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Acting mayor gives city update

Grand Marais City Councilor -- and sometimes Acting Mayor - Anton Moody. Photo by Rhonda Silence
Grand Marais City Councilor -- and sometimes Acting Mayor - Anton Moody. Photo by Rhonda Silence

The Grand Marais City Council met  Wednesday, Nov. 13, with Councilor Anton Moody filling in as acting mayor for vacationing Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux. There was no public comment at the meeting, which covered bonding matters, city ordinances and discussion of housing policies.

The council heard a presentation from Ehlers Associates, the firm that handles city projects that require bonding. Ehlers asked the city to consider changes to bonds that were let in 2009 that would result in a lower interest rate and potential savings to the city of $143,000.  The council authorized Ehlers Associates to proceed with what they describe as a bond refunding. Ehlers will return to the city’s Dec. 11 meeting to let the city know what the ultimate savings to the city will be.

The city also reviewed results of the surveys that were conducted in the attempt to know what the public wants Grand Marais to look like. The city conducted an online survey with photos of local properties, had a hands-on display for giving feedback on various photos, and sent out a survey to all Grand Marais Public Utilities Commission. The online survey gathered 524 responses, the hands-on token board survey had 274 participants and the PUC mailer had 188 responses.

Hear the response to that online survey in this previous WTIP story.

The survey results for all three showed three consistent concerns: accumulation of trash and garbage, obstruction of public ways and obstruction of views.

The results of the survey have been shared with the Grand Marais Planning Commission, which will work with city staff to assemble groups of community members to further define the issues addressed. For example, these groups will determine just what is meant when citizens say the accumulation of trash and garbage. Does this mean outside storage or actual waste?

According to Moody, it is hoped that the city will hear from community members, those who indicated concerns about situations covered by city ordinances, as well as those who think the city should leave ordinance enforcement as it is.

The city again reviewed the information it had received from HKGI, which included an inventory of the housing stock in Grand Marais and a review of city ordinances and any obstacles there may be to increase housing in Grand Marais. The city council asked for more information on how HKGi could help move things forward. HKGi shared a proposal for work to develop additional housing types and standards; to determine appropriate locations for each housing type; and to work on zoning ordinances to be possibly be adopted.

The council moved to ask HKGi to proceed, at a cost of $32,500.

The council meeting wrapped up with a closed session to discuss labor negotiations. Information on the outcome of that discussion will be shared when negotiations are complete.

WTIP’s Rhonda Silence checked in with Acting Mayor Anton Moody to learn more about the city’s decisions.