Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Bethany Helwig
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Sturgeon Lake city clerk resigns


At a special meeting on May 6, City Clerk Carole Lahti of Sturgeon Lake officially resigned and the council accepted her letter of resignation. City Treasurer Kathy Lake was appointed Deputy City Clerk to fill in temporarily until a new clerk can be hired.

The city council’s regular meeting on May 9 proceeded with Kathy Lake attending in her capacity as both treasurer and deputy city clerk.

The issue of ATVs traversing through the city and causing damage to gravel roads was once again brought up. “I think we need to explore maybe putting up signs saying no four-wheelers on the gravel,” said Councilor Jessica Langhorst, the road commissioner. The council discussed what they can and cannot enforce. Mayor Todd Danleski suggested an official route be established for ATVs to use when traveling through Sturgeon Lake. No decision was made.

The matter of blight issues throughout the city was discussed. Mayor Todd Danelski read from a letter dropped off anonymously listing properties the writer thought to be public nuisances, including Wilson’s Garage area.

“As long as the public can’t view it, it’s fine,” said Mayor Danelski. “There’s the screening of using trees, or a seven-foot fence, solid fence that looks good, is another way to rectify these things.”

He stated the city does have an ordinance regarding nuisance properties, but the growing list of blight properties concerned the council.

“I think it’s a long list and I think that’s why we decided we were just going to try to tackle three each year, and try to do the worst and work our way up,” said Councilor Marsha Helfman.

Mayor Danleski added, “Drive through our neighboring towns. Go look at Willow River, go look at Moose Lake, one on each end here, and you don’t see this stuff there. I’m going, it almost looks like we’re in the Wild West here.”

Discussion of selective cutting on city-owned land by the river was met by unhappy and concerned remarks from community members in attendance. Residents that live near that specific area expressed their concerns about potentially opening the land for day use and driving more people that way when they already have trespassing issues on their property. Councilor Jessica Langhorst assured them that the council would not make any decisions without talking with neighboring property owners. The discussion was tabled.

City employee Scott Helfman stated a number of people are interested in sewer dumpage access. He recommended that the city establish a cap on the amount allowed so as not to stress the system. The council passed a motion to change their dumpage rate to $35 per 1,000 gallons, set a cap of 1.8 million gallons per year, and to not allow any new dumpers for the time being. The changes are effective as of June 1.

Fire Chief Mike Mikrot asked about progress on designating the parking spaces next to the fire hall as firefighter parking only. Councilor Helfman informed the council they can’t use red paint because that means no parking at all. The council agreed to just post signs on the side of the building instead.

An inspection of the fire hall roof had been completed and several leaks were located. Mayor Danelski said the previous work conducted to fix the roof was not done well, and certain issues were not fixed that were supposed to be. Councilor Rick Lewis will be looking into getting quotes for repairs.

City worker Scott Helfman, on behalf of the Sturgeon Lake wastewater facility, was presented with a Certificate of Commendation from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and the State of Minnesota in recognition of exceptional compliance with the MPCA during the 2018 review year.

In other business, the council passed a motion to re-hire and give a raise to a part-time helper to assist Scott Helfman.

The city passed motions to send a reconsideration of blight charges and a bankruptcy notice to the city attorney for review and direction.

City worker Helfman agreed to look into doing a joint cleanup day with Windemere Township possibly in June.

Councilor Helfman suggested that the council review the budget quarterly to make sure their expenses are on track.

A representative from Coordinated Business Systems presented information to the council on purchasing a new copier to replace their current one, a model that was discontinued around 2011.

The council approved an easement presented by Vern Anderson for 500 feet of frontage on Highway 61.

The council again tabled the discussion of appointing a city historian.

The annual fire department meeting will be either June 13 or 20 at 8 pm, depending on when the other involved municipalities are available.

A special meeting to interview applicants and hire a new city clerk was set for Tuesday, May 28 at 9 am.

The next regular city council meeting is June 13 at 6 pm at the city hall, and a special meeting for League of Minnesota training for the council will be on June 20 at 6 pm.


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