Park Rapids Council moves forward on vacancies: Council appoints Mikesh to vacancy on 3-1 vote

The Park Rapids Council has appointed Pat Mikesh to fill the vacancy left on Dave W. Konshok's resignation last month. Five residents expressed interest in the vacant council position. They were Helen Dickson, Molly Luther, Mikesh, Dick Rutherfor...

The Park Rapids Council has appointed Pat Mikesh to fill the vacancy left on Dave W. Konshok's resignation last month.

Five residents expressed interest in the vacant council position. They were Helen Dickson, Molly Luther, Mikesh, Dick Rutherford and Ralph Wood.

Mayor Nancy Carroll supported Luther for the position, but Clyde Zirkle, Gene Kinkel and Ted Godfrey said they felt "obligated" to appoint Mikesh since he ran for council in the last election and received the next most votes.

The council was prepared to swear in the new member but only Luther and Wood attended the meeting.

Advancing support for Luther, Carroll said leadership was a topic at a Progress Park Rapids meeting Monday. "We are all in agreement leadership is a challenge for the future of our community and we discussed what can we do about it," she said.


"I think our role as today's leaders should be to mentor young people and help them acquire leadership skills. I think I have benefited from some mentoring," she continued.

Carroll suggested part of developing leaders is to provide them with a real life opportunity. "So tonight we have an opportunity to help an emerging new leader in our community," she said, naming Luther.

She said Luther was an outstanding student and athlete in high school (Class of 2000), went on to college and has returned to live in the community.

Carroll said Luther would provide some "diversity on the council," and supported her appointment.

Council members talked about why they were supporting Mikesh.

Ted Godfrey said he supported Mikesh because he had the most votes in the last election after he and Konshok.

Zirkle said there have been times when it was hard to get anyone to run for council so he was happy to see five people volunteer. He said he felt obligated to Mikesh because he ran in the last election.

"I don't know what his education is," Zirkle said, "but he has an important job" (Mikesh works for a local gas company) and he is also on the fire department."


Kinkel assured it was not an easy decision to make, and acknowledged that when his son Tony ran for public office, "his age was one thing he had to fight."

(Tony Kinkel was 25 when he was elected to his first term in the Minnesota House in 1986.)

Kinkel said he was supporting Mikesh because he ran in the last election and "the results showed what people want." He also urged Luther to run in the next election.

"I definitely will," she said.

The vote was three to one for Mikesh with Carroll casting the no vote.

Mikesh will serve until Dec. 31, 2008.

In November 2008, the city ballot will include election of a council member to a two-year term to fill out Konshok's unexpired term.

At the end of the meeting, Carroll thanked John Masog for his 30-plus years as city attorney.


"You have great staff at the city and it has been a pleasure to work with them," Masog said. "I hope that continues with your new administrator."

In other action Tuesday night, the council:

n Approved changes in the contract for liquor store employees pending review of the actual contract, which the city hadn't received.

The employees voted previously to accept the changes for a new two-year contract ending Dec. 31, 2009. In addition to a 25-cent hourly pay rate effective Jan. 1, 2008 and Jan. 1, 2009, benefits include a provision allowing employees who work on holidays to be able to choose to be paid for the holiday or receive an additional scheduled day off.

n Approved the proposal from Ankeny Kell Architects (AKA) for a community center feasibility study. Last month, Zirkle was reluctant to move forward, but since then he met with Bill Cowman, a member of the city community center task force. Zirkle said Cowman answered his questions.

"A community center is something we need. It would be a big asset to us," Zirkle said, adding the study would provide the information needed to decide whether or not to go ahead.

Carroll added timing is "critical to working with RDG," consultants on the downtown development project. Doing the study now, she explained, will allow AKA and RDG to share information and avoid duplication.

The council approved the proposal at a cost up to $23,000 and briefly discussed where in the 2008 budget the money might come from.


n Tabled a proposal from Ehlers & Associates for redevelopment project assistance and scheduled a special meeting Monday to meet with staff from Ehlers to discuss the proposal further.

n Approved the property tax levy and budget for 2008 as presented at the Truth in Taxation hearing the week before.

n Re-appointed Carolyn Conklin to another term on the library board and Robert A. Crep to the airport commission.

n Travis Little was appointed as a volunteer firefighter.

n Appointed Craig Kritzeck to full-time probationary police officer. Police chief Terry Eilers said Kritzeck was one of 11 candidates for the position and has been a part-time officer for the department since December 2006. The new position will be paid for from a grant the department received earlier this year. Kritzeck will start full-time Jan. 1.

n Approved purchase of new police badges and a squad car. The badges at a cost of $1,596 will be paid from donated funds and the budget. The lowest of three bidders for the squad car was Phelps Ford of Perham at $21,952. Eilers said the cost of squad cars goes down every year. The council also approved buying a computer for the department with money in the forfeiture fund. Eilers said there is about $17,000 in the fund, but it can only be used for alcohol or drug enforcement.

n Approved the purchase of library equipment, including an unscheduled replacement of a printer that isn't working and can't be repaired.

n Authorized an amendment to the developer's agreement with LarMac related to tax increment financing.


n Received the monthly building permit report, showing more than 41 million in permits issued in November and about $26.5 million since Jan. 1.

Four single-family permits issued during November totaled $859,000 in value.

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