At the December 5 Lanesboro City Council meeting, a public hearing was held for Truth in Taxation. Lanesboro resident Brenda Bonney spoke to the council about her request to rezone her property as a rural service district as it was denied by Planning and Zoning. She noted that she doesn’t receive any city services and the property is very rural in nature. “We request that our property be assigned to be in a rural service district,” she said. Mayor Resseman responded that Planning and Zoning denied the request because they felt that the Bonney property did not meet the requirements to be rezoned. Bonney said that she disagreed with the decision, giving several examples of other properties that were rezoned. Mayor Resseman suggested that she petition the council to address the topic further or submit a petition to detach from the city. Bonney thanked the council for their time. The public hearing was closed with no further comments or questions.
The council discussed resolution 2022-42 approving the final 2023 budget and tax levy. Albrecht-Benson expressed her dissatisfaction with her 12% property tax increase and the 14% levy increase. “What are we spending 14% more on next year than we did this year?” she asked. “I think the city has a responsibility to keep the levy lower than 14%.” Council member Chase Bakke noted that prices for everything have gone up and that Lanesboro has some of the lowest taxes in the area. The levy was approved unanimously.
The consent agenda was approved and included the accounts payable, the CEDA contract for 2023, the 2023 council meeting schedule, Chapter 112 summary for publishing, and Resolution 2022-43 accepting a donation to the city.
City Engineer Brian Malm presented pay request #24 for the wastewater treatment facility. The remaining ticket items for the project include the decorative fence, landscaping, demolishing the old wastewater treatment plant, etc. The new plant is up and running. The council approved the pay request. Malm also updated the council on the street and utility improvements. As winter has arrived, the asphalt plants have shut down so work had to be put on hold until the spring. The contractor laid gravel down and will maintain it over the winter. Pay request #4 for the project was approved.
City Administrator Michele Peterson asked the council for feedback on how they would like the different city departments to report to the council for 2023. Mayor Resseman said he would like to see a rotating schedule for the departments. Council member Mindy Albrecht-Benson suggested having each department present a report on a quarterly basis. She also asked if it would be possible to have the departments set goals and review them periodically. Peterson will take the suggestions and come up with a plan to share with the council at a later date.
The council reviewed ordinance 54.06 regarding the public utilities fee schedule. Council member Joe Goetzke asked if the increases in water and sewer were tied to the costs for the new wastewater treatment plant. Peterson said that they were and that the recommended increase is 1-2% a year. The fee schedule was approved. Ordinance 93.033 permitting restaurants to operate on city sidewalks was also approved.
David Haugen was able to inspect the Little Norway bridge and is working on getting some quotes for the repairs needed. He will present them to the council at the next meeting.
The City of Lanesboro was accepted into a regional safety group which offers six safety trainings a year at a cost of $1,485 a year. The city’s membership in the group was approved.
The board and commission member appointments for 2023 were reviewed and approved by the council. Mindy Albrecht-Benson, Mitchell Walbridge, and Ceil Allen were appointed to the Heritage Preservation Commission, Elliot Riggott to Public Utilities, Samantha Hareldson and Alex Gehrig to the Park Board, Thomas Pursell to the EDA, and Alyssa Sindalar and Stacy Schultz to the library board.
The council liaison appointments for 2023 were discussed. Albrecht-Benson asked if the liaison roles have ever been formalized and noted that she thinks the council liaisons should change periodically rather than having the same person serve on the same one for multiple years. She also expressed concerns with having a council member sit on a commission board and serve as the council liaison at the same time as she didn’t feel they could be neutral in that case. Mayor Resseman explained that some liaisons serve as voting members while others only observe. He also said that not allowing council members to serve on boards while also serving as the city liaison would make it even more difficult to fill commission boards. The council approved the liaison appointments. Joe Goetzke will continue to serve as the EDA liaison, Mayor Resseman as the Planning and Zoning liaison, Mitchell Walbridge as the Park Board and HPC liaisons, Albrecht-Benson as the library board liaison, and Chase Bakke as the fire department and street department liaisons.
The council reviewed the purchase agreement for a new fire truck with city attorney Joseph O’Koren. The truck is the back-up truck for the City of Eagan and has low miles on it. The plan is for it to be delivered to Lanesboro when Eagan’s new truck is ready, but with the current supply chain issues, they were not able to include a delivery date in the purchase agreement. O’Koren and the council members were not comfortable with approving the agreement without a date so the matter was tabled.
The next Lanesboro City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 3 at 6 p.m.