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Entrepreneurship grant discussed

Fri, Nov 7th, 2008
Posted in Government

LANESBORO - Lanesboro City Council member Joe O'Connor spoke at the council meeting on November 3 about the TMI Group meeting he attended recently. The city received a TMI Grant for Entrepreneurship in the amount of $15,000 this spring.

Five projects were considered by the group. The first option is for refurbishment and marketing of the St. Mane Theatre. The second option is to add a part-time person at the Chamber of Commerce for coordinating all entertainment in the community. A third option is to expand the Farmer's Market to allow for more vendors and to give it a festival atmosphere. The fourth project is to develop a year-round local food industry in Lanesboro. The last idea is to have more information kiosks in the downtown area for visitors.

According to O'Connor, more people voted for the second option of adding a PT Chamber employee. After that, the St. Mane Theatre received the most votes. The next step is to have people volunteer for project teams. They are hoping to have the projects finished by next summer.

Capital Projects

City Administrator Bobbie Vickerman updated the council on the capital improvement projects. Both Whittier Street and Maple Drive will have a final coat of asphalt placed in the spring to allow for settling. There will be an assessment hearing on November 10. According to Vickerman, the cost of asphalt has increased greatly, which is reflected on the final assessment costs.

The boiler will be going into the Community Center the week of November 10, and the roofing is almost complete.

Other Business

Council member Tom Dybing attended a League of Minnesota Cities Regional meeting in Caledonia recently. The group discussed things like special assessments and a better LGA (Local Government Aid) formula for cities. Dybing gave Vickerman a special assessment guide, as well as a sewer tool kit. He said there have been insurance issues, and the city can get better premiums with a program in place. Dybing said there may be a delay in LGA payments this year, and there is a potential shortfall in state revenue.

• O'Connor recommended Vickerman look into the costs for one hour of street sweeping, lawn mowing and snow removal as they may need to make cuts in the future.

• Vickerman noted that health insurance premiums for city employees have increased dramatically.

• Vickerman also said there have been people dumping their garbage in the brush dump, and the city needs to put a gate at the top of the softball field. People have also been driving down in there and spinning in the gravel. The only way into the dump would be with the key to the gate. There was some discussion about how to have the dump be open for a few hours on Saturdays so people can use it. It will be left alone until the spring.

• O'Connor said he had received some questions about the hydro water wheel. Vickerman said the city has been using the water wheel to generate energy for more than 100 years, and it saves the city a lot of money. The wheel can only be run when there is significant water flow, and it will soon be able to run more often, including overnight, which will save customers even more money in the future. Vickerman added that each Public Utilities Commission is required to have 20 percent Green Energy, and the hydro covers that need.

• The council approved a Museum Capital Funds request for new lighting that will cost $1,000. The money will come out of funds designated for the Interpretive Center.

• The council also approved having the City Office closed during the week of Thanksgiving so the staff can prepare for the audit.

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