The Baxter City Council received an email from a resident on County Highway 48 regarding transportation safety.
Council member Todd Holman noted the route is a bike corridor and it has a lot of use with the salted/sanded shoulders in the winter. Holman said walkers and runners going north toward the signalized Knollwood intersection do not have a trail going north. But worse than that, Holman said, is a free right turn to go south on Highway 48 and challenging visibility to see the walkers or bikers. Holman said he has also experienced this situation and a spill-off or trail connection would get the walkers and bikers off the road ahead of the intersection.
“We really need a shift to look at roundabouts as our preferred design for intersections,” Holman said.
City Administrator Brad Chapulis said it was something staff would take under advisement and bring it back to the council.
Council member Connie Lyscio said the resident was also concerned about speed regarding safety there.
In council comments, Lyscio thanked the election judges and poll workers for their hard work on Election Day and in preparation for it.
“I’m just so appreciative and I was so impressed with how the process went,” Lyscio said.
Holman agreed, congratulating Kelly Steele, assistant city administrator, and staff for their work.
Council member Zach Tabatt congratulated fellow council member Mark Cross on his reelection and welcomed newcomer John Ward, who was also elected based on the preliminary vote totals.
“I take the responsibility of representing them seriously and I look forward to the next four years,” Cross said after thanking his supporters. “It will be another adventure, right? We just need again patience — patience through the election, patience through the virus. We’ll get through it. We’ll get back to normal or some sense of normal here soon.”
Holman, who is also vice mayor, presided over the meeting with Mayor Darrel Olson absent.
The meeting via Zoom took place Wednesday, Nov. 4, instead of the regular Tuesday session because it fell on Election Day.
In other business, the council:
Approved a 2021 delayed payment of tax on special assessments for applicants with eligible hardships. The council received a list of six applications for hardships, which is an option for senior citizens, disabled persons or active military members. The homeowners will have their 2021 assessment payments deferred with an annual interest of 1.25%. Applicants must apply and then also be eligible for the deferment each year by Aug. 31 of the preceding year. There is a $50 application fee.
Approved hiring six warming house attendants at $13 or $14 an hour based on prior experience, to work between Oscar Kristofferson and Loren Thompson parks. The warming houses are slated to open about Dec. 18 and remain open through mid-March, depending on weather. The attendants are Jonas Ewald, Aaron Stark, Jackson Dwyer, Taylor Shelito, Scout Strickland and Dayton Anderson. Attendants will also have additional responsibilities for coronavirus safety protocols.
Reaffirmed the city’s coronavirus relief fund spending plan for a $638,735 allotment to the city. The city lists anticipated costs including those to Nov. 15 to include $69,507 for budgeted personnel and services diverted along with unbudgeted costs. The unbudgeted costs are itemized as: $77,994 to improve telework capabilities for employees; $14,119 for personal protective equipment; $93,963 for public health expenditures; $227,351 for services and equipment needed to continue operations; $335,000 for payroll for public health and safety employees; and $100,000 to go to Crow Wing County’s Business and Nonprofit Assistance program, which is aimed at helping small businesses or return of grant funds to the county. The city noted the initial estimate of public safety payroll costs combined with the other eligible expenditures is more than the city’s coronavirus relief fund allocation, and the public safety costs will be allocated to the relief funding should the other costs not exceed the allocation.
Approved using $7,000 from the drug forfeiture fund to add a camera system to a new squad car.
Revised a temporary waiver of city regulations aimed at restaurants during the pandemic. The council first approved the temporary waiver in May, which authorized staff to approve additional dining options for restaurants as relief during the coronavirus pandemic, including temporary take-out, drive-up, drive-thru and outdoor dining areas. There was an expiration date of Oct. 31 or the expiration of the governor’s peacetime emergency declaration. The council approved striking out the Oct. 31 expiration date.
Met in closed session for labor negotiations.
Noted city hall is closed for the Veterans Day holiday.
Adjourned to a 5 p.m. Nov. 12 special meeting to certify the election results.