Bertram advisory council discusses city, county MOU

Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park Park Advisory Council members decided Jan. 3 that it was time to start working on a formal agreement to establish a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Wright County and the city of Monticello regarding future park development, operations and maintenance.

“I thought the general agreement was the county was going to take care of pretty much everything,” said Councilmember Glen Posusta.

Mayor Clint Herbst replied Wright County had agreed to take care of passive parts of the park, which will grow in size as parcels are acquired.

“Maintaining trails is a different thing than being out there building them,” Herbst said. “We’ve always talked about splitting up the maintenance out there, I think a MOU would be a good idea.”

City Administrator Jeff O’Neill said that at a previous budget session, Monticello City Council members had talked about Bertram park maintenance, and had decided to give Parks Superintendent Tom Pawelk latitude to complete work, but with the stipulation he would have to draw from department resources that were being used to maintain other fields within the city.

“The council didn’t add resources to the parks department to do that,” O’Neill said. “He would be able to deploy staff out there with some latitude and under certain circumstances as necessary. We’ve been given authority to do some work, but no added resources.”

Pulling docks and trail work were two of the tasks mentioned by O’Neill. “It’s minor stuff,” he said. Monticello Community Center Director Kitty Baltos pointed out  the MCC was doing Bertram-related event planning. Wright County Commissioner Pat Sawatzke asked Baltos if she still wanted to do Bertram programing.

Baltos said the city could create revenue from its programming.

Sawatzke said that Wright County Commissioner Charile Borrell had expressed previous concerns that the city of Monticello could do one thing regarding programming and Wright County Park another. “He wants some boundaries set regarding who is responsible for what area,” Sawatzke said. “We may have one idea, and you may have another. I see those types of issues getting resolved by this council.”

Martin Dibben, advisory council chairman, said that it was important for the city of Monticello and Wright County to eventually get a development, operations and maintenance MOU in writing.

“You are doing it with the YMCA anyway,” Dibben said, referring to the Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park Advisory Council and YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities representatives coming to agreement last November on a ground lease and operating agreement for a 12-plus acre piece of property on the north side of the park where new facilities will be developed for day camp activities.

Sawatzke added: “I think it’s time we started doing it.” Dibben asked Mattice if he could provide draft MOUs for council members to review.

Wright County Commissioner Mark Daleiden said it would be a good idea for city and county staff to put together a list of responsibilities.
Mattice said a development, operations and maintain MOU document would take time to create, and that advisory council subcommittee would be involved.

Sawatzke suggested implementation for the MOU should not occur before a final property acquisition date. City and county staff would help prepare the MOU document.

Contact Tim Hennagir at [email protected]