Pequot Lakes: Council prepares Heart of the Good Life for development
The Pequot Lakes City Council on Tuesday, Aug. 4, took steps to prepare the Heart of the Good Life development south of the current business park for future business.
The council - minus Mayor James Tayloe, who was absent - amended the official zoning map to rezone 87.3 acres of land in the Heart of the Good Life development from Public and Agriculture to Patriot Development. The property contains the Pequot Lakes Public Works Facility and is accessed via Derksen Road.
Then the council approved the preliminary plat of the Heart of the Good Life development with plans to subdivide the property south of Derksen Road into two commercial lots and an outlot.
Proposed Lot 1 is 5.6 acres and contains the city’s public works facility, accessed via Derksen Road.
Proposed Lot 2 is 5.4 acres and is vacant. It is accessed via Derksen Road and Larsen Parkway, a new road the city named last month in honor of the late Ed Larsen, a former Pequot Lakes mayor and high school principal.
Outlot A is 76.3 acres and is vacant. It is accessed via Derksen Road and Larsen Parkway as well. It will be further subdivided as businesses choose to locate in this development.
CARES Act funds
The city received $176,748 in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funds. Department heads will meet to discuss allocation of the funds. They will meet with Tyler Glynn from the Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corp. to discuss proper use of the funds.
Items staff has discussed include various cleaning and safety supplies, Zoom subscriptions, liquor license fees reductions, payroll expenses for emergency paid sick leave, IT upgrades, expenses to facilitate distance learning, chamber building rent reduction and other recruitment, water disconnection fees, water/sewer late fees waiver, laptops/tablets for council members and city hall security items.
The city must submit its list by Nov. 15.
In an update on the city’s search for a new administrator, the council approved temporary salary increases for the city clerk/treasurer and administrative assistant retroactive to July 27.
City Clerk/Treasurer Angie Duus and Administrative Assistant Jenny Peterson will perform city administrator duties until a new administrator is hired.
The council also accepted the city administrator community/position profile, a salary range of $73,028 to $95,000, a job description and search schedule from David Drown Associates.
Compared to area cities, council member Scott Pederson thought Pequot Lakes’ initial upper salary range of $87,634 was too low to attract the best qualified people.
Council member Jerry Akerson disagreed, but later agreed that “you get what you pay for.”
The city is seeking someone with a minimum of two years of city administrator experience.
Advertising for the position was to start Wednesday, Aug. 5, with the goal to have an administrator on the job at the end of November.
In other business Aug. 4, with council member Cheri Seils running the meeting as mayor pro tem, the council:
Accepted quotes from Falls Flag Source for $11,040 for a U.S. armed services flag display around the Veterans Memorial in Trailside Park, and from Rickard and Sons for $2,300 for the concrete strip for the display. The FM Area Foundation previously donated funds for this flag display.
The council also discussed removing the Mississippi state flag from the city’s flag display along Main Street. The city has received complaints about it, and the Mississippi legislature agreed to retire the current version of the flag and design a new one that would prohibit the use of the confederate flag.
The city’s Mississippi flag is currently down because it needed to be replaced because of wear and tear. Council members agreed they likely wouldn’t have taken down the existing flag, but since it needed to be replaced they might as well wait for the state’s new flag design.
Appointed Deborah Botham to the Housing and Redevelopment Authority Commission vacancy through 2022. Akerson was opposed, preferring to appoint Clara Nelson, who also applied for the appointment.
Learned the police department reported 353 calls for service in June, and the fire department had seven calls in June.
Changed the date for a special city council meeting from Aug. 18 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 19, to review the city’s capital improvement plan and 2021 preliminary budget.
Changed its November meeting date from Tuesday, Nov. 3, (general election day) to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10.
Agreed as many city council members as possible should attend meetings in person at city hall. Akerson and Mimi Swanson have been attending online via Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or email@example.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Nancy.