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City of Pelican Rapids


February 7, 2008



Monday, February 11, 2008                    5:30 p.m.               Council Chambers, 315 N. Broadway

1.                    Call to Order

2.                    Agenda Additions or Deletions

3.                    Approval of Minutes

4.                    Approval of Accounts Payable Listing

5.                    Police Chief Report

7.             Utility Superintendent Report

8.             Street/Park Superintendent Report

9.             Library Report

10.           Financial Report

11.           Certify Unpaid Utility Bill

12.           Event Center Report

13.           All Hazard Mitigation Plan - OTC

14.           Veterans Memorial River Park Engineering Proposal – Interstate Engineering

15.           Housing Study Discussion               




The City Council of Pelican Rapids met in regular session at 5:30 p.m., on Monday, 02-11-08, in Council Chambers, City Hall.  Mayor Wayne Runningen, Council Members David Gottenborg, Ben Woessner and John E. Waller, III were present.  Richard Peterson was absent.  Administrator Don Solga, Clerk-Treasurer Glenys Ehlert, Police Chief Scott Fox, Street and Park Superintendent Brian Olson, Fire Chief Trevor Steeves and Kelley Gorman of the Pelican Rapids Press were also present.


Mayor Runningen called meeting to order.


Fire Truck Sale Proceeds was added to the agenda under Financial Report.


Motion by Waller, seconded by Woessner to approve the minutes of 01-14-08 and 01-29-08 as presented.  Motion passed unanimously.


Motion by Woessner, seconded by Waller to approve the Accounts Payable Listing of 02-11-08, including the Library and Liquor Store accounts payable, as presented.  Motion passed unanimously.


Police Chief Scott Fox presented his annual report of 2007.  He said the City’s accident rate declined in 2007 and there were 1,024 fewer part time hours in 2007.  Chief Fox asked Council to consider a mobile data terminal for the police department.  This system will include a GPS system.  The expense is $10,000.  Police forfeiture funds collected over the past few years total $11,000.  He proposes that the City use the forfeiture funds to purchase the mobile data terminal.  Administrator Don Solga said the only cost to the City would be an additional $30 per month for the air card, similar to a cell phone, to allow the officer to access information via the internet.  Since the City of Pelican Rapids Police Department is the only department in the county without this system and the funds are available, Chief Fox and Administrator Solga recommend purchasing the system.  Motion by Gottenborg, seconded by Woessner to authorize purchase of the mobile data terminal at a cost of $10,000 payable from police forfeiture funds, subject to assuring that the system will work with existing computers and software in the police department.  Motion passed unanimously.


Administrator Don Solga presented the Utility Superintendent Brent Frazier’s report.  Administrator Solga and Superintendent Brent Frazier attended a meeting with Engineer Patrick Reisnour of Interstate Engineering, Inc., regarding the wastewater phosphorous improvements. 


Street and Park Superintendent Brian Olson reviewed activities in his department.  Administrator Don Solga and Superintendent Olson met with people from the state about the Mill Pond Dam Emergency Plan. They recommended having a dam failure feasibility study done.  The Street and Park Department is doing cross training with the Utility Department. 


Council Member Woessner requested information about snow removal on the sidewalks.  Superintendent Olson said the City clears snow when there is two inches of snow, but otherwise it is the property owners’ responsibility.  Administrator Solga will review the ordinance and send letters to the property owners.


Fire Chief Trevor Steeves arrived at 6:10 p.m.


Administrator Don Solga reported that the City of Pelican Rapids has been mapped by the Otter Tail County GPS department.  This information is available on the internet.  Administrator Solga and Clerk-Treasurer Glenys Ehlert will attend a meeting next week regarding use and status.


Clerk-Treasurer Glenys Ehlert presented the Library Report for Library Director Annie Wrigg.  The Library will be taking inventory on 02-16-08 and they will be closed that day.  They also added hours on Monday nights and will be open to 8:00 p.m.


Clerk-Treasurer Glenys Ehlert presented the 01-31-08 Financial Reports and the Liquor Store Income Statement for 01-31-08.


Administrator Solga provided information about the Liquor Store Inventory on 02-01-08.


Administrator Don Solga introduced the discussion of the firefighters’ purchase of a tanker truck chassis with gambling funds in 2003.  The tanker truck was sold in 2007 for $20,000.  Fire Chief Trevor Steeves said the firefighters would like to recommend the purchase of various items of equipment out of these tanker truck sale proceeds with Council’s approval.  Motion by Woessner, seconded by Gottenborg that the tanker truck sale proceeds will be used for special projects and equipment as requested by the firefighters and approved by the City Council.  Motion passed unanimously.


Motion by Gottenborg, seconded by Waller to certify $167.48 for an unpaid utility bill to Otter Tail County for collection with the real estate taxes for Parcel No. 76000220009000.  Motion passed unanimously.


Clerk-Treasurer Glenys Ehlert reported that she met with Renato Molina and City Attorney Greg Larson to discuss Molina’s proposed Event Center.  Discussion included amending business plan to include a restaurant with limited hours business would be open to the public and research that failed to locate a privately owned event center with a liquor license.  City Attorney Greg Larson will continue research regarding hours open to the public and will report to the City Council on 2-26-08 with his recommendation regarding a liquor license for the Event Center.


Administrator Don Solga recommended approval of the proposed mitigation plan.  Motion by Waller, seconded by Gottenborg to introduce the following resolution, entitled ADOPTION OF THE OTTER TAIL COUNTY ALL HAZARD MITIGATION PLAN. Motion passed unanimously and resolution declared duly adopted.




Administrator Don Solga reported on the Veterans Memorial River Park Engineering Proposal from Interstate Engineering, Inc. The project is to construct a bike/pedestrian path in River Park and on the property west of 1st Street NW including a bike/pedestrian bridge over the Pelican River to replace the existing timber structure.  Phase 1 of the engineering process will not exceed $17,500 up to the bidding process.  The City will be billed monthly as work proceeds.  Council discussed the source of engineering funds.  Motion by Gottenborg, seconded by Woessner to enter into an engineering services agreement with Interstate Engineering, Inc., for the Veterans Memorial River Park bike/pedestrian path and bridge.  Motion authorizes use of park budgeted funds for this engineering work and directs that the budget be increased appropriately over the next two years to provide matching funds for the 2009 grant.  Motion passed unanimously.


Administrator Don Solga recommended establishing a group from the community to continue the Housing Study discussion.  He suggested members include one or two representatives from the City Council, the Economic Development Corporation, the Planning Commission, School Board and additional people who expressed interest at previous meetings.  This committee would establish the priorities for the City to pursue.


Council Member Woessner discussed the legislators request for income guidelines to open up opportunities for moderate income people working in Pelican Rapids to qualify and purchase homes.  Motion by Woessner, seconded by Gottenborg to direct city staff to send the information to Representative Bud Nornes and Senator Dan Skogen so they will sponsor legislation to increase income guidelines for low to moderate home buyers.  Motion passed unanimously.


Mayor Runningen referenced information from the housing consultant regarding the Economic Development Authority’s taxing ability. Mayor Runningen offered a suggestion that the City research an Economic Development Authority levy for economic development in order to access matching funds from the State of Minnesota to provide housing assistance.


Council requested Administrator Don Solga work on setting up a committee to establish goals based on the Housing Study.  Council Member Ben Woessner will serve on the committee.  Mayor Runningen suggested developing a build able lot survey.  A goal could be to purchase the lots and give them away as an incentive.  The Mural program is also a good program.


Motion by Waller, seconded by Woessner to adjourn the City Council meeting at 7:25 p.m. to the Economic Development Authority meeting.  Motion passed unanimously.


City Council reconvened at 7:48 p.m.


Motion by Gottenborg, seconded by Waller to authorize Economic Development Authority’s actions to approve the payment for the purchase and demolition of the Roger Schleske house, including legal fees, in the amount of $42,826.03 from Fund 6, Economic Development Fund; to approve the Accounts Payable Listing of 02-11-08 and to approve the minutes of 01-14-08 as presented. Motion passed unanimously.


Mayor Runningen reported that he met with a group of cities which are located on the  Highway 59 corridor.  They are working to open up another crossing from Canada to the United States at Lancaster.  They see a lot of advantages to an additional crossing due to long lines at the Pembina border crossing.  The long wait discourages tourism. Diverting to Pembina also costs trucking companies substantial money.  Pembina is reported as the busiest crossing from Toronto to the West Coast. 


The Birding Trail people are working with Canadians to expand the birding trail into Canada.


Meeting adjourned at 8:50 p.m.



Glenys Ehlert, CMC





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