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Fifty Lakes approves sign retroreflectivity policy

The Fifty Lakes City Council approved a policy concerning sign retroreflectivity at its June 10 meeting, in compliance with a Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) requirement.

Council member Les Degner said this requirement is aimed at "manag(ing) a method to maintain minimum retroreflectivity levels."

According to draft meeting minutes, the approved policy outlines procedures for developing and maintaining a sign inventory, sets up blanket replacement of signs of the same type at specified intervals to eliminate the need to assess individual signs and indicates the city's intention to remove unnecessary signs to improve safety and reduce expenditures.

The state requirement seeks to improve public safety while considering city resources; therefore, according to the policy, "conformance does not require or guarantee that every individual sign in the city will meet or exceed the minimum retroreflective levels at every point in time."

Priority for replacement will be given to missing or damaged signs most important to safety. After initial replacements, the policy calls for the city to maintain standards by replacing signs that reach the end of their warranty period, expected life expectancy for the sheeting material or as determined by an engineering study.

In other business, the council:

• Approved the removal of approximately 15,000 yards of dirt from Kevin Murphy's gravel pit to complete the County Road 3 construction project. The pit will be restored to Crow Wing County restoration standards following completion of the project.

• Heard from Crow Wing County engineer Steve Stroschein that any damage to Kego Lake Road as part of the dirt removal would be the county's responsibility.

• Heard a request from Fifty Lakes Fire Chief Andy Hemphill to look into the sharing of costs of the department's pump truck.

• Heard from mayor Ken Hersey that he and Kay Sperl visited the playground site and they are in the process of researching new equipment. Hersey proposed the project be considered for installation next spring, after road construction is complete.

• Heard from council member Jodie Schrupp that the cost to install a streetlight at the intersection of County Road 1 and Town Hall Road would be less than $1,000.

• Appointed alternate Planning and Zoning Commission member Bruce Bissonnette to fill the vacant position on the commission and approved advertising for a replacement for the alternate position.

• Heard from Planning and Zoning Administrator Gordy Reller that the commission approved three variances and denied one at its last meeting.

• Appointed 2014 election judges: Stern as head judge, Bobbie Graham, Deputy Clerk Ann Raph and Lorie Johnson.

• Modified a January council motion to consider employees working 30 or more hours per week full time and eligible for receiving health and dental benefits.

• Approved a health insurance policy from Preferred One for $6,144.38 and agreed to continue the Delta Dental policy as is.

• Rescinded a motion made last month to grant municipal liquor store manager Toni Buchite full authority to hire and fire employees at the 50 Lakes Bar & Bottle Shop, per a memo from City Attorney Tom Pearson. Pearson notified the council that as a Plan A Statutory City, Fifty Lakes must keep those responsibilities in the hands of the council.

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 at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Perkins 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 becoming the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch, Perkins worked as the county government beat reporter at the Dispatch and a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal.

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