Brainerd is looking at cutting expenses by reducing the amount of energy it uses.
The Brainerd City Council on Monday approved getting quotes on programmable thermostats, occupancy sensors for restrooms and low-use rooms, lighting upgrades for all city buildings and replacement windows for the city hall annex.
The cost-savings items were recommended by council member Anne Nelson Fisher, who worked with Tom Phelps and Scott Sjolund of Brainerd Public Utilities and City Administrator Dan Vogt to implement an energy audit.
Other items identified by the audit but not implemented included controls on vending machines and installing natural gas heaters at the northeast Brainerd fire substation.
Fisher said Brainerd Public Utilities also is working with Brainerd Housing Redevelopment Authority and Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport to implement energy-saving ideas for their buildings.
Brainerd Public Utilities also is considering shutting down some street lights during part of the night, is testing a LED light at the corner of South Sixth and Front streets and plans to invest with other cities in wind energy production outside of Brainerd.
In other action, the council:
Approved by a 4-3 vote having the Charter Commission consider a referendum question on whether organizations that receive a half mill levy, an amount determined as a percentage of taxable values, should instead receive a set amount of funding. Those organizations are Northland Arboretum, the Lakes Area Senior Activity Center and Brainerd Community Action. In 2009, those organizations will receive $106,500 each from the city. Voting against were council members Fisher, Lucy Nesheim and Bonnie Cumberland.
Entered into an agreement with Crow Wing County to apply for justice assistance grant funding.
Directed Cumberland to continue working with BNSF Railway, the Minnesota Department of Transportation and neighbors on a proposal to move the railroad's fence along Northeast Washington Street. Specifically, the council wants Cumberland to see if neighbors would be willing to help pay the $21,000 to have the fence moved. The council also approved by a 5-2 vote having the city planner and city attorney review ordinances to determine if there are legal remedies the city could seek to have the deteriorated fence relocated. Voting against were Fisher and council member Kelly Bevans.
Set a meeting at 6 p.m. on June 22 to review the property maintenance code.
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5857.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.