Nisswa: Council seeks to keep current hauler to provide recycling services

Letter to be sent to Crow Wing County requesting funding to keep city's recycling dropoff location with Waste Partners as hauler

The Nisswa City Council on Wednesday, Aug. 19, agreed to send a letter to Crow Wing County, asking the county to help fund the city's recycling dropoff location by contributing $35,000, or half of the quoted cost for 2021 from the city's current recycling provider, Waste Partners.

The request comes after Crow Wing County announced it would close all county recycling dropoff locations in 2021 except two - at the landfill in Brainerd and the transfer station in Ideal Township.

While the county is offering a 50% match to communities that want to continue offering a recycling location, those communities would have to use the county’s contracted hauler. Nisswa wants to continue working with Waste Partners, based in Pine River, but that company isn’t guaranteed to get the county contract.

CARES Act funding

City Administrator Jenny Max told the council the city received $155,879 in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funding. To date, the city has incurred $22,532 in costs that will be reimbursed from the CARES funding received.

Other ideas for CARES Act funding include iPads for city council members; council chambers audio visual improvements; concrete pads for picnic benches built to provide more outdoor seating opportunities; parks online registration software; protective equipment supplies; staff technology improvements for telecommuting (laptops, iPads); conference room improvements; and webcams/microphones for computers.


Max said these items plus year-to-date costs total $83,632, which would leave $72,246 in unused funds to send to Crow Wing County. The county, in partnership with the Brainerd Lakes Economic Development Corp., created a grant program for businesses and nonprofits to use CARES Act funding.

Max said funds the city would give to the county for this program would go to Nisswa businesses or nonprofits.

The council will continue to consider how it wants to use CARES Act funding, and agreed to send excess funds to Crow Wing County.

In other business Aug. 19, the council:

  • Agreed to create an ordinance requiring Hazelwood Drive property owners to connect to the city sewer system - which is being installed now - when the property is sold, when the septic system falls into noncompliance or if the property owner applies for a building permit that would require them to update their septic system.

Those property owners would pay the connection fee in effect when they do connect. In 2020, that fee is $10,000.
The council denied a request from The Outreach Program of Brainerd Lakes (formerly Kids Against Hunger), a nonprofit organization that packages meals for the needy, to waive the sewer connection fee. Council consensus is that wouldn't be fair and the costs would still exist.

  • Moved city clerk Jon Stainbrook from a six-month probationary status to permanent employee; hired Craig O'Reilly as a maintenance technician in the public works department; and hired Dustin Spohn, parks department intern, as a temporary employee for the parks department until a parks director is able to start (approximately four weeks).

  • Accepted a quote for $9,260 from Municode to recodify the Nisswa City Code. The recodification process will take 10-12 months.

  • Agreed to have staff work with the city's labor attorney, Kennedy & Graven, to update the city's personnel policy at a cost not to exceed $2,580.

  • Agreed to buy a Toro MDX for the parks department for $10,828. Mayor Fred Heidmann abstained from voting after asking for more information about the purchase because of wording in the request that said "there is money in the budget to purchase this Toro." He didn't think a purchase should be made just because there was money in the budget.

  • Adopted a policy to establish procedures to sell bulk water and materials (such as wood chips or compost) to the general public. Fees are included in an amended fee schedule the council adopted.

  • Learned firefighters had 46 calls for service in July, including 36 emergency medical services calls, four car wrecks, two power line down, two carbon monoxide calls and one each grass fire and gas line cut.

  • Learned that in July, police had 287 calls for service, 22 EMS calls and 45 agency assists, issued 154 traffic warnings and 34 traffic citations, and made eight arrests.

  • Accepted the offer of the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority to buy a $5,208,648 general obligation sewer revenue note of 2020 to rehabilitate and expand the wastewater stabilization ponds and spray irrigation system.

  • Learned the city’s website has a function where people can sign up for website pages and then receive notifications via email or text if something on that page is updated.

Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at

From left are City Engineer Mark Hallan, City Attorney Tom Pearson, council member Don Jacobson, Mayor Fred Heidmann and council members Mike Hoff and John Ryan at the Aug. 19 Nisswa City Council meeting at city hall. Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal

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 or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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