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Blackduck City Council hears department reports; opens bids

Members of the Blackduck City Council met Sept. 21, hearing department reports and opening bids for the 1994 Honda Accord the city had for sale.

The city received two bids on the vehicle. The first bid opened by Mayor Scott Palmer was from Jesse Gross and was for $515. The second bid was from Jesse Rensberry who put in a bid of $512.67 The council then voted to award the bid to Gross. The minimum bid was $500.

Municipal Liquor Store Manager Shawn Waldo was on had to give her report to the council.

She began by informing the council that beer prices would be going up as of next week. She felt that to be in line with all other liquor stores in the area, that they should also raise the prices. "It's been a long time since we have had to raise prices," she explained to the council, "And after talking to some other liquor managers, I feel this would be beneficial for us to do it now."

She also talked about the marketing committee meeting and felt it would be a idea to go around to other liquor stores to see what is working for them concerning the patio area. "We want to see what it working for them and also what the customers like," she said.

Waldo informed the council that Beltrami Electric would be coming into The Pond to do the energy audit on Sept. 30. She also brought up the fact that the coolers that the liquor store has, put out a lot of heat and that she is concerned that they might be causing some problems with the heat coming off of the compressors that run the cooler. Council member Kevin Beck asked Maintenance Supervisor Bob Klug Jr. if there was any way they could recycle some of the heat coming off the coolers. "They have to be putting out a lot of heat," Beck said, "Where is it going? The attic?"

Klug said, yes, it was going up into the attic and he wasn't sure if anything could be done about them. He said that they can get Terry Anderson to come in and see if there is any way they could recycle the heat from those compressors. Waldo mentioned that the coolers cooling system was using an awful amount of softener salt in the water system that was being used. "It is just going through the system and out. We have no way to recover it," she said. "We might want to look at possibly getting a closed system that would recycle the water and cut down on the amount of salt we have to use." The council discussed the different things that could be done and felt it was necessary to have Anderson come in and see if anything could be done to save money.

The last item on Waldo's report was the annual MMBA regional meeting. She explained that she and City Administrator Karin Elhard would like to attend this meeting, which will be held in Walker Oct. 21. "They will be talking about theft and safety issues and I think we would benefit from going to this meeting." Waldo said. The cost for both to go would be $30. The council approved the request.

Golf Course Manager Dick McKean was next to come before the council with his report.

"The golf course is making money," he said. "It usually winds down after Labor Day. I cut the hours at the clubhouse down to 10 a.m.-6 p.m. to save some money," he explained. "If someone needs something, I take care of it. It saves about four hours per day, seven days a week," he said. Next season, he wants to cut the hours back right after Labor Day. He informed the council that he has also heard that golfing is down at Bemidji Town and Country Club as well as Castle Highlands.

Discussion then turned to the pavement of the cart paths at the course. The cost to pave them would be approximately $4,250, McKean said. "I would like to see money put back into the course," said Beck. Klug said that BBI out of Bemidji could start on the project the first or second week of October. The project was then approved.

McKean mentioned the fact that the course will be needing to replace some equipment that is worn out and, according to McKean, might last another month. The council directed Klug and McKean to research the options out there for the equipment and get back to the council with the information. Beck thanks McKean for another good season at the golf course.

Klug came before the council to give his report for public works. Klug began by saying that he had been contacted by Patti Burns from the Red Lake Watershed District. "Every year, the Red Lake Watershed District holds this water festival," Klug explained. "We used to host it out at Pine Tree Park but it got so big that for the past couple of year, they have held it at Concordia Language Village. This year, students from Kelliher, Northome and Blackduck will be doing a project on storm sewer stress and water pollution. They want to take stencils they bought and mark around the storm sewer catch basins in town as part of their public awareness project. If the council is ok with it and I approve the templates they will be using, can it should be a go," he said. The council then approved the project pending Klug's approval on the templates.

Klug mentioned that Knife River had been here to do the milling on the bike trail. Palmer told the council that he had been around the trial and that he had counted 150 spots that needed attention. "Of course at some of the places, there were three spots inside the circle which they would be milling," he said. Klug us hopeful that the project would be completed this week.

He updated the council on Pine Tree Park. The park will be closing Oct. 12 as there are no reservations and that the park had been busy this year. He also told the council that the city maintenance crew would be closing down the wayside rest sometime in the middle of October. "Whenever it starts freezing at night," he said.

Palmer took the floor and mentioned that he felt Klug deserved an increase in wages to bring his salary in line with comparable communities. Beck made the motion and it was seconded then approved by the council.

The last item for Klug was the workshop he and Elhard would like to attend. The workshop will be held in St. Cloud Oct. 27 and concerns setting conservation rates. "The state of Minnesota is going to require cities to have a conservation rate for water usage," Klug said. The council agreed that the two should attend the workshop.

Blackduck Police Chief Scott Wherley was last to come before the council with his reports. He began with the emergency response mutual aide agreement. He explained that this agreement had already been entered into by the city of Bemidji for Officer John Wilkenson as part of the emergency response SWAT team that was put together and which Wilkenson is a member of. The council then approved the agreement.

Wherley then brought the agreement between the city of Blackduck and Beltrami County Sheriff's office which was discussed and then approved by the council.

The last item of business for Wherley was the coding for citations which have been incorrectly been put into the county system. Elhard explained to the council that "the coding error was realized in August of this year and currently the Beltrami County Office of Court Administration is figuring out how they reimburse us the funds that are due." She went on to explain that the state of Minnesota is also involved in the reimbursement process. "They are researching how far back they have to refund," she said.

Wherley told the council that he was in the process of getting copies of the citations they city officers had written and then he will go back and see what was paid and what these citations were written for to see how it balances with what the county and state come up with.

Following a short discussion on this item, the council then adjourned for the evening

The next city council meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Oct. 5 in the council chambers at city hall.