Crosslake Mayor Dave Nevin had harsh words for the Crosslakers Water Quality Group for seeking to retain the former city engineer for a planned project.
Before John Forney, chair of the Crosslakers Water Quality Group, shared an update on the proposed stormwater project from Crosslake Community School to the Pine River at the Monday, May 10, council meeting, Nevin interrupted to remind Forney that the city hired Bolton & Menk as its engineer this year, rather than Widseth engineering firm.
The Water Quality Group worked with Widseth in the past and planned to retain that firm. Nevin wasn’t happy that the group didn’t seek city council authorization first.
Nevin said Patty Norgaard had asked his opinion about a proposal from Widseth for services, and he told her he opposed that because the city had hired a new city engineer this year. He asked her to bring that proposal to the council.
“The proposal is from an engineer not authorized by the city,” he said.
Norgaard, who attended the meeting at city hall, said she asked for Nevin’s support of the project and that the group wanted to remain working with Widseth because of that firm’s past support for water quality projects in Crosslake.
“We are now bringing it to council,” she said.
Forney did provide an update on the Water Quality Group’s work, noting the group is seeking a grant for the next proposed project. He said work started last summer when Widseth was the city engineer.
He, too, praised Widseth, saying the group has no experience with Bolton & Menk. Later, Forney and Norgaard said the issue wasn’t about Bolton & Menk and that firm’s qualifications at all, it was simply that the group likes working with Widseth.
“We feel like they truly believe in doing this kind of work,” Forney said.
Nevin maintained that Bolton & Menk has expertise in water quality, saying the Water Quality Group brought the issue to city hall to pick a battle and dig their heels in to say they wanted a different engineering firm. It showed a lack of respect for Bolton & Menk, he said, adding he didn’t appreciate the group going a different route.
Forney said that wasn’t the intent of the presentation and request. Norgaard said the group simply wanted to use resources it used in the past to make sure the project proceeds in the easiest, most efficient and cost effective manner.
Nevin remained disappointed in how it was presented, saying he stood firmly with Bolton & Menk.
The council agreed to table the proposal for an engineer and have the Water Quality Group approach Bolton & Menk.
However, council member Dave Schrupp told Forney: “John, sorry - you are a volunteer and being treated as you are. For the amount of money and impact of the project it’s hard to understand. I don’t feel the same way as what was delivered to you.”
In other business Monday, the council:
Accepted the 2020 audit after hearing a presentation from Mary Reedy of CliftonLarsonAllen LLP before the regular meeting.
Accepted a $300 donation from John and Sue Favorite to the police department, and a $3,000 donation from George and Maxine Riches to the fire department.
Denied an application for a road right of way vacation request from Leo Varley on Whitefish Avenue, who sought to vacate Hillcrest Beach public right of way between properties.
Varley through his attorney then sought a modification, seeking to provide a cleared pathway through a new easement to provide access. They will work with city staff and the council on the process moving forward.
Accepted resignations of Jeffrey Pfaff from the Public Safety Committee and Dale Melberg from the Public Works Committee, and appointed Curt Mowers to the Public Safety Committee and Tim Berg (currently an alternate) to the Public Works Committee.
Allowed Mark Wessels to continue serving as planning and zoning commission member based on his years of service to the city, his background and experience. Wessels is moving just outside the city limits.
Learned of a certificate of commendation for Public Works Director Ted Strand and his staff from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for adhering to permit guidelines for the wastewater treatment plant.
Agreed to renew existing liquor license establishments for 2021-2022.
Agreed to buy a locked storage chest for confidential, detailed invoice statements from Jessica Durbin, city labor attorney, to be located at city hall. Those statements were mailed directly to Nevin as mayor, and City Clerk Char Nelson said statutory city code makes the city clerk responsible for preserving all city records.
Agreed to changes to update the Respectful Workplace Policy and talked about the Social Media Policy.
Agreed to acquire tax forfeited Crow Wing County land, and to allow Crow Wing County to reclassify a parcel as non-conservation and approved the intended sale.
Approved a proposal for city engineer Bolton & Menk’s professional engineering services for 2022 road improvements for an estimated $58,800. These road projects were delayed from 2021 and include Wild Wind Ranch Drive; Rushmore Boulevard and Trail; Birch Narrows Road; Whitefish Avenue, Hilltop Drive, Woodland Drive and Cool Haven Lane; and Harbor Lane (2023 construction).
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