Jerry Bohnsack, Gary Tibbitts and Rose Beverly

Outgoing Acting City Administrator Jerry Bohnsack (left) and Aitkin Mayor Gary Tibbitts welcomed newly-hired City Administrator Rose Beverly when she attended her first city council meeting on July 20. Bohnsack will be staying on to assist Beverly as she learns the ropes in her new position.

Cuyuna Lakes Trails Association is moving ahead with the next phase of its plan; the next phase will go from Riverton to the city of Brainerd.

The current focus is on fundraising and promotion of the next phase. Drawings of the proposed connections from Deerwood to Aitkin and north of Brainerd will be published. The association is working with Sen.Carrie Ruud and Rep. Dale Lueck to get support for the project by seeking $500,000 in state bonding money.

Acting City Administrator Jerry Bohnsack provided his last report as administrator.  Bohnsack asked that spending limits be increased to $25,000 to facilitate joint purchasing with the county, in particular as it is related to purchasing election supplies. The council approved the motion.

MAKE YOUR MARK

Bohnsack presented the proposed cost for the Make Your Mark, Support Our Park hockey rink and pickleball court project.  He reported that the project committee is starting to realize that it is about $100,000-$130,000 short on funds needed to complete the project.

The cost of the rink is about $234,000, based on engineers’ estimates and the bids they are seeing.  Removing five feet of fill and replacing it with granular material was not anticipated; nor was the need for an 8 inch slab rather than the 6 inch slab originally planned. The slab and the granular material removal and fill should be ready to bid in a week to 10 days, Bohnsack said.

This project is an improvement to the park system, will benefit the whole community and will be an asset to the community for at least 30 years. Bohnsack believes there will be enough money in the parks budget without adding to the general levy for this specific purpose. That decision can be made in December after it becomes more clear how the project is progressing.

Council member Kathy Galliger emphasized that this is a very important, all season, multi-year project that is a keystone project for the city park.

“It is very important that we carry out the project that has been receiving so much support in the community,” she said.

Council member Erin Wagner also spoke in support of the project, saying that the six-inch slab would not be enough to support the pickleball infrastructure that is needed, and that has received so much support from the community.

The council agreed to move forward knowing the project would run over budget, even though the exact amount of the deficit is not currently known.

ELECTION EXPENSES

The increased number of judges and others needed to conduct an election in the time of COVID-19 will be the responsibility of the city. For example, door monitors will be needed to limit the number of people who can come in to the room to vote at any one time.

“This will not be a normal election,” said Bohnsack.

IN OTHER BUSINESS

Bohnsack updated the council on the CARES Act funding distribution and council made a decision about a city  resident’s sewer project that was able to be resolved without any action on the part of the city. The ordinance specifies that the property owner is responsible for the sewer from the property line to the residence. A letter will be sent to the family involved.

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