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Pine River City Council discusses burden of paying for city library

The Pine River City Council discussed the cost of paying the lease for the Pine River City Library on Tuesday, June 11.

Mayor Jim Sabas said the city was contacted regarding an increase in the yearly lease cost of the city library. The notice requested an increase of $1,284 per year, approximately $16,740. Sabas said library borrowing records show residents of Pine River only use the library 20 percent of the time, and area township residents use it 80 percent of the time.

Sabas is hoping to negotiate with the surrounding townships over payment for the library lease. He said he would like to see those townships that use the library share the cost according to their own use. He hopes the new agreement could more fairly reflect the use of the library.

Sabas compared services offered by the library to services offered by the fire department, which holds contracts with the townships.

Sabas explained that money already being paid by the townships is being paid toward Kitchigami and not toward the city library lease. Citizens of Pine River are also paying Kitchigami, as well as paying for the city library lease.

“If they want to see that building stay there and be a public library for years and years, I think they need to divvy up,” Sabas said.

City maintenance worker Mike Hansen said that, though the $16,000 the city pays was going toward the library lease, the city also pays for plowing and maintenance of the grounds surrounding the library. City Clerk Wanda Mongan said the city is also responsible for paying the levy for the library as well as insurance and computer replacement costs.

Overall, in 2013 the city budgetted $13,374 to pay for these costs in addition to $15,460 to pay for the library lease.

Council member Tony Desanto said the city also benefits from township residents visiting the city to borrow books from the library.

“I think there’s some positive side of it,” Desanto said.

Sabas agreed that the city does benefit from having the library in the city, but still said that townships should pay their fair share.

The council tabled the discussion with the intention of seeking more discussion with the library and townships.

In other business, the council:

• Introduced a housing number ordinance, which would require homes in Pine River to have house numbers visibly displayed for emergency services. There was some concern that someone might simply spraypaint the numbers on their house without concern for appearance. The ordinance was tabled pending improvements to the ordinance describing which types of numbers are acceptable. The council is also discussing the cost of the numbers. There are currently 50 homes not in compliance, and each has been given a letter.

• Heard from Hansen that crack sealing for the city has been completed.

• Kevin Kleiner presented the results from assisting with the Menahga Fire. The Pine River Fire Department received $5,550 for services. Kleiner asked for permission to pay the firefighters who responded to the fire. Kleiner said they would be paying for approximately 74 hours of work at $10 an hour. The request was approved upon presentation of records of hours.

• Heard from Nathan Savaugeau requesting a variance allowing him to post a permanent 6- by 20-foot sign for Taylor Made Custom Homes and Outdoor Specialties near the Pine River City Laundromat. The sign does not meet city requirements and is oversized by 20 square feet. The council scheduled a variance hearing for 6:30 during the July 9 regular meeting.

• Learned of a transit meeting at 10 a.m. June 28 discussing the possible merger of the Ride With Us Bus with Crow Wing Transit.

• Accepted Ride With Us Bus driver Curt Peterson’s resignation. Peterson’s final day with the service will be Sept. 13. Patty Melby said thanks for Peterson’s service.

• Announced that the advertisement for the open Ride With Us Bus driver position mistakenly advertised the position as requiring a class B license, though it only requires a class D license. Mongan said the mistake may have deterred applicants and should be corrected. The council agreed.

• Heard that the Jefferson Bus Line announced it would like to have a route that stops in Pine River and drops customers at the city hall building where they can use the lobby of the city building to get out of bad weather and use bathrooms. The contract can be cancelled by either party within 30 days of the agreement being made. The council approved a one-month trial with Jefferson Bus Lines with the possibility of extension.

• Heard that, in August, the Heartland Apartments will eliminate smoking from the apartments except within an outdoor smoking area.

• Accepted the renewal of an airport lease with Matt Shamp.

• Approved Summerfest inflatables.

• Approved the closing of the street in front of Riverview Church on July 24 for a block party.

• Approved a new form to be used for business background checks.

• Discussed an ordinance regulating garage sales. The ordinance would define time limits for garage sales and posting restrictions. The ordinance was tabled for further review.

• Decided not to allow use of the city revolving loan outside of the city limits. The city recommended use of Region 5 Economic Development and North Central Economic Development Corporation for loans outside of city limits.