The Lanesboro City Council met via Zoom on October 5 for their regular meeting. A public hearing was opened to hear any questions or comments on the possibility of vacating a portion of Fillmore Avenue North, but there were no members of the public present for the hearing so it was closed.
Cathy Enerson gave the EDA report. She has worked with CEDA for 12 years now with other towns in the Fillmore County area and has been working with the Lanesboro EDA since the beginning of August. She has been staying in close contact with Lori Bakke from the Heritage Preservation Commission and Lanesboro Chamber of Commerce Director Andrzej Zalasinski to work with them and their organizations. The free business enrichment series for Lanesboro small business owners is going well and has been funded through a SMIF economic impact grant. Enerson is also working with Brenda Pohlman, who is the head of the county’s Statewide Health Improvement Partnership to find funds for way-finding signage. The grant request to put a dock in at Sylvan Park was turned down, but Enerson noted that other grants are available and she’s hopeful that one will be awarded for the project. “People are working very cohesively in the community,” Enerson said. She looks forward to continuing to work with Lanesboro’s EDA. Mayor Resseman thanked her and CEDA on behalf of the council.
A grant in the amount of $10,000 was received from SMIF, which will allow up to $200 of PPE purchases per business in the 55949 zip code area. The council approved the grant.
Street Department Director David Haugen reminded the council about a safety study that had been done for the street sweeper which was being used with the open cab lawnmower. The study found that it produced high levels of dust, creating a safety hazard for the operator. He had applied for and received a Minnesota Safety Grant with the funds being used to purchase a new sweeper that could be attached to the city’s enclosed cab tractor. “I would really like to thank the council for letting me move forward with this,” he said. “Without these grants and supports, these kind of things would probably be out of reach for smaller departments like this.” Mayor Resseman thanked Haugen for his work on the grant along with Michele Peterson and Darla Ebner.
The council approved the resignation of Nancy Martinson from the Lanesboro Library Board. The vacant seat will be advertised and Lanesboro residents are encouraged to volunteer. A donation to the library in the amount of $1,500 from the Friends of the Library was also approved. “We appreciate what the Friends of the Library do,” Mayor Resseman said.
Ambulance Director Deane Benson asked the council to approve an increase in pay from $10 to $20 for the ambulance crew’s Consortium training sessions, which take place five times a year. Each session takes about two-and-a-half hours and includes a skills test. The council approved the request.
Benson noted that Cheryl Lamon of Cheryl’s Fabric Garden made a donation to the Lanesboro Ambulance Service, and expressed his gratitude. Lamon, along with Andrea Miehlisch and May Himlie have been sewing masks for area residents for a freewill donation. Proceeds of $1,300 were donated to the ambulance service and another $3,400 to the community foundation.
Chris Goodwin presented a change order from the dam project to the council for approval. The council decided to table the matter until the rest of the change orders are in. They also tabled a discussion on a gate purchase for an area by the dam to allow more research to be done on the purchase and installation of the gate first.
Two letters of interest were received from Lanesboro residents, Mindy Albrecht-Benson and Alissa Sindelar for the council seat vacated by Autumn Johnson. A motion to appoint Albrecht-Benson was approved.
The council revisited their COVID-19 response for the city’s public facilities. Several high school volleyball games have been scheduled at the community center, and Peterson recommended that the sports guidelines that the school will be following from the Minnesota State High School League be implemented at the community center as well, which means that no non-essential visitors will be admitted to the games.
Karen Heimdahl from Sylvan Brewing asked permission to use five parking spaces for the brewery’s grand opening this month, which would allow for social distancing. The council approved the request with council member Tom Smith voting no.
A suggestion was received from a community member about amending the city’s noise ordinance to include a decibel level. Peterson reached out to city attorney Joseph O’Koren who did not recommend adopting the amendment as it would then trigger issues with Buffalo Bill Days along with other events and would be difficult to enforce. He felt that the current ordinance is sufficient to deal with noise issues.
A motion was made and approved to not vacate the proposed section of Fillmore Avenue North.
Certain properties in Lanesboro city limits do not receive sewer, water, and other services from the city, and so Planning and Zoning created a Rural Taxing District to lower the property taxes for them. They recommended that the council approve the change. Smith asked if the properties could be moved back to the regular taxing district if they had those services installed at some point. Peterson assured him that it wouldn’t be a problem. The council approved the Rural Taxing District.
Brian Malm asked the council to approve a work order which would authorize Bolten & Menk to do the necessary work to get the wastewater treatment facility project started. The request was approved.
Pat Shanahan from Iron Horse Inn asked the council for permission to close Coffee Street including the alleyway access on October 17 to allow for social distancing during a free live music event. He noted that there will be no vendors, very few touch points, social distancing using tools such a pool noodles, and masks required at the event. The council decided not to support the closure as they felt that big gatherings at this time are risky, even with safety measures.
The council had previously discussed having a drawing for the remaining 15 banners left over from the city’s 150th celebration last year, but as only 15 requests were received for the drawing, it was decided that a banner would go to each entry.
Peterson informed the council that a property which the city had previously considered as a potential space for a new ambulance shed is currently on the market for a price considerably lower than anticipated. She recommended that the council consider the purchase of the property. A closed discussion was held and the matter was tabled until the next meeting.
The next Lanesboro city council meeting will be held on November 2 at 6 p.m.