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Lanesboro faces $900,000 in dam repairs

Fri, Mar 20th, 2009
Posted in Government

The Lanesboro City Council met on March 16, and council member Joe O'Connor updated them on the Public Utilities meeting that was held earlier in the day. O'Connor showed the council the thick engineering report on the flood damage to the dam and hydro.

O'Connor said the engineers had to assess the damage to the dam before FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) would pay any money. According to O'Connor, it was assessed as a High Hazard. There was damage from the 2008 flood, as well as erosion to the structure that came over the years. He said they were going to recommend that Lanesboro repair the dam, which could cost around $900,000.

"Collapse is not imminent," said O'Connor. "We just need to gather more information." He added that they will be following up with FEMA now that the report is done, as well as state and county representatives.

City Administrator Bobbie Vickerman said the Hydro ran for 10 days in February, which was an energy savings of about $1,200 for the citizens of Lanesboro.

Resident Butch Culbertson asked the council if they had looked into receiving any grants for using green energy. Vickerman said she has looked into it, and that there is a good chance they can get a grant to fund the repairs. She later mentioned that the hydro is a huge asset to Lanesboro, and could save residents up to $40,000 a year in energy costs if it was running all of the time.

Budget Cuts and


Vickerman spoke briefly about the budget cuts for 2009-2010. She said they will continue to look at cutting $30,000 this year and $60,000 in 2010, and that they should be safe with those numbers. The city still needs to meet with Sheriff Darryl Jensen and Police Chief Matt Schultz about the police contract and possible cuts there.

Lanesboro resident Robert Thompson spoke to the council about his previous suggestion regarding the police contract. He believes the city should look at making major cuts to the police department and see if it would be possible to hire an uncertified officer who can call for backup if needed.

"There are so many people looking for work, if you advertise a job for $35,000 you're gonna get a lot of applicants," said Thompson. "These little towns have done this for years. In order to survive without taxing people to death we have to look at it."

Mark Brewster property

Tom Dybing, speaking on behalf of the Planning and Zoning Commission, said they had discussed the rezoning of Mark Brewster's property. Brewster wants to change the property from an R1 zoning to an R3, which is multi-family residential. He would like to rent out part of the home. Before being able to get a building permit, he needs to prove that the property is not located in a flood plane. Right now the flood plane map shows it is on the fringe, but it is unclear where the house is located in the map. Planning and Zoning will host a public hearing on April 6 on the rezoning only, not on the building.

Ambulance Training

Ambulance Director Verne Riddle asked the council for approval to train three new ambulance volunteers, Melissa Costy, Kelly Kallis, and Brock Johnson. He also mentioned adding Shawnee Luck to the ambulance crew. Luck lives outside of town, but could be used as a first responder for calls in her area. She is a paramedic, and would not require any training. She will attend training sessions every year and will require a radio. The council approved the training and four new radios.

Stimulus Money

Vickerman spoke about the federal stimulus package the state will be receiving and the projects that were presented. She has contacted Senator Sharon Ropes and Representative Greg Davids about areas in Lanesboro that could use the money. The dam and hydro were on the list, as well as runoff problems on Highway 16, making the bath house handicapped accessible, and some new street lights.

Other Business

• The council approved Rahn and Vickerman to sign the T-Mobile contract. The contract will allow T-Mobile to have an antenna on the water tower and will be for $14,400 a year with an increase of three percent each year. The city is looking into putting that money into a fund for maintaining and painting the water tower.

• A Conditional Use Permit was approved for Brian Luna, the owner of the Fillmore House. He will be increasing his B&B from a two-bedroom to a three-bedroom. The Planning and Zoning Commission felt he had sufficient off-street parking and recommended the approval.

• The council approved Vickerman attending training in Bloomington at a cost of $150. The training will be for the city's new software.

• There will be a Board of Equalization meeting on April 13.

• The council approved combining the Park Board and the Street Board to save money. They will have staff rotating weekends and have no overtime. They will also be cutting back on mowing this summer.

• There are openings in the Park Board, the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Historical Preservation Committee.

• The EDA is looking at coming up with an incentive programs for new residents of Lanesboro. Vickerman will look at other cities and see what their programs are like.

• Lodging licenses were approved for the year.

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