Menahga moves forward with energy and environment plan

Next steps will include setting up energy audits and a large household waste drop-off day.

The Menahga City Council as of Jan. 30, 2023 includes Mike Netland, Dan Warmbold, Mayor Elizabeth Olson, Durwin Tomperi and Jody Bjornson. Lacey Erickson, at left, was appointed as city administrator that evening, taking over Jan. 31 from interim administrator Laura Ahlf, third from right.
Robin Fish / Park Rapids Enterprise

B.J. Allen with the Region Five Development Commission presented the Menahga City Council on Jan. 30 with an overview of the city’s energy and environment plan, on view at

Allen acknowledged a local committee that worked to put together a five-year plan focusing on five areas: land and food, waste, energy, water and storm events.

She further explained nine projects the committee came up with for 2023: planting trees; offering an annual drop-off day for large household waste; doing community outreach about the county’s annual hazardous waste pick-up; providing electrical and natural gas energy audits within the city, doing energy efficiency outreach and implementing energy audit recommendations; planning for lakefront redevelopment to preserve the water quality of Spirit Lake; designing curbs, sidewalks and rain gardens to better manage stormwater; and encouraging residents to enroll in county CodeRED systems that provide extreme weather alerts.

Allen said the project comes with up to $10,000 of grant funding requiring a 1:1 match, of which $5,000 has already been matched. She asked the council for permission to move forward with the cleanup day, the energy audits and, if any funding remains, spending it on energy efficiency upgrades.

Netland made a motion to authorize proceeding with these projects. The motion passed unanimously.


In other business, the city council:

  • Approved a schedule of council meetings through 2023, with additional meetings to be added as needed for budgeting and other purposes. Regular meetings are at 6 p.m. the second Monday of each month. The council also has a special meeting/work session on the fourth Monday of the month except in May, when it will be moved to May 22 due to Memorial Day, and in December, which is to be determined.
  • Approved a real property declaration, a standard document stating that the city cannot sell or otherwise encumber the lot the new water tower is built on.
  • Reviewed an end-of-year financial statement for 2022, noting that fund balances will change as the auditors request journal entries. Ahlf presented a profit-and-loss summary showing that the city ended the year with an $80,000 general fund balance.
  • Discussed reviewing and simplifying the council’s bylaws.
  • Discussed planning to switch over to the city’s new server on Presidents’ Day, Feb. 20. This will require all the city’s laptops to be brought to city hall for updates, and city personnel will be getting new email addresses.
  • Received a report of the city’s outstanding indebtedness, with outstanding bonds totaling $7,096,500 as of the end of 2022.
  • Authorized Erickson to apply for a Community Impact Funds for Local Governments grant from Sourcell for $20,000 to $50,000, requiring no match, which could be used to improve government facilities, purchase equipment or upgrade technology.
  • Discussed snow removal around the city’s fire hydrants.
  • Approved proposals from Ferguson Waterworks to upgrade the city’s utility billing software to Neptune 360 for $3,600 and from Banyon Data to create an interface with Neptune 360 in the city’s financial system for $2,495.
  • Paid bills totaling $668,166. 

The Menahga City Council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13 at city hall.

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