Council briefs: Money approved for beacon
The council approved a request by airport board member and pilot, Jim Ferlaak, to spend $1,775 to repaint the mast for the airport beacon. The council and Ferlaak concluded that the $1,775 estimate was the best of three received when comparing the amount and quality of materials each would offer. Ferlaak is part of a local airport pilots association which has been doing volunteer work to make improvements at the airport. One of those was to plant hostas around the arrival/departure building. Various donations have also been given to do improvements at the airport and one of the offers was to donate a flag that the association plans to put up there, Ferlaak added.
Ferlaak, of Elk River, noted that through recent maintenance and planned upkeep of the beacon, it is saving the city from having to buy a new beacon, which he said could cost as much as $80,000. Council members Dobson and Hallin complimented the pilots association for it work at the airport.
Big consent agenda
The council approved 10 items under the consent agenda. They included the hiring of two part-time general maintenance II employees for public works – Jim Sinkel and Dan Pierce – at a rate of $18.10 per hour. This follows a long council discussion and 3-2 council vote earlier this spring to try something new of having two part-time workers in the department year round. The two part-time workers will receive prorated vacation and sick leave, but no health insurance benefit. Like all employees of the city of Princeton, they will receive public employment retirement benefits in amounts according to their pay.
Also under the consent agenda, the council accepted the resignation of Billy Gerold from the Princeton Fire and Rescue Department, and approved the return to full service of firefighter Keith Young in the same department.
Historical Society request
Mille Lacs County Historical Society president Penny Quast asked the city during open forum to forgive the $63,000 street and utility assessment the city placed on the historical society for a street and utility project a few years ago. Quast explained that the historical society is working to get a grant to redo its roof, but has insufficient revenue to pay the $63,000 assessment. Quast asked that the city forgive the assessment by using excess funds in a tax increment financing fund for a district that covers a stretch of former railroad land. Council member Victoria Hallin expressed interest in Quast’s request, calling the architecture of the historical society’s depot center “one of a kind.”
Quast noted that the historical society recently received a $7,000 grant to hire a professional to do an architectural assessment of what is needed to redo the depot center’s deteriorating roof and still keep the historical architecture intact. Getting that done was the first step toward applying for a grant to replace the roof, Quast said.
The council does not normally take action on requests made during the open forum and did not act on Quast’s request. The council could still act on Quast’s request at a future meeting.
The big car show
Frank King received the council’s OK to have one block of Second Street North (located north of the NAPA auto parts store) closed from Rum River Drive on west to Sixth Avenue North between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 9, to have a classic car show and back-to-the -‘50s sock hop. It will have a DJ providing music, and there will be hot dogs and hamburgers vended, with all money going to the Princeton VFW to help the troops, King said. June 9 is a Saturday during the Rum River Festival. City treasurer Steve Jackson recommended that King coordinate the activity with the chamber of commerce as it is running the craft show across the street that day near the north mall.
The council reviewed a report from Sherburne County Community Health Coordinator Mark Lees that Lees and two under-age youth conducted alcohol laws compliance checks on May 12 at the SuperAmerica station and Coborn’s, and both passed the test.
More street closings ahead
The council passed resolution 12-34 requesting that Mille Lacs County OK the closure of a section of Rum River Drive between First Street and Second Street North during the following times:
• 7 a.m.-10 p.m. on Saturday, June 9, for a Rum River Festival activity
• 3-8 p.m. Thursday, July 12, for the chamber-sponsored pork chop picnic
• noon to 10 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 13, for the downtown block party
• 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, for the chamber’s chili fest