The Jenkins City Council on Monday, July 12, heard a grievance from Jasan Baca regarding the declaration of a slum and blight district on an application to the Department of Employment and Economic Development for a small cities loan program.

Baca previously spoke against the declaration and against Sourcewell, the company with which the city consulted for grant writing assistance for the program.

Mayor Jon Lubke acknowledged that the phrase "slum and blight" was offensive and antiquated and said the council is looking to reach out to state legislators to have the phrase, which is a part of the DEED requirements, changed.

He and council members Charles Hoffman and Andrew Rudlang, however, countered a statement that the designation could be used for eminent domain cases, saying the lawyer the council consulted said otherwise. The city has not yet been awarded any of the funds as the application is still in consideration.

In other business Monday, the council:

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  • Approved three separate requests for proposal to research the city's options for attorney, engineering and auditor services. Applications are required to be submitted by mail before Sept. 1 with a notice on the envelope identifying the proposals to allow city staff to hold all proposals until such a time that council members can be present for the opening.
  • Tabled a decision to accept funds from the American Rescue Plan Act until more information can be gathered regarding how the funds can be used and what the city might like to use the funds for.
  • Approved two separate forms that must be submitted a week in advance by members of the public or council members to be included on the meeting agenda for action. The time requirement is to allow council members to review the subject to be prepared to discuss and take action on items.

As an agenda item, discussions brought by residents in this way will have more time than those brought up during public comment periods. The council tabled an accompanying policy that discussed topics of discussion and review.

  • Agreed to allow Hoffman to discuss possible purchase of a plow truck from Ideal Township. It is not for sale yet, but once the township buys a replacement the city may be able to purchase the truck to replace the city plow truck, which is inoperable.

Travis Grimler is a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper in Pequot Lakes/Pine River. He may be reached at 218-855-5853 or travis.grimler@pineandlakes.com.