The Brainerd School District's new busing policy is expected to have an impact on city services.
School officials Monday gave a presentation to the Brainerd City Council on the changes expected for the 2008-09 school year. Because of budget cuts, more than 700 students living within one mile from their school will not be bused and will need alternate ways to get to school. Also, about 1,000 students will attend new schools with the closure of Whittier and Lincoln elementary schools.
The changes mean a lot of students will be walking to schools on new routes.
"There's a concern for traffic safety," said Willy Severson, director of schools. "We are going to monitor it closely the first few weeks of school to see how this all unfolds."
School officials have met with police and other city staffers to establish safe walking routes. They also plan on sending out public service announcements about the change.
Brainerd Police Chief John Bolduc said officers will be assigned schools and monitoring routes.
In other action, the council:
Set a 2009 budget meeting at 6 p.m. on Sept. 11 at Brainerd City Hall.
Approved working with Baxter in preparing a request for proposals for a feasibility study on railroad quiet zone designations in the two cities.
Authorized blanket approval for the Parks and Recreation Department to contract for removal of diseased or hazardous trees and to assess the costs to the property owner over a five-year period.
Approved a request from Journey North to close off Kingwood Street from Washington to North 10th streets from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sept. 7 for a block party, contingent on Artspace approval.
Approved a request from New Song Ministries to close off South Seventh Street from Laurel to Front streets from 3-7 p.m. on Aug. 24 for a block party.
Approved sending letters to 145 property owners requesting them to contact the city if they have made arrangements to have their sidewalks replaced. If the city has not heard from a property owner by Sept. 10, the city will contract to have the sidewalk replaced and assess the cost to the property owner. Council member Bob Olson made a motion that the letter should be sent by certified mail to make sure properties hadn't changed ownership, but his motion wasn't seconded.
Approved having the Brainerd Lakes Chamber and historic water tower site appraised. The city was informed the chamber had entered into a purchase agreement to buy the former WorkForce Center building on South Sixth Street. While the city owns the historic water tower, City Administrator Dan Vogt said an option for the city could be to purchase the chamber property at the site and relocate the Parks and Recreation Department offices there. Olson, though not opposed to the appraisal, questioned where the money would come from to purchase the property.
Approved spending $16,341 for cold start fluorescent lights in the Brainerd Area Civic Center Arena. Using the fluorescent lights would save the city $6,413 a year. Replacing the Gold Medal Arena lights will be discussed during 2009 budget meetings.
Accepted the resignation of police officer Thomas Bergs effective immediately.
Accepted the resignation of firefighter Wayne Durant from his full-time position effective Sept. 27 and as a volunteer firefighter effective Oct. 8. Durant has been with the fire department 22 years.
Was informed by City Attorney Tom Fitzpatrick that the city was successful in arbitration concerning its disciplinary action against firefighter Charlie Dunemann.
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5857.
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