Brainerd seeks new building official

Brainerd City Council members discuss matters during their meeting Tuesday, Feb. 18, at the Crow Wing County Historic Courthouse. Theresa Bourke / Brainerd Dispatch

After the announcement of Brainerd Building Official Chuck Arvidson’s retirement, the city council authorized staff to post for a replacement and conduct the hiring process.

The council also agreed Tuesday, Feb. 18, to amend the building official job description to list the possession of a state delegation agreement as a desired qualification rather than mandatory.

“The goal of that would be hopefully opening up the potential pool of building official applicants,” Community Development Director David Chanski said at Tuesday’s meeting.

Arvidson’s retirement, effective March 3, leaves the city without a building inspector who has a Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry delegation agreement for inspection, which allows the city to issue permits and conduct inspections for building projects overseen by the state. These projects include public schools, hospitals and other state institutions. Right now, the city is overseeing two Brainerd Public Schools projects at Harrison Elementary School and Brainerd High School, with several others planned for the coming years.

If the city does not have someone with this delegation, the department of labor and industry will take over management of all current state level projects and cut the city out of all future state level projects, while charging the city for its services. This could result in a severe hit to the city’s budget, as at least $150,000 in planned permit revenue would not be realized, along with any revenue that would be received through future projects.


The city of Baxter is in a similar position, with its building official position vacant since July 2019. Baxter contracted with Sadusky Renovations to serve as the building official, paying out nearly $81,000 from July-December. By comparison, Arvidson’s 2019 wages amounted to $68,472.

Earlier in February, the council approved a phased retirement agreement with Arvidson, meaning he will essentially be retired and not receiving benefits but will still have the city’s state designation, performing associated duties as needed for up to 10 hours a week until May 2 or until a new building official is hired.

In the meantime, housing inspector Darin Deseth will serve as interim building official.

While looking for a new building official, the city council authorized staff to distribute a request for proposal for state delegation services, hoping to find someone to contract with who can handle the state agreement for the city either until a building official with the designation is hired or until Deseth is qualified to apply for the delegation in two years.

In other business Tuesday, the council:
Accepted the resignation of Community Service Officer Lucas Caturia.

Authorized the hiring of community services officers Cole Thoma and Masen Barton. They were expected to start around Feb. 19 and will earn $11.33 per hour.

Approved two change orders amounting to $34,036 for the Buffalo Hills Lane and Mississippi Drive reconstruction project completed last fall. The first is for additional chain link fencing added near South Sixth Street by the retaining wall in the northwest quadrant, and at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Both fences were recommended by the engineer to serve as physical barriers for vehicular traffic in the parking lots adjacent to trails due to the large elevation difference in both locations.

The second change order is for adjustments to existing sanitary and storm manholes because of substantial grade changes on the project.


Approved a cross-jurisdictional maintenance agreement with Crow Wing County for the Anabec Street stormwater pond. The city will pay 70%, while the county will pay 30%, which are relative to what each entity contributes to the stormwater basin.

Approved a street closure application for the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade set for 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 14 on Maple, South Seventh, Laurel, South Ninth and Front streets in downtown Brainerd. Council member Dave Badeaux abstained, as his name is on the application.

Authorized the disposal of transit bus 118, which was T-boned Jan. 27 when a vehicle ran a red light near Walmart in Baxter. No passengers were on the bus at the time, and insurance has deemed it a total loss. This was the oldest transit bus and was scheduled for disposal within the next couple months. The council also voted to accept the payment of $13,676 from the responsible party’s insurance to be put toward the local 20% share for a new bus.

Scheduled a public hearing on the annual municipal separate state storm sewer system, which is a requirement of the city’s stormwater permit with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The hearing is April 6 at the regular council meeting.

Adopted a new law enforcement inter-city mutual aid joint powers agreement between the city and Crow Wing County. The intent of the agreement is to make equipment, personnel and other resources available between different political subdivisions.

Entered into closed session at the end of the meeting to consider counteroffers for the purchase of property at 304 Washington St. W., 422 NW Fourth St., 502 Jackson St., 424 NW Third St. and 622 NW Fourth St. No action was taken.

Correction: The original story failed to note the city of Baxter paid $81,000 to Sadusky Renovations for building official services between July and December 2019, comparing that number to the $68,472 yearly salary of Brainerd’s building official Chuck Arvidson.

The money Baxter paid to Sadusky Renovations covered two inspectors and all of the city’s inspection services for the time, not only the building official position as was implied in the story, and does not include benefits, as Arvidson’s salary does. Sadusky Renovations charges $65 an hour for state licensed projects. The city of Brainerd agreed to pay Arvidson $125 per hour for state licensed projects in his phased retirement option plan to begin in March.


The Dispatch regrets the error.

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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