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Lanesboro City Council Report: City Administrator takes steps to improve city books

Fri, Oct 10th, 2003
Posted in Features

Bobbie Torgerson stepped into her role of city administrator and submitted her plan to correct negative cash balances in city funds at the October 6th Lanesboro Council meeting. Some of the funds had corresponding CDs which Torgerson suggested cashing, using some of the money to give the funds a positive balance and then purchasing a new CD with the remainder of the money.

The council agreed and took action to correct the funds for the Interpretive Center, Park and Recreation, the street truck, and the Small City Capital Projects. Action was delayed on the Fire and Ambulance Funds and the Coffee Street Project Fund until city auditor CPA Lloyd Johnson could be consulted on those. Torgerson pointed out that the changes would provide for more accountability and help manage cash flow better with a more accurate picture of the state of the citys finances. Torgerson also asked for her name to be put on the city bank accounts and that Liz Dybing give a report to the city monthly on the Farmers Market checking account.

Torgerson requested a new/different computer, noting that her computer needed repair and was too slow to run the necessary city software. When it was mentioned that a spare computer previously purchased by the fire department was sitting unused at City Hall, the council opted to contact the fire department for an approval to allow Torgerson to use that computer.

The council, as a whole, thanked Torgerson for her well-thought, written requests and recommendations to the council.

Police Contract with Preston

The Lanesboro City Council had a chance to peruse a draft police service contract which would provide joint police service for Preston and Lanesboro. The contract provides for at least one officer on duty for the two cities between 12 and 22 hours each day. It also calls for a joint purchase of a new squad car and a suggested compensation for Lanesboro police coverage of $65,000.

Council member Kevin Drake commented that Lanesboro wasnt saving anything with this contract. City Attorney Tom Manion responded the council might want to ask how the cost structure was determined. Manion pointed out that there was no provision for court time for officers in the contract, but quickly added, Were happy to have the potential of working with Preston. This is just a draft.

The Council concurred as Councilman Jerome Halverson commented, These are things we can work out. The Council felt they needed an understanding of the personnel costs such as retirement programs and insurance costs and a more definitive idea of the number of police hours Lanesboro would be getting.

Mayor Steve Rahn asked the council to give their comments and questions about the contract to City Administrator Bobbie Torgerson by weeks end so she could coordinate with the city attorney and Preston to get a response by the next council meeting. Rahn added, At least its a start.

In the meantime, the Fillmore County Sheriffs Department is supplying temporary police coverage for the city with additional drive-throughs. When a comment was made that the city has had some vandalism, councilman Halverson replied, You have that when you have an officer here too!

Other business

In other business, the council:

Decided to send letters to the citizens delineating the requirements for building permits, explaining the Historic Preservation Ordinance, and giving details of the Truth in Taxation meetings;

Passed a motion stating that the city is not willing to pay additional costs of fixing the Coffee Street Bridge decking, noting that they felt Minowa and WHKS Engineering should be responsible for the corrections;

Approved $2,000 expenditure for the fire chiefs convention;

Directed city attorney Tom Manion to initiate the mortgage foreclosure procedure on non-pays of the Small Cities Grant;

Set a meeting date of 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 15th with Attorney Eric Galatz to discuss progress on the Center for the Arts management

Accepted the proposal from Mike Bubany of David Drown Associates for services in establishing a Tax Increment Financing District for the Church Hill Project. The developers will be required to deposit an estimated $7,000 for total costs.

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