Brainerd council meetings to open to the public

Meetings will still be available online and by phone.

Brainerd City Council members distance themselves in newly remodeled council chambers during their meeting Tuesday, Sept. 8. Theresa Bourke / Brainerd Dispatch

Brainerd City Council meetings will open back up to the public beginning Sept. 21.

The council met with staff in a newly remodeled city hall Tuesday, Sept. 8, for the first time since October. Meetings were moved to the Crow Wing County Historic Courthouse during a construction project at city hall. Meetings then went virtual on WebEx in April due to the coronavirus pandemic.

City staff and council members came in person for the last meeting, while others joined virtually. But following the example of Crow Wing County, the council agreed to open up to the public in the future, while maintaining social distancing guidelines.

RELATED: County to welcome public back to board meetings Those in attendance will be expected to follow social distancing guidelines and the state mandate requiring masks in indoor spaces.
The public will still be able to join virtually via WebEx with either video or phone. Meetings will also be livestreamed on YouTube.

“The council just wants to make sure we are making it available to as many people as we possibly can,” City Administrator Jennifer Bergman said over the phone Friday, Sept. 11.


In other business Tuesday, the council:

Authorized the hiring of three street maintenance employees: Robert Anderson, who transferred from the parks department, will be placed at Step 6 of the city’s wage scale earning $25.86 per hour; Michael Jensen will be at Step 4 earning $23.87 per hour; and Chad Lardy will be at Step 2, making $21.37 per hour. Salaries are reflective of experience.

Accepted, with “heavy regret,” the resignation of Police Chief Corky McQuiston, effective Nov. 28, authorized his severance pay out and authorized the civil service commission to begin the hiring process for a replacement.

Accepted a long-term disability insurance proposal from current carrier Madison National Life Insurance Company at a 17% premium reduction with a three-year rate guarantee. The result will be a premium savings of about $2,800 a year divided among the city, Brainerd Public Utilities and the Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

Appointed council member Tad Erickson to the employee insurance committee.

Approved a street closure request for the fire department’s annual open house Oct. 8 at the fire department. East River Road will be closed between Front and Laurel streets for the event, running 5-7 p.m.

Approved payment for the 2020 street patching projects at a cost of $50,000 to Anderson Brothers Construction.

Approved a plan to create a new police impound lot as part of the remodel project planned for the street department facilities in the industrial park.


Accepted the resignation of Yvette Campbell from the Economic Development Authority, as she is moving out of state.

Reappointed Michael O’Day to the Economic Development Authority.

Appointed Ketih Riedel to the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport Commission.

Approved new on-sale, off-sale and Sunday liquor licenses for Northern Pacific Hospitality, which plans to open a restaurant called Notch 8 at 1551 Northern Pacific Road this fall.

Appointed council members Gabe Johnson and Wayne Erickson to a committee that will explore the possibility of creating a public works committee after the retirement of Parks Director Tony Sailer at the end of the year.

Adjourned to a budget workshop at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 14, in the training room at the fire department.

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at .
Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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