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Crosslake: Council vows to support local decision-making

The Crosslake City Council adopted a resolution supporting local decision-making authority at its Monday, May 8, meeting.

Mayor Patty Norgaard said the League of Minnesota Cities is working to combat several bills introduced in the 2017 legislative session that undermine city governments' power and restrict local decision-making. The resolution, which Norgaard said several Minnesota cities have adopted, states that the Crosslake council "opposes legislation that removes the ability for local elected officials to respond to the needs of their businesses and constituents."

Before the resolution passed, however, resident Mark Wessels urged the council to do more research on the aforementioned bills and table the issue for now. He questioned what the exact bills are that supposedly restrict local governments and said sometimes state intervention is necessary and helpful.

"I'm a big proponent of local control over state control. But this (resolution) almost sounds like 'Let's pass this to find out what's in it,'" Wessels said, citing specific incidents in the past - including sewer issues, ordinance changes and moratorium rules - where state control superseded Crosslake control to the city's benefit.

Despite Wessels' suggestion, the council passed the resolution, reminding citizens that it doesn't actually create any law. The resolution simply serves to show the state how the city of Crosslake feels on the issue.

Public safety

City Administrator Dan Vogt read a letter from Mission Township Supervisor Dave Hauser, who expressed interest in contracting the Crosslake Fire Department to provide fire services to Mission. The township does have its own fire department.

Hauser said in the letter that Mission has problems providing fire and EMS coverage to its residents, mainly because of staffing and budget issues.

The council agreed to look into the issue and directed Vogt to organize a meeting between himself, Hauser, Norgaard, council member Dave Nevin and Crosslake Fire Chief Chip Lohmiller.

In April, the Crosslake Police Department responded to 181 incidents, including three fires, three thefts, two crashes and one missing person report. In Mission Township, police responded to 48 calls, including one fire, one theft and one crash.

The Crosslake Fire Department responded to 32 incidents in April, including two fire calls and 27 medical assists.

In other business Monday, the council:

• Heard that the Light Up the Dam committee will host a drive-by brat sale Friday, May 12, at the Army Corps of Engineers Campground.

• Appointed Jim Funk as an alternate member of the Economic Development Authority.

• Heard that the National Association of Realtors has given the city a walkability grant for $16,500. The study will take place Monday and Tuesday, June 12-13.

• Approved taproom and off-sale liquor licenses for 14 Lakes Craft Brewing Company, which plans to open in Crosslake by June 1.

• Disbanded the Crosslake Communications Advisory Board.

• Amended the the city's personnel committee to include one non-union supervisory city employee, as the fourth member was previously the general manager of Crosslake Communications, which no longer exists. The council appointed Parks and Recreation Director Jon Henke to fill that vacancy.

• Discussed possible courses of action to restrict wireless companies to install small cell facility networks on public rights of way. The authority for this action was introduced in a bill in the 2017 legislative session. The council asked Public Works Director Ted Strand to look into resolutions and talk to the public works commission for more information.

• Allowed Strand to declare various city equipment as surplus and put it up for sale. The council then allowed Strand to use the money to outfit public works trucks with radios, light bars and tool boxes.

• Awarded DeChantal Excavating the city's 2017 road projects, for an estimated $527,031.79.

• Heard from Henke that a new program called Crosslake Conversations will begin in June to replace the Chautauqua program that ended last year. The program will focus on discussions about issues that affect the community, and the first one will take place at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 14, at the Crosslake Community Center.

• Adjourned the council meeting until 5 p.m. Thursday, May 11, when the meeting will continue and include a joint session with the public works commission, city engineering firm Bolton and Menk, and Land Services Specialist Jon Kolstad. Strand suggested having the meeting to discuss future plans for the city's wastewater plant in the event that new housing complexes and other businesses come to Crosslake.