City will be ready to answer questions

It didn't set well with the Park Rapids Council that county commissioners tabled zoning ordinance changes for the area in Henrietta Township covered in an orderly annexation agreement.

It didn't set well with the Park Rapids Council that county commissioners tabled zoning ordinance changes for the area in Henrietta Township covered in an orderly annexation agreement.

But what really irritated Ted Godfrey was that a commissioner told the Headwaters Regional Development Commission (HRDC) staff member, who led the city-township joint planning effort, he didn't need to attend.

So Tuesday night the council decided they would all attend next week's county board meeting to answer questions.

"This isn't the first time this has happened with us. I thought we had things pretty well smoothed over," Godfrey said, adding if something county-related comes to the council, he goes to the county and gets counsel. "But someone actually told Tim (Flathers of the HRDC) he didn't have to attend so there wasn't anybody with any knowledge there.

"We both came to this agreement and it was signed off on by both units of government. I don't understand," Godfrey added.


Before discussion started, mayor Nancy Carroll asked to pull agenda items related to the ordinance amendments to give the county board a chance to vote and show they are in favor of the agreement and all the changes.

Last summer, the city and Henrietta Township signed an orderly annexation agreement. Zoning changes that would extend into the annexed area were worked out in meetings of the joint planning commission in the past few months. The township has approved the zoning ordinance changes and the council approved a first reading April 24.

Only the zoning portion needs commissioner approval.

Carroll said she planned to attend Wednesday's commissioners' meeting and encouraged other council members, staff and township officers to attend too.

"There was no one there," she said, explaining Flathers had attended a commissioners' meeting earlier, updated them on the work and was informed he didn't need to attend the meeting May 2.

"Now he's written a letter to them, answered some of their questions and asked them to approve it," Carroll said.

Council member Dave Konshok said the zoning didn't come up at an intergovernmental meeting and asked if it would be possible to call one before the commissioners' meeting.

"The commissioners' questions could have been easily answered had we had somebody there," Carroll said. "It was a miscommunication."


"We'd be making a terrible mistake if we don't address this at this next meeting," Godfrey said.

Carroll said she called commissioner Greg Larson after she found out the ordinance was tabled. His question was what happened to properties before they are annexed.

"The ordinance will cover all the annexed area. It's not incremental as the staging is for the annexation," Carroll explained.

Another question had to do with comments at the public hearing, "if there were concerns or not," Carroll continued. The minutes were sent to the courthouse, but commissioners had tabled the matter before they received the record.

"The minutes would indicate there was no opposition," she added.

Gene Kinkel agreed the council should attend the commissioners' meeting and moved to table the ordinance reading as Carroll requested.

The motion passed 4-1 with Clyde Zirkle opposed.

The council is on the agenda for 11:15 a.m. Wednesday.


According to the minutes from the city planning commission's public hearing, there was some urgency to moving the changes forward because some of the amendments to existing city ordinance will affect administration of the ordinance this spring.

In other action Tuesday night, the council:

n Agreed to return $6,349.66 to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for air tanks purchased for the fire department from a grant.

Treasurer Angela Brumbaugh explained the fire department received a $131,290 FEMA grant and ordered 23 air tanks rather than 20 (as the grant application stated), because they could purchase 23 for nearly the same price.

FEMA demanded the $6,349.66 be returned to meet the city's 5 percent required share of the $131,290 spent.

n Approved rezoning and a conditional use permit for Scott and Carrie Parks to construct a fitness center at 200 Gilbert Avenue, south of the Great Northern Café.

n Approved use of Pioneer Park and a sign permit for the Farmers Market.

n Approved a conditional use permit to construct a twinhome in an R1 (single family residential) zone on Timbers Drive and Oak Boulevard.


Once the city zoning ordinance amendments are adopted, twinhomes will no longer be a permitted use in single-family residential areas.

n Approved updating and changing the city's comprehensive plan future land use map and the first reading of an ordinance rezoning several areas to R2 (single, two-family and townhome residential district) and R3 (medium density residential) from R1.

n Approved a recommendation from the library board to purchase another computer that would provide Internet access at an eighth station. During the summer months, there are often hour-long waiting lists, according to librarian Becky Walpole.

n Approved a contract with TKDA, St. Paul, to provide engineering for the expansion of the apron area at the airport and relocate the aviation fuel tanks and jet fuel tanks. The project is estimated to cost $500,000. The city's share would be $27,700.

n Heard presentations from three financial consultants in anticipation of issuing bonds to cover the cost of this year's projects. All recommended covering costs, including both years of the Highway 34 project, in one year to save bond issuance costs and to take advantage of the current low interest rates.

The council chose Northland Securities based on past experience with the firm and lower fees.

n Approved the city's $6,600 share of the cost (45 percent of the total) related to the wayside rest agreement. Hubbard County also had questioned the amount and since the last council meeting, the wayside rest committee reconvened to review the bill.

City administrator Brian Weuve said the bill covers more than a 12-month period. Presently, there is one meter for the entire building, which also houses the Chamber office. Weuve said it was agreed to have an energy audit to see if there are ways to save heating costs and also to obtain advice about how to split the bill.


n Awarded bids to Gemstone Masonry of Frazee for concrete work and to Howard's Driveway, Menahga, for asphalt paving and grading improvements at Depot Park.

The Gemstone Masonry bid at $50,786 was the lowest of three bidders. Howard's Driveway was the only bidder at $32,477.

n Approved a request from State Bank to forgive a portion of bills owed on the property where Gabby's (formerly Gilbert's) restaurant burned in October.

According to Weuve, there was an outstanding utility bill of about $4,700 and a fire bill for $2,300 on the property. The bank objected to the amount, in part because the bill for fire services wasn't received in time to submit to the insurance company. The bank offered to pay $2,500 to settle the utility bill and the council accepted the offer.

n Heard a report from police chief Terry Eilers that in a NightCAP (nighttime concentrated alcohol patrol) 56 vehicles were stopped, with 17 citations and 30 warnings given and one person arrested and taken to jail.

The special patrol was prior to the spring prom last Saturday.

"We accomplished our objective of keeping everybody safe and alive," Eilers said.

n Learned in a written report from Rapids Spirits manager Scott Olson that the beer industry is seeing the end of an era. The returnable bottle is no longer going to be available.


n Received the building permit report, showing through April the city has issued nearly $2 million in building permits, more than $680,000 in April alone.

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