Council member Jerry Akerson participated in his first Pequot Lakes City Council meeting of the year, but the council still wasn't full strength as two others were absent Tuesday, June 4.
Mayor James Tayloe and council member Scott Pederson were both absent. Council member Cheri Seils served as acting mayor. Akerson attended his first 2019 council meeting after being re-elected last November but missing the first five meetings of the year for personal health reasons.
The council studied a road improvement plan, or a street summary spreadsheet that takes into account many variables to determine which roads in the city most need improvement work.
Top streets needing improvement are: Rasmussen Road from Sibley to East Woodman; Rasmussen Road from East Woodman to Tree Farm Road; South Washington; First Street.
Consensus among the three council members present was to proceed with financial analysis to improve those roads over the next couple of years.
The council postponed a decision to hire a third maintenance worker for the Public Works Department until July, when the full council can be present.
Jason Gorr, public works director, wrote in a memo that after examining needs and job responsibilities, he identified a need for the additional worker.
"Due to extensive and steadily increasing streets, parks, building maintenance, cemetery and snow work requirements, another maintenance worker would allow duties to be done in a safer, timelier and appropriate fashion," Gorr wrote.
He gave the council a comparison of area city public works departments in terms of the number of employees and duties.
Seils said Pederson, who has in the past opposed hiring an additional maintenance worker, asked that the council address this request when the full council is present.
The council granted the Fire Relief Association's request to increase the benefit level from $4,250 to $4,700 per year of service.
The fire department had seven calls in April, including four to Breezy Point, two to Pequot Lakes and one to Jenkins Township. Calls included natural gas leaks, grass fires and canceled fire alarms.
Police had 310 calls for service in April.
In other business June 4, the council:
• Approved tobacco and liquor license renewals.
• Approved the 2018 audit after a presentation from Schlenner Wenner & Co.
• Agreed to have attorneys Mark Severon and Kurt Porter, of Severson Porter Law, take over the 2019 prosecution agreement between the city and Mallie Law Office. Matthew Mallie was appointed as a district court judge and will close his practice.
• Acknowledged Dalton Engholm's successful completion of his six-month probationary period as a city maintenance worker.
• Learned the city traffic study has started.
• Learned the shared communications manager position with the city, chamber and school district in Pequot Lakes was discontinued. The council agreed to allow the Pequot Lakes Chamber to keep $2,776 for that discontinued position, and designate those funds for future painting of the downtown bobber water tower in 2021.
• Approved the Heart of the Good Life development marketing strategy to erect six flags for visual marketing to passing motorists. Cost is not to exceed $2,000. Akerson was opposed.