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Lanesboro looks at Capital Improvement Plan


Fri, Jul 5th, 2013
Posted in Lanesboro Government

By Jade Sexton

Mike Bubany of David Drown Associates spoke to the Lanesboro City Council about the Capital Improvement plan for the next several years. Using a spreadsheet, Bubany showed the council what the effect would be on taxes, utility rates, and debts if they go through with certain projects. He also did a comparison of tax and utility rates with other communities.

Bubany showed what the effect would be if the city did no projects at all. He then added major projects the city needs to do or is planning to do in the next 10 years. He figured in how the projects would be paid for, revenues, and how much debt the city would have. Right now the city’s general obligation debt per capita is just below $2,000, which Bubany said is considered low to moderate.

Without any projects, the city would have all general obligation debt paid off in 10 years. Bubany’s model assumes that there will be a $7,500 reduction in LGA (Local Government Aid), and assumes the city will levy for every dollar lost. It also takes inflation into account when adding the cost of each project.

Right now the city is looking at a $2.7 million well and water treatment project for 2014. There is also a $2 million dam project. Councilor Joe O’Connor said the DNR has committed to $450,000 of that project, with another tentative $500,000. The State Historic Preservation is going to pay $300,000. They will be attempting to get the remainder put onto a bonding bill for 2014.

There had also been discussion about adding a $500,000 street project for Auburn and Zenith. The council decided to leave that money in the plan, but it can be used for any street project.

The project at Sylvan Park this year was $175,000, which is paid with a seven-year GO Bond. The ambulance, at $139,000, was purchased with cash. Bubany reminded the council there will be a large project coming up at the wastewater treatment plant in 10 years, and the council should start planning for that right now, and make an adjustment in utility funds. When adjusted for inflation, that project would cost around $3.3 million.

With these projects, Bubany predicted a five percent increase in water costs, two percent increase for sewer, and a half percent for electric. After the project in 2023, the debt per capita will increase to almost $6,000. Bubany said there are communities that are even higher than that, but they must make sure they keep up their cash reserves.

The tax rate in Lanesboro is currently 86 percent, and after these projects, it will be almost 100 percent. Bubany said there are many communities in Fillmore County at that tax rate or higher.

Storm Sewer Project

Dillon Dombrovski from Yaggy Colby and Associates updated the council on the storm sewer project that Blitz Construction will be starting on July 8. They will be rerouting the storm sewer to go around Riverside on the Root instead of under it, and filling and closing the remaining pipe. According to Dombrovski, the project will take a little more than a week to complete, and will be done before Buffalo Bill Days.

Ambulance Updates

The job description for the part-time director position has been written up and reviewed by Dave Haugen, current director. It was decided to have the other ambulance staff look the job description over, as well as the budget, and give their input as well. The budget reflects a 12 percent increase in rates to make up for the cost of the part-time director position.

According the Haugen, the new ambulance is being prepared right now. They have chosen a 2012 model with four-wheel drive.

Fire Department

Fire Chief Rob Wagner told the council about two recent fire calls. One was a motor vehicle accident, and one was a flood rescue. There were two families rescued, and during the rescue there were issues with radio reception. Wagner mentioned the 800 megahertz that Fillmore County is now using, which the fire department does not have. Wagner said they need one, as they were putting themselves in danger during the rescue. They were attempting to help people and were not aware they had already been rescued.

Wagner asked if they could keep part of the street closed the Saturday of Buffalo Bill Days for a bean bag tournament fundraiser, and the council saw no problem with that.

Library

Library Director Tara Johnson reported the recent Rhubarb Run had raised $2,338 after expenses, which is an increase of 40 percent from last year. There were 163 runners, and 20 volunteers.

The summer reading program has been going well, with great attendance. The family events average 61 kids per event. Johnson said they are monitoring the humidity levels in the library, and are looking at purchasing a dehumidifier, as there have been several days of high levels this year.

Water Issues

Darrell and Edie Sickle approached the council with concerns about water issues on their property. With the unusually large amount of rain this spring, the couple has had water in their basement and water flooding their driveway.

In 2007, the previous owner of the property, Kelly Jean Ohl, had a lot of problems with water running off down the hill from the property above. At that time the council recommended that she put up a wall to reroute the water away from the house. Edie said the water has been so bad recently that it goes right over the short wall. They have been unable to get in or out of their driveway.

City Attorney Tom Manion checked the ordinances for anything regarding city liability. He stated if the city has not created a system for the water, it is a private issue between the property owner and the neighbors. Whatever work they do to route the water away from the property or drain it must not increase the water flow or interfere with the natural flow.

City Administrator David Todd will be checking with the engineering firm that looked at the issue in 2007 to review what their suggestions were.

Other Business

The resignation of Joe O’Connor from the council was accepted. The council will check with former council member Ceil Allen, who ran for election last year, to see if she is interested in taking over.

Assessments for properties with utility bills that are long overdue were approved.

The council approved a liquor license for the Commonweal Theatre on July 7 and August 11 for special events.

The council also approved permits for Buffalo Bill Days, including the use of three or four vehicles, blocking off the parking lot and the street for the firemen’s dance, and closing a section of Highway 250 for the parade route.

The Park Board reported the sandbox at the park was removed instead of just being moved to another location. Also, the Farmer’s Market sign was hung with the other signs at the entryway to the parking lot.

Public hearings will be held August 5 for two Conditional Use Permits (CUP). One is for RHL Grains, and the other is for property owned by Eric Bunge, as the current CUP has expired.

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