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Crosslake: Council learns flood insurance may become mandatory for many

Council members and residents at the Monday, Aug. 14, Crosslake City Council meeting learned about changes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that could impact a lot of citizens.

FEMA has recently re-examined flood risks throughout Crow Wing County and developed electronic flood hazard maps, which became effective Aug. 15. Anyone who has a house on property within the Special Flood Hazard Area on the new map and has a mortgage or secured loan from a federally regulated insurance lender will be required to have flood insurance.

Planning and Zoning Supervisor Chris Pence told council members at Monday's meeting that FEMA approved the city's new floodplain ordinance and informed them that many Crosslake residents will most likely receive a letter from their lenders in the near future telling them to purchase flood insurance within the next 45 days, as the stipulations for floodplain areas has changed.

"If you get that letter, don't ignore it. Do not throw it away," Pence said. "There's a lot of people who, before this (map), were not in a floodplain, and now they are."

Anyone who receives a letter and doesn't think they should be mandated to have flood insurance has several options to appeal but should buy the insurance first, as an appeal will take longer than 45 days.

More information about floodplain insurance and ways to appeal an assessment can be found at https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/118418.

Classification and compensation study

The council heard from Ann Antonsen, of Springsted Incorporated, who presented preliminary findings from a classification and compensation study Springsted performed in Crosslake. The study serves as a tool for determining how city employees will be paid.

Elements of the study included the development of new job descriptions for all city positions, a review of the internal relationships of city positions, a thorough market analysis of equivalent positions in comparable cities, and a development of a compensation plan to ensure internal equity and market competitiveness of city positions.

From the data gathered from 24 other communities - including Breezy Point, Crosby, Nisswa, Pequot Lakes and Walker - the study determined a competitive salary range for each city position. The study found that three of Crosslake's 16 employees make less than the minimum amount in the newly established range and provided the council with options to put its employees in a competitive range.

Because the findings provided were preliminary, Antonsen said the council can suggest changes, such as seeing how the data would change if certain cities would be eliminated or added to the study.

The council decided not to accept or reject the study yet and to put it on the agenda for its next budget meeting, which is scheduled for 3 p.m. Monday, Aug. 21.

Public safety

Discussion turned to street parking when Police Chief Erik Lee informed the council of ongoing changes near the public lake access on West Shore Drive. At July's council meeting, a resident expressed concern about cars parking along West Shore Drive and creating low visibility when the access parking lot is full.

Lee said the public works department cleaned up the ditches in that area so that cars can park farther off the road. He said "no parking" signs were also placed near driveways and crosswalk lines were painted on the road. Crosswalk signs will soon be added.

Council member Dave Nevin said he still worried about safety in that area and wished the city could prohibit street parking there altogether. After some discussion, Lee said he and Public Works Director Ted Strand would look into putting no parking signs up, possibly a block or two away on either side of the access.

The Crosslake Police Department responded to 243 calls in July, including six crashes, five thefts, one burglary and one theft. In Mission Township, police responded to 82 calls, including 12 traffic citations, one traffic arrest and one theft.

The Crosslake Fire Department responded to 41 calls in July, including one building fire.

In other business Monday, the council:

• Heard an update on Crosslake Days, which is scheduled for Sept. 28-30, and gave the Crosslake Chamber permission to hold its annual chili cook-off Saturday, Sept. 30.

• Heard an update on the city's comprehensive plan rewrite from Tad Erickson, of the National Joint Powers Alliance. Erickson is working on the rewrite with a steering committee made up of Crosslake community members. He provided the council with a list of tasks that have been completed and said the steering committee is on schedule so far.

• Advised City Administrator Mike Lyonais to create a list of building inspectors willing to review commercial buildings to make sure they're compliant with the Americans with Disability Act regulations. The city doesn't currently enforce commercial ADA compliance.

"We have to do something. It's not an option to continue the way we're going," Pence said.

• Approved the final plat for the Golf View Townhomes to be built in Town Square.

• Approved the sale of the fire department's hovercraft at $15,000 and allowed the proceeds to be used for a rescue boat, which will cost about $13,125.

• Approved a bid of $2,227,000 from Eagle Construction in Little Falls for improvements to the wastewater treatment facility. Because the initial project estimate was $1.4 million, the council has discussed using funds from the Crosslake Communications sale to cover the increased costs.

• Approved a bid of $10,017 from Colonial Masonry to replace the cement sidewalks at city hall.

• Approved an agreement with Crosswoods Development for the city to take over maintenance of Ostlund and Allen avenues, Gould Street and any other unnamed streets or alleys as depicted on the Crosswoods Development plat that were dedicated to the public.

• Learned that the Crosslake Fire Department has earned an upgraded protection rating from the Insurance Service Office. An improved ISO rating can result in lower premiums for home, property and commercial building insurance.

• Allowed the city to be a passthrough for funds from NJPA for research into the feasibility of a national loon center in Crosslake.

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