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Nisswa preliminary tax levy up $55,000 for roads, park projects

Nisswa’s preliminary tax levy for 2013 is $1,847,652, an increase of $55,269 from this year’s levy, or about 2.99 percent.

This increase is attributed to road project costs and planned capital improvements for the Nisswa Community Center and adjoining Nisswa City Park.

A $200,000 annual tax levy for road projects in 2010 and 2011 increased to $260,000 per year starting this year to go toward paying the $1.5 million general obligation street reconstruction bond for the city’s portions of the pedestrian tunnel, Highway 371 and County Road 18 projects, as well as other future road projects.

Rep. John Ward

The council on Wednesday, Sept. 19, heard from state Rep. John Ward, DFL-Brainerd, who called Nisswa his second home because he and his wife have a seasonal camper at Fritz’s Resort in Nisswa.

Ward said for the last six years he represented state House District 12A, which included Nisswa.

After redistricting, his seat in 2013 will be part of District 10A, which includes Brainerd, Baxter and Nisswa and extends to Pequot Lakes, Jenkins, Breezy Point and Gail Lake, Jenkins, Ideal, Pelican, Mission, Center and Lake Edward townships, as well as Unorganized Territory.

Ward mentioned an education forum he helped sponsor Tuesday, Sept. 25, in Pequot Lakes with state education commissioner Brenda Cassellius that included representatives from five area school districts.

Ward also is working with the Lakes and Rivers Alliance to host an aquatic invasive species forum with DNR and lake association representatives from 6:30-8 p.m. Oct. 17 in Ideal Township.

And Ward mentioned recent approval for the Mississippi River Northwoods Project funded by an $11 million Omnibus Legacy Bill to conserve 2,000 acres of land and 2.7 miles of waterways by French Rapids in northeast Brainerd for multi-recreational users from hunters to hikers. It is a project he fought for in the Legislature, Ward said.

Bridges of Hope bridge

The council heard from Pat Baltz of the Bridges of Hope board, who said that the nonprofit organization wanted to build a bridge in Nisswa as a fundraiser and to spread knowledge of Bridges of Hope.

The organization was established in 2002 and helps families in Crow Wing County and surrounding communities. It serves 2,500 households annually.

The organization’s fundraising campaign starts Oct. 14.

As part of its annual campaign last year, Bridges of Hope built a bridge at Common Goods thrift store on Highway 371 north of Baxter and donated it to the Northland Arboretum in Brainerd. For each level of fundraising reached, a span of the bridge was built.

The council debated where such a bridge could be built in Nisswa as well as where it could be placed upon completion. Ongoing road construction made council members think this wasn’t the year to accept this proposal.

Council member Jan Pierce also wondered if the request should first go to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Further talks will be held before a final decision is made.

Minnesota GreenStep

Cities Program

Angela Headlee of the Clean Energy Resource Teams talked to the council about the Minnesota GreenStep Cities program. The program serves all sizes of cities on the path toward sustainability via 28 best practices. There are five categories within those 28 best practices.

Pine River, Breezy Point, Royalton, St. Cloud, Sartell and Sauk Rapids are among 49 cities in the state that have adopted the GreenStep Cities program.

City planner Loren Wickham said the city already is doing many of the GreenStep requirements.

The city will look further into the resolution needed to adopt the program.

Public safety

Police conducted alcohol compliance checks in the city and all license holders passed.

Police had 235 calls for service in August. Activity included 23 agency assists, three criminal citations, 25 traffic citations, 101 traffic warnings, two arrests, eight medicals and eight alarms.

Firefighters had five calls in August and are working to get the new 800 megahertz radios set up. They held their first pancake breakfast during the Saturday, Sept. 22, Nisswa Fall Festival as a fundraiser.

The department received a $2,444 grant from the Minnesota Training Board for fire training.

In other business Sept. 19, the council:

• Agreed to meet in a city council workshop planning session at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14.

• Authorized development of a capital improvement plan for refunding of the city hall bond.

• Agreed to apply for a $500,000 Parks Legacy grant and a $40,000 Regional Park grant for Nisswa Lake Park. The Regional Park grant would require a 40 percent match. In the past, the Friends of Nisswa Lake Park have provided those matching funds.

• Agreed to send a letter of support for Trail 77 in Lake Shore for that city to submit a Legacy Trail grant application for the proposed recreational trail along County Road 77.