Hasse selected to replace Logan Dahlgren
By Robert Willams
Rebecca Hasse was selected by a unanimous vote to replace former councilman Logan Dahlgren, who submitted his resignation on August 24 and has since moved out of town.
Hasse was one of two candidates, including Judy Kvam, who sought to replace Dahlgren and finish out the remainder of his term until the end of the year.
Haase has been a Vergas resident for five years. She is an accounts receivable specialist at Pelican Valley Senior Living, something that played into why she was selected to replace Dahlgren. She was a former employee at Vergas State Bank for three years and has been a volunteer at Vergas Lions sponsored events.
The council reviewed the qualifications of both candidates. Natalie Fisher made a motion to select Haase, emphasizing her accounting background being a good fit for the council.
“I appreciate both of the applicants,” Fisher said. “I feel Rebecca has the background in accounting, which we need which Logan had.”
The motion was passed unanimously. Mayor Julie Bruhn thanked both applicants and extended an invitation for both to join other committees.
Haase will also serve in Dahlgren’s stead on the budget committee, the liquor store/municipal building/license committee, water and sewer and Event Center advisory board.
She was sworn in by Treasurer/Clerk Julie Lammers and immediately took a voting role on the board for the remainder of the meeting.
In Haase’s application, she noted two major issues currently facing Vergas as affordable housing for the younger population, traffic and parking for accessibility to businesses. She also noted her desire to be a voice for younger residents of Vergas.
Eleven accounts for sewer and water have received shutoff notices after not being paid for 90 days. In total, there are 18 accounts overdue at least 30 days. The total owed to the city is over $9,000 including current bills and past due amounts, with the largest owed by a single account being $1,472.41.
Lammers noted water bills getting higher and more people having financial difficulty as a recent trend, especially after the lapse of COVID relief earlier this summer.
The Pelican Rapids high school trap team was given a permit to demonstrate safe shooting in the little league field during the Hairyman Festival. A permit was needed since the demonstration will be in the city limits.
The community club was approved to purchase a temporary liquor license in order for Proof Artisan Distillery out of Fargo to serve a special whiskey they have created for the event. Proof Distillery will host a tasting event of its Harvest Blend, the official whiskey of the festival. A limited number of bottles are on sale at the Vergas Liquor Store.
Park board reports
According to Sherri Hanson and the Parks & Rec advisory board, the pass the hat fundraiser during Looney Days yielded $2,300 from the beach events, along with $500 more from the waterski shows. Discussions on how to use the funds are still ongoing, using the city’s comprehensive plan to direct where the funds may be needed most.
Hanson thanked the city and city workers for making Looney Days successful this summer.
Hanson also noted a common complaint during Looney Days was the bathrooms at the beach were disgusting. She and councilman Bruce Albright noted there were many complaints.
The issue is being addressed as a high priority and multiple ways to deal with the issue are being researched.
A new grill has been installed in the Tin Can Alley end of the boardwalk and a second Doggie Waste Station has arrived and will be installed soon. The area is also noted for having an erosion problem.
Vergas resident Bob Hager and Liz Wiese, Shoreline Specialist, of the East Otter Tail and Wadena Soil & Water Conservation District are working through potential permanent planting solutions. SWCD may have cost-share funds for the project. Native plantings would require the approval of the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Hager had removed area willows in the easement next to his property to create a snowmobile path.
Board member Steph Hogan noted the overall plan for revising the park needs to be completed first and a consensus was reached to allow Hager and Wiese to develop an overall plan for shoreline planting after the park revision plans are put into place.
Councilman Paul Pinke noted the bathroom at ball diamond is no longer handicap accessible since the sand from the pickleball courts was moved in front of it. He suggested the sand be moved and a retaining wall be built to make access available.
The ballpark bathroom roof is also scheduled for repair.
Loren Menz is building two new chain link dugouts with metal roofs for the main ball diamond. The estimate is $5,000. The board is still waiting to see how much the insurance reimbursement will be after the storm damage earlier this year.