At the April 4 Lanesboro city council meeting, City Engineer Brian Malm presented more details on the fee amendment requests for the wastewater treatment facility and the 2022 street and utility improvements projects. A list of the services the engineering firm Bolten & Menk are providing to the City of Lanesboro for each project was reviewed. Both are running longer than expected, which is why the engineering fees have been increased. A fee amendment in the amount of $100,000 for the wastewater treatment facility project was requested, bringing the total cost for engineering services to $750,000. Another amendment in the amount of $174,000, for a total of $904,000 for the 2022 street and utility improvements project was also requested. The financial contingencies for each of the projects will cover the additional cost. Several of the council members questioned whose responsibility the delays were that led to the increased engineering fees. Malm stated that while it wasn’t out of the ordinary for construction projects to experience delays, he should have kept the council in the loop more. He also accepted responsibility for not properly identifying the costs and timeline for the street project at the beginning, although he noted that if he had, the only thing that would have changed was that the fee amendment would have been built into the project right away instead of being added later. Both fee amendments were approved.
A public hearing was opened to discuss the proposed amendment to the EDA ordinance which will change the number of members from three to five. There were no public comments or questions.
Lanesboro FFA members Lynsey Ruen, Kane Johnson, and Michael Rein addressed the council to request permission to install “Proud FFA Community” signs on the green population signs on roads into Lanesboro. The FFA chapter has the funds to purchase the signs. Mayor Jason Resseman asked the group to check state regulations, but didn’t foresee a problem with the signs. A motion to approve the FFA purchasing two signs which would be installed by city staff on the two population signs coming into Lanesboro was approved.
Mayor Resseman read Proclamation declaring April 28 as Arbor Day in Lanesboro. All citizens are encouraged to celebrate Arbor Day by supporting efforts to protect trees and woodland areas, and plant and care for trees.
City Administrator Michele Peterson presented two different agreement options with MnDOT for the proposed Highway 250 project. One option would allow the city to lead the project with the city engineer while the other would allow MnDOT to lead with an engineer of their choice. “I like the idea of us having control rather than the state,” council member Joe Goetzke stated. A motion was passed, approving a partnership agreement with MnDOT with the city using their engineer for the project.
Council member Mitchell Walbridge gave the Park Board report. The board approved a proposal to update Mark Lawstuen’s job title to Park and Facility Manager. The change will not affect his pay. The council approved the updated job title. The board has revised the park fees. Anyone who already has something scheduled will receive the old rate. The new fees fall more closely in line with the market average and will be posted for 30 days before the council votes on them.
Andrzej Zalasinski and Scott Taylor from the Lanesboro Area Chamber of Commerce gave an update to the council. Most of what LACC does is general marketing for Lanesboro which means that, while there are specific benefits of being a Chamber member, the organization benefits all of Lanesboro.
Alison Leathers updated the council on the Chill-Inn Lanesboro initiative. The plan is to conduct some community trainings and continue research on winter tourism opportunities in Lanesboro. Leathers thanked the city for being the fiscal agent for the project.
Two quotes were received for replacing the structure of the Little Norway walking bridge in the amounts of $61,000 and $83,700. The city currently does not have the budget to accept either quote. It has been determined that the City of Lanesboro owns the bridge, and the land it sits on so the responsibility for repairs falls on the city. Mayor Resseman said that as the foundation needs repair, there is not a quick fix option available for the bridge. “If this is vital to the citizens of Little Norway, maybe some fundraising efforts could be started,” he suggested. “My concern is the safety of the people using the bridge. I would advocate for the bridge to remain closed.” Albrecht-Benson pointed out that while a closed sign had been placed on the bridge, it is not barricaded to prevent use. City Attorney Joseph O’Koren stated that if the bridge was going to be closed, it needs to be properly closed with no access. A site assessment to determine the safety and the needed repairs would cost the city around $5,000. “I would be willing to donate the time for someone to come down and do that,” Malm said. A motion to accept Malm’s offer was approved. A motion to close the bridge was also approved.
The council considered investment options for the $170,000 left over from the ambulance fund. Albrecht-Benson asked why the money was being invested rather than being turned over to the Preston Ambulance Service to go towards replacing the Lanesboro ambulance, which is in poor condition. Council member Chase Bakke noted that Preston had not asked for the money and investing it will allow it to grow. Mayor Resseman agreed, stating that the money could be invested for the time being and then put towards a new ambulance at a later date if needed. Resolution 2023-18 authorizing membership in the 4M Fund was approved.
A reimbursement request was received from Lanesboro Public Utilities in the amount of $30,000 to help pay for new electrical meters in Lanesboro. The request was tabled until a timeline for the project is received from LPU.
Resolution 2023-12 and revised Ordinance 31.60 were approved, allowing the EDA to increase its members from three to five. An application for the EDA from Michael Boho was approved. With the change in member numbers, a second council member will also be required to sit on the EDA. Mayor Resseman was approved for that position.
Resolutions 2023-15 and 2023-17 regarding the removal of Ryan Peterson and Creighton Horihan from the Lanesboro Fire Department following their two-year leaves of absence was approved. Neither Peterson nor Horihan had requested reinstatement following expiration of their leaves of absence. Resolution 2023-16 was also approved allowing a leave of absence for firefighter Jason Harvey.
The council reviewed and approved the city’s street and parking closure request policy and application.
The 2023 Minnesota Basic Code of Ordinances is ready for adoption from the League of Minnesota Cities. The city’s current version is from 2013 so it is due for an update. There is a cost of $435 to do so. The update and invoice were approved.
The next Lanesboro City Council meeting will be held on May 2 at 6 p.m. The 2022 audit review for city and public utilities will take place at that meeting. Due to a conflict, the July council meeting will be moved to July 11 at 6 p.m.