The Park Rapids City Council voted on Tuesday, July 13 to reinstate penalties for non-payment of utility bills, potentially including water shutoff.

City Administrator Angel Weasner explained that Gov. Tim Walz’s executive orders, issued last year in response to COVID-19, have been rescinded so that penalties can be assessed again.

Council member Erika Randall moved to reinstate utility penalties, and the motion passed unanimously.

In consent items and general business, the council:

  • Recognized Sgt. Sabin Rasmus and Officer Joey Rittgers for 10 years of service with the Park Rapids Police Department.

  • Called for a public hearing at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 27 at city hall regarding a request from Larry Benham to vacate a 240-foot portion of the platted 8th Street East and Central Avenue South, south of the Fish Hook River in the Steinmetz & Nary Addition.

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  • Gave step and pay increases to Police Officers Kelli Seitz, Joseph Rittgers and Austin Rittgers and Sgt. Sabin Rasmus. Advancing to the three-year step, Seitz will be paid $28.47 per hour effective July 10. Joey Rittgers will make $31.55 per hour at the eight-year step plus 10-year longevity, a 15-cent increase retroactive to May 10. Austin Rittgers advances to the Year 5 rate of $29.87 as of July 26, and Rasmus to the 10-year step of the police sergeant scale at $32.94 per hour as of July 25.

  • Approved a partial payment of $49,360 for the Career Path street improvement project, for materials on-hand.

  • Paid Apex Engineering $5,176 for work on the water treatment facility and frontage road projects and right of way assistance.

  • Paid MVI $2,831 for emergency repair to an irrigator, which needed a 5 horsepower booster replaced.

  • Paid Hawkins, Inc. $3,618 to purchase hydrofluosilicic acid and sodium permanganate.

  • Paid Farrington Enterprises, LLC $1,998 for emergency repair of the city’s vactor truck.

  • Paid Darchuk’s Fabrication and Stainless Steel Works, Inc. $2,342 to repair the plow bracket on a plow truck.

  • Paid Ferguson Waterworks $5,627 for materials for the new public works storage building.

  • Paid AEM Financial Solutions, LLC $1,163 for accounting assistance.

  • Approved a request for secondary employment to allow Police Officer Josh Gabriel to operate his business, TBL Coatings.

  • Paid $121,339 for the tax increment financing payments for the first half of 2021.

  • Acknowledged donations to the city totaling $6,125, including the purchase of Pioneer Park commemorative path bricks, donations to the Park Rapids Area Library, a $5,000 donation toward the tennis court replacement project, and several contributions to the Fish Hook Lake Association’s aquatic invasive species program.

  • Approved payables totaling $169,669 and prepaids totaling $354,192.

The city council’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 27 at city hall.