The new Crosslake City Council met Friday, Jan. 18, to talk about each member’s goals for the next year.
Planning and zoning issues were widely discussed. Mayor Darrell Schneider said he hopes to do something about the planning and zoning enforcement issues, saying there are 100 or so incidents that are at odds with city ordinances.
Council member Steve Roe pointed out that the city falls under many overlapping jurisdictions (state, county, Department of Natural Resources and city), which makes enforcing the rules tricky.
Council member Mark Wessels would like to change the planning and zoning complaint process. He said if the city no longer allowed anonymous complaints, it could lighten the load on the department. He added that identities would still be protected by data practice laws.
Wessels has suggested that the Crow Wing County Land Services Department visit the city to see how it runs its planning and zoning department and conduct a review. Interim city administrator Jenny Max requested that the council present specific ideas or suggestions to the department before calling in another entity to perform a review.
Council member John Moengen also addressed planning and zoning issues. He suggested looking at properties zoned commercial where commercial might no longer be a good fit for the city.
Council member Gary Heacox proposed looking at a couple ordinances a month and presenting them for council approval or disapproval.
Heacox also expressed concern over city employees. He said the council needs to take a look at the employee benefits handbook, and he suggested looking at the overall city headcount through all departments. He added that the department heads should be held accountable if they go outside Crosslake for city purchases.
Moengen suggested the council look at the way the city is organized. He suggested performance reviews for department heads that are in line with the city mission and five-year plan. He also thought the city could implement some way of measuring customer service.
Moengen and Roe both commented on the community school and its vitality to the community. Roe said that from an Economic Development Authority standpoint the school would draw families and businesses. Moengen commented on the need to keep the school in town.
Moengen also stressed the need for Crosslake Communications to stay on the cutting edge of technology in order to remain a good company. Roe agreed.
Wessels suggested that the city’s and council’s use of methods of communication with residents was underutilized, suggesting that council meeting videos also be posted on the Internet.
No formal decisions were made at the Jan. 18 meeting, though many issues were discussed. The council’s next regular meeting is at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 18.
In other business Jan. 18, the council:
• Discussed the city administrator position. Max asked for direction on what the council might choose to do. The council agreed that Max is capable for the position, but did not make any decision on whether to keep the administrator position, combine the clerk and administrator positions or do away with the administrator position.
• Heard an update from the county on local roads projects. The County Road 3 project is progressing. The estimated cost to the city for an added 2 feet of shoulder (making the total shoulder width 8 feet) is around $130,000.
Improvements will also be made to County Road 36. Plans are still in the works, and a public hearing will be held in March.
• Came to a general consensus to allow the police department use of the community center after hours to work out.