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Lanesboro still searching for funding for dam


Fri, May 9th, 2014
Posted in Lanesboro Government

The City of Lanesboro has been seeking funding to repair the damage to the dam since flooding caused damage in 2008. The cost of the project has only increased over the years with regulations requiring the repairs be made with historically accurate materials. Currently the project is expected to cost around $2.7 million.

The city has approximately $900,000 in grant money for the project, which includes a grant from the Minnesota Historical Society that will be expiring in June. Todd is seeking an extension on that grant. He said the Minnesota Historical Society would be willing to extend the deadline if the city had matching federal money. According to Todd, the only federal money available is a loan from the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture).

The city has been trying to get help for the project through the state bonding bill, but Todd said the senate has decreased the bonding bill by a million dollars, meaning there is less money to go around for capital projects. Council member Tom Dybing said the appropriation money is determined by the head of the DNR, and Lanesboro’s dam project is on high priority.

“We need to be thinking of a contingency plan if we don’t get any more funding,” said Todd. He noted there is still a large gap between how much they already have and how much is needed for the project.

Street Vacation

Dan Anderson, developer of Church Hill Condominiums, has filed a petition for a street vacation. Anderson had previously approached the council about a joint agreement with the city regarding the parking lot. The property line currently goes down the middle of the parking lot, and the spaces are used by people attending church nearby. Anderson has petitioned for the city to vacate a small strip of land.

Todd said the petition is not valid, as there are not enough signatures. A petition requires a certain percentage of property owners, and this would include everyone that owns a unit in the building. He also stated the condo unit doesn’t want to pay for a survey if the city is not going to entertain a vacation.

City Attorney Tom Manion said it would be hard to have good input at a public hearing without a description or survey of the property so they know exactly what portion of land is being discussed. Todd said he would contact Anderson and let him know they need more signatures, and the city would need a survey before moving forward.

Chamber of Commerce

Dee Slinde, the director of the Lanesboro Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber is working on beautification efforts, including replacing mulch in certain areas, taking care of the flower baskets and flags, and watering plants. She said they would like to have Andy Drake help out and eventually have the city take on some of those responsibilities. She also said if the city had any money to spare to help they would be very grateful.

Todd said the Chamber was asking for help covering the costs of mulch, and they need enough for 35 square yards. Smith asked if it was normal to replace the mulch every year, as they asked for money for mulch last year. Rahn said they need to get more information before making any decisions.

Public Utilities

Theresa Coleman from the Public Utilities Commission told the council she had recently spoken with Mike Davy from Davy Engineering about the water rates being structured to pay for the upcoming treatment facility. She said they will be changing the way they are currently billing. The base charge will be based on the average water usage for one full-time home.

Coleman also asked the city to pass three resolutions declaring areas where there were water main breaks as local emergencies. This will allow the PU to bypass the bidding process and find a contractor as soon as possible to get the water back.

Weiser will be doing the work in these three spots. Councilor Tom Smith asked where the money was coming from, and she said Public Utilities will be paying for the plumbing and equipment, and the city will pay for the blacktopping. Smith added he had received some question about why the equipment was sitting at the locations not doing anything when it was supposed to be an emergency. Coleman said the heavy rain for more than a week put a delay on the project.

When Smith asked about the contractor, Coleman said the Public Utilities has a lot of faith in Jim Peterson and Weiser.

The total cost of all of the project is going to be around $100,000, with $22,000 of that being materials. Public Utilities will be paying the larger portion of that cost.

The council passed all three resolutions.

DNR Lease

The DNR has been leasing an office at the Chamber of Commerce building, and the lease expires this year. Craig Blommer from the DNR explained to the council the lease started 30 years ago when the museum basement was remodeled for their offices. The DNR later moved to the Chamber building, which has worked out well for them. Blommer said they would like to stay in Lanesboro and come up with a new lease agreement.

City Attorney Tom Manion said the original lease amount was $166 per month. The space they are in now is about five times smaller than the space at the museum, but it is also 30 years later.

Blommer said their office space is about 250 square feet, and they pay half the utilities on the building. He was not the person who does the negotiating, but he wanted to be sure the city would like them to remain, and he wanted to know a contact person. Rahn said the city is more than willing to allow them to stay, and that Blommer should contact David Todd about the negotiations.

Heritage Preservation Commission

Todd said there is a potential buyer for the Olivia’s Attic building, but there was a question about the mural painted on the west side. They buyers would like to be able to change the sign, and Todd said the HPC decided they could change it as long as they keep the font and colors historically appropriate.

The HPC also looked at getting some more historically appropriate signage at Merchant’s Bank. Also, the Heritage Preservation Awards have been finalized, and letters were sent out.

Playground Equipment

The new playground equipment will be installed starting on Monday, June 16, and will be completed by July 1. Lanesboro School has agreed to contribute $45,000 toward the cost of equipment and installation. Todd said the old equipment is not salvageable and will most likely be scrapped.

Ambulance

Lee Peterson, Ambulance Director, told the council about the three new defibrillators they received. He explained they received a grant from the county. One will be in the fire chief’s truck, another in the ambulance, and the third one in a cabinet near the city office. They will be getting two more next year.

The council approved the ambulance handbook with a few changes.

Mrs. B’s New Owners

Matthew Vedder and Trish Capua introduced themselves to the council as the new owners of Mrs. B’s Historic Lanesboro Inn. They are from Florida, and said they love living in Lanesboro. The council welcomed them to the community. Vedder and Capua asked to be on next month’s agenda to discuss serving wine at their bed and breakfast.

Other Business

The city received nine applications for the seasonal park maintenance position. They decided to make a hiring committee. Terri Benson from the Park Board will be on the committee, and Tom Smith volunteered from the council.

Jim Haugen was approved for the open position on the Park Board.

Anthony Schwartz was approved for the open position on the fire department.

The council approved a lot split for Stephen Kingsbury on the 400 block of DuPont Street as per the Planning and Zoning recommendation.

A quick-claim deed to Trent Olson was approved for a small piece of land from the MnDOT land acquisition.

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