Shops & Hops concert free of charge thanks to grant

Contributed photos
Thanks to individual donations and a $2,500 grant from the Lakes Regional Arts Council, there will be no entrance fee to the Pert Near Sandstone performance in downtown Vergas at the conclusion of the Shops & Hops event on Saturday, June 8. 

By Robert Williams


Thomas Winters

The work of City Attorney Thomas Winters was reviewed using the average responses from four council members regarding legal consultation, representation, staff work, communications and responsiveness, cost, and fiscal control. The council recommended retaining Winters unanimously for the following year at the latest council meeting Tuesday, April 9.

Overall, the responses noted Winters is performing in a satisfactory manner based on needs.

Future goals and objectives were stated as the following:

“Tom is knowledgeable and provides insight and advice as needed during meetings. While he is not ‘proactive’ he does provide us with the legal advice needed.

“Where Tom really shines for the city is in the ‘cost’ category. The legal services charged to the city are very minimal. Tom attends almost every meeting and charges nothing for doing that. He is approachable at all times and does not charge when council members question something outside of meetings (he can be reached at the bank some days and will take time to address any concerns one on one).”

One area of improvement would be timelines for work and follow through that needs to be done and better communication regarding deadlines and expectations.

Council members would also  like to see a monthly update given by the attorney on projects he is working on and completed.

The review is part of the city’s procurement policy in examining current contracts.

Shops & Hops 

A Projects Grant proposal to the Lake Region Arts Council in the amount of $2,500 was accepted and will be used to pay the band, Pert Near Sandstone, who will perform from 7-10 p.m. in downtown Vergas on Main Street after the Shops & Hops event on Saturday, June 8. 

Private donations total $1,500 for the event. In addition, the Arts Club will fund $1,000; covering the total band cost of $5,000. The Arts Club will also pay the $900 Sound Tech fee. There will be no cost to the City and because of the grant there will be no admission charge for the concert. 

The Community Club will set up a beer and selzer booth for the event. In case of bad weather, the Vergas Event Center will be used as the venue.

“Thank you for supporting my effort to write the grant and lead the project,” said Carol J. S. Albright, Chair of the Vergas Arts Club. “Supporting the arts in our community is a wise choice on your part.”

The council also approved a street closure of Main Street from Billy’s Corner Bar to Vergas State Bank during the event, Saturday, June 8, from 3-11 p.m.

Planning Commission

The council approved the resignation of Judy Kvam from the Planning Commission.

Event Center

The council declined a recommendation to purchase a bulletin board to be placed in the hallway entrance by the council chambers/smart room that can be removed. The motion was tabled and sent back to the Event Center board.

Streets and Sidewalks

The council authorized Otter Tail Power to install three esplanade lights for Phase III of the Keilley Shores Subdivision  when they plow in electrical cables this spring.

Feldt Plumbing and Excavating was authorized to repair Scharf and Dianne Avenue slopes. The city has been trying to get bids to repair a portion of the north road slope along Scharf Avenue and a small area on the north side of Dianne Ave for the past two years.

Mike DuFrane, Utilities Superintendent, recommended LeRoy Feldt, of Feldt Plumbing and Excavating, LLC, Detroit Lakes, to do the work. DuFrane has found his prices to be reasonable. 

Clerk/Treasurer Julie Lammers said the affected landowners need to be contacted to work along their property. The Streets Committee felt this was a reasonable option, and authorized the said work. The council approved unanimously.

The new parking lot on the site of the former county garage was discussed at length by the Streets Committee with multiple options on how much paving needs to be done in the area, including the space behind the liquor store and the alley between South 1st Avenue and South Railway Avenue.

The committee brought the options to council for consideration.

DuFrane presented bids from Driveway Service, Detroit Lakes and Performance Paving and Sealcoating, LLC, Deer Creek. DuFrane wanted both bids to have 4-inches of asphalt. 

Drainage problems behind the liquor store and post office likely need to be addressed before paving the area.

DuFrane and Blaine Green of Widseth Engineering noted the work should be completed on a project level. DuFraned emphasized that completing all the work at the same time, rather than piece by piece, will allow for uniform work and will benefit the city in the short and long term.

Mark Sand and Gravel is also expected to be operating their hot mix plant in Vergas this summer and could provide a more affordable source for asphalt.

An estimate on engineering services from Widseth will be provided to the Streets Committee and a recommendation will be sent back to council.

Park Board

The Park Board approved up to $3,000 for upkeep needs of the baseball field after receiving $1,500 from the Vergas Community Club. The board has $1,500 already in the budget. The council approved the transfer of funds from the Community Club to balance out at $3,000. The ballpark committee requested a line item budget under the Park Board in 2025.

Lammers will request bids from Arvig to add cameras at the ballfields, including the shed area.