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Baxter City Council: Council authorizes implementation of wellness program

City of Baxter employees could been seeing some healthy improvements over the coming months after the council voted to implements its wellness program. Brainerd Dispatch file photo.

BAXTER—It's time to break out the sweat bands and protein drinks.

The city of Baxter is in the process of implementing a wellness program, as Baxter Police Department Chief Jim Exsted explained to the council during a workshop Tuesday, Aug. 7. As part of its consent calendar items, the Baxter City Council voted to approve its wellness policy and authorize the wellness committee to implement the program.

In general terms, by partnering with Sourcewell (formerly, the National Joint Powers Alliance), staffers are working to create a framework of incentives to promote healthy living—ranging from exercise to better vending machine options to mental health resources—for city employees.

"I was excited to see us go forward with this. It's a trend that I see is out there, but I think it will be helpful—especially on our (law enforcement) end," Exsted said. "We deal with a lot of situations that can be stressful and anything we can do for the officers ... just creating that environment to be supportive."

This program—a work in progress—has its roots in the wellness committee the city appointed roughly six months ago, Exsted added.

Sourcewell provides much of the funding for the program, Assistant City Administrator Kelly Steele said, and executes it through a wellness company called Benovate, based out of Minneapolis—though, she added, this may be subject to some changes, pending contract talks between Sourcewell and Benovate this fall.

In other business, the council:

Awarded a service contract for professional engineering and related services for 2018 sanitary sewer smoke testing to architectural-engineering firm Widseth Smith Nolting to not exceed $83,831.50.

Awarded a service contract for professional engineering and related services for the 2018 South Interceptor/North Forestview and forestview stormwater outlet improvements project to Bolton & Menk Inc. to not exceed $758,306.

Awarded a service contract for professional engineering and related services for the 2019 mill and overlay and full depth reclamation improvements project to Widseth Smith Nolting consulting engineer Arich Welch to not exceed $206,341.

Adopted a resolution and memorandum of understanding approving Camp Ripley Veterans State Trail partnership.

Awarded a contract for professional planning and engineering services for the Highway 372 bike and pedestrian bridge study not to exceed $57,051.

Approved the appointment of Todd B. Calhoun to the parks and trail commission.

Approved the purchase of nine squad car computers for the Baxter Police Department.

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