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Lanesboro strives for approved 2010 budget

Fri, Aug 21st, 2009
Posted in Government

Lanesboro's City Administrator Bobbie Vickerman informed the City Council that the skateboard park had been vandalized for the second time in two weeks. She said the panels were ripped off, cigarettes were all over the place, graffiti had been spray painted on the outside and inside, and there were squeal marks all over the cement. She said they have also been burning things on the cement around the area.

"I'm not sure what we should do," said Vickerman. "We just painted over some of this a few weeks ago."

Vickerman said that Police Chief Matt Schultz had suggested locking the park up, or giving anyone there after the park closes at 9:30 p.m. a trespassing ticket. The park is clearly marked that it closes at 9:30. City Attorney Tom Manion suggested making it known that anyone there after that time is deemed criminally trespassing and will receive a ticket.

Schultz is also going to document whenever he drives by the place at night and what he sees there. Vickerman said they suspect a few people, but can't know for sure who did the vandalism.

Mayor Steve Rahn said they will have to do what they can to make sure the park doesn't become a hangout for people at night. Hopefully they will be able to catch who is doing it and not have to close it down.

2010 Budget

Vickerman presented the preliminary budget for 2010 that she has been working on. She said it has to be approved by the September meeting, so they should finalize the preliminary by the next council meeting.

One scenario that Vickerman set up was if the city paid off the water tower project bond. She said they have the money and recommends they pay it off a few years early to save money on interest. If they do pay it off early, the money normally paid will go into the general fund.

Vickerman also brought up the idea of having the ambulance rent the space they use from the street shop to help cover expenses. She added that it will not mean charging people more for services. The hope is that the ambulance will eventually have its own shed.

Council member Joe O'Connor asked if the rent money could go toward building a new shed someday, and Vickerman said it was possible they could set it up that way.

There will be no pay increases for city employees, as they have agreed to a pay freeze, but the benefit PERA (Public Employees Retirement Association) increased due to a state mandate.

The levy has to be set by September 15, and Vickerman said they can set it high and go lower. O'Connor suggested setting a five percent increase and trying later to get it as close to zero as possible.

Buffalo Bill Days

Vickerman gave the council a follow-up summary of the recent Buffalo Bill Days celebration. She said it was overall a successful year, and she didn't hear any major complaints. They still need volunteers for next year's event. With the cost of the celebration and the money that was made, there was a profit of $5,941.99. Vickerman said after the city and the people who helped get paid they should break even.

Jan Meyer, who is on the Buffalo Bill Days committee, said the vendors were very happy. She thanked the city for their cooperation, and said that things went very smoothly.

Planning and Zoning

Council Member Tom Dybing, speaking for the Planning and Zoning Commission, said they talked with Andy Bunge at their last meeting. Bunge would like to put up a building on two open lots they own and was wondering what type of building he could put up and what the parking requirements would be. There was question about meeting the historical regulations.

Dybing said they discussed giving Bunge a variance for the parking regulation that would require a certain number of parking spaces per building. They thought it would keep the balance of the area and be similar to what was there previously. Bunge has to meet with the historical society.

Rahn commented that it has been the hope ever since the buildings were torn down that they would be replaced. The Bunges have been approached by Lanesboro locals and would like to build soon.

Other Business

A lodging license was approved for Tom Manion. He is going to rent out one room above his law office building after doing some remodeling. He has named the lodging "The Marquis Suites."

Mark Brewster also had his lodging license approved. He is going to rent out an entire house across from the Highway 250 Campground, named Brewster's Landing.

The council approved a new Park Board member, Teri Benson.

It was also approved for Vickerman to attend an MMUA (Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association) meeting in Breezy Point on August 24-26. The cost is being paid by the Public Utilities Commission.

Brian Luna, speaking for the Chamber of Commerce, said they are looking at the idea of putting a kiosk in the downtown area directing people to local businesses. He said they are open to the idea, and he will report back to the city after they meet again.

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