City of Menahga accepts $68K in American Rescue Plan funds

The second half is expected to arrive in July 2022, according to Lisa Sova. She is assistant director of finance with the League of Minnesota Cities (LMC).


The city of Menahga received $68,887 in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds in July.

The second half is expected to arrive in July 2022, according to Lisa Sova. She is assistant director of finance with the League of Minnesota Cities (LMC).

Mayor Liz Olson shared Sova’s email with the Menahga City Council at their Monday, Oct. 25 meeting.

Uses of ARP funds are restricted, Sova explained. They can be used to respond to the public health emergency or its negative economic impacts, provide premium pay to eligible workers, replace lost revenue or to make necessary investments in water, sewer or broadband infrastructure. Additionally, ARP funds can be transferred between jurisdictions or to nonprofit partners, within restrictions.

Cities may utilize ARP funds for expenditures incurred between March 3, 2021 and Dec. 31, 2024.


The city is required to file a project and expenditure report by April 30, 2022.

Temporary city administrator

Jensine Kurtti, the temporary administrative support technician, received a list of names from LMC who might be able to serve as a temporary city administrator. City Administrator Curt Kreklau has been suspended indefinitely. Kurtti spoke with someone from Deerwood and would meet with another from Park Rapids.

Kurtti reported that she worked remotely part of last week. City hall was closed due to COVID-19, but reopened on Oct. 25.

Kurtti also said she contacted the Wadena County recorder about vacated alleys still showing up on the county’s GIS map. She noted that one of the largest alleys had been properly filed in the 1980s, but it wasn’t updated on the GIS map, though the owner had been paying taxes.

Cost reduction

The council scheduled budgetary meetings for Friday, Oct. 28 and Friday, Nov. 5. Their goal is to reduce expenses in 2021 as well as in the proposed 2022 budget.

Menahga Fire Chief Dave Kicker said he had not seen revised financial reports since their last 2022 budget cuts.

Mayor Liz Olson said she gave her meeting notes to Deputy Clerk Tanya Edwards to update the figures.

Olson said the revised numbers must have been entered in order for Kreklau to determine the preliminary 2022 levy increase of 42.7 percent. “Or someone had to have keyed them in,” she said.


Kicker said Olson will likely need to provide her notes again, “so we’re on the same page.”

Sheriff’s letter

Wadena County Sheriff Micahel D. Carr “respectfully declined” a request to provide a cost estimate for deputy sheriffs to provide police protection within Menahga during fiscal year 2022.

In a letter to the council, Carr wrote that Minnesota Statute says a sheriff’s office may offer protection in the absence of a police department. He said his office has offered financial numbers in the past, but cities have kept their police departments active.

“I understand there are a lot of moving parts which brought up this recent request, the majority of which is financial. I am willing to assist your police chief in looking over his budget to only suggest ideas that may help him and the city move forward,” Carr wrote.

Council member Durwin Tomperi said, “I’m the one that had the impetus to reach out and see what the costs were. Like I said, I’m a numbers guy. I’ve been in business a long, long time. When you look at financials, everything has a dollar in, dollar out effect on it.”

Tomperi said it was never his intention to switch from local police to the county. “I don’t know how that rumor got out there. It’s totally false,” he said.

Tomperi said he was seeking “a snapshot of alternative costs related to police protection.”

“When you start talking tax dollars and what it costs to run things, it’s always good to have numbers to compare things with,” he said.


In other business, the council awarded excess city equipment if the bid met the minimum amount. They also briefly discussed installing GPS capability on city-owned vehicles, excluding squad cars and fire trucks.

Council member Art Huebner was absent due to illness.

Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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