Brainerd is letting Minnesota’s members of Congress know of its displeasure at Delta Air Lines’ decision to pull flight service out of the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport.
Delta last week announced it was looking to drop money-losing flights in 24 small cities in the country, including Brainerd. On Monday the city received a 90-day cancellation notice from the airline.
The Brainerd City Council on Monday passed a resolution of its objections to Delta’s plans to be sent to Rep. Chip Cravaack, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Al Franken. The vote was unanimous. Council member Bob Olson was absent.
“I think at a minimum we should send a letter of concern,” council President Mary Koep said. “Even if we don’t get anywhere it shows we have that concern for the community. There should be some kind of response that goes back.”
Mayor James Wallin said he’s been in contact with Klobuchar and Cravaack, both of whom he said are working on the issue.
Wallin said Delta has made up its mind to leave but should work to ensure another carrier provides the city service.
Council member Kevin Goedker, who also serves as council liaison on the airport commission, said it was suspected a couple years ago that Delta might leave since the company was eliminating its turbo prop airplanes. He said one reason the commission pursued improvements such as an extended runway and a jet bridge was to be attractive to other airlines.
“I think we’re in a fairly good position to be proactive in getting another carrier,” Goedker said. He noted despite the poor economy and disarray at the airport, boardings are up this year.
Council member Lucy Nesheim said if former U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar was in office the city wouldn’t have this problem. Council member Bonnie Cumberland asked that the tone of the resolution to the members of Congress should focus on what a great facility the city and county have instead of what she called whining about losing Delta.
“I think we should have some pride in what we have, use that as a basis in communication to these folks,” Cumberland said. Koep replied she didn’t think the tone of the resolution was “whiny.”
In other action, the council:
Approved hiring Jacobson Excavating and Landscaping at a cost of $180 per hour to abate nuisances in the city. Letters were sent out to about 150 property owners in the city regarding nuisance violation, with property owners having 14 days to abate them.
City Engineer Jeff Hulsether said that 14-day period ends Thursday. On Friday city crews will check the properties and abatement will start Monday. Koep voted against hiring Jacobson because it bothered her that having a crew on private property amounted to an unreasonable search. Mike Murphy and George Burton, speaking during the public forum portion of the meeting, both said such abatements were unconstitutional. Burton also said the city sent a picture of a friend’s violation but added that the city apparently had the wrong house.
Heard a brief presentation from Kevin Thesing of Lakes Printing and Shawn Sundquist of Range Printing about the seven printing businesses in the city. The printing industry in Brainerd spans 130 years and employs more than 400 people. The other companies include Bang Printing, the Brainerd Dispatch, First Impressions Printing, Intsy Prints and Minuteman Press.
Approved $5,539 to replace a malfunctioning security system at the Brainerd Police Department.
Approved waiving sewer accessibility fees for a resident at 1608 Southeast 13th Avenue who had paid sewer charges for 20 years without being hooked up to the city’s sewer system. It’s the third such incident, and Goedker said he’s in favor of waiving the fee because the council did so at its last meeting for another resident and it is believed no other such problems exist. Council member Kelly Bevans voted against.
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5857.