The Crookston City Council met on Monday night, and all the items on the agenda were a part of the consent agenda. Three issues were pulled off the consent agenda, the bills and disbursements, city attorney appointment, and surplus property.
Councilman Bobby Baird requested the bills and disbursements be pulled. He said he thought a grant had been received for that work and asked why the City of Crookston was paying for Widseth-Smith-Nolting (WSN) to do work for the Gentilly Bridge Access. The grant was awarded to the Red River Corridor group, which Crookston serves as the fiscal agent for, so Crookston pays the bills, but the funds come from the grant explained Interim City Administrator and City Finance Director Angel Weasner. “We had received a grant two years ago through the State of Minnesota’s Greater Minnesota Parks and Trails Legacy Grant,” said Weasner. “The Red Lake River Corridor was the recipient. The city is the fiscal agent for that grant so that all funds will come through the city.”
The bills and disbursements were approved, with Weasner also saying the payment was for work WSN had to complete to put the project out for bid. “That was some pre-surveying,” said Weasner. “We did a bid advertisement last year, and the work had to have specific measurements, depth, that kind of information available for any contractors who wanted to put in a proposal. We had that work done by WSN. We made the bid, and now we are awarding that bid to a contractor to make sure we are on his schedule for this season.”
The second item pulled was the appointment of the City Attorney. Tom Vedbratten asked if the city could hire two lawyers, their local ones, and a firm that deals just with city law. Weasner explained that the bid last year for City Attorney requested both the city and criminal law aspect but did say that it is possible the city could hire two attorneys. Vedbraaten said he thought having a firm with some expertise in city law could be useful. “I know our local attorneys handle a lot of stuff, but sometimes there are some expertise things they probably don’t deal in,” said Vedbraaten. “To get a firm that just deals in city law, city charter, statutory cities, sometimes it might be better to have somebody on board who we can contact and do that. Not that I don’t want our local attorneys to be our attorney. My question more then anything was just can we have another one.”
Acting Mayor Dale Stainbrook said the council should approve the appointment to have a city attorney in place and discuss a second attorney at a future Ways & Means Committee meeting. The approval of Corky Reynolds as city attorney then passed unanimously. Recent discussions on special elections in part prompted the question by Vedbraaten who said asking that question of someone who deals in government might be the way to go. “That issue we came up with about elections when it’s opinions that kind of bothers me,” said Vedbraaten. “I can see the first opinion, and I can see the second opinion. At first, I thought my opinion was right too, but when it was explained by Chuck (Fitzgerald that the city can’t have a special election), I understood that. When it was explained by Corky (Reynolds that the city could have a special election), that’s the way I wanted it, but is that the way it should be. I can see what they say about our charter being different as individual components. I think we sometimes need to have someone who all they deal with is city government because it seems like it’s going to be an opinion either way. What have they dealt with?”
The final item pulled was surplus, with Baird asking if impounded vehicles were included. Weasner explained the resolution was for one item, a network service cabinet, and that all surplus comes individually listed before the council. The remaining consent agenda was passed unanimously. That included liquor licenses for El Gordito Market, tobacco license renewals for Walmart, Casey’s General Store, Holiday, and Superpumper as well as the theatre license for the Grand Theatre, a gambling permit for Confidence Learning Center at the Crookston Eagles, designating the Crookston Times as the official newspaper, and designating Brady Martz & Associates as the city auditing firm.
Also included was a resolution calling for the engineering report for 2020 street improvements on for 5th Ave S from S Main St to Sunflower Court, for Radisson Rd from the cul-de-sac to University Frontage Rd, and Sahlstrom Dr from Fisher Ave to North Acres Dr. The Sahlstrom Dr project includes state aid funding. The depositories for public funds were approved, which include Northern Sky Bank, Bremer Bank, American Federal Bank, MN Municipal Money Market, RBC Capital Markets, and First Community Credit Union. A donation was also received for Kids First, totaling $2,125.