Parks Commissioner Billy Krotzer reported at Wednesday night’s council meeting that the park was still wet.

“With all this rain we’re going to have this week, it’s going to get wetter,” he said.

City employees tried to install docks in the campground, but “buried the backhoe”.

There were talks that the frost was still coming out of the ground and that spring was about a month late. If the weather cooperates so that the docks can be set up, the campground could open next Friday, May 20.

There was talk of taking the first step towards inspecting a water tower. First, the jack and insulation must be removed at an estimated cost of $3,000 to $4,000. There would then be an ultrasonic magnetic inspection cost of $5,300 to determine the extent of the repairs needed for the riser and tower. The council has tabled any decision on the water tower work until it can explore funding sources.

Liquor Store Questions Answered

Minneapolis resident Neil Elavsky, who said in a May 7 letter to Park Rapids Enterprise that he was an Akeley alumnus, asked how Akeley Municipal Liquor Store manager Lacey Hitchcock got his post.

Board member Bobbie Wosika said she reviewed the minutes of board meetings and reported that at a special meeting on March 31, 2010, Hitchcock, who had been a bartender for four years, was invited to take on the acting position of liquor store manager.

Wosika further reported that on April 12, 2010, the board held a special meeting to interview three candidates, including Hitchcock, for the position of liquor store manager. Lacey’s husband, Brian Hitchcock, abstained from voting due to a conflict of interest. The candidates were scored and Lacey got the highest score of the three and was offered the job.

Next, Elavsky asked about the financial situation of the municipal liquor store, saying that Stomping Grounds and the Red River Event Center are more profitable.

Mayor Brian Hitchcock said if Elavsky wanted to compare the numbers, he should have brought those numbers.

Council member Dan Riggs said if Elavsky wanted to see how the liquor store was doing financially, he should check the monthly budget reports and read the audit report.

Elavsky also questioned why Lacey Hitchcock did not regularly attend council meetings. He was told that managers are not required to attend.

The council discussed the three types of hydrants in town, with 90% being the newest style. Worn springs on some of the older hydrants could cause problems due to the inability to fully close the hydrant which could cause them to freeze up in the winter.

Repairs will begin with the one currently leaking, with the council approving up to $1,524 for supplies. Other hydrants will be checked to estimate which ones need to be repaired or replaced to track usage by working to improve some each year.

Community Parks Project UpdateThe League of Minnesota Cities said the city could not send a letter requesting funds for the Community Parks Project, but needed to start a nonprofit group to do so, which would cost a total of $580 for attorney and filing fees.

Marv Vredenburg suggested looking into whether the Akeley Veterans Outreach Organization could send the letters. A lawsuit has been filed until this possibility can be explored.

In other cases counsel:

  • Approved payment of Moore Engineering’s invoice for $682.
  • Chose not to waive statutory tort limits on liability coverage, as is done every year.
  • Approved a resolution showing support for an update to the Local Government Assistance Formula. If approved by the state legislature, the city would receive $107.00 next year, up from the $91,408 received this year.
  • Approved the replacement of a collapsed culvert with a county culvert at a cost of up to $800 and the use of Tyler’s backhoe service for project work at a cost of $2,500.

The next Akeley council meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 8 at City Hall.