The Park Rapids City Council had a discussion Tuesday with State Rep. Steve Green (R-Fosston) about the allocation of federal CARES Act funds.

CARES stands for Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security. Out of $841 million awarded statewide, $311,607 was tentatively pledged to Park Rapids to address expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Green said the Legislature needs to allocate the funds by June 30, or Gov. Tim Walz can decide where to spend it under the state’s declared emergency. Either way, the money needs to be spent by Nov. 30.

According to City Administrator Ryan Mathisrud, the League of Minnesota Cities and the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities advise local officials to contact statewide officials, including Walz, urging them to release the funds.

Council member Tom Conway moved and the council unanimously voted to have Mathisrud draft such a letter for them to sign.

Conway and Mathisrud reported that they serve on a subcommittee formed by the Heartland Lakes Development Commission to discuss how to use CARES Act funds if they become available.

In consent items and general business, the council:

  • Accepted the 2021 tree bid from Flying W Gardens, the only bidder, to replace nine trees that were removed from city parks for a total of $643. The tree order includes two red maple autumn spire, one northern pin oak, two red splendor crab and two Japanese tree lilac (all 1-1/4 inch bare root) and two serviceberry autumn brilliance (six-foot clump).

  • Approved the first reading of city code amendments recommended by the Urban Forestry Committee, setting standards for inspection and proper storage of firewood on private property. These standards are desired to prevent nuisance issues and to protect the city’s tree population from the spread of disease.

  • Appointed Colleen Taylor and Jesse Bucholz as part-time clerks at Rapids Spirits municipal liquor store.

  • Approved a step increase and wage adjustment to $25.27 per hour for public works maintenance worker Curt Eischens.

  • Purchased cutting edges for Public Works trucks and equipment from Kris Engineering for $3,886.

  • Approved a minor amendment to a CUP for Sheila Jacob to expand a used vehicle sales lot at 18154 169th Ave. SE in order to display storage buildings.

  • Approved a public facilities use permit for Kelsey Lynn Clark and Jake Firehammer to use Deane Park from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 25 for a wedding celebration.

  • Approved a gambling permit for the Park Rapids Chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association to have a charitable raffle Sept. 26 at the American Legion.

  • Approved a 3.2 beer license for the Headwaters Softball League.

  • Approved a transient merchant license for Jacob Quam with TNT Fireworks to sell fireworks in the Walmart Parking lot from June 19 to July 6.

  • Appointed the city’s election judges for the primary and general elections.

  • Updated this year’s airport maintenance and operations grant contract with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, required to disburse the $30,000 in federal grant funds the city accepted on June 9 for airport maintenance and operations.

No bills (payable or prepaid) were presented due to a computer glitch.

The city council’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 14 at city hall and via teleconference. To participate, dial 218-547-0500 and enter the code 130529 when prompted.

Prior to that meeting, the council will have a work session at 5 p.m. at Rapids Spirits to discuss the municipal liquor store’s condition and space needs.