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Board of Appeals and Equalization in Lanesboro

Fri, Apr 12th, 2013
Posted in Lanesboro Government

By Jade Sexton

Ron Vikre, appraiser from the County Assessor’s Office, was at the Lanesboro City Council meeting on April 8 to discuss 2012 property assessments in Lanesboro and answer any questions.

According to Vikre, there were 158 residential sales in Fillmore County, 13 commercial /industrial sales, and 47 agricultural sales.

Vikre explained that properties must be assessed at between 90-105 percent of their market value.

Lanesboro’s levy went down 2.376 percent in 2012. The value of all property in Lanesboro is $56,404,400.

Richard Horihan asked Vikre about his property assessments, and asked about what happens if the assessors make a mistake. Vikre explained that if there are typos, a mistake can be corrected for up to a year. Horihan said he pointed out a mistake to the assessor’s office, and it was corrected, but he did not receive a refund. The mistake was in the property value.

Horihan said they should have the board of appeals at the same time as the budget meetings in December. “It’s extremely confusing for most people,” he said. “It’s a horrible system.”

Vikre said they have to abide by certain policies, and that legislators are the only ones that can change things. “The bottom line is we have rules we have to follow.”

Norwegian Flags

Ethan Bjelland, apprentice at the Commonweal Theatre, approached the council about placing flags of Norway along Parkway and Coffee Street for Lanesboro’s Ibsen Festival.

Bjelland said the Commonweal would like to add a little more Norwegian to the festival. “We have a lot to celebrate about our Norwegian heritage,” he said. One hundred years ago, Norway became the first country to allow women to vote, and to celebrate that, the Ibsen Festival will include a feminist play, A Doll’s House. There will also be a display of dresses and several speakers.

The flags will be free of charge and are being borrowed from Decorah. Bjelland asked the city if it was okay to put the flags on the light posts, and also if they had the personnel that could put them up and take them down. The council approved the flags, and approved the Commonweal to put up the flags and take them down.

Chamber Request

Julie Charlebois of the Lanesboro Chamber of Commerce spoke to the council about the ongoing landscaping project in town. The Chamber had received some bids for laying down mulch and the total cost will be $2,700. Charlebois said the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) will be contributing $500, and she asked the city to contribute the same amount. The Chamber will be paying the remaining $1,700. She added that the cost for maintenance will go down each year after this.

It was approved to contribute the $500, but councilor Tom Smith said the Chamber should have the cost budgeted for next year. Charlebois explained the issue has been figuring out who is responsible for the cost of maintenance; the DNR, city, or Chamber. It was not made clear when the project was completed. The motion as approved with the stipulation that they have a discussion with the Chamber about it at budget time next year.

Park Road Improvements

Improvements are going to be made at the parking lot at the Community Center and the road all the way to the campgrounds. At the meeting, it was approved to have Yaggy Colby and Associates engineer the project, and do soil boring in the parking lot only.

Administrator/Clerk Position

The city is in the process of receiving applications for the administrator/clerk position since Bobbie Vickerman left. They will be choosing which applicants to interview in the near future. In the meantime, clerk Michelle Peterson will be taking on more duties, and Theresa Coleman was approved to be the interim Administrator/Clerk at an hourly wage until a new person is hired.

Other Business

Consumer Confidence reports from the Department of Health will be sent out in utility bills. The report shows element levels in the city water.

A contract for the Commonweal Theatre was approved for the Preserve Minnesota Annual Conference in September. They are still waiting on contracts for St. Mane Theatre and the Sons of Norway Hall.

The council approved the appointment of Chris Peterson as a new firefighter.

Temporary gambling and liquor licenses were approved for Buffalo Bill Days and The National Turkey Federation Banquet.

All room rental licenses were approved contingent on state licensure and $35 payment.

The council approved selling an old laptop owned by the city.

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