The August 7 Lanesboro City Council meeting opened with a public hearing for the Code of Ordinance update. Lanesboro resident Phil Dybing asked that the information that is shared with the public be made a little more clear. The hearing was closed and a second hearing was opened to discuss a tax abatement request. Public Finance Advisor Mike Bubany of David Drown Associates gave a brief overview of what the request meant, explaining that the property owner is planning to develop a single family home subdivision and had asked for a tax abatement for that project. If granted, the tax payments for that property would be redirected back into the project for a set time frame. “I am completely for the abatement because of the risk factor this individual is taking on,” Dybing stated, adding that it would potentially allow new housing in Lanesboro and would be good for the city.
The consent agenda was approved and included the accounts payable, Resolution 2023-24 approving the dedication of the leftover funds from the Lanesboro ambulance service to Preston Emergency Services, and two temporary liquor licenses for the Preston Servicemrn’s Club for upcoming weddings.
City Engineer Brian Malm reported that the new wastewater treatment facility is fully operational. The project is near completion with only a few punch list items left to check off. The street and utility improvements project is partly in the punch list phase and partly in the project completion phase. Pay request #9 was received from the contractor which the council approved. Malm informed the council that the next step for the Highway 250 project is for MnDOT to finalize the scoping study which should be completed by the end of August. A representative from MnDOT will attend the next council meeting with the results of that study. The comments received during the public open house on the project are being worked through and taken into consideration during the planning process.
Council member Mindy Albrecht-Benson gave the LPU report. The estimates for the electric meter replacement project came back lower than expected. There may be a need for additional staff to be hired for LPU, but the commission is still evaluating the staffing needs and does not have a final answer yet.
The Heritage Preservation Commission is working through the next steps to designating historic sites in Lanesboro, which would include several church buildings.
The proposed updates for the city’s Code of Ordinance were approved.
The personnel committee had their first meeting to discuss Michele Peterson’s replacement,as she is leaving her position as city administrator. The job will be posted publicly on August 8. The initial hiring timeline has been laid out, and the committee estimated that the job would be filled no later than early winter. Their plan is to wait to see the pool of applicants before deciding how to proceed. A policy requiring a formal background check for the city administrator/clerk position was approved.
The council discussed the Lamon tax abatement request. Bubany noted that the developer is financing the project themselves with no risk and no cost to the city. The tax abatement would not cost the city anything either. Resolution 2023-25 creating the tax abatement plan was adopted.
The council reviewed the city’s new pay scale and benefits information. The new pay scale is in line with similar cities. Peterson is still working on the information for PTO and will have that available at a later date. The pay scale was approved.
A question had come up about what exactly can be shared on the city’s website, social media platforms, and in the utility bill inserts. It was determined that a policy directing decisions about that was needed. Peterson presented a preliminary policy for the council to review and refine. The policy was tabled.
Planning and Zoning had reviewed a request for private improvements within the public right of way and approved it as the city property lines impede onto the properties in question. The council approved the request as well.
A complaint was heard against a city employee. Typically, the council would close that portion of the meeting, but the individual had requested that it remain open instead. As neither party had evidence to substantiate their claims, the complaint was dropped.
As it was Michele Peterson’s last meeting as the city administrator, the council presented her with a gift thanking her for her years of service to the city. “I want to take the opportunity to thank Michele,” Mayor Jason Resseman said. “I couldn’t be more happy for Michele, but I also understand that that’s going to be a loss to Lanesboro and it will be hard to fill her shoes.” An open house will be held at the city offices on Peterson’s last day of work on August 17, at 2:30 p.m.
The next Lanesboro city council meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 5 at 6 p.m.