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Pequot Lakes, Breezy Point edge closer to forming fire district

Pequot Lakes City Council also discusses cooperative road project, Coleman Drive improvements

Pequot Lakes council members.jpg
The Pequot Lakes City Council meets for a regular meeting Tuesday, March 1, 2022, at city hall. From left are council members Scott Pederson and Cheri Seils, Mayor Tyler Gardner, and council members Pete Clement and Dan Ronning.
Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal
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PEQUOT LAKES — Pequot Lakes and Breezy Point continue to edge closer to forming a joint fire district after both councils approved the contract pending final review by each city’s legal team.

The Breezy Point City Council took this action at its regular meeting Monday, March 7. The Pequot Lakes City Council did so at its regular meeting Tuesday, March 1.

“As far as I see, everything is looking really good. The working relationship has already been positive,” Mayor Tyler Gardner said.

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That consensus came at the Pequot Lakes City Council’s regular meeting Tuesday, Oct. 5, and after the council last month indicated it wasn’t interested in a draft fire district proposal from Breezy Point.

Breezy Point City Administrator Patrick Wussow and Mayor Todd Roggenkamp attended the Pequot Lakes meeting but didn’t speak.

In other public safety news, the council learned firefighters had seven calls in February, including four to Breezy Point and one each to Nisswa, Pequot Lakes and Jenkins Township.

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Council members agreed to hire Tim Friis as a part-time police officer pending routine background checks. He has 20 years of law enforcement experience and recently returned to Minnesota.

Police had 179 calls for service in January.

Roads

Regarding a cooperative road project study completed for Pequot Lakes, Breezy Point and Ideal and Jenkins townships, council members revisited the topic and agreed estimated costs were too high to bring roads in the study to county standards.

Council consensus was to plan a special meeting with the other three entities to get their thoughts since this would be a joint project with shared costs. Roads in the study are Akerson, Nelson and Wild Acres in Pequot Lakes; Buschmann in Breezy Point; Wild Acres, Nelson and Buschmann in Ideal Township; and Wild Acres in Jenkins Township.

The study outlined two options to use the road corridor to connect to County Roads 16 and 112 in the west and to County Road 11 in the east.

Pequot Lakes City Council agrees to continue exploring alternative that is less expensive for that city

It’s hard to decide to spend that money (an estimated $3 million for Pequot Lakes) with a small tax base when the city has other projects that need attention, Gardner said.

Council member Scott Pederson agreed, saying if the city borrowed $3 million, that would become $4 million by the time it was paid off, and over 50 years the city wouldn’t break even by the time roads were resurfaced and rebuilt.

He suggested they be kept as rural roads.

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In other road discussion, the council agreed to hold a preliminary special assessment hearing for proposed Coleman Drive improvements after receiving a draft feasibility study for that road.

The hearing will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 12, at city hall, where a summary of the feasibility study will be presented to abutting property owners, who will receive individual notices about the hearing.

The proposed improvements, estimated costs and estimated assessments for the benefited properties will be reviewed at the public hearing.

The council will ultimately decide whether to pursue the improvements.

The environmental and steep grade concerns make this a challenging and potentially expensive road to address, a council memo from the city engineer said.

The project would involve reconstruction of Coleman Drive from its intersection with Pequot Boulevard to the end of Coleman Drive, approximately 775 feet.

In other business March 1, the council:

  • Agreed to seek a request for proposals for the Trailside Estates development to identify a development partner to work with the city on this project.
  • Agreed to search for a full-time water/wastewater operations manager after having previously submitted a 180-day notice to the Pine River Area Sanitation District to discontinue contracted services with that entity.

The city did this to evaluate what was best for the city and to have the opportunity to seek alternatives because of the current state of the PRASD board, its actions regarding exploring contracting the service to another vendor without the city’s input, and continued volatility of its operations and actions, a council memo said.

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  • Discussed where to use American Rescue Plan funds. The city received $125,620 in funds and will get another equal distribution next summer.

Staff proposed investing the funds in stormwater infrastructure since there have been two substantial leaks within the last six months with cost estimates of $50,000.

The council discussed putting some of the funds toward broadband as well.

  • Declared city boundaries and the polling place (Cole Memorial Building) after redistricting occurred.

Nancy Vogt, editor, 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.

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 nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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