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Does Lanesboro need a siren?


Fri, May 8th, 2009
Posted in Government

Lanesboro's Street Superintendent and Fire Chief Andy Drake brought some matters to the attention of the City Council during their regular meeting on May 4.

Drake believes that an emergency siren needs to be placed near the Zenith Street area. In case of bad weather, it is very hard to hear the sirens out in that area. He would like to look into erecting a siren that could go on a pole where the water tower is and get some prices. He would have to talk with Ace Telephone as the sirens go through the telephone lines. Council member Joe O'Connor, acting as the Mayor, agreed that it was a good idea.

Drake also asked the council to take another look at the Ox Trail Road. He stated that if there was a fire in that area, they would not be taking their big trucks on that road, as it is not safe. They would have to go around, or possibly use the trail during the summer months.

O'Connor said there has been extensive discussion about that road over the past few years. Right now it is marked as a minimum maintenance road, and Drake said it is getting narrower.

Council member Ceil Allen asked who decides if a road is too dangerous to pass, and what is then done about it. City Administrator Bobbie Vickerman said it is up to the city to decide that. City Attorney Tom Manion said if the city does ever decide that, they need to just close the road. Vickerman added that the people who live in the area would not approve of closing the road.

Drake also asked about the city maintaining Zenith, which is a township road. "As a taxpayer, I don't see why we should pay to plow and grade that road," he said. He added that the city has been dealing with this for eighteen years.

Manion explained that years ago Carrolton Township talked about giving that road to the city, as they did not have any properties on that road that paid taxes, and therefore no income from the road. Manion said the township never actually relinquished the road to the city, and there needs to be some discussion with them again.

O'Connor said that a lot of things have changed on that road over the years, and now there are people on that road paying taxes to the township. He suggested they get all of the facts and try to come up with an amicable solution.

Drake requested a drive-through with council members sometime in the next month, as he wants to show them some problems with certain streets. He mentioned the work on Whittier Street and Maple with some broken aprons and soft spots that need to be taken care of.

Maple Drive Assessments

At a previous meeting there were some concerns about a few residents on Maple Drive not receiving a letter regarding their payment options. There were some people who said that if they had received that letter, they would have paid off the assessments in full. They would like to have that option of doing so right now without the interest that has accrued since December.

It was decided that Vickerman will contact everyone who was affected by this assessment and give them another option of prepaying, as well as explaining the confusion about the letters. They will be given 14 days to pay the principal payment if they choose to do so.

Brewster Property

Mark Brewster approached the council about his property and the building permits he has requested. Recently the Planning and Zoning Commission and the City Council approved the rezoning of his property from R1 residential to R3 so he can rent out the property. One of his two building permits was approved. A survey was recently done to determine if his home was located on a flood plane or fringe. The FEMA elevation map showed that the home is not located in the flood plane or fringe, and so he can build on to the house. The council approved his second building permit, since Vickerman explained the restriction that was based on the flood plane does not apply.

Manion pointed out that there was a question about the septic system, and although FEMA says the house is fine to add on, the state may have some issues about having lodging there in the future.

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation Request

Ross Troutershchaud approached the council about paying a bill for the St. Mane revitalization project. The city of Lanesboro is a fiscal agent for the grant from the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation. Trouterschaud explained that he had met with the EDA (Economic Development Authority) and was told the funds would be available. He has had to submit this request six times now.

O'Connor said they need to review the invoice before the City Administrator can sign the check. Vickerman said they need the signature of the Community Coordinator, Fred Kiel, before she can sign the check to pay the bill.

"Based on my experience, I don't think the city council is the appropriate forum for this issue," said O'Connor. "The community coordinator has the judiciary responsibility. The city council is not a party beyond approving the grant application."

Vickerman will be contacting Kiel to have him sign the invoice so the city can sign the checks for the project bills.

Other Business

The council approved the resolution for making the Church Hill property a TIF (Tax Increment Financing) district. Dan Anderson explained the resolution included a name change, changing the project from a cooperative to condominiums.

Doug Marin, the Fillmore County coordinator for CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), along with the Lanesboro coordinator Jennifer Hungerholt, passed out vests and training certificates to members of the community that passed the training. Thirteen residents of Lanesboro took the CERT training and received certificates.

The Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cadets, Brownies and Daisies will be volunteering some work putting in flower beds for the city. Brian Luna explained they will be putting two new flower beds in front of the community center, helping to water the existing flowers downtown, and possibly putting some more flower beds on Highway 16.

The council approved Pedal Pushers using the sidewalk outside their restaurant during their burger eating contest. They have a lot of entries in the contest, including a news anchor from WKBT, which will be covering the event.

The council offered an official thank you to those people who helped clean up the city during the Earth Day event. Vickerman thanked Brian Luna for coordinating the event, as well as Pedal Pushers and Associated Bank for supplying and cooking the food, the Girl Scouts and local businesses that donated gift items.

The council also thanked the Sons of Legion for the donation of two new American flags.

Two new volunteer firemen, T.J. Stettler and Michael Drake, were approved by the council.

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