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Brainerd City Council: Downtown special services district hearing set in October

Those who wish to contest their assessments can do so at the hearing.

Brainerd City Hall 1.JPG
Brainerd City Hall. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch
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BRAINERD — A public hearing on Brainerd’s 2022 nuisance abatement and assessments in the downtown special services district is set for 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17, at City Hall.

The special services district includes the area of Laurel Street between South Sixth and Eighth streets, Front Street between South Sixth and Eighth streets, and South Seventh Street between Maple and Front streets. Property owners in that area are assessed each year for snow removal, irrigation maintenance, landscaping and garbage collection, all services provided by the city.

The 2022 costs are $100,730.52 for snow removal (60.5 inches during the 2021-22 snow season) and $13,084.66 for landscaping, garbage and maintenance. Of the total $113,815.18 in expenses, the city proposes to assess $60,402.59 to downtown property owners, while the rest will covered by the parking lot fund ($31,288.36) and the street and sewer fund ($22,124.23).

Property owners will be notified of their assessment cost before the public hearing, which serves as an opportunity for them to contest the assessments. Formal objections to assessments must be made in person at the hearing or submitted in writing beforehand.

The hearing is also for property owners in Brainerd who receive assessments from nuisance abatements throughout the year. The total nuisance abatement cost is $40,125, of which all is proposed to be assessed.

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In other business Monday, the council:

Approved a temporary on-sale liquor license application from the Crossing Arts Alliance for an event Oct. 7.

Approved a temporary on-sale liquor license application from Brainerd Jaycees for an event Sept. 24 on Sixth and Front streets.

Approved a lawful gambling application from Brainerd Amateur Hockey Association for an event Feb. 20 at 612 Station.

Agreed to switch to Cigna for city employees’ dental insurance provider, with an enhanced $1,250 annual maximum policy.

Authorized staff to begin the process to fill the administrative specialist position in the public works department, as Kimberly Finch is set to retire in November.

Approved a shared services agreement with the Economic Development Authority to provide administrative services to the EDA in 2023 at a cost of $17,000, which would be an increase from $15,000 in 2022. The EDA has yet to approve the agreement.

Approved a street closure application from Brainerd Skate Co. for its grand opening event set from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, on Front Street between South Eighth and Ninth streets.

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Authorized installation of a sign on the historic water tower during the structure’s upcoming construction project. The sign will include logos from Hy-Tec, LHB and the city. It will be removed after the project’s completion.

More Brainerd City Council coverage
The city must determine how to pay $1.9 million owed to the former firefighters, who were granted a total settlement of $3.9 million due to unfair labor practices when the council voted to dissolve the full-time fire department and its union. The city’s insurance will cover $2 million of the cost.
The forum — sponsored by the Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce, Brainerd Lakes Area League of Women Voters and the Brainerd Dispatch — drew an in-person audience of about a dozen as well as online viewers of a Facebook livestream.
The committee is no longer needed with the most recent franchise agreement and the city's new cable channel.
The city is eligible for up to $250,000 through the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust Loan Program to help cover some of the $1.9 million expense.

Approved a fuel sales agreement with Crow Wing County, which allows the city’s transit buses to use the county’s bulk fuel system at bulk fuel prices. The new agreement includes a 10% overhead fee to cover administrative costs at the county. Public Works Director Jessie Dehn said even with the added administrative fee this year, the city will still see a discount of roughly 15 cents per gallon of gas.

Approved a change order for the Rotary Park sewer lining project in the amount of $20,400. Crews found a segment of sewer that required additional significant material removal and CCTV inspection, above and beyond the project scope.

Removed Loyal Hyatt from the Brainerd Public Library Board on a vote of 5-1 after having a public hearing. Other board members requested the removal, as Hyatt has not attended a board meeting since August 2021. Council member Gabe Johnson voted against the action, as he wanted to allow more time for Hyatt to respond to the action. City Administrator Jennifer Bergman said Library Board members reached out to him several times with no response.

Approved amendments to the city charter updating language in sections referring to streets, city wards and the permanent improvement fund.

Editor's Note: This story was updated Sept. 23 to correct the opposing vote on removing the library board member.

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at theresa.bourke@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchTheresa .

Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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