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Council votes to raise its own pay

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First raise in 17 years; pay still lower than other area councils

Breezy Point City Council members voted to give themselves and the mayor a $100 per month raise Monday, June 2.

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Council members will now earn $250 per month, and the mayor will earn $300 per month. This is the first time compensation has been increased for the council in 17 years, and the rate still falls below other area councils.

In Crosslake, the mayor earns $450 per month while council members earn $350 per month. They are also compensated for additional meetings, up to four per month at $20 each. In Nisswa and Pequot Lakes, the mayors earn $350 per month, while Pequot Lakes council members earn $325 per month and Nisswa council members earn $300 per month. Nisswa council members earn higher compensation for special meetings, however; $50 per meeting compared to $20 in Pequot Lakes.

Breezy Point council member Otto Schmid said he hopes this will encourage increased participation from residents.

“This could cause some folks who are sitting out there on the sideline to become active in city government and consider running for office,” he said.

Schmid added he doesn’t believe any council members choose to do the job for the money, in any case.

“(Our pay) might even reach 75 cents per hour for the amount of work we put in in a given month,” he said.

Council member Tom Lillehei was not present at the meeting.

Public safety

Police chief Kevin Merschman reported the offenses Breezy Point police responded to in May. With 218 calls, incidents were down significantly from May 2013, when 254 incidents occurred.

Most notably, the department was involved in three traffic arrests, two thefts, one crash and one fire. Police also responded to 10 medical calls, 92 traffic-related incidents, 30 agency assists, six alarms, eight animal-related calls and 65 miscellaneous events.

In other business, the council:

• Decided to delay accepting a bid for the Breezy Point Drive mill and overlay project, giving the opportunity to companies to re-submit bids potentially including a third competitor. The original plans called for a 2-inch overlay with a budget of $50,000, but bids from Anderson Brothers and Tri City Paving came in $17,000-$20,000 higher than expected. Changing to 1.5-inch overlay to accommodate the budgeted amount did not satisfy Schmid, who said he was “not interested in doing a half-baked project.”

Engineer Mike Rude of Widseth Smith Nolting said reducing the overlay thickness would likely shave approximately four years off the life of the reconstruction.

City administrator/clerk Joe Rudberg said if the council chose, it could use funds from the revolving capital fund to make up the difference in cost from the original estimate.

• Approved a fund transfer of $20,141.62 from the sewer capital fund to the parkland dedication line in the revolving capital fund. The exchange was made as part of a “trade” made with the Whitebirch Village development, which covered the cost of sewer easement instead of paying into the parkland dedication fund.

• Approved the promotion of assistant wastewater operator Joe Zierden to sewer department manager. Zierden was hired to replace John Monnier, who retired last month.

• Approved an ordinance designating the drainage and utility easements along property lines in new plats from 12 feet to 10 feet.

• Approved a replacement for resigning planning commissioner Vernon “Skeeter” Carkhuff, who is moving out of the community. Amy Gitchell, a resident of Wolf Lane, will fulfill the remainder of Carkhuff’s term for this year.

• Mayor JoAnn Weaver noted the death of Denny Gustafson, a former Breezy Point mayor and town historian.

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Chelsey Perkins
Chelsey Perkins grew up in Crosslake and is a graduate of Pequot Lakes High School. She earned her Bachelor's degree in professional journalism from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. Perkins has interned at the Lake Country Echo and the Rochester and Austin Post-Bulletins and also worked for the student-run Minnesota Daily newspaper as a copy editor and columnist during college. She went on to intern at Utne Reader magazine, where she was later hired as the research editor. Before joining the Brainerd Dispatch, Perkins worked as a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal.
(218) 855-5874
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