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Conway gives parting plug to Heartland Lakes Development Commission

Departing city council member called the organization "the one ... that will make this community and county flourish."

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Park Rapids City Hall
Park Rapids Enterprise file photo
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The Park Rapids City Council on Dec. 13 presented certificates of appreciation to council members Erika Randall and Tom Conway, whose terms end at the end of the year.

Staff members thanked Randall and Conway for their service.

Taking a last opportunity to comment as a council member, Conway said he has enjoyed his five years on the council and may run for office again after he retires from his day job. He acknowledged city staff for their professionalism.

In addition, Conway gave a “plug” to the Heartland Lakes Development Commission, saying HLDC “is the one organization that will make this community and county flourish.”

He said HLDC’s staff and board “have done magnificent work with housing development and distribution of COVID money in the county; and they are poised to continue to do remarkable things. The city and county need to continue to support them.”

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In consent items and general business, the council:

  • Heard Weasner report the council’s next regular meeting, scheduled for Dec. 27, is canceled.
  • Approved a mutual aid agreement with the Bemidji Fire Department.
  • Gave full-time utility billing/payroll clerk Sarah Gwiazdon a wage increase to $28.24 per hour, effective Dec. 21.
  • Gave part-time liquor store clerk Colleen Taylor a wage increase to $16.24 per hour, effective Dec. 16.
  • Gave full-time police Sgt. Robert Gilmore a wage increase to $33.98 per hour, retroactive to Dec. 1.
  • Reappointed Thom Peterson to the airport commission and Ann Niedzielski to the library board, both for a three-year term.
  • Posted an available position as a part-time, weekend rounds utility maintenance worker.
  • Approved Officer Colter Diekmann as a part-time police officer, with a starting wage of $28.21 per hour.
  • Paid Hawkins, Inc. $2,368 for water treatment chemicals.
  • Paid Hildi, Inc. $3,200 for their actuarial valuation and report.
  • Paid MVI $7,640 for repairs to three irrigators.
  • Paid Tritech Software Systems $7,985 for annual software maintenance and support for the police department. 
  • Paid Nardini Fire Department $1,467 for fire extinguisher inspection, repair, recharge, replacement and supplies. 
  • Accepted a donation from Minnesota Power for an electrical vehicle (EV) charging station and authorized Weasner to sign documents. The donation reimburses the city 80% of the installation costs of an EV charging station, up to $1,500, which will be city property including manufacturer warranties, data plan and software license. The agreement also gives Minnesota Power access to usage information, not including users’ personal information on the station, to be installed in the city parking lot south of city hall.
  • Accepted a $100,000 Leadership Boost grant from the Blandin Foundation to renovate and upgrade the Red Bridge Park beach house.
  • Gave a first reading to an ordinance amendment changing the zoning of Shane Sundet’s property at 903 Park Ave. N. from R-1 (single family residential) to R-B (residential business transitional). Weasner explained that the council was in error when it passed this zoning amendment as a resolution on Nov. 22.
  • Designated city hall as the election polling place for both Park Rapids precincts.
  • Scheduled council meetings for 2023. Regular meetings are at 6 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month, except in December when there will only be one meeting, Dec. 12, 2023.
  • Approved payables totaling $157,099 and prepaids totaling $230,687.
  • Had a closed session to discuss union negotiation strategies and an evaluation of Weasner’s job performance.

The city council’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023 at city hall.

MORE RELATED COVERAGE:
The grocery store chain plans to break ground this spring on a 20,664-square foot location.

Robin Fish is a staff reporter at the Park Rapids Enterprise. Contact him at rfish@parkrapidsenterprise.com or 218-252-3053.
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