Osakis City Council member Jerry Olson expressed concern about the possibility of harassment of Election Day as the council met Monday, Oct. 12.
“The way things are going, it could get a lot nastier in the next three weeks,” Olson said. “I would like to see a cop here all day.”
The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 3, and the council approved the list designated judges for the city of Osakis, Osakis Township and Orange Township.
More than 12,000 absentee ballots have been submitted in Douglas County so far and around 8,000 more are anticipated. In 2018, there were 4,300 total absentee ballots.
City Clerk Angela Jacobson said that she’s reviewed protocols for Election Day, and anyone who’s wearing or carrying something that promotes a political party will be asked to remove or hide the item while in the polling place. Those who refuse will be documented.
“Everything’s so crazy out there right now, I just hope it’s OK,” Mayor Kip Emerson said.
Jacobson said there should be a lower turn out on Election Day because of the popularity of absentee voting this year, but Police Chief Chad Gulbranson agreed to provide additional law enforcement presence that day.
Liquor Store update
Reenie Goodwin, Osakis Liquor Store manager, said that she remains optimistic about the liquor store .
The store received two shipments at the end of September, causing inventory to increase by $10,000. By next month, she said that the budget should return to normal.
“I agree,” Emerson said. “I just hope they don’t shut us down again.”
Goodwin plans to continue offering Happy Hour because she’s seen attendance increase from five or six to around 20-25 customers since offering a two for one special.
“It’s a win-win,” Goodwin said.
Council member Olson asked how COVID-19 guidelines were going. Goodwin said that groups are doing well social distancing with the people they arrive with, but not as many customers are following the mask mandate.
The Osakis skating rink was doubled in fall 2019, making it a 60-by-60 foot rink. City Superintendent Greg Gottwald said they had to reseed the areas that didn’t grow back in spring 2020, but the rink will be the same size as last year.
The council reviewed water and sewer rate projections, which were outlined through 2035 by considering current costs and inflation. They will decide on rates at the November council meeting.
The council approved the watercraft cleaning station agreement with Douglas County. The city and county have been working together since redoing the south public access on Lake Osakis with the Department of Natural Resources. The operation and maintenance agreement states that the city of Osakis will watch the access, keep track of any issues that arise, dispose of garbage, pay for electricity and provide power on site.
A Truth in Taxation hearing for the proposed 2021 tax levy will be held Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. Jacobson said individuals may attend the regular December council meeting to express their concerns and share their opinions about where the tax levy dollars should be spent.
Osakis area Boy Scout Spencer Wolbeck reported that his Eagle Scout project to clean and renovate Lake Osakis beach and bath house will cost about $2,500, so he asked the council to contribute up to $1,500 as well as a zoning permit if needed. The council unanimously approved a $1,500 payment and waved the zoning fee.
Clean-Up Day was held Saturday, Sept. 19, and $2,346 was collected.