Dan Wessel addressed what he called a “fairly large crowd” at his first Osakis City Council meeting as mayor Monday, Jan. 11.
Before beginning what would be a 40-minute public comment period, Wessel reminded the public of some ground rules.
He said that participants in council meetings should conduct themselves professionally, and he would not allow any comments that would tear another person down. Wessel also asked that everyone respect those speaking and the time they’re given, keeping their allotted talking time to two minutes or less so that others would also have the chance to speak.
Most of the questions and concerns brought up by community members revolved around misunderstandings about where and how government aid was being distributed at the city level as well as general communication between the council and the public.
Wessel acknowledged each individual who came forward and thanked them for sharing their input, saying that their active participation in city matters was a step in the right direction.
“Let’s get this city back on track,” Wessel said. “Let’s take responsibility for our own actions.”
Along with Wessel, Tim Thornbloom and Alan Larson cited an oath of office to join current council members Randy Anderson and Laura Backes.
Wessel said that the council can’t just assume what the people want, so he encouraged them to stay in touch and reach out to council members individually.
Business relief grant applications now available
Douglas County received $754,000 for another round of business grants, so letters will be sent out to all area businesses letting them know that they’re able to apply, city clerk Angela Jacobson said.
The application window will close Friday, Jan. 29. Businesses must be able to confirm that they’ve experienced financial difficulties as a result of government mandates.
More information and the online application are available at livingalexarea.org.
Ice rink update and pump improvements
City superintendent Greg Gottwald requested the purchase of a pump from Quality Flow, priced at $11,420. Purchases over $2,500 need council approval, so Anderson said he would work with Gottwald on finding comparable price quotes to “keep them honest” before making a final decision.
Gottwald also mentioned that the ice rink he installed following the council’s approval in December was being used by the public and no issues had been reported.
“It seemed like every time I looked out the window, there was somebody out there,” Backes said.
Reenie Goodwin, Osakis Liquor Store manager, said that even though the store lost $105 in December, the business still made a year-end profit of $27,093. She thanked the community for supporting off-sale purchase and promised a customer appreciation day once 100% capacity is allowed again.
Mark Grinstead, Osakis Emergency Medical Responders president, reported that they had 230 medical calls in 2020 and 16 no-shows. They lost one member and gained four new responders, so there are now 17 on the team. “Our new members are kicking butt,” he said. “It’s awesome to see the energy they have.”
The 2021 mayor appointments were outlined one by one, and the council’s approved designations will be available at cityofosakis.com/government.
Variations of color combinations for the new Osakis logo design were included in the agenda. Larson suggested adding some silver to the red and black mockup to reflect the school district’s colors.