The Pine River City Council on Tuesday, Oct. 13, approved a list of items the city will submit for reimbursement from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act as many cities have already done.

The list amounts to approximately $60,202.50 in expenses, all related to improving the city offices and police department's sanitation and safety in light of the COVID-19 situation. Big expenses include $8,475 to replace the heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit at city hall. An additional $20,000 is included to replace the HVAC unit for the police department offices.

An additional $8,085 would be used to convert city hall bathroom facilities to touchless with an equal amount spent to do the same for the restroom facilities in the police department.

Other items include sanitary updates to the office cubicles and the customer window, a touchless water dispenser, laptops and equipment to enable employees to work from home and, of course, cleaning supplies.

Many government units are also in the process of requesting similar expenses in the area. Jenkins is also upgrading its HVAC units and purchasing laptops for employees. The items the council chose appear to be what most cities consider unlikely to be turned down, as items that are later determined to be unrelated to the COVID-19 countermeasures might not be reimbursed, placing those expenses back on the city.

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In other business Oct. 13, the council:

  • Hired Bradley Person, attorney with Breen & Person, as the new city attorney under the same agreement the city had with the late Ted Lundrigan. That agreement is to pay $100 per council meeting and $250 per hour. Lundrigan attended most council meetings. He died at the end of August. Person offered to attend most council meetings; but at request of the council, he will likely only attend when his presence is requested. The city did not address it, but this could represent a cost savings over time.
  • Agreed to allow ZKR Properties, LLC, owners of GuidePoint Pharmacy, to restrict one parking space in front of the pharmacy to curbside pickup only and one space for prescription pickup and immunization treatments only, though the business has the ability to choose its own verbiage. The council has made a similar allowance for the Pine River Area Food Shelf because of COVID-19. The spaces at the GuidePoint Pharmacy are, likewise, a special consideration due to COVID-19. The pharmacy may revisit the council later to address a longer term option.
  • Agreed to resume distributing paychecks to the city's firefighters. At some point in the past, the fire department asked the city to pay checks quarterly into the department's relief fund instead of being distributed individually to firefighters.
  • Agreed to exempt spires from the city's building height ordinance. The council held a public hearing just before the regular meeting regarding the amendment to the ordinance. Nobody spoke at the hearing and so the amendment was approved during the regular meeting.
  • Approved a request by Police Chief Paul Sand to purchase a 2012 Chevy Crew Cab police truck from Pike Bay Township for $5,500. The department has funds for the purchase in its budget. The purchase would replace a 2004 squad car.
  • Approved a letter of support being sent to TDS for expansion of fiber optic internet in the city's main business corridor.

Travis Grimler may be reached at 218-855-5853 or travis.grimler@pineandlakes.com. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Travis.