Akeley preps campground for summer visitors

Akeley city campgrounds are scheduled to open in May, and the city is putting things in place to get ready. "The campground opening date is normally May 1," City Clerk/Treasurer Kristi Kath said after the meeting. "However, it is dependent on the...

Akeley city campgrounds are scheduled to open in May, and the city is putting things in place to get ready.

"The campground opening date is normally May 1," City Clerk/Treasurer Kristi Kath said after the meeting. "However, it is dependent on the conditions and with the more than normal snowfall this year that may get pushed out."

At their March 13 council meeting, council members approved a park manager contract for 2019 with Curtis Dormanen at a sum of $5,000 per month from May through September. In addition, Dormanen will have free use of a campsite to park his camper and free electrical service.

The council also approved campground rules that will be given to campers and making signs for with the rules for the campground. If the cost of the signs exceeds $500, council approval will be needed. Some of the items covered in the 17 rules included in the rules are a $5 fee per hour if checking out later than 1 p.m., quiet hours from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. and no driving in the campgrounds after 10 p.m.

Parks commissioner Billy Krotzer said that while the new city website is not live yet, he hopes it will be up and running soon.


$45,577 in sales tax penalties paid

Audience member Kristin Fake told the council a question was brought up at the civic and commerce meeting regarding penalties the city incurred because sales tax was not paid in 2018 and they will bring up what wasn't paid in 2017 at the next council meeting. Asked what fines and penalties the city incurred because of that non-payment, Kath said the total was $45,577.

"So there was $43,000 in sales tax that wasn't paid and there's the potential of paying over $45,000 in fines?" Fake asked.

Mayor Brian Hitchcock said everything is now paid. Kath said they have applied for abatement so they might get some of that money back.

Kath said in an interview with the Enterprise Tuesday that the $45,577 was a combination of a portion of 2017 and 2018 penalties and interest.

Fake encouraged the council to send a liaison to the civic and commerce meeting the second Monday of each month at 5:30 p.m.

HRA board members needed

The council discussed the need for members to join the city's Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) board. Members who reside in the city are appointed by the mayor and approved by the council.


City employee Kelly VandenEykel had expressed interest in serving on the board, but does not live in the city.

"I wish you lived in the city limits so you could be the HRA president because you know so much about our city," council member Bobbie Wosika said.

Anyone interested in being part of the HRA should contact any council member.

Posse will patrol Paul Bunyan Days

The council authorized Police Chief Jimmy Hansen to ask four members of the Hubbard County Mounted Posse to help patrol on the Saturday night of Paul Bunyan Days. The organization uses an ATV to patrol areas such as the public access, bike trail and campground. They do not charge a fee, but accept donations. Hansen suggested a $400 donation.

"We were going to hire a licensed officer from the sheriff's department and it was about double that," he said.

Nevis police officer Josh Oswald, who attended the meeting to share his experiences, said they have used the Hubbard County Mounted Posse to help with patrolling Muskie Days for the past two years. "It's a 100-percent volunteer organization," he said. "The donations they receive are used for things like their uniforms and gas."

In other business, the city:


• Renewed the city's hay contract covering 35 acres.

• Approved reclassifying a list of tax-forfeited properties in Akeley to non-conservation so they can be sold at a public auction.

• Reviewed changes in water and sewer costs which have gone up slightly and the information has been sent out to residents.

• Discussed compensation for city workers, including pay changes for bartenders and the custodian at the municipal liquor store, but did not take any action, pending a special meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 27.

• Approved the change in VandenEykel's job description and title to reflect the work he is doing for his point. It will be added that he supervises two employees, along with descriptions of the large equipment he uses. Kath will present the information to the state. If they approve the changes, it will bring his points to 300.

• Took no action on an ordinance change for liquor delivery in the city.

• Heard there will be cleanup days later this spring along with clearing out blighted areas of the city, including yards with cars that don't have tabs.

Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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