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Brainerd City Council: Airport security motion rescinded

Monday night, the Brainerd City Council decided to reverse its decision to no longer provide security to the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport. At a Dec. 1 meeting, the council unanimously approved a motion to notify Crow Wing County and the Braine...

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At a Dec. 1 meeting, the council unanimously approved a motion to notify Crow Wing County and the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport that as of Feb. 1, the Brainerd Police Department would no longer be providing security service to the airport without being compensated. Monday, on a 6-1 vote, with council member Gabe Johnson voting no, the council voted to rescind the motion it had passed about a week earlier. Brainerd Dispatch file photo

Monday night, the Brainerd City Council decided to reverse its decision to no longer provide security to the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport.

At a Dec. 1 meeting, the council unanimously approved a motion to notify Crow Wing County and the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport that as of Feb. 1, the Brainerd Police Department would no longer be providing security service to the airport without being compensated.

Monday, on a 6-1 vote, with council member Gabe Johnson voting no, the council voted to rescind the motion it had passed about a week earlier.

Council member Mary Koep presented the motion to rescind the previous motion. She said after the initial motion passed, Crow Wing County commissioners and County Administrator Tim Houle were upset with the decision.

There were two meetings earlier this year between city and county representatives which resulted in no action or resolution from the county, Koep said.

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"It's my understanding the county is asking that we would have a little more discussion," Koep said.

City Administrator Jim Thoreen said Houle was disappointed in the decision to no longer provide security at the airport and it came as a shock.

Now that the motion is rescinded, Koep and Thoreen will meet with Houle and a county commissioner to develop an agreement to provide security at the airport. Koep said she was frustrated with the lack of action from the county but recommended rescinding the motion now that the county has come back to the negotiation table.

"I would recommend it for one reason only: to be a neighbor," Koep said. "They are our neighbor. And we need to work with them on other issues. And I think it always behooves us to take that extra step to try to understand where our neighbor is coming from."

Johnson said the council was taking the airport security issue seriously for a year and the county was dragging its feet on the issue. He said he's happy the county is taking the issue seriously now, but rescinding the motion relieves some of the negotiating pressure.

"The airport is within the jurisdiction of Crow Wing County," Johnson said. "It's not unreasonable to expect Crow Wing County to provide security at the airport."

Council member Dave Pritschet said he agreed with Johnson's reasoning, but upholding the motion to discontinue service would be the city cutting off its nose to spite its face. The city wanted to bring the county to the negotiating table, and that's what happened.

"A goodwill gesture that costs us nothing is probably a better way to start a negotiation," Pritschet said. "I don't think we lose face by rescinding."

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SPENSER BICKETT may be reached at 218-855-5859 or spenser.bickett@brainerddispatch.com . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/spenserbickett .

Related Topics: CROW WING COUNTY
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