The Regional Report: Isle fires city administrator; Staples-Motley settles on school building option
• Following another closed special meeting Monday, the Isle City Council terminated the employment of City Administrator Jeff Turk, the Mille Lacs Messenger reported. All voted in favor of the motion except Mayor Ernie Frie. The issue was discussed at a Jan. 29 meeting as well, and Turk told the newspaper following that meeting he would not resign as the council had directed him to.
No reasons for the termination were given when the city council returned to open session. Once again, the Messenger pointed to open meeting law violations concerning how the city council conducted business, including its failure to cite a reason for closing the special meeting. Turk is the third clerk to leave the city since May 9, 2017.
• Election equipment in use for 15 years in Morrison County is about to be replaced, thanks to a state grant, the Morrison County Record reported. The state awarded the county $89,000, which represents the minimum the state would award. The county has also saved money on its own to replace the aging equipment, which includes ballot counters, assisted voting equipment and poll pads.
• Caucusgoers in Morrison County went the way of the state when it came to favoring governor candidates, the Morrison County Record reported. Jeff Johnson won among Republicans, while Tim Walz was the winner among Democrats. This compares to Crow Wing County, where Rebecca Otto won over the most Democrats, while Johnson also won.
• A Nisswa city council member filed an informational police report alleging improper behavior by the city's mayor, the Echo Journal reported. Council member Ross Krautkremer reported Mayor Fred Heidmann approached him at the church both attend in an attempt to discuss a conflict the two previously had at a meeting. Krautkremer said he asked Heidmann not to discuss those matters in front of his family, which was present. Heidmann told the Echo he thought church was an appropriate place to discuss tensions between the two, which has apparently been ongoing.
• Clay target shooting is now an official school sport in Pequot Lakes, the Echo Journal reported. Available as a club sport for several years, trap shooting has drawn sizable participation and is available to both girls and boys, two reasons the school board offered for approving its addition as a sport.
• Adding sewer and water infrastructure to the Royalton Industrial Park received state support through grant funding, the Morrison County Record reported. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development approved a grant totaling $227,014 to assist with the costs of infrastructure in the park.
In August, the city council approved $262,000 worth of bonds to make the city eligible for the Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure grant.
• The Staples-Motley School Board will pursue one school building for kindergartners through 12th-graders as part of its plan to seek voter approval of a referendum, the Staples World reported. The tentative plan would repurpose and add on to the high school building to accommodate all grade levels, but the board faces a tight turnaround time to get its request to state officials for a November ballot question.
• After accepting a huge increase in property tax prepayments the end of 2017, Todd County commissioners voted not to issue any refunds to those taxpayers who voluntarily paid ahead, the Staples World reported. Todd County previously reported it took in about $1 million in prepaid taxes, apparently in response to federal changes to tax laws. This compares to about $50,000-$60,000 typically collected ahead of time.
By agreeing not to issue refunds, the county could go ahead with investing the tax dollars, rather than keeping it in a trust, the World reported.
• Grant funds from the state will support voting equipment replacement in Todd County as well, the Staples World reported. Todd was awarded $74,320 toward replacing aging equipment, with purchases scheduled later this year.
-- Compiled by Chelsey Perkins, community editor. Perkins may be reached at 218-855-5874 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @DispatchChelsey or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dispatchchelsey.