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Brainerd City Council: City to negotiate lower fee for parking lot

City leaders will try to negotiate a lower fee for a parking lot rented from BNSF Railway. The lot - located off of Front Street - is the only parking lot the city rents. The spaces are then rented out to residents and businesses by the city. At ...

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At a Brainerd City Council meeting Monday, the group directed city staff to contact BNSF Railway and try to negotiate a lower fee. The annual payment to BNSF Railway for the use of the parking lot in 2015 is $11,941, which is a 3 percent increase over last year. Illustration.
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City leaders will try to negotiate a lower fee for a parking lot rented from BNSF Railway.

The lot - located off of Front Street - is the only parking lot the city rents. The spaces are then rented out to residents and businesses by the city.

At a Brainerd City Council meeting Monday, the group directed city staff to contact BNSF Railway and try to negotiate a lower fee.

The city has about 180 parking spots in four lots available to rent to people on a monthly basis. The charge per spot varies, depending on location.

The annual payment to BNSF Railway the use of the parking lot in 2015 is $11,941, which is a 3 percent increase over last year.

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The City of Brainerd has about 180 parking spots in four lots available to rent to people on a monthly basis

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The BNSF Railway lots accounts for 59 of the city's 180 parking spots, providing 24/7 parking for downtown residents, employees and business owners. It's the only of the four lots the city doesn't own, and it's usually rented at or close to capacity.

Another issue the city is facing comes in the parking lot fund, where expenditures are now $5,000 over revenue.

Staff is still brainstorming ways to increase revenue from city-owned parking lots.

City leaders are exploring ideas like increasing rental costs or brainstorming ways to pull in more renters.

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Brainerd's parking lot fund expenditures are now $5,000 over revenue.

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Several spaces sit empty in most of the city's lots.

Staff will bring the issue and recommendations before the council in the near future.

Council member Chip Borkenhagen was absent.

In other council news:

Adopted a resolution establishing new fees for the Brainerd Fire Department. The new fees will increase for areas like crashes, where there will now be a $200 charge per crash, per vehicle where firefighters perform emergency services. In the case of a rescue extrication, there could be a $500 per accident, per vehicle charge. Those fees would be charged to individual insurance companies.

Other fee increases include items like: Family day care or foster care inspections, fire watches, a third false alarm call, a natural gas line hit if proper procedures weren't followed, and renting the training room at the fire department.

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Held the final reading and adoption of an ordinance of the uniform fire code.

Held the final reading and adoption of an ordinance that will raise certain fees in the building department for some permits. The move is an effort to have permit costs closer to other cities, staff say.

Held the final reading and adoption of an ordinance that will raise some fees and permit costs in the Planning Department. Voting against the move were city council members Mary Koep, Sue Hilgart and Gabe Johnson. Because of the 3-3 tie vote, Mayor James Wallin had a vote. His yes vote passed the adoption of the change.

Some concerns about the changes voiced by council members in previous meetings is the $45 cost for temporary signs and that there isn't a reason for the change to the fee schedule.

Approved buying up to $22,515 worth of equipment for the fire department. That includes: Seven sets of personnel protective equipment, 18 pairs of rubber boots, six sections of Heiman Supreme sections of hose, and six sections of larger diameter hose.

The funds will come from the Fire Operating Budget.

Accepted with regret the resignation of paid-on-call firefighter Clinton Headley. With the resignation, there are 30 active paid-on-call firefighters, and one on leave of absence.

The group also approved hiring up to seven paid-on-call firefighters. The department is approved to have up to 40.

Authorized selling the police department's decommissioned Community Service Officer (CSO) truck.

Approved hiring a CSO for the police department. In January, one CSO was hired on as a police officer, leaving possible scheduling issues for the remaining three CSOs, who have limited availability.

Agreed to authorize a conditional job offer to Joseph Koering for the Parks and Recreation Department's maintenance position. The starting pay will be $21.35 per hour and his start date will be March 30.

Approved hiring five summer interns for the Engineering Department. The positions are included in the city's 2015 budget.

Set a public hearing to consider the vacation of Century Court for 7:30 p.m. April 20 at City Hall.

Heard the airport utility extension's Project Management Team will hold meetings on April 3 and 17, and May 1, 15 and 22. The meetings will be at 10 a.m. at City Hall.

Set a workshop for the Personnel and Finance Committee for 4 p.m. on May 12 at City Hall.

Adjourned to: A Paper Task Force meeting at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday at Brainerd Industrial Center; A community meeting on the South Sixth Street renovation project from 7:30-9:30 a.m. at the Brainerd Lakes Chamber; The open house at the Brainerd Fire Department from 4-7 p.m.

JESSIE PERRINE may be reached at jessie.perrine@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5859. Follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/brainerdnews .

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