A community input time was held for 15 minutes before the June 3 Lanesboro City Council meeting. Several residents spoke out against the wastewater treatment plant project, asking that ordinance 151.30 be removed from the council’s consent agenda that evening. The ordinance pertains to the floodplain district, which would allow the city to build the wastewater treatment plant across the road from where the current one sits, a location that many have reservations about. The general feeling from the community members present was that the city has not been open enough with the residents about the wastewater treatment plant project and decisions were made without much input from the public. “I would reject that narrative,” Mayor Jason Resseman said, adding that there has been nothing deceptive or out of order with the process. City Administrator Michele Peterson pointed out that notices have been posted appropriately for each of the meetings to notify people of the subject, time, and place.
The regular meeting was opened at 6 p.m. with an approval of the agenda and minutes of the previous meeting. The consent agenda was approved with no changes and included approval for accounts payable, ordinance 151.30 along with a summary for printing the ordinance, a resolution amending ordinance 31.60 regarding Economic Development Authority, a lease amendment with Verizon, an icon agreement for the dam project, the building permits, extensions, and renewals policy, and an application for lawful gambling for an upcoming golf tournament.
The city has received several complaints about how narrow Auburn Street is when people are parking on both sides. Peterson suggested changing the parking on that street to no parking or on just one side of it. Council member Tom Smith pointed out that with the street being more narrow, traffic is forced to slow down which is safer for kids. The matter was tabled to gather more information.
A resignation from Heritage Preservation Commission member Susie Slater was approved.
Chamber of Commerce member Don Lukkason reported that a website for Lanesboro’s 150 year celebration is in the final editing stages and should be up anytime. The schedule for the celebration will be posted on the website along with other information. He noted that the city’s general website was revamped about four years ago, and the Chamber is considering doing so again. “We’re pretty proud of it, but we’re always improving,” Lukkason said. The membership drive for the Chamber will begin in July. Lukkason pointed out that even businesses that aren’t directly affected by tourism can benefit from Chamber membership. “We appreciate the work that the Chamber does for the community as a whole,” Mayor Resseman said.
Mayor Resseman was able to acquire the #OnlyinMN traveling monument from the Minnesota Board of Tourism. The monument will be set up in Lanesboro for a period of three weeks, which includes the Buffalo Bill Days weekend. “It’s a good opportunity for Lanesboro and for Buffalo Bill Days to get statewide and even national recognition,” he said.
The Lanesboro Visitors’ Center will now be open on Sundays as well as during the week.
Several Lanesboro business owners had expressed concern about the town’s outdoor trash bins attracting bees and sometimes spilling over. With that in mind, Mayor Resseman reached out to Harmony Enterprises for information on SmartPack Automatic Compactors. Harmony Enterprises was able to offer a lease option to the city to place five compactors around town. “They’re very amenable and very excited about the prospect of having these in Lanesboro,” Resseman said. The lease would include pick-up of the containers around October, storage over the winter months, and placing them back in place in April along with servicing the compactors as needed. Using the compactors would cut down on the amount of time that city workers spend emptying the current trash bins. Council member Autumn Johnson asked if it would be possible to schedule more frequent pick-ups, but while that would alleviate the issue of overflowing garbage, it would not deter the bees that are attracted to the trash cans. The compactors have sensors to open when someone needs to throw something away and would also alert the city workers when they needed to be emptied. The monthly cost for five compactors would run the city between $162 and $189 based on the options requested. “I think it would be reasonable to try it, but I think we could try it with maybe two or three,” council member Bridget Harvey said. She made a motion to do so with three compactors which was approved by the rest of the council. Mayor Resseman will speak with Harmony Enterprises and have more details for the council to review at the next meeting.
Mayor Resseman recommended that the city enter a contract with CEDA to work with the Lanesboro EDA, which has gone from seven to three members due to a lack of volunteers. “It’s my understanding that best use of CEDA is if you have a project that you want help with instead of just throwing money at the wall,” Johnson said. Mayor Resseman felt that CEDA would help the EDA overall so they could grow and become more effective in Lanesboro. He had previously spoken with EDA members in both Preston and Harmony, both of which have contracts with CEDA. “They feel that CEDA is one of the most valuable resources they have for generating economic development,” he noted. The council decided to table the matter until next month to look into it more.
A resignation from Public Utilities Board member Jeff Bollen was approved. The board recently passed a motion to place a moratorium on the wastewater treatment plant project. Lanesboro City Attorney Thomas Manion noted that while the board can make recommendations, the council has the final say in the decision.
The Filthy Fifty bike race coordinators requested permission from the council to place a banner across Parkway Avenue and smaller banners on the light posts for the weekend of their event. The council approved the request.
The city received notice from Fillmore County that due to a court settlement, there will be a decrease in just over $6,000 in the city’s June tax payment from the county.
The next Lanesboro City Council meeting will be held on July 1 at 6 p.m. with a public input time starting at 5:45 p.m.