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Lanesboro City Council: Lots of talk, but little action

Fri, Oct 11th, 2002
Posted in Features

A number of items were discussed by the Lanesboro City Council at their October 7 meeting, with little action taken. One item tabled at the meeting was the ambulance agreement with the county. The agreement has been for the same amount for years ($4,500); the council questioned why the rate hasnt increased since the costs of operating the service certainly have. The agreement was tabled until more information on the rates and fees could be obtained.

Another item put on hold was the petition to vacate Beacon Street. After finding inaccuracies in the documentation, the council found it was unable to take action on the petition.

Following the completion of school construction, the Park Board reported that the street down into the park from the school needs patching as a result of the construction; the weedy slope needs to be cleaned up and have ground cover planted on it. It was pointed out that the roofs of the school are contributing less water than before to ground drainage because the roofs now have drainpipes directing the flow of rainwater.

Barb Hoyhtya informed the council of the resignation of two police officers. Tom Mensink took a job with Mower County Sheriffs Department and Josh Crofton joined Olmsted County Sheriffs Department.

Hoyhtya also informed the council of the notice of claim from people affected by last Aprils fire (Anessa Dawley, Mike & Tonja DuBois, Jon & Barb Willford, Rodney Cockrum, Kirsten Mensing, Jeff & Mary St. Mane, Theodore St. Mane, and Charles & Chom St. Mane). Notice of claim notifies the city that those people intend to pursue legal action against the city.

The Heartland Energy & Recycling plant proposed in Preston was another topic of discussion. Concern about odor was evident as Councilman Jerome Halvorson declared, "With scrubbers on the stacks, youre still going to smell burned tires, believe me!"

It was reported that the MPCA does not control odors as that is an issue that cities have to deal with.

The consensus of the council was that Peggy Hanson and Hal Cropp would draft a letter detailing Lanesboros concerns regarding smell and whether the impact of the pollutants from the proposed plant combined with the pollutants from the existing neighboring ethanol plant had been assessed. The council did not decide whether they would request an environmental impact study or not yet.

After looking at a $9,150 bid for codification of the city ordinances by the League of Minnesota Cities, the council decided to revisit the item at the next council meeting.

As Jerome Halvorson exclaimed, "Thats a lot of cash!"

Peggy Hanson replied, "Youre paying for knowledge." Codification would coordinate and bring all of the codes of the city into compliance with federal and state laws. City Attorney, Tom Manion, emphasized the need for future ongoing maintenance to keep the documents up-to-date as well.

After someone mentioned people could know the rules if this codification was done and made available to the public, Mayor John Brose responded, "If you can get them to sit down and read 305 pages!"

Discussion was held as to whether the zoning ordinance would be included in this codification. The Planning and Zoning Commission is currently revamping the zoning ordinances. The council wanted to be assured of the inclusion of this work without having to pay twice for codificiaton. The council decided to visit with the city of Preston and ask to borrow a copy of their recently completed codification before making such a costly decision.

In yet further discussion the council noted the need for informal communication with the school and students before next years homecoming. A concerned citizen said of homecoming, "Its getting to be another Halloween, only worse. Its getting worse each year."

Vandalism this year in the city included dead animals, eggs, fireworks near dwellings, and excessive toilet papering. Mayor Brose pointed out, "There is a thing called parents, too," as the council determined this to be a community issue and suggested working with a parent organization such as the booster club.

Action taken by the council included

Giving $200 to Bluff Country Housing;

Putting the Lanesboro Historical Preservation Society in the budget as a line item of $2,000 (subject to budget cuts);

Creating a three person Street Commission in the city.

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