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Lanesboro Council meeting ends with fire call

Fri, Nov 8th, 2002
Posted in Features

The November 4th meeting of the Lanesboro City Council began with a presentation from Tammy Hughes of Southeastern Minnesota Historic Bluff Country and Marlene Schultz, chairperson for Scenic Byways. They informed the council that Highway 16 from LaCrescent to Dexter had been designated a National Scenic Byway this past June. An $83,000 grant to further Highway 16 and communities within a twelve-mile corridor has been procured that requires 20% in matching funds raised locally.

Asking for $1,000 from Lanesboro, Hughes and Schultz said the money would be used for a brochure promoting the highway and adjacent cities, signage along area roads, and the development of a web site. In response, Council member Kevin Drake made a motion to donate $1,000; Council member Peggy Hanson, concerned about the budget, countered with a suggestion of $500.

Joe O’Connor, speaking from the audience mentioned the possibility of the Chamber of Commerce contributing to the funding. With Council members Jerome Halvorson and Hal Cropp absent, Mayor John Brose broke the tie vote, voting in favor of giving $1,000, but pursuing the possibility of the Chamber donating $500.

Small Cities Grant

Shirley Wangen and her family appeared before the council to see if Small Cities Grant repayments could be prorated. Shirley’s husband Ken passed away and Shirley is no longer able to live in their home.

The current position of the city is that if less than ten years have passed, the full amount must be paid back. While other cities prorate, Lanesboro was attempting to prevent people from using the program in a speculative way. City attorney Tom Manion suggested the city make a policy to allow prorating if people were selling due to health circumstances and to require some type of documentation from a doctor. Manion was directed to draft such a policy for the next meeting. Action was tabled on Wangen’s case until that time.

Sticker Shock

A blacktopping bill from Fred Carlson Co. for city streets came under scrutiny. With a price tag over $52,000 (more than $22,000 over budget), the bill brought forth a flurry of questions.

Why hadn’t the blacktoppers, come to the city for an okay before doing that much extra work? (Norway Drive was supposedly much worse than expected.)

Why had over $39,000 worth of work been okayed when the budget was $30,000?

Why weren’t there any supervisors on the work site when the work was done?

Neither Andy Drake nor representatives from Fred Carlson were present at the meeting after assuring city manager Barb Hoyhtya they would be there. The council tabled action until they could speak to Andy Drake.

Brush Dump

The council next concerned itself with the brush dump and its recent burning. Acknowledging the many resident and business owner complaints, the council stressed that the current rules must be followed at the brush dump. Only trees, tree branches and brush are to be accepted (no grass clippings, garden trimmings, or leaves).

Rules require that piles are not to exceed a certain size, a sign with details must be posted, fires are to be attended with ashes disposed of, and someone must be present to supervise the dump when it is open.

The council is working to ensure that the weekend burning, a result of people not following the rules, does not happen again.

Grain Dryer Fire

Coincidentally, shortly after the brush dump burning discussion, Council member Drake, who is a member of the Lanesboro Fire Department, received a page to respond to a fire at the RLH Grain Company downtown and hurriedly left the meeting.

With no quorum, the council meeting ended and the rest of the evening’s business was put off until the next meeting.

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