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Council wants more information before creating new task force

Marshall Helmberger
Posted 9/1/21

TOWER— The city council, here, opted for more research before considering a new task force to develop an emergency preparedness plan. Mayor Orlyn Kringstad had mentioned the need for a plan at …

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Council wants more information before creating new task force

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TOWER— The city council, here, opted for more research before considering a new task force to develop an emergency preparedness plan. Mayor Orlyn Kringstad had mentioned the need for a plan at the Aug. 23 council meeting and asked to have the idea on the agenda at the council’s Aug. 30 special meeting.
Kringstad cited the rash of forest fires in the area this summer and said the city needs to be prepared in case of fire or some other disaster. The city did have an emergency management director for several years, but it’s not clear what the individual did, since he never provided a report or developed an emergency plan. The city didn’t fill the position, which use to pay $200 a month, in 2020.
Kringstad proposed a motion to establish a task force with two council members plus three citizens, to begin work on a plan. Kringstad said he wanted to develop the plan in coordination with Brieitung Township, although it was unclear how the two entities would undertake that planning process.
Council members appeared reluctant to take on the work of a new task force, noting they already had full plates with a number of other city issues. Clerk-treasurer Victoria Ranua noted that state law requires the city to have an emergency management director, although it doesn’t require a plan.
“Sounds like a good job,” joked council member Sheldon Majerle. “Really,” agreed council member Dave Setterberg. “Being in charge of doing nothing.”
Ranua suggested that any plan that’s ultimately developed should be incorporated into an agreement with Breitung, or an ordinance, so future councils have a better understanding of the council’s thinking.
Council member Joe Morin said he’s for developing a plan. “It’s just a question of how we get there,” he said. “Maybe we’re not ready for a task force, yet,” he suggested.
After more discussion, Kringstad agreed to talk to Breitung chair Tim Tomsich about a joint planning effort. Council member Kevin Norby said that would be a good first step. “Let’s see if Breitung wants to work together first,” he said.
By consensus, the council agreed that Kringstad would reach out to Breitung, while Ranua researches the plans developed by other communities. The issue is expected to be back on the city agenda later this month.
In other action at the city’s special meeting, the council reauthorized the vacation of the original plat for Birch Street in the North Star Addition. A previous council, back in 2004, had approved the vacation but the city had failed to record the vacation with the county. The council reauthorized the vacation and instructed the clerk-treasurer to record the change with St. Louis County.

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