Something doesn't smell right in the city of Brainerd.
Complaints about skunks in the city promoted city officials to ask Animal Control Officer Don Hannahs to bring ideas to address the issue to council.
While Hannahs wasn't able to be at Monday's Brainerd City Council meeting, council member Bonnie Cumberland relayed several tips Hannahs offered.
Skunks are nocturnal animals and feed on larva, grubs, mice, snakes and insects, Hannahs said. To skunk-proof a yard, he suggested:
Eliminating all food sources by cleaning large amounts of birdseed on the ground and leaving no pet food outside.
Keeping garbage in a secured metal or plastic container with a secure lid to keep odors from escaping.
Keeping grills clean or in a secured area.
Removing large wood piles, debris piles, junk piles and cover compost or wood piles with a tarp.
Cover window wells.
Harvest vegetables as soon as they have ripened.
Secure and lock pet doors.
Don't leave pets outside at night as they are likely to encounter and fight a skunk, get sprayed and be at risk for rabies.
Cumberland also said Hannahs offered a list for trappers who are available in the area. The information will be available on the city's web site, www.ci.brainerd.mn.us.
"It appears a solution to the problem is going to have a price tag attached to it," Cumberland said.
In other action, the council:
Learned from City Administrator Dan Vogt that Brainerd Public Utilities' expansion of the wastewater treatment facility is on time, on budget and operating with wastewater flows from Brainerd and Baxter.
Approved the following poling places for the Nov. 2 general election: Ward 1 Precinct 1 at Trinity Lutheran Church, Ward 1 Precinct 2 at Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Ward 2 Precinct 1 at Riverside Elementary School, Ward 2 Precinct 2 at the Lakes Area Senior Center, Ward 3 Precinct 1 at Lowell Elementary School, Ward 3 Precinct 2 at Garfield Elementary School, Ward 4 Precinct 1 at Harrison Elementary School and Ward 4 Precinct 2 at St. Andrew's Catholic Church.
Was informed the Personnel and Finance Committee will be interviewing city attorney candidates at 6 p.m. on Oct. 19.
Voted 4-2 to authorize the engineering department to conduct a feasibility report on 2011 street improvements. Voting against were council members Kelly Bevans and Mary Koep, both citing the increase to city debt the projects could bring. Council member Bob Olson said approving a feasibility report didn't mean the projects would be done. Koep said she the issue should wait until after Oct. 18, when a hearing on the College Drive reconstruction project is held. Council member Anne Nelson Fisher said she'd like to see the proposed projects prioritized.
Was informed street patching was completed at a cost of $27,042, below the $50,000 budget for the project.
Approved by a 5-1 vote, with Olson against, cross-training two parks maintenance employees in the street department for four to six weeks each between now and the end of the year. The cross-training will allow the other two park maintenance employees to go from 32 hours a week to 40 hours a week. Olson said the issue should be tabled until the city knows more about the 2011 local government aid. He also said two maintenance people could be terminated in the parks department.
Was reminded by City Planner Mark Ostgarden that October was National Community Planning Month. Mayor James Wallin issued a proclamation in honor of the event.
Heard during the public forum from city council candidate Jeff Czeczok, who requested the park board hold off on hiring a park director and keep interim director Tony Sailer in the position. He said the issue was removed from the park board's agenda without a vote and he was told to bring the issue to the council's public forum.
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