After being awarded $914,000 in state funding, Nisswa is moving ahead with plans to build a roundabout at the entrance to Grand View Lodge. Anticipated construction would be during summer 2023.

The city council on Tuesday, July 20, agreed to have the city administrator draft a request for proposal for engineering services for the roundabout project at County State Aid Highway 77 and Nokomis Avenue, which is at the entrance to Grand View.

A council report said that at the end of June, City Administrator Jenny Max, Crow Wing County Highway Engineer Tim Bray and Grand View Lodge General Manager Mark Ronnei met to ensure the three entities were on the same page regarding initial decisions necessary to get the project going.

The city will lead the project. The three entities will split the costs of engineering.

The Minnesota Legislature appropriates Local Road Improvement Program funding for specific projects, which is the funding the city received. The program provides funding for capital construction costs only, and not for engineering, right of way or other non-construction related costs.

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Municipal water

The council agreed to pay $42,000 to Widseth engineering firm for professional services for a municipal water system study.

The study will determine the need for such a system, the water service area, review of water supply alternatives and descriptions of typical components and costs associated with a viable municipal water system similar to other area communities.

The study is being done as a response to growing public water supply needs to meet commercial and residential growth, density and fire protection requirements along the Highway 371 corridor and commercial highway zoned areas.

The study will include Grand View Lodge and the central downtown business district in the proposed service area.

Pine Trail Homes

Regarding the Pine Trail Homes development on Clark Lake, City Attorney Tom Pearson told the council he believes the original conditional use permit is long expired, and the owner/developer would have to apply for a new CUP to conduct any activity on the project. Pearson said the issue should go back to the planning commission. Since there is no CUP, activity shouldn’t happen, he said.

He recommends the city hear from the developer on this issue.

Members of the Clark Lake Conservation Association attended the meeting with an attorney, in the interest of protecting the environment and lake and preventing harm from any development.

The next planning commission meeting is at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 3.

Budget workshop

The council held a workshop before its regular meeting to discuss the 2022 budget in the following areas: market adjustment, cost of living adjustment, city health insurance contribution, as well as overall budget and levy goals and overall direction for city staff.

Max brought up other topics for discussion now and in the future, including a proposed future organizational chart of city employees and the idea of a local option sales tax.

In other business July 20, the council:

  • Learned the city issued 13 land use permits in the past month, including for seven dwellings.

  • Accepted a $5,000 donation from the Nisswa Lions Club for community center improvements.

  • Agreed to accept approximately $4,000 under the federal American Rescue Plan Act.

  • Approved a pay rate change request for Spirits of Nisswa.

  • Removed Police Sgt. Todd Szymanski from a required one-year probationary status after he was promoted to sergeant in May 2020.

  • Approved $1,500 in compensation for Finance Specialist Maggi Wentler for taking on more duties while the city was without a clerk for two months. On July 6, the council had a special meeting to hire City Clerk Kirstin Lindbery. She started in that position July 19.

  • Accepted a resolution from Nisswa American Legion Commander Susan Edwards from the Sixth District thanking Nisswa citizens and the Nisswa Legion family for their hospitality during the district’s 100th convention held in Nisswa.

  • Met in closed session for union negotiations discussion.

The council also had a closed meeting Monday, July 26, with the city attorney under the attorney-client privilege to discuss matters related to pending litigation in the matter of the city of Nisswa v. Brandon Rothwell and the Public Employees Retirement Association. Rothwell is a former police sergeant who was fired in November 2019.

No action was taken upon reopening the meeting.

Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Nancy.