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City hires interim administrator

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news Park Rapids, 56470
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

The city has hired John McKinney to work in a part time capacity as interim city administrator until a replacement is found.

The Park Rapids City Council approved the hiring at its Tuesday meeting. McKinney, who is retired, has extensive knowledge of city government, said councilman Paul Utke. He has a legal background and worked with cities in Iowa.

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McKinney worked with the city a few years ago as it changed its assessment policy and was instrumental in that project.

He is being hired as a consultant and would receive no benefits. He told the council he is available until the first part of December.

The cost will be $250 per day, which is less than the salary the former administrator Bill Smith received. Smith resigned as city administrator earlier this month to take a position as CEO of Regional Healthcare Affiliates in Providence, Ky.

Mayor Nancy Carroll and councilman Utke did some research on whether the city should hire a search firm to hire a new city administrator or develop a committee of community members.

Carroll said she spoke with a number of community members and they told her the city should go in the direction of a search firm.

Utke said people he talked to also suggested going with a search firm.

Councilman Pat Mikesh suggested looking at city administrator finalists from Brainerd, which recently hired someone. Becker County also hired an administrator and had a list of finalists.

"Doing something on our own requires a lot of time and experience, which I don't think we have," Carroll said.

No decision was made at Tuesday's meeting but Utke and Carroll will continue to do some research.

In other business, the council:

n Approved rezoning three parcels in the city of Park Rapids to B-1. The parcels are the location of a dialysis center, which is set to open in the spring of 2013.

n Approved waiving a late fee for a water/sewer bill at 615 Fourth Street W. City staff determined it was an unusual circumstance because the home was on a contract for deed and was returned to Carl Branham. The overdue utility bill was $608.32. The bills had been going to the couple he had sold the house to on a contract for deed.

n Heard a request from Donna Petty and Donna Lord to waive the mandatory water/sewer connection for their homes, located just east of Henrietta Avenue on Highway 34.

The women said they are widowed senior citizens and can't afford to hook up to city water. They are hoping to sell their homes in the next few years to someone who wants to use the property as commercial.

Their well water is good and the septic systems are working, they said.

The council tabled the request to get more information. There was concern that other property owners would be making similar requests and the council would be setting precedence.

n Approved a resolution to abate and recertify the special assessments for the Baywoods condominium addition. With the economy being slow the properties haven't been selling quickly. The recertification will help with the tax burden.

n Approved a proposed general fund levy of $1,622,403 for 2013 and a proposed general fund budget of $2,689,024.

n Set the Truth in Taxation meeting for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27.

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