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Brainerd City Council: Cumberland elected to be council president

A new year and a new council was present at Monday’s Brainerd City Council meeting, where Mary Koep, Gary Scheeler, Dave Pritschett and Chip Borkenhagen were sworn in.

City Administrator Theresa Goble opened the meeting and swearing in the new members before a call for nominations for council president and vice president. Scheeler nominated Bonnie Cumberland for president. No other nominations were made and Koep made a unanimous vote for Cumberland.

“I had a fortune cookie and it said you will be put in a place of high honor and power,” said Cumberland after accepting the role of council president. “I want to thank you. I think the previous council presidents I’ve served with have set the bar quite high...and I thank you for putting me in this position.”

Koep nominated Dale Parks for the vice president role as Parks nominated Kelly Bevans. Parks ultimately won the position with a 5-2 votes for, Borkenhagen and Pritschett voted for Bevans.

In her first duty as council president, Cumberland asked for feedback from council members as to what committees they would like to be assigned to.

In other council business...Brainerd City Engineer Jeff Hulsether presented council with a Safe Routes To School (SRTS) funding proposal. Hulsether said staff has been working with the Brainerd School District to develop a SRTS grant application with Garfield Elementary being the main focus.

The grant amount is $300,000, which Hulsether said will fund the completion of the sidewalks on the Garfield block and construction extending one block in each direction. He added that the cost of completing the construction of the sidewalks on the Garfield block is estimated at $75,000, which is the amount Hulsether recommended the city contribute. That additional money would also expand the project and give the city the ability to add 7 blocks.

Bevans made a motion to support the recommendation, which passed 6-1, with Koep voting against the motion.

Koep said she supports the $300,000 grant but not the additional $75,000.

“I think it’s unfair,” she said. “I think it’s unfair to the broader public.”

Bevans said he thinks that this project is one of the more important ones the city should take on.

“If we don’t do another sidewalk project in the next few years that would be fine,” said Bevans. “But I think we need to take advantage of this opportunity to make our routes to school safer.”

A meeting with the neighborhood is set for 6 p.m. on Thursday.

■ Accepted the resignations with regret from:

• Don Crust, Charter Commission

• Paul Hirst, Planning Commission

• Cynthia Dallaire and Mary Wohl, Rental Dwelling Board of Appeals

■ Committee recommendations by Mayor James Wallin.

• Reappoint Jeremy Doyle, Cable TV Advisory Committee, term to expire Dec. 31, 2015

• Reappoint Bill Dian and Wayne Erickson, Charter Commission, term to expire Dec. 31, 2016

• New appointments of Shelia DeChantal, Library Board, term to expire Dec. 31, 2015, and Audrae Gruber, term to expire Dec. 31, 2017

• Reappoint Tim Boeder, Parks and Recreation Board, term to expire Dec. 31, 2017

• New appointment, Lucy Nesheim at Lay Person, Public Utilities Commission, term to expire Dec. 31, 2017

• Reappoint Rick Fargo, Todd Barnett and Teresa Hettver, Rental Dwelling License Board of Appeals, terms to expire Dec. 31, 2014

Council decided to discuss appointing Nesheim at a later meeting.

JESSI PIERCE, staff writer, may be reached at 855-5859 or Follow her on Twitter at (@jessi_pierce).