Following the usual formalities of an Onamia City Council meeting, i.e., the pledge of allegiance and approval of last meeting’s minutes, Onamia Mayor Marge Agnew began the Wednesday, Aug. 14 meeting by recognizing audience member Bob Carl who was at the meeting representing his sign company, hoping to receive approval of a variance for the erection of a billboard within Onamia city limits along the east side of State Highway 169. The sign variance issue was properly brought up at a city zoning board meeting, and according to zoning board member Gene Falconer, each of over a dozen check-points with reference to the variance was discussed and approved by the board. After some discussion by the entire Onamia council and Mr. Carl concerning interpretation of the city ordinance with regard to placement of billboards in the city limits, the signage variance was approved.
In other matters, local police chief Bob Matzke put in a plug for the possible hiring of two part-time cops for the city upon a background check of their credentials. The council backed looking into the possibility of hiring the part-time employees this coming year.
Both the Onamia police and fire chiefs reported positive outcomes for their presence at a gathering on “National Night Out,” held this summer at the Mille Lacs Band Museum in Vineland. The two reported that this event is scheduled to be hosted at different venues around the big lake each year, and they thought Onamia might be in line for hosting the evening’s gathering next summer.
Fire chief Bruce Peterson invited the council to view the personnel carrier the fire department recently purchased.
Several quaint city maintenance issues were addressed by Falconer. He mentioned that the city had been approached by a young Onamia High student who is working to earn his Eagle Scout award this coming year. The boy proposed that, as a project working to his goal of becoming an Eagle Scout, he be in charge of raising enough money to provide the additional wood-chip mulch needed for one of the city parks. The boy said he hoped to raise the money from donations and provide the labor for distributing the mulch himself. The council agreed to urge this boy to pursue his goal.
Falconer also said that the Onamia Lions Club had mentioned their intent to somehow provide the labor and materials necessary for improving the looks of the exterior of the city skating warming house.
Falconer then told the council he had received several bids from local companies to tear down the small building on Main Street that once housed a used car dealership. The council agreed to hire a local crew to do that demolition.
Maintenance workers present at the meeting reported that they had completed their first of a promised monthly cleaning (sweeping) of the Soo Line Trail from Onamia to Isle. Onamia worker Josh True said the job of grooming the trail took five hours.
As per yearly reviews, city clerk Kathy McCullum, along with maintenance workers Falconer and True were awarded pay increases by unanimous votes from the council.
• City attorney Bob Ruppe was awarded a pay rate increase.
• The requests by the impending Casey’s Convenience Store for a 3.2 off-sale license and cigarette license were approved by the council after some discussion.
• The council went on notice advertising for “Funtober,” a city-wide celebration on Oct. 12, from 2-6 p.m. with events held in various city parks.