Menahga City Council debates concealed weapon policy

Menahga City Hall 2022
Shannon Geisen/ Park Rapids Enterprise

Following the 200th mass shooting in the U.S. this year, Menahga City Council member Mike Netland proposed a concealed weapons ban on city-owned premises

Nine people, including the shooter, were killed at a Dallas mall on May 6.

It’s not unusual for municipalities to bar weapons on city property, such as the liquor store and city hall, Netland said at the Monday, May 8 meeting. “I think we need to take a proactive approach for the safety of the city employees and grounds.”

He suggested that Menahga Police Chief Amy Lane look into relevant language and rules.

Netland said he feels strongly about this. “I’m a hunter. I’m a big 2nd Amendment rights guy, but enough is enough. If something were to happen and the city council had not acted, I think there’s liability.”


Council member Durwin Tomperi argued that it would disarm the people that would have an opportunity to defend themselves. A violation of gun ban is only a misdemeanor with a $30 or $50 fine, he added.

Netland replied, it also puts renewing a gun permit in jeopardy.

Council member Jody Bjornson said he’d rather have a guy sitting next to him with a concealed weapon.

Council member Dan Warmbold wondered about a fight at the liquor store that could involve weapons. “I’m just taking a look at both ways,” he said.

New building manager

The council hired Ralph Cox to serve both as the city campground and city building maintenance manager, effective immediately. They approved a job description on Monday. City Administrator Lacey Erickson noted that Cox brings 20 years of experience as a former maintenance worker at Wonewok.

Northbound Spirits Manager Heather Shepersky reported that five areas of the sidewalk by liquor store’s lounge entrance are broken. At the front of the store, the sidewalk is either cracked, sinking or rising above the curb.

Netland said the sidewalks pose a liability and new ones are needed.

Bjornson pointed out that concrete is $160 per yard now. In order to save money, he suggested mud jacking to raise the sinking pieces.


“It’s Ralph’s job now,” said Tomperi.

Greenwood Connections

Greenwood Connections (GC) Administrator Laura Ahlf noted there are two open GC Board positions. Cindy Pederson expressed interest in serving.

Ahlf is also exploring better interest rates for the city-owned nursing facility’s investments, but she needs city council authorization to invest in the 4M Fund.

There was some dispute about whether to contact the city attorney.

Netland said, “What’s the purpose of running to the lawyer? That costs money. We’re spending so damn much on legal fees.”

Bjornson said the city doesn’t want to do anything wrong.

Tomperi said it should be a quick call to the attorney, costing $180.

“When you’re a poor man, a penny is a lot of money, and this city is a poor man,” Netland replied.


Ahlf said 4M was satisfied that GC is qualified to invest, but a resolution is necessary.

The council will add it to its next agenda.

She reported that it does not make financial sense to delicense two beds – from 65 to 63 – because it’s only a savings of $5,000 per year.

Credit card policy

The council tabled approval of a credit card policy for city staff and supervisors. Erickson said the attorney reviewed the draft policy. The only question remaining was the maximum dollar amount on capital equipment or upgrades purchases with a credit card.

Olson said there shouldn’t be any allowed. “They’ve got to come to the council.”

Tomperi agreed, saying, “Looking back, there were credit card charges for $4,000, $5,000, $6,000, and nobody had a clue what was going on. We’re not going back down that route. Not on my watch.”

As administrator, Ahlf said she is authorized to use her credit card to make purchases of $2,500 or less for capital equipment. She asked if this new policy would apply to her.

Netland said he wanted to protect the city, but not hamstring Ahlf.


Erickson will make revisions and return with another draft to the council.

In other business, the council did this:

  • Accepted a $5,000 donation from the Froemming Foundation and $1,874 from the Menaga Civic & Commerce to purchase new streetlight snowflake holiday decorations.
  • Accepted a $500 donation from the Menahga Lions to purchase new gloves for the Menahga Fire Department and another $500 donation from the Lions to the Hooked On Fishing Program.
  • Authorized submitting an $1,800 grant application to Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative’s Operation Round Up. If awarded, the money would be used for cemetery upkeep.
  • Tabled a $1,650 sealcoating quote from S@N Sealcoating & Cracksealing of Perham for re-striping four blocks of a biking/walking path on First St. NW. The council wants to see more quotes. Council member Dan Warmbold warned that the road is very narrow and cars could easily collide.
  • Accepted Greener Tomorrows Greenhouse & Nursery of Menahga’s bid to install annual flowers in the city planters for $668. It was the sole bid. Olson abstained from voting due to conflict of interest.
  • Learned street sweeper repairs are anticipated to cost $6,700.
  • Learned that 20 yards of sand was delivered to the city beach last week, with more to come.
  • Learned that James Moeller will return as a part-time mower at $15 per hour.
  • Proclaimed May 15-22 as National Police Week.

Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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