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Outside charitable organizations soon able to hold gambling in city

Charitable organizations outside of the Brainerd and Baxter area will soon be able to conduct charitable gambling within city limits — but it will be at a heightened cost.

The Brainerd City Council met Monday, hearing the final reading of a proposed lawful charitable gambling ordinance amendment.

The amendment will require at least 85 percent of the net profits from the gambling be used to directly benefit residents of the city of Brainerd/Baxter. Previously, organizations that were not within city limits could not conduct charitable gambling inside Brainerd/Baxter.

“I agree with (the amendment change),” said Sandy Johnson of the Baxter Alliance Club and Regional Seven director of Allied Charities of Minnesota during a public hearing on the change. “There are enough charitable organizations that support the community that we shouldn’t go outside the community.”

Council members held little discussion on the topic.

The charitable organizations located in the Brainerd and Baxter city limits will not see any change. Those organizations will still be required to give back 10 percent of net profits to benefit residents of the city.

The ordinance will go into effect 90 days after its published.

In other council news:

A letter will be signed by the Brainerd City Council to Gov. Mark Dayton in support of the Solar Jobs Act.

The letter, drafted by resident Neal Lesmeister, asks Dayton to work to pass regulations that will encourage the development of Minnesota’s solar resource.

Lesmeister bought the letter to the council at its Monday meeting.

“We request that you work for the people of Brainerd and all Minnesotans to pass regulations that will encourage the development of Minnesota’s great solar resource that is equivalent to Florida and Houston, TX, for generating our state’s energy,” the letter reads. “The $25 billion that we spend out of state on dirty fuels like coal, oil and gas should be diverted to creating jobs in Minnesota producing our own clean energy.”

Councilwoman Mary Koep opposed the motion.

The council will also encourage Brainerd Public Utility to become involved as possible with any state solar talks.

The council committed 20 percent, or an estimated $16,400, for a project to replace a transit bus in 2017. The Brainerd/Crow Wing County Transit System applied for federal funding to replace the bus. In order to move forward with collecting the funds, 20 percent of the cost needs to be committed by officials. About half of the price tag will he handed to Crow Wing County and city of Baxter for each proportional share of the service. The funds have already been set aside for the project in the Transit Fund.

A public hearing will be held at 7:30 p.m., on Monday, March 18 in Council Chambers on street improvements proposed by the city engineer. The estimated cost of the projects is $1.08 million.

The council approved a memorandum of understanding for the police supervisors bargaining unit, addressing the base wage of $35.68 for captain and $31.14 for sergeant. Also, a 2 percent of annual wage increase after eight years of service; 3 percent after 12 years; 4 percent after 16 years; 5 percent after 20 years. This is for the 2012-14 collective bargaining agreement.

The city of Brainerd will pay a $250 fine to the Pollution Control Agency for improper disposal of materials in the library roofing project. The contractor hired for the project stored the material instead of properly disposing of it. The contractor will reimburse the city for the fine.

Brainerd resident Jeff Czeczok told the council the city’s Park Department building doorway was not up to code, as required by the American Disabilities Act. Czeczok asked city officials to address the doorway. City engineer Jeff Hulsether said officials are working to identify similar areas in the city and the doorway would be addressed. The matter was also referred to the Parks Committee.

JESSICA LARSEN may be reached at or 855-5859. Follow me on Twitter at