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Menahga discusses enforcing ATV route ordinances

Correction: Menahga liquor store manager Tom Gerszewski did not suggested cutting employees' salaries during his presentation to the council. He suggested cutting some of the store's expenses by possibly reducing the cost of operations and maintenance.

Menahga's legal counsel is now the city's civil attorney, the council decided Monday.

Jeff Pederson was appointed the city's civil counsel after a 3-2 vote to oust Paul Carlson last month but the final decision was tabled for this month's meeting.

During their February meeting, three council members expressed dissatisfaction with Carlson, citing unprofessional behavior in the past and insignificant advice.

Carlson, who's a representative of the firm Kennedy & Nervig, worked with Menahga for about seven years.

"The council has the right to do anything," Carlson said in an interview. "I'm sure Jeff Pederson will do a fine job."

The city will now transfer all files from Kennedy & Nervig to Pederson & Pederson. Mayor Tom Larson also suggested sending a letter to Carlson's firm thanking them for their services.

In other business, the council:

-Heard police chief Scott Koennicke discuss the possibility of enforcing a new ordinance allowing snowmobiles and ATVs on designated routes only instead of sidewalks.

Currently, the city allows snowmobile traffic, which has inadvertently caused some damage to flags marking the sidewalks.

The new ordinance would eliminate that problem and also benefit local businesses by increasing ATV traffic, Koennicke said.

-Approved leasing a new squad car from the state.

Koennicke said leasing is an option that would save the city gas and repair money.

-Heard Koennicke discuss tossing out the idea of writing administrative tickets because the city could end up paying the state for those issued tickets if the legislature doesn't pass the law this session.

Police will continue to write administrative tickets for city ordinance violations.

-Heard Koennicke suggest installing a one-way sign at the alley between the Laundromat and the bank going south.

Numerous incidents have been reported of pedestrians almost getting hit by cars down that alley.

"I hate to always wait until someone gets hurt," Koennicke said.

The council agreed for the police committee along with the street, park and beach committee to discuss turning that alley into a one-way.

-Approved fire chief Dave Kicker's request to apply for a grant to purchase new radio equipment for the department.

-Heard administrator Teri Osterman suggest holding two meetings per month instead of one.

She said a working session to be held the week prior to the regular meeting would keep council members up to date on information that they can all receive at once.

The council will test the idea and hold two meetings per month beginning in May.

-Heard liquor store manager Tom Gerszewski report the leaking roof of the liquor store is now fixed. He also suggested some cost cutting measures by possibly reducing employee salaries. A decision will be made at a future liquor store committee meeting.

-Appointed Jim Kangas the new board member of Greenwood Connections.

-Hired Eide Bailey to conduct the city's financial statement. The former auditor was Miller McDonald.

Last July, the city council advertised for a new auditor because a change was "good practice" for the city, council members said.

Eide Bailey is also the auditor for Greenwood Connections.

-Approved transferring capital project funds from the city's checking account to the Minnesota Municipal Money Market Fund (4M Fund), an account the city will gain interest money from using.

-Agreed to listen to a future presentation by a Region 5 representative who will explain what a comprehensive plan would mean for the city.

-Approved a preliminary 4.4 percent tax capacity for Blueberry Township. The township needed an estimate to approve its 2010 budget this month. The $36,262 amount will give township members an idea of the final figures when the council determines the city's final budget in December.