Mark Goldberg from David Drown Associates was present via Zoom at the January 3 Lanesboro City Council meeting to discuss the recent Market and Calibration Study. The study evaluated each of the city positions for the type of duties required, any risk factors involved, and types of education or experience needed in order to determine the best pay rate for each one based on the market value of similar cities in Minnesota. Goldberg reviewed the proposed salary structure with the council which included a minimum, maximum, and mid-point salary for each job. Two employees were found to be above the maximum range and four below the minimum. A motion confirming the salary structure was approved. Another motion was approved to move the four below-minimum employees up to the minimum amount and to move any employees who are between steps up to the next one. The increases have already been included in the 2022 budget as Goldberg provided City Administrator Michele Peterson with the numbers prior to presenting the study.
The consent agenda was approved and included accounts payable, Resolution 2022-11 accepting donations to the city, and Resolution 2022-12 agreeing to maintain the facility transportation alternative funds.
Pay request #13 from Wapasha Construction for the wastewater treatment plant project was reviewed and approved by the council.
Due to cost, the Lanesboro Fire Department will make changes to the current air compressor rather than purchasing a new air pack system.
Filthy 50 Bike Race coordinator Trenton Raygor asked the council for permission to hold the event in Lanesboro on the second weekend of October, 2022. The 2021 race went well with good weather and 850 of the 1,000 registrants showing up. The council approved the request. Mayor Jason Resseman noted that the organization was very generous last year with around $10,000 in donations to Lanesboro emergency services.
Mike Bubany addressed the council about the financing options for the Emergency Services building project. He did not recommend pursuing an USDA loan as the process could be lengthy. A referendum would also take time and the results would be uncertain. Another option would be to obtain a capital improvement plan bond, but if 5% of the voters in Lanesboro signed a petition to stop it, it would be sent back for referendum. Bubany recommended that the city look into a Revenue Bond and asked Peterson to obtain bids from local banks. The bid from F&M Community Bank came back with a 3.7% interest rate and included a clause that would not allow the City of Lanesboro to pay it off early. Bubany noted that the bank has been really good to work with in the past, but he did not recommend accepting the bid due to the high interest rate. Merchant’s Bank also submitted a bid at an interest rate of 2.7% with the option to pay it off early at any time. “In my mind, this feels fair,” Bubany said. A motion to accept Merchant’s Bank as a funding source for the project was approved.
Merchant’s Bank was set at the city’s official depository and the Fillmore County Journal as the official newspaper. Michele Peterson, Darla Taylor and Mayor Jason Resseman were approved as the signature authorities for city accounts. The mileage reimbursement rate was set at 58.5 cents a mile.
A resolution authorizing the Lanesboro Fire Department Relief Association for lawful gambling was approved. The Fire Relief Association Board of Trustees was also approved. The Fire Department officers were set with Rob Wagner as chief, Colin Bakke as 1st assistant chief, Matt Schnebly as 2nd assistant chief, Mark Lawstuen as 3rd assistant chief, Anthony Schwartz as secretary, Bryan Benson and Anthony Schwartz as custodians, and Jeff Norby in charge of training.
Sarah Pieper and Phil Holtegaard were appointed to the Library Board, Phil Dybing to the Economic Development Authority, and Kate O’Neary to the Heritage Preservation Board. Randy Rakosnik was approved as a new member of Planning and Zoning. There is still one seat available on Planning and Zoning which meets on the third Wednesday of each month, and one available on the Heritage Preservation Board which meets quarterly.
The council discussed a nuisance violation at 206 Elmwood Street. Part of the roofline is missing and covered with a tarp. A letter was sent to the homeowner asking that the property be brought into compliance with city ordinances. Peterson has spoken with the owner who informed her that there was an issue between him and the contractor which he is trying to rectify. He is also actively working to sell the property. A motion was approved to review the property at the February council meeting to see if any progress has been made before taking further action.
An off-sale liquor license request from Randy and Lori Rakosnik from Root River Unwined had been tabled last month to allow the council time to consider it. Currently, there are no more off-sale liquor licenses available unless the council were to amend the city ordinance limiting the number. “Precedence is an issue,” Mayor Resseman commented about the possibility of an amendment, questioning how many off-sale liquor licenses a town of 700 people really needed. Lori was present via Zoom and noted that several B&Bs in the area had approached her business asking them to provide charcuterie boards with bottles of wine for their guests, but with their on-sale liquor license, they weren’t able to fulfill those requests. It was pointed out that there were two other businesses in town that could fill that need. After careful consideration by the council, the request was denied.
The city’s proposed contract with attorney Joseph O’Koren was reviewed. Currently, everything is covered with a monthly flat fee, but O’Koren asked that duties that went above and beyond the regular ones not be included in that. The new contract was written as a five-year contract with a 3% annual increase. Council member Joe Goetzke noted that during his time on the council, he has been impressed with O’Koren’s work with the city. The contract was approved with a 90 day escape clause for either party along with mutual modification added.
The next Lanesboro City Council meeting will be held on February 7 at 6 p.m.