Contributing Writer Prior to the Braham City Council meeting July 5, new Council Member Lowell Jaques was sworn in to fill the vacant seat due to Wayne Seiberlich’s resignation. Jaques will serve until Dec. 31, 2018.
The meeting was also preceded by a public hearing on moving forward on the purchase of body-worn cameras for the Braham Police Department.
Braham Police officer Eric Baumgart, who had been tasked with researching the devices, reported at the hearing that he sought information from five companies, not all of which responded. He said there are at least two concerns related to the cost of the cameras: the initial outlay for the cameras and then the expense of the software that drives the reporting from the camera. Also at issue is the ease in which the recordings can be rendered for helpful information.
City Administrator Sally Hoy reminded the council at the end of the report this is just the first of three necessary public hearings before a decision can be made on purchasing. This was the “concept” meeting; next comes the budget or “truth in taxation” session and then finally a hearing in which the council can make a decision to adopt the project and move forward, she said. The next public hearing on the issue will take place at 4 p.m. Aug. 1.
Art Kaunonen received an appreciation plaque for his 17 years of service on the Braham Planning Commission. The award also recognizes his 18 years on the City Council prior to his tenure with the Planning Commission. In related action, the council appointed Mary Lodin, co-owner of Manlo Properties in Braham, to the commission. This spot is a non-council position.
Loren Davis, owner of Diversified Bronze and Manufacturing, was invited to speak. Davis expressed his concern over the slowness of Genesis Wireless to move ahead on its commitment to extend service to the industrial park where his company is building a new facility.
Davis said he had received a call from Genesis last week that “really concerned me.” In that call, Davis said that Genesis said it was having difficulty getting the right fiber supplies for the fiber-optic extension of service to the site.
“I got the sense from his phone call that money is an issue,” Davis said. “My concern, as the new kid on the block, is that on Sept. 22, when we throw the switch, (at his new building) am I going to have it or am I not going to have it (wireless service), or do I stay in Cambridge until I do have it? I cannot not have it.”
He then asked if it was too late to invite other vendors to submit a bid, since Genesis was the only one who had responded the council’s original request. In response to Davis, Isanti Mayor Tish Carlson reported she had been in contact with Genesis and informed the company that a reply was necessary “by next week” or “we would have to send it out for a new RFP (bid proposal) so the work can be done by fall.”
In other action,
• Appointed its newest member, Jaques, to fill the vacancy on the Braham Economic Development Authority also caused by Seiberlich’s resignation. This position needed to be filled by a council person.
• Appointed Council Member Shawn Sullivan to fill a similarly caused opening on the Braham Parks Committee.
• Ratified Jaques’ previous non-council presence on the city’s Street Commission as a council presence, relieving Carlson from attending in her role as a council member.