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Nisswa City Council talks about installing surveillance cameras

After an attempted fire occurred at the new Nisswa Welcome Center/Public Restroom building, and with the pedestrian tunnel to open this spring, the Nisswa City Council on Wednesday, Feb. 24, heard information about installing surveillance cameras downtown.

The council is only discussing the option right now and made no decisions. Installing surveillance cameras is not a budgeted item for 2014.

Council member Joe Meyer said cameras wouldn’t prevent vandalism, but could help in crime investigations. They would not represent Big Brother spying, but Nisswa hosts many events that bring thousands of people to town each weekend in the summer, and the upcoming Governor’s Fishing Opener will be a big event in Nisswa, he said.

The city has a proposal from People’s Security for cameras, and heard a presentation Feb. 24 from Nate Geike of All State Communications.

The council will continue to look at the idea and seek public feedback.

Public safety

In January, police had 147 calls for service, 30 traffic warnings, 16 agency assists, 13 traffic citations, 11 alarms, eight medicals and seven arrests.

Fire chief Richard Geike said firefighters had 11 medical calls, provided mutual aid for a structure fire in Brainerd and responded to a structure fire in Nisswa in the past month.

He said the Nisswa Lions Club donated $2,250 for emergency medical service bags, and the department’s annual Fishing Derby on Sunday, Feb. 16, raised $6,000 for fire hall equipment. The department also received a $750 donation from the Brainerd Jaycees for helping at the annual ice fishing extravaganza.

In other business Feb. 24, the council:

• Learned a committee of city, business and chamber representatives continues to work on a community identification sign as well as adequate signs to alert people how to get into and out of Nisswa in the wake of last year’s road work.

• Granted a Nisswa chamber appeal for this year only of an application fee the planning commission set for an interim use permit for 2014 events. The planning commission had reduced the fee from $350 to $200.

Discussion centered on the chamber’s tourism work to bring people to the city vs. city costs in terms of staff time for chamber events.

Because the city waived this fee in 2013, the chamber didn’t budget for it this year. Tom Groen, chair of the planning commission, said the commission didn’t want to set a precedent by waiving the fee.

The planning commission will review the fee schedule for the city and suggest a structure so all are on a level playing field.

Council member Tina Foster recused herself from the vote because she is on the chamber’s board of directors.

• Accepted a donation from the Nisswa American Legion for $600 to the police department for still cameras.

• Approved the city’s Emergency Management Plan.

• Agreed to use abatement bond funds to paint the Nisswa Community Center.

• Approved an ordinance amendment to the city code relating to off-sale brewer taproom licenses.

• Tabled a proposal from the Region Five Development Commission for a comprehensive plan update over two years for $9,600. The council talked about seeking bids from other firms.

• Agreed to resubmit a grant request for $10,000 to the University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnership for Nisswa Lake Park planning and design. The city would supply a match that would depend on how much of a grant the city received. The city has budgeted $10,000.

• Agreed to seek bids for codification of city codes discussion.

• Learned the Board of Review will meet at 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 22, to address citizen concerns about their property valuations.

• Transferred a tax-increment financing payment from the former owners of the Days Inn to the current owners of the motel, now called Magnuson Hotels.

Council member Gary Johnson was absent from the Feb. 24 meeting.

Nancy Vogt can be reached at Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter @PEJ_Nancy.