Continuing work started three years ago to provide better internet service in underserved areas, the Lake Shore City Council agreed Monday, July 27, to seek bids from providers for improved broadband in the city.

Council member John Terwilliger cast the only “no” vote. After hearing from Pequot Lakes School Board member Susan Mathison-Young during the meeting, which everyone attended online via Zoom, Terwilliger said the city should table any action for a month to wait for more information to be gathered regarding programs available to help improve broadband access.

Other council members agreed the city could seek proposals from broadband providers while exploring other programs at the same time.

City Administrator Teri Hastings said COVID-19 funds the city receives could be used toward broadband services. The first step, she said, is to get an idea of what it would take to build out areas of Lake Shore that are currently underserved. The city planned to seek bids from CTC, TDS and Charter Communications, internet providers in the Lake Shore area.

Hastings also said Sylvan Township is receiving additional money from Cass County for broadband.

“So there are some options out there to help improve broadband for the community,” Hastings said.

Mathison-Young said areas underserved by broadband is a problem throughout the state, not just in Lake Shore. She said 28% of all Minnesota students have internet issues, and businesses and groups are working with state government to bring broadband to those rural students who are underserved.

She advised the council to wait to seek bids from providers until more information is gathered about programs designed to help with this issue. Also, she said Thursday, July 30, the state will have a better idea of what schooling will look like this fall with an announcement by Gov. Tim Walz.

“If some is digital curriculum, which is a strong possibility, this has to be ready to go,” she said.

Road work

The council agreed to hold a public hearing online via Zoom at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 24, regarding proposed improvements to Robinhood Way to get public input.

City engineer Widseth prepared a report regarding improvements to the road between the intersection with Little John Road to the north of the city-maintained segment of Robinhood Way, which is approximately 2,525 feet.

Estimated project cost is $219,000. The city’s policy is to assess 60% of the total project cost to benefitted properties. At the public hearing, results of the study will be presented to review proposed improvements, estimated costs and estimated assessments for benefitted properties.

Then the council may choose to discontinue, modify or accept the project. A final assessment hearing would be held if the city chooses to go forward with the project and seek bids.

The city received a petition signed by more than 35% of property owners abutting the gravel road for the improvements.

Public safety

Police reported 133 incidents in June, including 64 traffic-related incidents and 69 miscellaneous reports.

Traffic incidents included 52 traffic warnings and six traffic citations. Miscellaneous calls included seven aquatic invasive species violations, five suspicious activity, four boating complaints, three theft complaints and one damage to property. Lake Shore police assisted other agencies seven times.

In other business Monday, the council

  • Accepted a $450 donation to plant a tree in Lake Shore Memorial Garden Cemetery in memory of Dave Loch, a longtime Lake Shore resident who was mayor from 1985-89 and zoning inspector for a few years.

  • Approved election judges.

  • Learned a Legacy Grant has been submitted for continued Trail 77 work and that Fairview Township is seeking bids for its portion of the trail project.

  • Learned the city issued 12 land use permits in June for a total valuation of $1,257,870. Permits included two dwellings, one guest cabin, one residential addition, five accessory structures, four decks/porches/patios, two septic systems, two grading/shoreline alterations/steps and three short-term rentals.

  • Heard a warning from council member Doug Miller to be aware of telephone and email scams.

Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Nancy.