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Pequot Lakes: Council requires properties be cleaned up

As it continues a quest to clean up the city, the Pequot Lakes City Council on Tuesday, June 6, declared several properties public nuisances.

Specifically, the council declared the Robert and Kimberly Swenson property at 31051 Pine St. and the Virgil Dahl property at 3952 County Road 17 public nuisances. The Swensons have until Aug. 15 and Dahl until July 7 to clear up the nuisance conditions and code violations on the respective properties.

If they don't, the city will take action and initiate legal proceedings to do so.

The council also declared that the David Clark property at 30892 S. Heath St. is hazardous and has hazardous buildings that must be brought into compliance with the state building code or be razed and removed.

Council members Scott Pederson and Randy Loukota were absent June 6.

Public safety

The council agreed to hire two firefighters, Dalton Engholm and Josh Foote. The department had 25 active firefighters and has approval for 30.

The first quarter fire call report totaled 20 calls, including five good intent that were cancelled en route, three gas spills/leaks, three structure fires, three agency assists to law enforcement for motor vehicle accidents, two mutual aid structure fires, and one each auto extrication accident, rescue person trapped in an elevator, fire alarm and a motor vehicle accident/fire/ recovery.

Calls included seven to Pequot Lakes, three to Breezy Point, three to Jenkins City, two to Loon Lake Township, two to Nisswa and one each to Moose Lake Township, Crosslake and Pine River.

Last year, there were 14 first-quarter calls.

The first-quarter training report totaled nine hours.

State Building Code

The council agreed to meet with the Planning Commission at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 20, to receive information and public comment regarding adoption of the State Building Code.

The Planning Commission is at a stalemate on the issue, with three members favoring and three opposing code adoption. One member is undecided.

The council also agreed to direct the Planning Commission to research information for a possible rental housing ordinance that specifies minimum standards for safe housing.

Stormwater study

The council considered a street quadrant storm water study report that provides a big picture, integrated approach to address storm drainage in the southeast quadrant of the downtown area.

The purpose of the study is to allow the city to plan, look ahead, budget and improve streets within this quadrant.

The study identified drainage areas, estimated flows and reviewed possible infiltration basin locations. There are local low areas in this quadrant, but they are on privately owned land. After reviewing possible nearby city-owned land locations, the closest would be the Paul Bunyan Trail and the existing Highway 371/Patriot Avenue south of East Woodman Street.

The council agreed to prepare an estimated cost for the stormwater system, directing city engineer Widseth, Smith, Nolting to factor the cost using the basin location on the sketch and moving the basin location farther south to allow for the skateboard park to be on the corner.

The council approved a Park Commission recommendation to build a skateboard park on a Minnesota Department of Transportation parcel south of East Woodman Street between existing Highway 371 and the Paul Bunyan Trail, contingent on the stormwater study.

Maintenance/public works facility

The council approved a building schematic for a maintenance/public works facility and agreed to build it on a 5-acre parcel on city property at the southeast corner of Derksen Road and Morehouse Drive in 2018.

Cost is estimated at about $1.4 million.

The council accepted WSN's services proposal for a final design phase, bidding phase and construction phase for $73,400.

Thriving Communities Initiative

The council approved a slogan for the city, suggested by the Economy Task Force of the Pequot Lakes Thriving Communities Initiative: The Heart of the Good Life.

The task force said that creating a community identity and marketing plan is a goal identified through the TCI process and the creation and registration of a community slogan is the first step. The task force will now work to convey this slogan to the community along with a marketing plan.

The Workforce Development Task Force told the city's Economic Development Commission about the importance of expanding high speed broadband connectivity to the city's business park. The EDC has been discussing the need for high speed internet within the community for several months and recently received a proposal from TDS Telecom for the construction of fiber optics to serve both the existing business park and future expansion south of the business park. Total cost of this project is approximately $150,000, of which the city's aid to construction contribution would be $86,000. The council decided to get more bids.

In other business June 6, the council:

• Approved tobacco and liquor licenses.

• Agreed to contribute $150 to the Mayo Lake Association for weed control on the lake. The city owns the Mayo Lake Nature Preserve on the lake.

• Appointed Barbara Sjoblad to the Park Commission for a partial term expiring Dec. 31.

• Changed the regular July city council meeting from July 4 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 6.

• Set special meetings for 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 11, for a utility rate study work session, and for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 22, for a capital improvement planning and 2018 preliminary budget work session.

• Accepted the 2016 year-end financial report.

• Agreed to seek proposals for audit services.

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