Frazee Rescue pancake feed set for June 10
By Robert Williams
Fifth grade teacher, head baseball coach, and summer recreation director Andy Mekalson approached the city council on Wednesday, May 24, looking for donations to the summer recreation program.
Current numbers for baseball and softball are 215 kids registered with 10-20 more anticipated.
The program is running a deficit in the $14-16,000 range.
The Booster Club funding and running summer rec has been in discussion.
Mekalson’s baseball team has provided funds from their annual salt drive to the new junior varsity baseball field and dugouts and are willing to contribute to summer rec also.
“We’re willing to donate if it has to come to that,” Mekalson said.
The Booster Club has donated $2,000 for equipment and the high school teams contribute equipment.
According to city administrator Stephanie Poegel, she was approached by superintendent Terry Karger about a donation, but Poegel was lacking information to proceed.
“I had a list of questions for him and he was going to have the summer rec director or the community ed person come and I have not heard or seen anything until right now,” she said.
The funding source for summer rec is registration fee per student that ranges from $30-$69 depending on a team’s travel or umpire needs.
Councilman Jim Rader was in support of contributing to the summer rec program as it brings a lot of people to town and it’s a positive program for the community.
As was discussed in an approved donation to CornerStone at the April meeting, monies used from tax dollars needs to be budgeted for the year. Enterprise funds can be used, or a general donation could be made next year, like was done for CornerStone.
Councilman Mark Kemper mentioned the council discussed it last year, but have not seen the necessary expenditure figures to make a decision. Mayor Mark Flemmer and vice mayor Mike Sharp have also met with Karger, but have not received the information they are seeking.
“They’re asking for money, but they’re not giving us any data to support them on,” said Flemmer.
The state does donate annual funds for community education and the council also wants reports on that.
“We never got an answer on anything,” said Kemper. “We’re not just going to write you a blank check.”
Summer recreation was formerly a city program that had similar funding issues before transferring it to the school.
City donations are supposed to fund programs that all residents can use. Summer rec is a select group and may not qualify for city funds.
“In a perfect world, you’re not going to use tax dollars because that demographic is very specific,” said Poegel.
Liquor/Event Center store roof
Bids are still being sought for the repairs needed on the liquor store and event center roof. One company has backed out, according to public works supervisor Larry Stephenson, citing more structural issues than can be determined from outside the structure. That company was not large enough to handle the project.
“It’s hard to get a bid; they can quote it for square footage of coverage of material but what’s underneath, how do you bid that?” said Stephenson.
Another company is willing to look at the project, but has not visited the site.
City auditor Colleen Hoffman was consulted about the liquor store and event center doing fundraisers, since they are enterprise funds, to possibly raise repair money.
Hoffman stated that cities are not allowed to fundraise, even enterprise funds; as such, the liquor store and event center would not be allowed to do a fundraiser for the roof, according to Poegel’s administrative report.
One possibility for funding would be remaining Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Frazee received $152,000 and spent $30,000 in 2022, leaving $122,000 remaining.
The council approved a resolution to earmark the ARPA funds for the roof repair due to its immediate need.
In April, the police department had 20 traffic related calls, 112 calls for service, 12 were city ordinance issues. In May, 28 ordinance calls were made as part of the city’s work on cleaning up areas of town that need to be addressed for blight.
The rescue squad responded to 19 calls in April, 10 in town.
Frazee Rescue will be holding a pancake feed fundraiser on Saturday, June 10 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Rescue building.
A no parking sign is scheduled to be installed across from All-in-All on Lake Street near the intersection with Main Avenue. The city is awaiting specifics for the sign installation from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
The city council will reconvene for meetings this month.