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Baxter City Council: Approves taxi license for new business, watches police department Halloween video

BAXTER--A taxi license was approved for Grab-a-Cab as a new business operating in Baxter. The Baxter City Council issued the taxi license from Nov. 2, 2016, through June 30, 2017. In one of its shortest meetings, the city council was through a co...

Baxter City Hall
Baxter City Hall

BAXTER-A taxi license was approved for Grab-a-Cab as a new business operating in Baxter.

The Baxter City Council issued the taxi license from Nov. 2, 2016, through June 30, 2017.

In one of its shortest meetings, the city council was through a consent calendar quickly and had no one speaking during the open forum. But they did get a chance to see the creative side to their police department. Before the regular meeting started, the council watched a Baxter Police Department Halloween video.

Police Chief Jim Exsted noted officers reworked schedules and Sgt. Dave Timm volunteered time to put the video together using humor and community policing as officers patrolled on Halloween night, interacted with families and provided candy for youngsters. Even the city's K-9 officer got into the spirit, donning a costume for the occasion.

"We had tons of great comments," Exsted said. "I can't thank Sgt. Timm enough. ... I'm very proud of it."

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Exsted said he wished the council members could have witnessed the reactions and all the positive comments.

"It was so much fun," Exsted said, adding it was good timing and allowed the police department to give back to the community in a positive manner. The video took viewers throughout the city on Halloween, gave the officers a tongue-in-cheek outlet and provided a look at the interaction between community members, both children and adults, and officers in Baxter neighborhoods.

"This has been unbelievable to get out and just be out here with the kids and see all the smiles and the parents, too. It's nice to give back and It's fun to see our officers excited too, you know we don't always get to do the fun stuff... ," Exsted said in the video. "The kids are enjoying it I think. They seem a little surprised to see us-so that's fun, too."

The video, a little more than four minutes, had about 41,000 views on the police department's Facebook page as of Tuesday night. Go to www.brainerddispatch.com to see the video.

In other business, the council:

Approved hiring Brenda Brooks to the vacant receptionist/cashier position.

Approved the Crow Wing County classification of a residential parcel in the Fox Place cul-de-sac, just off Forest Drive near Clearwater Road, allowing the process to continue putting the Pinewood Acres parcel up for public sale. The parcel has $8,590 in outstanding delinquent special assessments. The parcel cost is anticipated to exceed $53,000, looking at the valuation and outstanding assessments.

Approved the purchase of the 2017 GMC Sierra from Nelson Auto Center, including accessories, for $33,899 and placed the 2001 GMC Sonoma, with a blown head gasket, on the state of Minnesota. Nelson Auto Center had the low quote.

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Noted the city's cemetery commission met Aug. 29 with an introduction. All members of the commission have lived in the city for more than 30 years and have family members buried in the cemetery. The re-established commission serves as an advisory body to the council. The commission planned a Sept. 19 walk-through of the cemetery where the commission noted several trees will need to be removed along the westerly fence line for the future expansion area and one dead tree removed from the center of the cemetery. Seven trees were removed from the cemetery this fall. The commission requested and received information about the cemetery. There are 2,016 graves sites with 392 sites occupied and 324 sites prepaid. In addition, 89 sites are reserved such as those next to a family member and 20 sites quarantined as the exact location of the grave is unknown. There are 108 veterans interred in the cemetery and 1,180 graves are still available for purchase. Jeanette Ruff, the only remaining member of the former cemetery board, was named chairwoman of the commission. The commission consensus was not to install location signs or a kiosk in the cemetery. The next meeting is 3:30 p.m. April 17.

At a recent Baxter meeting, Dave Schonrock, Fairview Road resident, spoke during the open forum and was critical of ditches along Fairview Road with the street work saying it is an eyesore and the ditch wasn't needed for water retention. Schonrock wanted the speed limit on Fairview lowered to 30 mph. He said the franchise fee was unfair and should be revisited and thrown out. He was critical of the noise level by trains and motorcycles. Schonrock brought up how much money the Brainerd School District gets per student and how the funds are spent and was critical of a publication he said was put out in 2011 by the school district. Council member Todd Holman said a good place to participate in budget information with the city is 6 p.m. Dec. 5 for the city's component.

Previously approved the conditional use permits for grading in the shoreland overlay district to allow a 1,152-square-foot detached garage, in addition to a planned 882-square-foot attached garage for property at 4587 Joler Road. The council also granted a conditional use permit to allow grading for the accessory structure and new home, which is within the shoreland zoning district of an unnamed lake. The council was told all setbacks were being met and there was plenty of screening between the lot in question and the neighbors.

Heard council comments. Holman praised the recent Brainerd Lakes Chamber Celebration of Excellence dinner event and awards and a pitch for more regular participation on the chamber's government affairs committee, which was formed last year. Council member Mark Cross urged people to get out and vote. Mayor Darrel Olson thanked those who helped out during his recent vacation.

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