The Park Rapids City Council on Tuesday recognized two public servants for their work.

Firefighter Virgil Eskola received a certificate of achievement for his 30 years of service to the city.

According to the certificate, Eskola has served on the Park Rapids Fire Department since Feb. 1, 1991.

Mayor Ryan Leckner also presented a key to the city to Betty Thomsen, commending her for outstanding community service.

Mayor Ryan Leckner (peeking over Betty Thomsen's shoulder) presented Thomsen with the key to the city and a certificate honoring her recent service as interim city administrator. (Robin Fish/Enterprise)
Mayor Ryan Leckner (peeking over Betty Thomsen's shoulder) presented Thomsen with the key to the city and a certificate honoring her recent service as interim city administrator. (Robin Fish/Enterprise)

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Thomsen was city administrator from 2000 to 2004, and again as an interim appointee from last September to mid-January.

The accompanying certificate acknowledges Thomsen’s leadership during turbulent times, her ability to build relationships and her willingness to serve the community.

Leckner noted with some irony that the key was one of several that Thomsen had ordered during her first tenure as city administrator.

Council members joked that if the key is made of solid gold, the city will want it back.

“I’ll melt it down,” Thomsen mock-threatened. Amid the laughter, she said she doesn’t recall that the city paid all that much for the keys.

Later, during the meeting’s public comment period, Thomsen challenged city personnel to work as a team. Her remarks drew on a “teamwork” motivational poster that she gave the city as a parting gift, describing individuals as drops of water and the team as an ocean.

Regarding a discussion about a grant at a previous council meeting, where staff said they never received direction from city administration, Thomsen said she was disappointed.

When she was the city administrator, she said, she told staff more than once that before applying for a grant, “you need to bring that to the council first and get their approval, and then it’ll flow through the proper committees after that.”

In order to earn the respect of others, Thomsen advised, “we need to take ownership of our own actions. Because that type of drop, that was exhibited at the last council meeting, does not an ocean create.”

In consent items and general business, the council:

  • Heard Public Works Superintendent Scott Burlingame report that the new city well was test-pumped, and work on the wellhouse should be completed within a month or two. “Everything is going good, but slowly,” he said.

  • Heard Rapids Spirits liquor store manager Scott Olson report that January’s sales were up 10 percent compared to 2020. He added that the offices and entryways were recently painted, shelving was installed in the office and the employees who were made full-time are handling the transition well.

  • Authorized City Administrator Angel Weasner to sign the pre-application for a Heritage Partnership Program grant and forward it to the personnel committee. According to the request presented to the city council on Jan. 26, the Park Rapids Arts & Culture Advisory Commission is seeking $25,000 to hire a planning intern to develop a citywide, historic commemoration project. The application is due March 15.

  • Authorized Weasner to submit a letter supporting a grant application for the Hangar Co-Working Space to submit to the Heartland Lakes Development Commission, and to work on lease language for the old liquor store building at 100 8th St. E.

  • Appointed Stuart Larson to the city’s Parks and Beautification Board.

  • Gave Rapids Spirits Liquor Store clerk Mark Fox a wage adjustment and step increase to $16.83 per hour and the 48-month union pay scale, retroactive to Jan. 27.

  • Gave Park Rapids Police Sgt. Michael Mercil a wage adjustment and step increase to $33.09 and the 15-year pay scale, effective March 1.

  • Approved a low quote of $7,450 from Hoffman Electric to replace 30 high bay 400-Watt metal halide light fixtures with LED fixtures in the public works shop building.

  • Paid the Hubbard County auditor’s office $1,700 for maintenance fees for the city’s special assessment rolls.

  • Paid TechCheck $3,804 for three years of antivirus protection on 38 city computers and four servers.

  • Paid Apex Engineering Group $13,370 for work on various city projects, including water treatment facility and well construction, Deere Road construction and assistance with the Career Path right of way.

  • Accepted contracting work by Central Florida Tankees for reconditioning the Huntsinger Ave. water tower reconditioning, and paid them a final $5,260 for the project.

  • Amended the Dec. 8, 2020 council meeting minutes to approve paying TKDA $18,158 (not $198,158) for professional services for the municipal airport terminal area taxilanes project.

  • Approved payables totaling $35,988 and prepaids totaling $119,975.

The city council’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23 at city hall. The council will also have a joint work session with the Parks and Beautification Board at 5 p.m. the same evening.