A merger study received a fresh commitment of dollars from Brainerd City Council members Tuesday night.
In a one-hour meeting, council members quickly moved through the agenda. Council members Debbie Olander and Frank Asplund were absent.
One of the first orders of business was authorizing not more than $500 toward a representative of the Government Training Service. The representative from the Twin Cities could come to the area to talk to Brainerd and Baxter officials about the merger study. Mid-October was a tentative date, depending on Baxter officials' schedules.
Kitchigami Regional Library representatives were the sole presenters during Tuesday's meeting. No council decision was made on the library's funding request.
Marian Ridge, director, presented the 2002 budget request. Ridge said the library board is proposing a 3 percent increase to levies paid in each city with a branch library. Brainerd's total regional levy for 2002 is $62,315.
Ridge said the request reflects the increase in costs associated with vehicle operations, maintenance and fuel. Ridge said a funding concern came with an increasing public base in growing areas that combined with stagnant state support and significantly low county and city levies.
Brainerd Police Chief John Bolduc reported extra downtown patrols resulted in several drug charges, including possession and sale of marijuana and possession of methamphetamine. Two felony drug arrests were made in August. Seven criminal sexual conduct cases were reported and referred to the county attorney for prosecution.
Bolduc said staff made 12 driving under the influence arrests in the last five days.
The Brainerd Fire Department reported responding to 35 emergency calls from Aug. 1-29.
In city road construction activity, Jeff Hulsether, city engineer reported work was continuing in the reconstruction project at the intersection of Fifth Street Northwest and James Street. Intersection work at Fourth Street Northwest and Laurel Street is also expected shortly.
Gutter work and paving is expected to begin early next week on the Portland and Southeast 14th Streets road project. Requests from the neighborhood included creating curb cuts to access future garages on undeveloped lots. The city policy was discussed with council member James Dehen noting it's city policy to match existing driveways and replace what is destroyed in construction and not expand that to upgrades for driveways.
Hulsether said work will begin Monday on the road project along First Avenue Northeast from Washington Street to H Street. The road reconstruction is paired with about two weeks of watermain work. The project is expected to be completed by the end of October.
In other action, the council:
Approved a roller skating license application submitted by Tim Norton, World on Wheels Skate Center.
Authorized hiring of Ronald Meyers Jr. as a police officer to replace Officer Kovar at $37,582.32 per year.
Approved what council members said they expected to be the last paperwork before work starts in the next week or two on the East Brainerd Mall project. The council voted to award the sale of a taxable tax increment revenue notes in regard to the East Brainerd Mall development and adopted a resolution to modify the TIF plan with Council Member Bob Olson voting against both motions.
Conducted first readings on annexations for the Roger and Harriet Piehl property, about 2.53 acres, in Unorganized Territory near McKay Road and Gilbert Lake; Darold and Ilean Moore property, about 1.83 acres, in Unorganized Territory near McKay Road; and the James Vandeputte property, about 4.5 acres, in Unorganized Territory.
Authorized a field assessment to determine what is a wetland and where the boundaries lie on city property located between the Army Reserve and Brainerd Area Used Cars in northeast Brainerd. To determine the property's market value after inquiries for purchase, city staff recommended the wetland assessment and a property appraisal.
Authorized up to $50,000 for the purchase of property owned by Steve Madison, which is located between Brainerd Medical Center and Buffalo Hills Lane. In June, the council authorized the appraisal of the property with the plan of using land for construction of a frontage road continuation. The appraised value is $93,000. Madison requested $50,000 based on his purchase price plus accumulated interest and property taxes.
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