Crosslake: Some could see forms of financial relief


Some residents, organizations or businesses may see some financial relief from COVID-19 fallout after Crosslake City Council actions Monday, April 13.

The Crosslake Food Shelf will receive an annual $500 donation after asking the city to contribute funds. The city has never given a donation to the food shelf, but has given $250 to the Emily Food Shelf the past two years, City Clerk Char Nelson said.

Mayor Dave Nevin suggested a $5,000 food shelf donation given the hard times people are seeing, but other council members were not on board with that amount.

“If you drop a zero I’d be in the conversation. Otherwise I’m probably not,” council member Aaron Herzog said, and others agreed.

City establishments that have liquor licenses may see some savings. Current on-sale liquor licenses expire June 30. The council may look at giving credit for time establishments were forced to be closed.


The council is requiring those establishments to turn in liquor license renewal paperwork to city hall by May 5 for action at the May 11 council meeting, but the council also postponed payment of fees until establishments are fully open again.

A two-month credit for March and April to restaurants in the city with liquor license fees that had to close in the COVID-19 pandemic would result in a loss of $2,900 in revenue to the city. A four-month credit on liquor license fees would result in a $5,800 loss to the city.

The council will talk more about this in May.

Sewer system customers may see savings after the council agreed to waive late sewer payment fees for all users through June 15 and revisit the issue later.

City Administrator Mike Lyonais said sewer fees total $24,000-$26,000 a month.

This decision came after the council received a request from Brian Lindgren, of Pine Peaks Lodge, asking for relief from the business’s recurring monthly sewer bill payment due to the COVID-19 pandemic causing limited business at this time. Pine Peaks Lodge’s minimum payment is $600.

The council agreed it couldn’t single out one business for relief, and it couldn’t lower payments due, because the city must treat all customers equally.

Also related to the COVID-19 situation, the council agreed to compensate Fire Chief Chip Lohmiller at $30 per hour for the extensive amount of time he put in preparing the city’s response to the pandemic, which was about 90 hours.


Crosslake Fire Chief Erik Lee said the city will be more prepared in the future should something like this arise again. Lohmiller attended meetings with the city, county and state agencies to help develop COVID-19 protocols and policies.

Lohmiller anticipated devoting another 20 hours or so per month to this work, but said it’s all up in the air. The council approved the 90 hours of pay and will address the issue again if needed.

Lyonais said the city needs to revisit the need for an emergency services director position.

Lohmiller gave an update on the pandemic locally, saying Crow Wing County appears to be in good shape with 140 beds available for COVID-19 patients at the county’s two hospitals, in Crosby and Brainerd. Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd moved all cancer patients to the Brainerd clinic, which cleared a whole floor of beds, he said, and the hospital has part of a second floor that can be quarantined. Plus the hospitals aren’t as full because they aren’t doing surgeries.

“If we do get a surge in patients, they do have the beds available to not put in a surge plan,” Lohmiller said, adding that if a sharp spike in patients were to occur though, officials would have to execute an emergency plan to create an alternative site for patients.

He added that ambulance service is down 40%-60% in call volume and hospitals are postponing surgeries so people are being laid off.

“There are a lot of people out there who may have it who aren’t getting tested,” he said.

Monday’s meeting was held via teleconference where anyone wishing to listen could call in. There was no public forum; rather, residents could submit comments or questions to the city clerk at before or during the meeting. Those emails were read to the council during the meeting.


Nevin, Lyonais, Police Chief Erik Lee and Public Works Director Ted Strand were present at city hall, all practicing social distancing. Nelson was in her office.

Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at

Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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