March 9, 2021

The City Council of Pelican Rapids met in regular session at 4:30 p.m., on Tuesday, March 09, 2021 in Council Chambers, City Hall.

Mayor Frazier called the meeting to order at 4:30 p.m.

Clerk-Treasurer Danielle Harthun took roll call. 

Mayor Brent E. Frazier and four members of the Council were present at roll call: Council Member Steve Strand; Council Member Curt Markgraf; Council Member Kevin Ballard – Zoom; Council Member Steve Foster

Other city staff present: Administrator Don Solga, Superintendent Brian Olson, Police Chief Jeff Stadum and Clerk-Treasurer Danielle Harthun. 

General Attendance Ryan Pesch, Kate Martinez, Lou Hoglund from the Pelican Press were present and Otter Tail County Commissioner Wayne Johnson and Amy King attended via Zoom.

The Mayor welcomed everyone to the Council Meeting and announced upcoming events in the community. 

All present stood and said the Pledge of Allegiance. 

Motion by Strand, seconded by Foster to approve the agenda with the addition of No. 16 Pelican Rapids Potential Bonding Report and No. 17 Gambling Permit for Ducks Unlimited. Motion passed unanimously. 

Motion by Markgraf, seconded by Strand to approve the consent agenda.

a) Approval of Council Minutes – 02/23/2021

b) Approval of Accounts Payable Listing

c) Certify Unpaid Administrative Penalty for 208 NW 2nd Street and 129 NW 1st Avenue to Property Taxes

d) Staff Reports

1. Police Department Report

2. Financial Report

Motion passed unanimously. 

Council Member Ballard would like to utilize the Senior Citizen as a community kitchen. The agreement between the Senior Citizen Center and the City states that if the Club dissolves, the building and real estate will be transferred to the City. Mayor Frazier will contact the Senior Citizen Club so the City can have further discussion.  

Otter Tail County Commissioner Wayne Johnson met with Representative Jordan Rasmussen regarding adding the Pelican Rapids Aquatic Center to the State Capital Bonding funds. Representative Rasmussen asked for a letter stating the City supported receiving State Capital Bonding funds and the City would act as fiscal host. Motion by Ballard, seconded by Markgraf to have Deputy Mayor Steve Foster sign a letter in support of the pool project and the City of Pelican Rapids is willing to act as fiscal agent. Motion passed unanimously. 

Superintendent Olson provided Council with a Street and Park report. With the nice weather, they have been clearing frozen storm drains, cleaning up parks and getting the street sweeper ready. The plow truck overhaul should be finished soon. Motion by Foster, seconded by Markgraf to approve the Street and Parks report. Motion passed unanimously.

Superintendent Olson asked Council to approve the purchase of a new plow truck. The 1999 plow truck needs to be replaced. There is approximately $185,000 saved for capital improvement funds that could be used for a new plow truck. The sale of the old truck should cover the difference, as a new 2022 plow truck will be about $188,000. If the plow truck is ordered now, it should be available November 2021. Council Member Strand would like the city to get a smaller truck. Motion by Foster, seconded by Markgraf to approve the purchase of a new plow truck. Nay: Strand. Aye: Foster, Markgraf, Ballard, Frazier. Motion passed.

Superintendent Olson reported that the playground equipment the City purchased in 2020 is beyond the street department’s ability to install. To have the company come and install it would be $15,651. The Street department will remove the current equipment and prepare the ground for installation. It will be paid for by the general fund parks capital. Motion by Strand, seconded by Ballard to hire out the installation of the new playground equipment. Motion passed unanimously.

  Ryan Pesch spoke to Council about using 43 N Broadway as the Famers Market. He would place four farm stands along the sidewalk. Mr. Pesch reviewed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) he prepared for Council. Ryan would provide Council with an annual update and discussion with Council. Council Member Strand would like to do some research and discuss at the next meeting. Motion by Foster, seconded by Markgraf to allow 43 N Broadway be the Farmers Market and agree with the MOU. Motion passed unanimously.

The Welcome Place would like a letter of support for their application for a Minnesota GreenCorps Member to help implement the Local Foods, Local Places for the City of Pelican Rapids. Motion by Markgraf, seconded by Strand to approve the Mayor signing a letter of support for the Welcome Place serving as the Host Site for a GreenCorp Member. Motion passed unanimously.

Administrator Solga reviewed the Ambulance Contract. Motion by Strand, seconded by Markgraf to approve the Ambulance Contract for 2021 for $30,800 with Ringdahl Ambulance, Inc., and authorize the Mayor and Clerk-Treasurer to sign the contract on behalf of the City.  Motion passed unanimously.  

Administrator Solga presented the Big Build Vacant Lot draft flyer. The flyer would be mailed to anyone that owns an empty buildable lot in Pelican Rapids. Council suggested that the flyer also be mailed out to all property owners in the utility bills. Motion by Strand, seconded by Foster to approve the Big Build Vacant Lot flyer and mailing it in the utility bills and to any property owners of empty lots. Motion passed unanimously.

Administrator Solga reviewed the agreement between the City of Pelican Rapids and Design Intent Architects for the Pelican Rapids Aquatic Center. Motion by Foster, seconded by Strand to approve the agreement between the City of Pelican Rapids and Design Intent. Motion passed unanimously.

Mayor Frazier read the following summary conclusion of the February 23, 2021 closed city council meeting. 

“On February 23, 2021, the City Council, in a closed meeting, evaluated the performance of Travis MacLeod as a City employee. In accordance with the Minnesota Open Meeting Law, the City Council is required to summarize the conclusions of the evaluation of the performance of Mr. MacLeod reached by the City Council at the February 23, 2021 meeting at its next open meeting.”

“A summary of the conclusions regarding the evaluation reached by the City Council are as follows:

• The City Council concluded that Travis MacLeod was unable to perform all essential functions of a Patrol Officer.

• The City Council approved a motion that Travis MacLeod be removed from employment with the City of Pelican Rapids, effective February 24, 2021, which will be his last date of employment with the City, for non-disciplinary reasons as specified in City Administrator Don Solga’s letter to Travis MacLeod of February 11, 2021.”

Council Member Markgraf reported that the Library Foundation gave a donation to the Library to help offset the costs of Hoopla and Overdrive. In addition, the gutters have been leaking and causing an ice issue. 

Pelican Rapids Ducks Unlimited would like to hold a raffle at VFW Post 5252. Motion by Strand, seconded by Foster to approve the Charitable Gambling Permit for Pelican Rapids Ducks Unlimited. Motion passed unanimously.

Administrator Solga reported that since the last city council meeting he has; held a department head meeting; worked with Clerk to set City Council (CC) agenda and prep for regular CC meeting; continued work on the city’s website; created and posted police department job posting for both full-time and part-time positions; attended a virtual interview with UMN Extension’s contractor, Center for Rural Development regarding community diversity; reviewed and discussed, with Scott DeMartelaere, the Design Intent pool plans and specs proposal; worked on DNR Outdoor Recreation Grant application; attended the March 8 swimming pool committee meeting; worked on police department personnel issue; attended virtual meeting with Otter Tail County Community Development Authority regarding housing; met with Dena Johnson to discuss Historic City Hall 2020 season and 2021 schedule; looked in to sound quality issue on video of last city council meeting.  I encourage everyone to go to the city’s YouTube channel to watch the council meeting videos, as they can see and hear the meeting the day following instead of 1 week later.  The channel can be found by clicking on the YouTube link on the top right corner of the city’s website.

Mayor Frazier reported that since the last city council meeting he has; continued to submit weekly mayor’s columns to the Pelican Press for publication, conducted a ‘Conversations with the Mayor’ event at Historic City Hall on February 24, visited on February 24 with Emily Reno of West Central Initiative regarding the Local Foods Local Places goal fitting into the City of Pelican Rapids Comprehensive Plan, telephone conversation with newly elected Moorhead Mayor Shelly Carlson on February 25, participated in a Zoom interview on February 25 with a  U of M Humphrey Capstone Research Team member regarding how local government officials identify the most pressing issues facing the local immigration and refugee communities, attended a March 1  Zoom Meeting with Local Foods Local Places Steering Committee Meeting members, met with Councilman Steve Foster and City Administrator Don Solga on March 4 for Administrator Solga’s annual job evaluation, held a telephone conversation with Otter Tail County Commissioner Wayne Johnson regarding potential State bonding money for the Pelican Rapids Pool Project, Administrator Solga and I met with Dean Johnson via Zoom on March 8 to discuss the Otter Tail County/City of Pelican Rapids joint association at Historic City Hall regarding the 2020 work load and guests visits to this site and met with Administrator Solga on March 8 to review the agenda for this afternoon’s Pelican Rapids City Council Meeting.  

Motion by Strand, seconded by Markgraf to adjourn the City Council meeting a 6:57 p.m. Motion passed unanimously.

Danielle Harthun, MCMC