are currently full. He said that the public needs to stay vigilant with wearing masks and observing distancing guidelines, especially with the holidays approaching and the potential issues arising from family and social gatherings.

Crosslake Fire responded to a total of 19 calls in October, and reported the year to date total of 198 calls for service.

Crosslake Police reported 216 calls in October for the City of Crosslake, and 98 calls for Mission Township.

North Ambulance had a total of 72 callouts in October.

In other council action;

• Approved a pay request from Hy Tec Construction for the Fire Hall Remodel in the amount of $130,946.69;

• Approved the letter of engagement from Larson Clifton Allen for audit services for year ending December 31, 2020;

• Approved an amendment for the Lodging Tax Ordinance;

• Accepted two donations: the first in the amount of $4,885.55 from the Crosslake-Ideal Lions for a trailer for the Police department, and $699 from the Parks and Library Foundation for a memorial bench;

• Directed Public Works to look at one of the grates at the intersection of CR66 and Manhattan Point BLVD that keeps getting covered with leaves.

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