The city of Coleraine will help fund a facilitator position for local government collaboration meetings. The small city contribution requested was $100, while the city of Grand Rapids and Itasca County were asked to contribute $400 each.
Since 2012, officials from several small cities and townships in Itasca County, joined by city of Grand Rapids and Itasca County officials, have been meeting monthly to explore the potential for collaboration. Although the talks are a work in progress, officials have discussed ways to cost share such functions as payroll, general ledger, investments, administration, accounts payable, audit preparation, monthly budget reports and even equipment or employee sharing.
The meetings are led by independent contractor, Mary Jo Wimmer, who puts together an agenda, leads discussion and provides follow-up research services.
While the council voted to financially support the facilitator position at its regular meeting Monday, the final decision wasn’t supported by everyone.
Councilor Lee Mattfield said that participating council members should be able to take minutes and perform other administrative functions without paying separately for a facilitator.
“This is how government grows,” said Mattfield. “…To make another position, I’m against it.”
Despite Mattfield’s objections, however, the three other councilors in attendance, Mayor Mike Antonovich, Ken Smith and Todd Lawson voted in favor of the $100 city contribution. Previously the facilitator was paid by Blandin Foundation grant dollars, which have now run out.
In other business, the council:
• Discussed the hire of a light equipment operator. The period for advertising the position ends this week and thus far two applications have been received.
• Reviewed the police department call report for February. The department received 140 complaints last month, compared to 152 complaint calls in February of 2013.
• Approved the purchase of an ATV for the city’s fire department in the amount of $15,325. The purchase will be financed over a two-year period and paid for through the fire department budget.
• Discussed the problem of frozen pipes within the city.
• Tabled a decision on payment of a road maintenance invoice from Trout Lake Township.
• Passed a resolution authorizing the city to issue orders not paid for want of funds in an amount up to $300,000, which acts as a line of credit during times when the city experiences cash flow issues.
• Approved the hire of Stan Grunenwald as the city’s building inspector for rental properties.
• Tabled a decision on a request for city in-kind services to assist with the local veteran’s memorial.
• Tabled a decision on support of the purchase of new radios for the Itasca Ski Patrol.