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Lanesboro City Council Report: Art Center details draw councils attention once again

Fri, Aug 8th, 2003
Posted in Features

At the August 4th Lanesboro City Council meeting, the council turned their attention to a letter in which Cornucopia, Commonweal, and Root River Valley Friends of the Arts (RRVFOA requested a waiver so the three groups could hire Twin Cities attorney Eric Galatz to assist them in creating a management agreement for the proposed Center for the Arts. Galatz had been hired by the city in the previous art endeavor that was related to the city receiving a $1 million state bond for the art center.

Council member Peggy Hanson expressed her hesitation in approving such a request, as she noted that RRVFOA, a recently formed entity, was assuming the city was working with them when the city had nothing in writing concerning the identity, purpose, and structure of the organization. Hanson went on to state she had just seen the letter that same day and that neither the EDA nor the city had had any other communication from the group thus far.

Holly McDonough of Cornucopia replied, "It has come to my attention that we have been woefully negligent in communication."

She informed the council the groups were currently doing research on the size, scope, cost and fund-raising needed for the project. McDonough promised an informational sheet to improve communication between the groups and the city and public. Speaking for Cornucopia, she told the council, "Cornucopia is committed to working with all of the others to utilize the million dollars and making the project a public process."

David Ruen of the Commonweal told the council three representatives from Commonweal and three from Cornucopia were working together with RRVFOA and wished to hire an attorney skilled in putting together management contracts. The goal was to get objections on the table and deal with the differences objectively.

Hanson responded, "My concern is that we are glossing over the issue of these entities working together." She pointed out the "big issues as to the roles of the entities." While Hanson agreed with the hiring of Eric Galatz, she urged the council to hire him to represent the city, as he had in the past.

When Councilman Kevin Drake questioned the funding for such a hire, accountant Lloyd Johnson reminded the council they still had some administrative funds left from the state they could use. The council opted to hire Galatz using the remaining $13,000 initially.

Police Issues

The council then turned their attention to police (or lack of) issues. Jerome Halverson reported "a lot of good feedback" on the job the Fillmore County Sheriffs Department did during Buffalo Bill Days.

Councilmembers Jerome Halverson, Joe OConnor and Peggy Hanson volunteered to look at options for police coverage including continuing use of the sheriffs department and sharing police staff with other area cities. OConnor said of the process, "We welcome any public involvement." The sheriff will be invited to the next council meeting to discuss possibilities.

Because of the upheaval in the police department, and the fact that so many cities are moving to the administrative citation ordinance was causing concern at the state level, the council opted to table its own administrative citation ordinance until a later date. This ordinance would allow the city to retain citation fees rather than sending most of the fees collected to the state.

Other Business

In other business the council:

approved a gambling permit for the American Legion;

agreed to pay for a $75 application fee for the construction of a 70 by 6 foot green-treated fishing deck for people with disabilities at the park;

heard all six new EMTs had passed their exams;

approved new signage for Cornucopia;

heard community complaints regarding the early hour (5:30) garbage pickups in the city and decided to speak with Waste Management about it;

accepted the resignation of city employee Ardie Johnson;

offered the city administrator position to Bobbie Torgerson currently of Spring Valley and were informed they could expect a response from her by weeks end.

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