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Dispute Over Sign Placement Dominates First Crosslake City Council meeting of 2021

Web posted January 19, 2021
The first meeting of 2021 for the Crosslake City Council was held on Monday, January 11 at City Hall. A full council was present (Council member Dave Schrupp was present via Zoom).

During the meeting a council discussed a dispute about the placement of a refurbished City Hall sign.

A crew from HyTec Construction showed up at City Hall on January 5th to install the sign, city staff questioned the location and ended up sending the crew home.

A memo concerning the sign stated that it was to be installed on either side of the driveway, Nevin called that statement “totally incorrect”.

Nevin claimed the sign was to be installed on the corner of 66 and Daggett Bay Road per a site drawing, “and that the council, and the 22-person building committee in its entirety put me in charge of these projects, which I have been pleading with HyTec to come here and get those signs in before the ground became frozen. So they finally get over here to put the signs in and staff shut them down."

Nevin said, “When Char called and told me they were sending the sign crew home and they weren’t putting the sign in there, I jumped in my truck and I headed [to City Hall] and called Marcia [council member Seibert- Volz], and Marcia and her husband Jerry happened to be available - I got there about a minute before they did - they were there throughout discussion about the sign.

“We’re going to dig into this a little deeper,” said Nevin, “it’s a combat, constantly with staff and trying to get things done. The biggest struggle that I face is working internally here and I am going to publicly make that statement because it’s the truth.”

Council member Dave Schrupp stated, “This is just for a sign and I hope we all work together on this. It’s not worth wasting a whole lot of time on it,” later adding, “a sign is not a big issue with all the events going on in our country today.”

Following council discussion on where the sign should be placed, Nevin brought up the fact that “One or two [staff members] had alleged that I threatened them and they had a [plain clothes police detective] come and interview me with an allegation that I had threatened them with harm. We were all very high spirited… but under no means did I ever threaten anybody.”

Seibert-Volz commented, “There was no threat at that time when we met at the site with city hall staff - I am a little upset too, that I had Baxter PD at my door, and I had no idea why they were there, and I am sure all the neighbors wondered why they were there.”

Crosslake Police Chief Lee then explained, “Myself and Sgt. (Eric) Swanson were called to the area because two city employees felt there was a threatening action. That’s our job, we come. It  involved the mayor, it involved city employees.”

I slept on it that night and I said the right thing to do is to farm this out to another police department,” continued Lee. “No undercover police officer came, there was a plain clothes detective in an unmarked car.”

Lee stated that the Baxter Police Dept has not gotten back to him, “I don’t think there’s any criminal charges that we’re looking at but the fact remains that two of our employees did not feel safe at the time; your word, their word, something has got to happen where we are a little more respectful to each other all around.”

Crow Wing County Attorney Don Ryan was contacted by phone on Friday and said that no formal complaint or charges had been filed at that time. Ryan did confirm Baxter Police sent investigative materials to the County Attorney’s office and said his staff were currently following up on those items.

A motion passed unanimously to place the sign on the corner of County Road 66 and Daggett Bay Road.

Organizational Appointments Council made several unanimous appointments for the year 2021 including: Acting Mayor, Seibert-Volz; 2-Ex Officios to the Fire Relief Association: Nevin and City Administrator Mike Lyonais; Official newspaper, Northland Press and Echo-Journal; Attorneys: Civil - Breen & Person, Labor -Johnson, Killen & Seiler, Prosecuting - Crow Wing County, Bond Counsel - Briggs & Morgan, and Bond Advisor - David Drown Associates; Official Depositories: Frandsen Bank, and 4M Fund.

Several Commission appointments were unanimously approved, including Planning and Zoning (P&Z) reappointments for Mark Wessels and Mark Lindner; Public Works - Mick Tchida and Tim Berg. Also nominated for appointments to the Park and Library Commission were Dawn Maucieri and Joel Knippel though applications had not been received as of yet. Council member John Andrews was reappointed to the EDA.

Council Commission Liaisons were also approved: P&Z - Aaron Herzog; Park and Library - John Andrews; Public Works - Dave Nevin; EDA - Dave Schrupp; and Public Safety - Aaron Herzog.

Also approved was the reformation of a Public Safety Committee that will include the Police and Fire Chiefs, a representative from North Ambulance, and Mayor Nevin.

Public Safety

Crosslake Police reported 187 incidents in Crosslake during the month of December and 71 for Mission TWP. The year to date totals were 2074 total incidents for Crosslake including 485 traffic warning, 284 medicals and 174 agency assists; Mission year to date total was 626 calls, including 378 traffic warnings, 74 traffic citations and 45 agency assists.

Crosslake Fire reported 44 calls for service in December 2020 and a 2020 annual total of 365 calls including 257 medicals, 11 fire calls and 30 service calls.

Planning and Zoning
A total of 364 permits were applied for in the city in 2021 including 19 in December, compared to 2020 which saw 306 permits. The city also received 176 septic compliance reports in the 2020 and 7 failures.

In other council action:

• Approved Change Orders for the Fire Hall Project for a Hose Bibb and FRP installation in the amount of $3212.00, and $1275.00 to add water to the mechanical room;

• Approved three purchase for the Fire Hall project including: $13,947.00 for personal lockers;$14,579.00 for training tables and chairs, and $17,118.99 fitness equipment (The City will pay $10,000 and the Fire Relief Association will pay $7118.99;

• Tabled a Change Order for hose tower epoxy painting and will revisit with another option;

• Accepted a donation in the amount of $405 from Meghan Zierke for the Library in memory of Doris Stevenson;

• Heard an update on the 2021 Winterfest activities from Crosslake Chamber Director Cindy Myogeto;

Revoked quick operational decision making on fast moving items from the City Administrator from a motion made in the spring of 2020 due to Covid-19 Pandemic;

• Scheduled interviews with prospective engineers for January 19;

• Approved Ordinance amendment to Chapter 42 of City Code related to vacation of streets;

• Heard an update on the Local Option Sales Tax and directed staff to update the application from 2020 for submission;

• Approved a resolution receiving a feasibility report and calling hearing on road improvements for 2021;

• Declared a plow truck as surplus equipment;

• Accepted Cash in Lieu of Land for a lot split (Huss) and a subdivision (Miller);

• Approved a motion to have all budget adjustments and transfers to require council approval.

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