Pequot Lakes: Council talks about goals with department heads

The Pequot Lakes City Council on Tuesday, Jan. 27, met in a work session with city department heads to discuss current department projects, as well as mid-term and long-term goals.

The Pequot Lakes City Council on Tuesday, Jan. 27, met in a work session with city department heads to discuss current department projects, as well as mid-term and long-term goals.

No action was taken. Council member Greg Karr was absent from the work session.

City clerk's office

City clerk Sandy Peine, who plans to retire this year, recommended the council hire a consulting agency to help determine the long-term management structure for the city. Specifically, Peine said the consultant would analyze whether the city should have a city administrator.

If the council chooses to pursue such a study, Peine suggested contracting with David Drown Associations of Faribault for $2,500. Through a contract with the National Joint Powers Alliance, that entity would pay half of that cost, she said.


Among other items in her report, Peine suggested the city conduct a utility rate study within the next year to determine what the city needs to charge users to pay for a proposed sewer system being discussed.

Among that department's future goals were to upgrade the city website and analyze city hall office structure to consider options to make city offices more user friendly.

Public works department

Current and future projects for the public works department center on the expansion of Highway 371 to four lanes and the turnback of roads from the state and Crow Wing County to the city.

The department may need a larger, proper sand/salt building, another fully equipped and manned snowplow-sanding truck and a budget that is funded to handle the additional miles of road.

The council briefly discussed the Highway 371 expansion and what it means to the city in terms of road turnbacks and associated costs, as well as another potential option for the city's spray irrigation field.

The rerouted highway will go through the current fields, and the council's last discussion centered on an option that could cost an estimated $2 million.

City engineer Tim Houle of Widseth Smith Nolting briefed the council on another option that would be less expensive.


Public works supervisor Mike Loven also listed the purchase and development of another public-owned cemetery as a long-term plan.

Planning and zoning department

Main future plans are ongoing implementation of wellhead protection and the comprehensive plan, as well as the Highway 371 expansion.

Public safety

The police department is developing an action plan to have all officers as certified first responders or emergency medical technicians. Long-range goals include looking at technology enhancements that re next generation technology, having a technology training center and hiring an additional full-time officer.

Mid-range plans for the fire department include buying a new tanker and rescue truck as part of a rotation of upgrading vehicles. A long-range plan is buying a fire engine as part of that truck rotation plan.


Each department head also shared with the council a "department dream." The city clerk's office listed additional employee positions and coordinating with surrounding cities to hire a grant writer and an IT employee.


The public works department listed a public works/maintenance complex built on a site where future city growth won't hamper future operations of the department.

The fire department's dreams are to hook city hall to the city sewer system to be able to run water without issues, as well as to have a ladder truck and grant writer.

The police department listed changing from a police department to a public safety agency that would include fire and emergency management, as well as moving the police department downstairs at city hall.

Mayor Dave Sjoblad shared that his dream is to have a hotel with a swimming pool in the middle of town.

"That's what we need to do in this city is dream a little bit," he said. "Every property that we get increases the tax base. ... i'm encouraging everybody to dream. My dream is a hotel."

Sjoblad also talked about the need to shop local and support community businesses, especially in the hard winter months when few tourists are here.

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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