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Lanesboro looks at employee health insurance

Fri, Oct 11th, 2013
Posted in Lanesboro Government

At the regular city council meeting on October 8, City Administrator David Todd spoke to the council about the Affordable Care Act and city employee health insurance. According to Todd, the city has three choices. They can do nothing at all, since there are fewer than 50 full-time employees and there is no obligation to provide insurance. They could get a high-deductible group policy, which would be very costly, or they could give employees a benefit stipend to offset the costs of purchasing health care elsewhere.

The benefit stipend will be taxable, instead of being taken before taxes, and will be considered part of the wages.

“I see it as an opportunity to continue to provide to employees,” said Todd. “I don’t think it would be good to take anything away from them.”

The subject will be discussed further when more details are known.

Historic Preservation

District expansion

Tom Zahn, a historic preservation consultant with Thomas R. Zahn and Associates, sent an email with his suggestions for expanding the historic preservation district in Lanesboro.

He commended Lanesboro on the great job hosting the Statewide Preservation Conference, which was a very successful event. He also walked through the town with Denis Gardner, SHPO’s (State Historic Preservation Office) NR specialist. They toured Coffee Street East and West, as well as Parkway North from Coffee to Ashburn. They looked at several buildings in that area, looking for architectural integrity and features that would make the buildings good candidates for the expanded district.

Zahn presented a map with locations that he felt were eligible for the expansion. The additions that he noted included the Elite Theatre, M.V. Bean Harness, and C.C. Scanlon Clothing buildings, as well as the Lanesboro Co-op Creamery and DeVilliers Confectionary buildings.

Fire Department

Robbie Wagner spoke to the council about purchasing a new air bag system used for rescue. He explained the new ones are a low-pressure round ball style, and are much more secure. The estimated cost is $19,995.

The air bags are used for lifting vehicles, as well as other structures, off people during a rescue. The ones they are using now are very outdated. The subject was tabled for now.

Todd read a letter he received from someone whose friend was involved in an accident, commending the entire fire department and ambulance crew on their great job helping him.

Buffalo Bill Days

Bobbie Vickerman gave the council an update on this year’s Buffalo Bill Days event. She thanked everyone for their support for another successful year. Financially, the event will come close to breaking even. Vickerman said everything went really well.

Mayor Rahn commended Vickerman, along with Mara Drake, for their tremendous job of organizing the event. Vickerman said they were short of volunteers again this year, and are always looking for more people to help out.

Brew Pub License

Mike Charlebois, owner of Riverside on the Root and Root River Outfitters, approached the council about getting a brew pub license. He explained the brew pub license would allow him to brew beer on site and sell it in his restaurant. In order to manufacture beer, a person must already have an established restaurant with a full liquor license. Charlebois just needed approval from the city to continue the process. The council approved.

Councilor Ceil Allen felt it was a great idea, as she has known of many people looking for good, local beer.

Street Vacation

Matthew Kirkpatrick, attorney from Springer and Gumbel Law Office, presented the council with a petition for a street vacation on what is platted as 5th Street. The property owner is selling the property, and the vacation is needed for access to the north side of the property. The council approved the petition and set up a public hearing at the beginning of the November 4 council meeting. The city will secure a utilities easement on the property. Surrounding property owners will be notified of the hearing.

Other Business

Mayor Rahn reported there were 12 trees purchased with the David Drake Memorial Fund money, and one more tree that was purchased for a memorial.

Andy Drake resigned his position on the Planning and Zoning Commission. Jason Reismann expressed interest in the position, but it was decided to run an advertisement in the newspapers in case there are others interested.

The council approved the renewal of several liquor licenses.

The council also approved the final payment to Blitz Construction in the amount of $2,893.75 for completion of the storm water project.

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