The October 4 Lanesboro City Council meeting opened with a public hearing to discuss the proposed 2022 street and utility improvement project. Several Lanesboro business owners questioned the need for some of the sidewalks that were included in the preliminary plans. “Sounds like an excess expense that may not be necessary,” Sylvan Brewery owner Karen Heimdahl stated. Cottage House Inn owner Andrew Bunge agreed. “I just question the need for sidewalks,” he said. Lanesboro resident Peggy Hanson spoke in favor of additional sidewalks. “I’m really glad that the city is seriously dealing with infrastructure,” she said. “If you want to look at a livable community, if you want to look at trends, if you want to have people living here with families and kids, you need to have sidewalks.”
The proposed project budget raised the assessment amount from the usual 20% to 35%. “It’s pretty big sticker shock,” Hanson commented. The general consensus of those in attendance at the meeting was that they were in favor of a 20% assessment, but not 35%.
High Court Pub owner Paul Hamann noted that he’s excited about the project and having his alley redone. He asked if the council would consider burying a cluster of wires that currently hangs overhead in the alley as it poses a risk to garbage trucks and other vehicles.
Mayor Jason Resseman thanked the public for their comments and questions.
The public hearing was closed and the regular council meeting was opened. The consent agenda was approved and included the accounts payable, a liability waiver form for the League of MN Cities Insurance Trust, a tax abatement agreement, the 2022 liquor licenses, the homecoming parade route on October 8, and resolutions accepting a donation to the city and another to the Lanesboro Public Library.
City Cngineer Brian Malm reviewed pay request #10 from Wapasha Construction for the wastewater treatment facility. Approximately $2.5 million of the project has been completed with another $5.6 million to go. The council approved the pay request.
Council member Mitchell Walbridge gave the Park Board report. At their last meeting, the board addressed the question of whether to allow commercial businesses long-term use of the community center. They felt it was best to keep activity to community events only. The board is looking into a new camping registration software system for 2022. They are also seeking feedback on a long-term vision for the tennis court.
Mayor Resseman read Resolution 2021-24 ordering the improvement and preparation of plans and specifications for the 2022 road project. He emphasized that while approving the resolution would allow the council to commit to the project, it did not mean that the plans were finalized yet. “A definitive answer is not being given tonight, we’re just moving forward with the process,” he explained. Bolton & Menk is in the process of setting up a website for the project, which will include the option of signing up for email and possibly text updates. The information for the project website will be available at lanesboro-mn.gov. The council approved the resolution.
The council received a memo from Bolton & Menk with questions and issues to be addressed for the 2022 street and utility improvement project. A four-inch water main going to Little Norway runs over the Root River by hanging on the bridge. The size of the water main and it’s open location has caused problems with water quality and freezing pipes. Malm gave the council several options to address the issue. The existing water main could be moved to run under the river during the 2022 project or if the council was amenable to waiting for a few years, it could be replaced with a shorter and wider water main, which would provide improved water quality and would run underground. The council decided to wait to replace the water main.
Malm asked the council if they would prefer parallel or angled parking on Kirkwood Street. They opted for angled to allow for more parking spaces. The council reviewed how to handle assessments on properties with an alley on the project list. “My recommendation is not to assess the alleys,” Malm said. The council agreed. Malm asked about streetscaping such as new light poles, sidewalks, trees, etc. “My feeling is that we forego a lot of this fluff for lack of better term,” Mayor Resseman said, commenting that he felt that the necessary infrastructure was more important. The rest of the council members concurred.
The council agreed that with the precedent set for a 20% assessment rate on the previous Zenith/Auburn project, it would be best not to deviate from that.
The work order for the 2022 street and utility improvements was approved.
Council member Joe Groetzke asked about cybersecurity precautions for the City of Lanesboro, noting that the City of Lewiston had recently been hacked and extorted. City Administrator Michele Peterson assured him that a firewall had been installed so only city staff could be on the connections and that there are regular backups of computer and data. However, she admitted that she was not an expert on the subject. “I’m open to suggestions,” she said. Bonita Underbakke suggested that she contact Fillmore County as they contract out with a company to deal with cyberattacks.
The meeting was closed to discuss the purchase of a property for an emergency services building.
The next Lanesboro City Council meeting will be held on November 1 at 6 p.m.