The future of a Mississippi River bridge crossing study north of Brainerd may be in jeopardy.
The Brainerd City Council was asked by Mayor James Wallin Monday night to consider a technical correction for a federal funding request for the study.
In 2005, as part of the federal SAFETEA-LU transportation bill, $800,000 in federal money was set aside for the study with a required $200,000 local match.
Wallin asked the council change that request to add a regional transportation plan for Crow Wing and southern Cass counties in addition to the Mississippi River crossing between Brainerd and Crosby.
The council voted 4-3 to direct staff members to reword the application to include only the regional transportation study and not the bridge study. Voting for the rewording were council members Kevin Goedker, Anne Nelson Fisher, Bonnie Cumberland and Bob Olson.
The recommendation for the rewording came from a 2-1 vote by Olson and Cumberland during the Safety and Public Works Committee.
"Neither one of us were fans of looking at a Mississippi River crossing as a benefit for Brainerd," Cumberland said. "If it was broader, bringing other agencies together and can look at a larger transportation plan including the possibility of a river crossing, that's what made me more comfortable."
Olson noted the city has been unable to fund the $200,000 needed for a local match for the river crossing study.
Council member Lucy Nesheim, who is also on the Safety and Public Works Committee and cast that committee's vote against rewording the request, said the study would be a benefit for Brainerd, that the request was time sensitive and that the project was a high priority.
Nesheim also noted the technical correction being sought by Wallin did not commit the city to the $200,000 local match.
"It does not commit us to anything," Nesheim said. "I think it's very important that it gets passed tonight."
Wallin said changing the wording in the request could eliminate the $800,000 in federal dollars already granted toward the study.
Staffers will bring the reworded proposal back the council at its Feb. 4 meeting.
In other action, the council:
Adjourned to the council retreat at 5:30 p.m. on Monday at the Red Roof Inn.
Learned the city has collected $487,803 in sales tax since it went into effect in May. The city also received about $27,000 in sales tax on used cars and two more payments are expected from 2007. However, Vogt noted the tax received, which would go toward the city's share of the $35 million wastewater treatment plant expansion, has been lower than expected.
Banned parking on East River Road from College Drive to Laurel Street.
Unanimously adopted a resolution ordering preparation of feasibility report for the downtown street reconstruction and streetscape project. Olson, a downtown property owner, abstained from voting.
Heard an presentation from Jon Knopik of the Central Minnesota Council on Aging concerning the Brainerd For a Lifetime program aimed at making the community senior citizen friendly.
Directed City Administrator Dan Vogt to accompany Wallin as city representatives to the Downtown Brainerd Awards Dinner on Feb. 19, which also is the date of the second regular council meeting in February.
Learned from City Engineer Jeff Hulsether that the intersection of South Sixth and Willow streets does not meet the Minnesota Department of Transportation's traffic warrants for a signal light.
Was asked by Cumberland to consider term limits, bylaws and ways to foster more resident willingness to serve on city boards, committees and commissions.
Approved contract settlements with the union representing the public utilities employees, fire equipment operators and administrative support.
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