The city of Brainerd is in the process of purchasing the hydrodam for an approximate price of $4.115 million.
The city council entered into closed session with an inappropriately classified document — labeled confidential — which was a report by the consulting engineering firm.
The report was created per the due diligence period negotiated through the purchase agreement with the owner of the hydrodam.
The due diligence period ends on March 13, and if the city council makes no counter offers or fails to extend the due diligence period, it appears the taxpayers, via the city council, will purchase the hydrodam by default.
Prior to the closed meeting on March 3, a request was made to provide the state statute in which the engineering report was allowed to be classified as confidential.
The statute provided was 13D.05 subd 3(C)(3).
This statute only provides authority to enter a closed session, and does not provide a qualified response to the question.
The city council was informed of this at the time of the occurrence; however, the council president indicated they have to follow the city attorney’s advice.
The council, if they’ve the fortitude, do not have to follow the advice of their attorney and could’ve conducted “your” business in the public arena and also provided the engineering report as well.
Now it appears the city council may perhaps purchase a hydrodam without the public being invited to learn of the contents of the engineering report, or even learning of the rationale they’ll be using to continue with the purchase.
If the engineering report indicated positive reasons for the purchase, it would’ve been made public. Conducting the public’s business behind closed doors is never in the public’s best interest; especially when considering decisions of such magnitude.