City of Pelican Rapids 




February 7, 2008



Tuesday, January 29, 2008                     4:30 p.m.               Council Chambers, 315 N. Broadway




1.                    Call to Order

2.                    Additions / Deletions to Agenda

3.                    Approval of Accounts Payable Listing

4.                    Police Personnel

5.                    Parking at High School

6.                    Refinancing of G.O. Bonds of 1998 & 1999

7.                    Youth Group Presentation

8.                    Chamber of Commerce Request – Easter Egg Hunt – 3/22/08

9.                    Facilities

A.      City Hall Lease – Committee Report

B.       Fire Hall – Administrator Don Solga

10.                 Street Project Report – Improvement Project No. 72

11.                 All Hazard Mitigation Plan – OTC

12.                 Lift Moratorium on Building of Small Buildings

13.                 Chamber of Commerce – Lawful Gambling Exempt Permit

14.                 Turkey Days and 125th Planning Meeting – Wed January 30th at 6:30 p.m. at the VFW

A. Banners

15.           Planning Commission Report

16.           Adjourn to Public Housing Meeting – 2/4/08





The City Council of Pelican Rapids met in regular session at 4:30 p.m., on Tuesday, 01-29-08, in Council Chambers, City Hall.  Mayor Wayne Runningen, Council Members David Gottenborg, Ben Woessner and John E. Waller, III were present.  Council Member Richard Peterson was absent.  Administrator Don Solga, Clerk-Treasurer Glenys Ehlert, City Engineers Gary Nansen and Jon Olson of Ulteig Engineers, Police Chief Scott Fox, Street and Park Superintendent Brian Olson, Library Director Annie Wrigg, Shawntessa Loeza, Ashley Phan, Staisha Loeza, Sally Huynh, Mikayla Jensen, Joan Ellison, Johanna Christiansen, Julie Lammers, Nancy Lee Loftsgard, Kathy Torkildson, Gustavo Dimateo, Ben Barragan, Julie Meyer, Liquor Store Manager Bob Leslie and Kelley Gorman of the Pelican Rapids Press were also present.


Mayor Runningen called meeting to order.


One item was added to the agenda:  Adjourn to 2-4-08 at 7:00 p.m. at the Library.

Two items, All Hazard Mitigation Plan and Planning Commission Report, were deleted from the agenda. 


Mayor Runningen welcomed people present and said the first item would be the Youth Group Presentation.


Ashley Phan was spokesperson for the Youth Group Presentation.  The group said they wanted to present the Council with information on a Teen Center.  They’re starting small and want to build up.  The specific location is the former Fire Hall.  It’s smack dab in the middle of town, everyone can see where it is and it will be very accessible.  People have mentioned that the kids might destroy things, but there will be adult volunteer chaperones.  People say the kids will fight.  The Teen Center will provide kids with activities and will have different activities every day.  Another objection is gangs and drugs, but the building will be public and the kids hang out at the library now and they don’t do gangs and drugs.  Ashley listed the ways the group will raise money.  “See how much we want this – we’re going to sell our stuff to raise money at a garage sale,” she explained.  Another comment against a Teen Center is, “Why can’t kids just go home?”  Kids want to go someplace to meet new people and friends and do things together.  Also not all kids have someone to come home to.  Who will clean it up?  We’ll clean it up.  We’ve worked really hard on this and learned a lot already.  Pelican Rapids is a diverse community.  They need to realize that we are a community and we’ll really work together.  People will realize that Pelican isn’t that bad a place and that they have misjudged us.   School is very busy and the library is busy and the Teen Center would provide a place for events like a talent show, birthday parties, showers and other events.


Police Chief Scott Fox said there have been Teen Centers in the past and drinking, smoking, drugs and vandalism were problems.  Chief Fox said, “They need adult supervision because kids won’t discipline other kids.”


Phan said they will have chaperones.  Chief Fox said, “I think you have a good direction, but I’m not one hundred percent in favor of it yet.”


Administrator Solga said they have done a lot of work and he commended them.  He said everyone present would like to have a place for the kids, but there are two components that concerned him.  Solga suggested the group check out other centers in small cities.  Also how will they accomplish the remodeling to make a building work for them?  How would the community pay for the remodeling?  How would you cover your operating expenses?   A business plan is involved whenever a new business comes to town and the students could create a business plan for the Teen Center.  It doesn’t have to be a thick book.  Joan Ellison said they need an umbrella organization and a fiscal agent prior to applying for grants.


Administrator Solga said if their vision is to have the City involved in their plan, then that would need to be specified.


Nancy Lee Loftsgard said that the Girl Scouts brought this forward to the Council two years ago.  At that time, the City Council said they would be responsible for a center.


Ashley Phan replied, “We didn’t want to include a huge group yet and we didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.  We wanted to ask for permission to continue on with this before we involved more people.  We also wanted to develop our focus.”


Johanna Christianson said she chaperones the Youth Crew.  She said, “I commend this group for bringing the Teen Center idea forward.  This is a third group bringing forward the idea of a place for teens to meet.  What better investment would there be than to invest in your people.”


Mayor Runningen said the Girl Scouts have done quite a bit of work on this project and would be a good resource.  The City needs to keep in mind the responsibilities and needs of the community.  He said the Fire Hall building has not been discussed previously.  It is on the agenda tonight. The building is a city owned building, but the townships have provided upkeep to it in the past years.  “I really appreciate your hard work and you’ve been through a thoughtful process.  Council – do you have any questions?” concluded Mayor Runningen.


“Now that a building is available, I will hand off our research to Administrator Solga,” commented Nancy Lee Loftsgard. 


Police Chief Scott Fox presented his plans to retire on 03-31-08.  Motion by Gottenborg, seconded by Woessner to accept Police Chief Scott Fox’s resignation.  Mayor Runningen expressed appreciation for Scott’s years of work and service to the community through many changes and substantial growth.  He said that Scott and the community can be proud of the training that he provided to many young officers who went on to work in other communities.  Motion passed unanimously.


Administrator Don Solga said he would like to post the job, go through the interviews and bring a recommendation to Council as soon as possible.  Solga said he would like to bring someone on board in time to do some training with Chief Fox.  Motion by Gottenborg, seconded by Waller to advertise the position of Police Chief.  Council discussed involving various representatives in the interview process.  Previously the interview committee included a serving police chief, a deputy or sheriff, the city’s attorney, the administrator and mayor.  Motion passed unanimously.


Gary Nansen and Jon Olson of Ulteig Engineering were present to discuss the preliminary report for street improvements in three areas of the city:  Section A: Golf Course Road, Section B: portions of 3rd Ave. NE and 2nd Ave. NE and 3rd St. NE and 2nd St. NE, and Section C: portions of 1st St. SW and portions of 10th Ave. SW.


Nansen recommended soil borings because the soil conditions vary greatly in the community.  He does not anticipate major reconstruction of utilities.  Residents will need to be surveyed to identify any utility work that needs to be corrected prior to the street improvements.  The estimated costs for Golf Course Road, Section A, would be $38,000 to the City and $25,600 assessed.  Section B would be $151,600 to the City and $97,800 to be assessed.  This is based on the previous project that was recently assessed at 40% to the property owners and 60% to the City.  Section C would be $201,400 to the City and $131,000 to be assessed.


Nansen said he thought the bidding spirit would be very competitive this spring.  Materials are higher, but labor will be reasonable.


Motion by Gottenborg, seconded by Waller to introduce the following resolution accepting the report and calling for a hearing and entitled, RESOLUTION RECEIVING REPORT AND CALLING HEARING ON IMPROVEMENT PROJECT NO.72.  The hearing will be 02-26-08 at 6:00 p.m.  Motion passed unanimously. 


Liquor Store Manager Bob Leslie was present to meet with Council.  Administrator Solga said that Bob has requested to be on the Tuesday Council agendas in the future.  Next month the Council will be looking at inventory turns ratios.


Motion by Gottenborg, seconded by Waller to approve the Accounts Payable Listing of 01-29-08 with the addition of the MDNR for a permit fee in the amount of $150.  Motion passed unanimously.


Administrator Solga reviewed Pelican Rapids Public Schools’ request to permit parking in front of the high school during Sunday services.  Council members, Administrator Solga and Superintendent Olson all agreed that they have heard only positive comments about the no parking area in front of the high school on the west side of Highway 59.  Motion by Woessner, seconded by Waller to leave the parking restriction as it is for safety purposes. Motion passed unanimously.


Council Members and Mayor Runningen recognized Kelley Gorman for his award winning story recently recognized by the State Press Association.


Administrator Solga reviewed a recommendation from the City’s financial consultant, Monte Eastvold of Northland Securities.  Motion by Gottenborg, seconded by Waller to accept the recommendation of Northland Securities and authorize refinancing of G.O. Bonds of 1998 and 1999.  Motion passed unanimously.


Motion by Gottenborg, seconded by Waller to approve the Chamber of Commerce’s request to use the former Fire Hall as a location for the Easter Egg Hunt in case of inclement weather.


Administrator Solga reported that the Facility Committee recommended accepting the two year lease agreement for City Hall with State Bank and Trust at $7.25 a square foot or $2,916.31 per month, retroactive to January 1st.   Motion by Gottenborg, seconded by Woessner to approve the proposed lease with the terms stated above.  Motion passed unanimously.


Administrator Solga said he has had a lot of inquiries about the former fire hall from a commercial stand point.  The youth center idea is an interesting idea, but it needs to be determined if a plan can be developed by the group.  Council Member Gottenborg said, “People have also expressed an interest in using the building for a community center, but I don’t know where people would park.  The Teen Center problem will be finding families to continue the process.  I can see this working for a couple of years, but I don’t see how to sustain the project.”  Gottenborg continued, “The Teen Center idea is an idea worth exploring. I think if there is a viable business that could succeed in this building, we’d have to look at that.”


Mayor Runningen said some of the thoughts he has had is the Economic Development Authority could buy the building and divide with a storefront on the highway and the Teen Center in the back.  Could it be divided up into several sites for incubator businesses?


Council discussed options regarding the fire hall and will reconsider the matter at their meeting on 02-26-08.


Administrator Solga said the moratorium on construction of buildings 120 sq. ft. and smaller may be lifted due to the passage and publication of an ordinance bringing this construction into the building permit process.  Motion by Gottenborg, seconded by Waller to lift the moratorium on construction of buildings 120 sq. ft. and smaller.  Building permits are required for construction of all buildings, including those 120 sq. ft. and smaller.  Motion passed unanimously.


Turkey Days Planning meeting will be 01-30-08 at 6:30 p.m. at the VFW.  Street and Park Superintendent Brian Olson reviewed the anniversary banners.  Council authorized Olson to order the banners.  Council Member Woessner suggested providing funds in the amount of $5,000 to fund events and for various souvenir items for 125th Anniversary Celebration planned by the Chamber of Commerce.  Motion by Woessner, seconded by Waller to provide up to $5,000 to fund events and for various souvenir items for the 125th Anniversary Celebration as requested by the Chamber of Commerce. Motion passed unanimously.


The Pelican Rapids Chamber of Commerce has applied for a Lawful Gambling Exempt Permit to conduct a raffle on 05-01-08 at Historic City Hall.


Motion by Waller, seconded by Woessner to adjourn meeting at 7:03 p.m. to 02-04-08 for the Public Housing Meeting at 7:00 p.m. Library.  Motion passed unanimously.




Glenys Ehlert, CMC



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