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Lanesboro City Council looks at budget scenarios


Fri, Jan 23rd, 2009
Posted in Government

The main issue on the agenda was the budget when the Lanesboro City Council met on January 20. Administrator Bobbie Vickerman came up with some budget scenarios for the council to consider.

According to Vickerman, Governor Pawlenty will present his budget for the state on January 28. The Senate and the House of Representatives then have to pass the final budget. Until then, the city has no way of knowing how much of the LGA (Local Government Aid) will be cut during 2009.

Vickerman said the worst-case scenario would be a 30 percent cut. This would be a cut of $62,316.30 cut out of Lanesboro's budget for 2009. Vickerman came up with some areas where cuts could be considered, including the elimination of part-time park and street employees. City office hours could be cut back, and some departments could be combined to help save money.

"These are just some options I've thought through," said Vickerman. "You guys will have to direct me." She added that she and Andy Drake had already made major cuts throughout the year. "We're getting down to the nitty gritty," she said. "We have to make things so we can get by."

Some of the other cuts Vickerman suggested were decreasing funds that go toward equipment repairs and maintenance, meetings and trainings, fire department repairs and maintenance, conventions and meetings for the fire department, ambulance training and supplies. There were also some other areas that the council could look at changing if needed. The total cuts she suggested were $59,139, which almost came to the 30 percent worst-case scenario.

Street Superintendent Andy Drake stated that he felt the city could save a lot of money by combining the Parks and Street departments. As a taxpayer, he said, he doesn't like waste. "It's something to think about," he said.

Council member Joe O'Connor suggested making up a list of projects that volunteer groups in the community could do, such as painting and cleaning.

Vickerman mentioned that the city employees work very hard at what they do, and they go above and beyond to help the community. Some people have donated their time. "You can tell that the people really care about what happens in Lanesboro," she said.

Chief of Police Matt Schultz presented the council with a summary of 2008, and he also talked about cuts his department will need to look at in the next year. He said part-time hours will be cut, as well as some capital outlay, before they cut any manpower. He will be talking with the council further about the numbers after the state budget is approved.

Snow Removal

The new snow removal ordinance was approved. The ordinance states that when there is one inch of snow, vehicles must be removed from the Snow Emergency Routes until the snow is removed. The routes include all of County Road 8, CSAH 250, and Ridgeway Avenue, as well as part of Hillcrest and Kenilworth North. The penalty will be a $25 fine, and the vehicle will be towed at owner's expense.

Other Business

Brian Luna applied for a Conditional Use Permit to increase his Bed and Breakfast from a two-bedroom to a three-bedroom. A Public Hearing was set for the beginning of the February 17 council meeting. The council approved Scott Strum as the new firefighter per Drake's suggestion. They also approved a gambling resolution for the fire department.

A Lions Club raffle permit was also approved. The raffle goes from March 1 through May 31. Money will be given away every day in June

The council approved a $250 donation to the Southeast Minnesota Initiative Foundation.

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