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Brainerd City Council: Amends school off-street parking ordinance

The Brainerd City Council approved a motion to amend its school off-street parking ordinance. The ordinance in question required institutions of education--such as elementary schools, high schools and colleges--to build a minimum amount of parkin...

Council President Dave Pritchett (left), Mayor Ed Menk and council member Kelly Bevans listen to City Planner Mark Ostgarden during the second reading of the proposed amendment for the city's school off-street parking ordinance. Gabriel Lagarde / Brainerd Dispatch
Council President Dave Pritchett (left), Mayor Ed Menk and council member Kelly Bevans listen to City Planner Mark Ostgarden during the second reading of the proposed amendment for the city's school off-street parking ordinance. Gabriel Lagarde / Brainerd Dispatch

The Brainerd City Council approved a motion to amend its school off-street parking ordinance.

The ordinance in question required institutions of education-such as elementary schools, high schools and colleges-to build a minimum amount of parking spaces based on the student enrollment and faculty needs.

Proponents have argued removing the minimum requirement will enable local districts to remain intimately situated in their neighborhoods where there is limited space for expansion, while taking advantage of underused street parking in adjoining neighborhoods.

Critics questioned whether it was prudent to remove specific language from an already "arbitrary' ordinance, which may create grounds for murky legal disagreements down the road, as well as cause unwanted congestion in streets neighboring area schools.

It was a split vote (5-2). Council President Dave Pritchett and council member Jan Lambert voted against the resolution.

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"I totally agree that it's archaic the way it's set up, but I don't think we should throw the whole thing out. I think we should reexamine what those numbers should be," Pritchett said during final discussion. "I don't believe this is the best way to go for the city of Brainerd."

In other business, the council:

Authorized the assistance of a commercial rehab at the property at 707 Laurel St. The new owner of the Iron Rail building requested the city's assistance in removing insulation (including asbestos), ductwork and other structural amenities from the second floor of the building. The total cost of the project is estimated to be $98,000, which would be paid for by a combination of fund reserves, loans and owner contribution.

Accepted a $500 donation from Mid Minnesota Federal Credit Union.

Approved a request by Brainerd Sports and Marine to forgive excise tax mistakenly paid to the state as local state tax instead of the city of Brainerd between 2009-2016, as well as any penalties or interest incurred in that time. In a letter addressed to the city of Brainerd, owner Brian Halverson said the error occurred at the result of an accounting mistake, which was in part caused by a lack of communication between the state of Minnesota, the city of Brainerd and Brainerd Sports and Marine on the matter.

Accepted the resignation, with regret, of Officer Troy Nash of the Brainerd Police Department, as well as authorizing the establishment of a new police officer eligibility list to replace him. Nash has been offered a position with the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Department.

Authorized to move forward with the purchase of a fire truck by Brainerd Fire Department Chief Tim Holmes. The vehicle being replaced was originally built in 1992.

Authorized the submittal of all eligible National Joint Powers Alliance intern staffing agreements for 2018. In the request to the council, Human Resources Coordinator Kris Schubert identified seven internships intended to fill for 2018: code enforcement, information technology/GIS, parks, engineering and human resources, as well as two positions in planning. Schubert noted she was under the impression that Brainerd Public Utilities and Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport would also be hiring interns. National Joint Powers Alliance updated guidelines state it will not fund more than one intern per discipline in 2018. It reimburses $12 per hour for each intern.

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Authorized Mayor Ed Menk to approve Essentia Health's registration in the federal 340B Program for 2018, enabling St. Joseph's Medical Center to purchase drugs at discounted prices for eligible patients. The resolution further directs staff to work with Essentia Health to determine if the city or Crow Wing County is the more appropriate organization for this type of agreement going forward.

Approved the purchase agreement for a roughly 1 acre lot from Lexington Manufacturing for a new water tower site for the south pressure zone. The Brainerd Public Utilities Commission recommended the council to approve the purchase for $50,000 plus closing costs.

Authorized the city administrator to sign a receipt of acknowledgement that they are vacating any interest in the roadway easement running along and adjacent to County Road 142, serving notice to any property owners neighboring the easement. The city of Brainerd originally obtained the easement in 1969 for a future road alignment to serve the then existing French Rapids Ski area. The alignment was never constructed.

Approved the issuance and sale of general obligation bonds, series 2018A, for the proposed amount of $5,735,000. The bonds are slated to meet expenditures for including, but not exclusive to, the construction of a new water tower, sewer and water improvements related to a street construction projects, two streets and the acquisition of equipment.

Approved the resignation, with regret, of Emily MacDonald from the Comprehensive Steering Committee and appointed P. J. Severson as her replacement.

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