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Lanesboro City Council Report

Fri, May 25th, 2001
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Sticker ShockBy John TorgrimsonMonday, May 28, 2001

Lanesboro City Council members were groping for answers on Monday night as to how they would pay the citys $124,000 cost-share on the proposed Coffee Street Project.

With the first pre-construction meeting between residents and the contractor scheduled to take place at the Community Center two days later, the city was scrambling to find answers as to how to solve this problem.

We have to communicate to the county that we have a problem and are not sure how we are going to solve it, Council member Peggy Hanson said.

Mayor John Brose and City Attorney Tom Manion both recalled discussions in early 1999 that estimated the citys share on the Fillmore County Road #8 project at between $40,000 and $50,000.

In a letter to the city dated May 9, WHKS & Co of Rochester, engineers on the project, estimated the citys construction costs at $105,246 and engineering fees at $18,500. In addition to these costs, the city is also responsible for legal fees and any costs associated with land purchase, electrical modifications and street lights.

The council discussed a range of options including special assessments for improvements as well as issuing general obligation bonds to pay for it. While no decisions were made as to how to proceed, the council did instruct City Administrator Barb Hoyhtya and City Attorney Manion to look at a range of options and report back to the council.

Police Chief Vacancy

The council agreed to post the vacant police chief position in-house, limiting applicants to city employees. John Tuchek is presently filling the position, created by the resignation of Police Chief John Carlin, on an interim basis.

There was some discussion as to whether the Police Chief post should be a full or part-time position. In the past, Carlin worked as a part-time chief, with Tuchek as a full-time officer.

Council member Hal Cropp noted that most cities in the area have a full-time chief and that in the past the city structured its positions around the resources available. In this case, Carlin was interested in being a part-time chief, so Tuchek became a full-time officer.

Cropp went on to say that he supported the full-time chief model. The rest of the council agreed.

The council also authorized Tuchek to receive an additional $2.00 per hour in compensation for taking on the additional duties of interim police chief.

Handicap Fishing Pier

Peggy Hanson, a member of the Park Board, reported on discussions with the DNR Fisheries to build a handicap fishing platform on the east pond at Sylvan Park. Hanson noted that recently two wheelchairs have rolled into the pond from the steep slope around the pond.

The platform would be no more than 8 X 100 feet. with a 6 inch high lip on the edge. The pier would extend three to four feet over the shallow end of the pond.

According to Hanson, the DNR has indicated that it has $2,500 in funding to construct the pier. The money would have to be spent before the end of June. The cost to the city would be minimal.

The council voted to proceed with the project on the condition that the DNR send written confirmation that the citys costs not exceed $100; and that the project is insurable for any risk that may arise with the citys insurance carrier.

In other business...

Parking. Hal Cropp reported on the Parking Committee that is looking at traffic problems in the downtown and residential areas. The group has identified the need for six signs to be erected that would direct tourists to the public parking area at the Bass Pond.

The committee will also send out questionnaires asking residents and business owners to identify their parking needs, the problems they encounter, and information on customer turnover.

Art Center. The council authorized the city attorney to arrange for four lots located at the proposed Art Center site to be be appraised. These include the St. Mane Theatre, the former Cheese Factory, the White Front Cafe building and the adjacent lot. The appraisals are for informational purposes only, and are not for the purpose of purchasing property. The council authorized up to $2,500 of grant money to be used for the appraisals.

Buffalo Bill Days. The council is soliciting proposals from non-profit organizations in the city who are interested in running the beer & brat stand at Buffalo Bill Days. For several years the stand has been managed by the Swim & Recreation group, but they are no longer interested in doing this.

While Lanesboro ACT has shown some interest in taking over the stand, the council felt strongly that in the interest of fairness that they should open up the process. The council also agreed that the organization that runs the stand should be a non-profit group and that the proceeds should be used to benefit the city. Groups interested in the beer & brat concession should contact the city administrator.

The Swim & Recreation group is interested in looking at the Medical Building as a possible site for a Recreation Center. The matter was referred to the Economic Development Authority, which manages the facility.

The Parkway Pub has requested permission to stage an alley party on July 6. The managers of the Pub will work with the city administrator to address issues such as security and insurance coverage. The Pub owners must also contact neighboring property owners to see if there is any objection to the event.

Storm Water. Area resident Mitch Gilbert raised the question of storm water runoff from the Bass Pond parking lot, and whether this affects water quality in the pond. Fisheries are susceptible to water temperature changes and, over a 20 to 30 year period, water runoff could have an impact on water quality, Gilbert explained

The city referred the matter to the DNR. They in turn responded with a letter that said because the area in question is less than five acres, the parking area does not need to be permitted.

While no action was taken on the matter, the council was interested in finding out who actually owns the parking area and whether there are some low-cost mitigation options available.By John Torgrimson

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