Ice dam wreaks havoc at Menahga City Hall

Council member Durwin Tomperi called for an investigation into why the ice dam wasn't fixed right away.

Menahga City Hall 2022
Shannon Geisen/ Park Rapids Enterprise

An ice dam on Menahga City Hall resulted in a partial roof collapse in the kitchen.

At the April 10 council meeting, council member Durwin Tomperi said he looked at the eave recently and “there was a big ice dam. Somebody told me there was water leaking through a vent into that cavity there.”

He asked Public Works Director Ron Yliniemi why the ice dam wasn’t fixed. “Now we’re going to incur additional costs. There could be more mitigation again,” Tomperi continued.

City Administrator Lacey Erickson said the damage happened on Thursday, April 6 for “a short period of time.” It was Yliniemi’s day off, she continued.

Tomperi called for an investigation into why it happened, noting there was water damage in the women’s bathroom a few years ago that cost the city thousands of dollars.


Yliniemi said the previous council knew for two years that a furnace was leaking into the bathroom and it wasn’t fixed.

“This has been a very strange part of the winter,” Yliniemi said. “That ice dam started building up there.”

The thaw-and-refreeze process pushed the ice underneath the shingles and leaked into the kitchen. “In order to be able to have caught it, you’d have to tear up the shingles and find the leak,” Yliniemi said.

“You didn’t notice?” asked Mayor Liz Olson.

“Not this one,” he replied.

“It’s a bad year for this,” commented council member Dan Warmbold.

RFP decision delayed

The Menahga City Council met with the top three engineering firms recommended by a subcommittee.

Representatives from Moore Engineering, Ulteig and Apex were given 20 minutes to discuss their requests for proposals (RFPs) for the city’s two proposed sewer and water replacement projects and answer prepared questions from the full council on April 10.


No decision was made at the meeting, however. The council asked for more detailed pricing from Apex Engineering in order to accurately compare the three RFPs.

In other business, the council did as follows:

  • Approved a three-year labor contract with the Law Enforcement Labor Services, effective Jan. 1, 2023 through Dec. 31, 2025. Tomperi explained there was a 7% cost-of-living adjustment and an additional step added to the payscale. Wages were increased 2.5% in order to be comparable with similarly sized city police departments.
  • Accepted $49,144 donation from the Brevig Family Trust for Greenwood Connections. To date, the trust has given a total of $369,607.  
  • Accepted a $25,870 estimate from Thein Well of Clara City, Minn. to repair a pitless discharge unit for one of the city’s two wells.
  • Tabled a street sweeping proposal from Pro Sweep Inc. of West Fargo. The company offered to clean streets this spring for $4,000 while the city’s sweeper is still under repair. The council asked Yliniemi to receive quotes from the cities of Wadena and Park Rapids.  
  • Hired Joe White as a full-time police officer at $21.17 per hour.
  • Proclaimed the month of May as Motorcycle Awareness Month.                    

Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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