The Pequot Lakes City Council agreed to apply for funding for housing, public infrastructure and commercial rehabilitation projects after a presentation Tuesday, July 2.

Jennifer Bergman and John Schommer, with the Brainerd and Crow Wing County Housing and Redevelopment Authorities, gave the council an overview of the Minnesota Employment and Economic Development-Small Cities Development Program, which helps cities and counties with funding for such projects.

Cities with fewer than 50,000 residents are eligible for the program. Projects must meet one of three federal objectives: benefit people of low and moderate incomes; eliminate slum and blight conditions; or eliminate an urgent threat to public health or safety.

After the presentation, the council voted to proceed with the application process for the program for Pequot Lakes. The city would be the fiscal host for the grant. The targeted neighborhood is in the Sibley Lake Park area. The maximum funding the city could receive is $600,000.

The next steps are to identify what type of application the city wants to submit (owner-occupied and commercial); identify a target area; survey all property owners; prepare a pre-application; the city council authorizes the submission; and if selected, the council submits a full application.

Roads

The council talked about the financial analysis process for first priority road improvements for Rasmussen Road, South Washington Avenue and First Street, as well as second priority road improvements for Wild Acres, Nelson and Akerson roads.

Jason Murray, from David Drown Associates, presented the financial analysis for the city’s capital improvement plan, which includes the road improvement priorities.

The analysis included tax rate projections, potential costs and funding. In discussion, council member Scott Pederson brought up the possibility of assessing property owners for road improvements.

After that presentation, the council approved a revised design engineering services proposal from Widseth Smith Nolting engineering firm for $176,300 for Rasmussen Road improvements - from Tree Farm Road to East Sibley Street - as well as South Washington Avenue (the road between the Pequot Lakes American Legion and Edward Jones) and First Street (the road between Patriot Avenue and First National Bank).

Payment is proposed to include issuing a $3 million general obligation bond over 15 years.

Regarding previous discussions on the safety of the Highway 371 and County Road 29 intersection for pedestrians and bicyclists, the council learned the Minnesota Department of Transportation will install highway signs alerting drivers to the possibility of pedestrians at the intersection. Signs will be placed on northbound and southbound Highway 371.

Flag display

Regarding the state flag display that will be installed in Trailside Park on both sides of Main Street (east of the stoplight), the council accepted quotes from Coil’s Flags in St. Cloud for $87,356 and Anderson Brothers for walkways for $14,869. Flagpole plaques will be an additional cost that is not yet known.

The project will start after Labor Day.

The flag display and maintenance will be paid for with an anonymous donation of $150,000 the city received a few years ago.

The council approved the project 4-1 with council member Jerry Akerson opposed.

Overdue library materials

The council approved an overdue books policy for the Pequot Lakes Community Library. Patrons will receive a call or email the first and second weeks material is overdue. A letter will be sent plus a $1 postage fine added to the patron’s account the third week. An invoice for lost material plus a $2 postage fine will be added to the patron’s account the fourth week.

A one-time forgiveness month will occur in September, when patrons who return overdue materials will have fines removed.

The library currently has overdue fines dating to 2013 with 249 patrons on the overdue, unpaid fines list and $4,293 in lost materials. The library’s priority is the return of materials, so the library board recommended the one-time forgiveness month.

Public safety

The Pequot Lakes Fire Department will host its fourth annual National Night Out event from 5-8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6, in Trailside Park.

Police had 338 calls for service in May.

Firefighters had four calls in May: lawn mower on fire on a golf course in Breezy Point; mutual aid structure fire in Nisswa; assist for a live power line down in Breezy Point; and carbon monoxide detectors going off in rental townhouse in Breezy Point.

Open forum

Maury Graham asked why the city hasn’t put calcium chloride on North Sluetter Road to control the dust. Graham routinely attends council meetings asking for paving and maintenance of North Sluetter Road.

John Derksen questioned why he should have to pay $50 for a permit to put up a fence when the city ordered him to erect the fence. He asked that the city waive that fee and write a letter saying the 16-year-long issue was finished.

In other business July 2, the council:

  • Agreed to rezone a 2.49-acre tract of land from shoreline residential to rural residential at the request of Brent Anderson on behalf of Brent Ryappy. The land is vacant and is accessed via South Sluetter Road.

  • Agreed to start the hiring process for an additional maintenance worker in the city public works department. Pederson cast the only “no” vote.

  • Agreed to meet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 20, to review the city’s 2020 preliminary budget and capital improvement plan.