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Rhonda Silence

City update on truck braking, bonds and more

The Grand Marais City Council met on Wednesday, October 13, and heard from citizens on a variety of issues, from engine braking to ATVs in the city.

Engine brakes or jake braking came up in the public comment period, as a local truck driver, Nathan Carlson talked about the use of this emergency braking system. Carlson responded to the city’s discussion of possibly restricting the use of jake brakes in the city. Hear Carlson’s thoughts on this here: Truck driver adds input on city’s jake brake discussion

The council thanked Carlson for his comments and invited him to participate if and when the matter is discussed again.

Councilor Tracy Benson brought forward a citizen question about the use of all-terrain vehicles in the city, asking if they are licensed and where they can be ridden. City Administrator Mike Roth provided information from the League of Minnesota Cities on all the different types of vehicles that could travel city streets, ranging from mini-motorcycles and golf carts to ATVs. The city council agreed to reach out to Cook County Sheriff Pat Eliasen to learn about the regulations and enforcement.

The city heard from Bruce Kimmel of Ehlers Associates and decided to proceed with refinancing bonds for the city, which should result in considerable savings on some of the city’s debts. Mayor Jay DeCoux tells WTIP that the city could see $125,000 -$150,000 in interest payments with the refinancing.

The council reviewed the various boards and committees on which councilors serve to decide what position city council-appointee Tracy Benson should serve on. After some discussion, it was decided that Benson would take on the boards on which former city councilor Kelly Swearingen served. Benson is now the city representative for the North Shore Management Board, the Cook County Community YMCA board, and the city’s personnel committee.

Swearingen’s resignation also left a vacancy for acting mayor. Councilor Benson said she was not “up to speed” enough to take that on. Councilor Anton Moody agreed to serve as acting mayor. The acting mayor chairs city council meetings if the mayor is not available.

The council also approved the hiring of Greg Lykins as an apprentice in the electrical department. Lykins was working for the city in the water/wastewater department. While pleased that the city had found someone to take the lineworker apprentice, it was noted that the city now had a vacancy to fill in the water department.

The city is still looking for a citizen to come forward to serve on the Grand Marais Park Board, Planning Commission, and Public Utilities Commission.

WTIP’s Rhonda Silence speaks with Grand Marais Mayor Jay DeCoux about all this and more.