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Lanesboro City Council Report: Chamber activities updated

Fri, Jan 11th, 2008
Posted in Government

The Lanesboro Chamber of Commerce is holding their annual meeting on January 14 to discuss highlights from 2007 and plans for the next year. Executive Director Julie Kiehne presented the City Council with the Annual Chamber Report at the regular meeting on January 7.

Kiehne outlined the busy year Lanesboro had in 2007 promoting the city. The Chamber worked with legislators, including Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Ropes and Representative Tschumper. Garrison Keillor visited Lanesboro and "A Prairie Home Companion" was broadcast in Lanesboro in June, and the Commonweal Theatre Company opened the brand new theatre in July. Lanesboro was featured in Edible Twin Cities in the fall, and Lanesboro hosted a 1st National Conference for the National Bike Tour Director's Association.

Data from the Visitor's Center was also discussed, including numbers of visitors, phone calls and web site hits to the town in the last year. The council was able to see the new Visitor's Guide, which is the Chamber's biggest publication of the year, and this year they will be sending out 37,000.

According to Kiehne, there are currently 130 members of the Lanesboro Area Chamber of Commerce. The Annual meeting, which is open to the public, will be held at the Community Center on January 14 at 7 p.m.

Kiehne mentioned that the biathlon that was being planned for the spring was cancelled due to legal issues regarding closing public roads and the bike trail.

Economic Development Authority (EDA)

Council member Joe O'Connor spoke about the EDA meeting held earlier the same day. Kiehne was also at that meeting to announce that a Business Development Workshop will be held on October 10-11. The workshop is designed to help business owners market themselves.

The committee also heard that a former citizen and his company are looking at building an assisted living facility in Lanesboro. The EDA asked for the council's support to look into the idea and get some more information, with the help of City Administrator Bobbie Vickerman.

"This could lead into a group being established to address housing," said O'Connor. The council approved.

O'Connor also mentioned that there are two people asking to join the EDA, Hal Cropp and Fred Kiel, and that they would like both to join. Currently there is only one spot open on the five-person committee. City Attorney Tom Manion said they could possibly change it to a committee made of up to seven people, but having an even number of members can sometimes cause issues in the case of a tie vote. The matter was tabled until there is a discussion with a current member who no longer owns a business in town about her plans.

Other business

• Vickerman discussed possible plans to build an ambulance shed and office space onto the community center building on the end near the library. A new shed for the ambulance is much needed, and the cost for it is part of the lump sum budgeted for the community center in the Capital Improvement Plan. She stated having the office near the city office would be very convenient, and there has to be a separate washer and dryer for handling clothing with hazardous materials.

• Council member Tom Dybing brought up the fact that in light of the recent flooding in Rushford, they should be careful about flood areas. Vickerman will be discussing this with ambulance personnel.

• Lease contracts for the Museum and Chamber buildings will have some changes made to them. The Historical Preservation Committee, which is the museum board, has been paying the utilities for the space they were using. They are now using the downstairs space as well, which was previously being used for storage. They will now be charge utilities for that area as well. The Chamber was paying the city $500 a year to the city for the utilities, and they will now be paying $750.

• The ambulance rates have previously been $350 per call and $3.50 per loaded mile. This amount is much lower than other communities in the area. Lanesboro will now be charging what Medicare currently will cover, which is $500 per call and $9.50 per loaded mile. The rate is flexible so that when Medicare changes, they can change as well. The charge for a call with treatment only will be $150.

• Per recommendation by Tri-County and the Firemen's Mutual Aid, the rate for a fire call will increase from $200 an hour to $300 an hour.

Mileage reimbursement for business miles will be 50.5 cents per mile as recommended by the IRS.

• The council approved the Fire Relief Gambling Resolution for pull tabs at the Saloon and the Pub.

• The council looked at Fire Relief Audit Proposals from Lloyd Johnson and Alan Anderson. Johnson's proposal was for $1,825 and Anderson's was at $1,600. Anderson was approved.

• The council approved a few official items for 2008. After looking at bids for the Official Newspaper from the Fillmore County Journal and the Republican-Leader which were both the same, the council approved the Fillmore County Journal for 2008. They also approved the meeting schedule for the year, Kevin Drake as acting mayor, and the board appointments, which will remain the same.

• There will be a Public Hearing for the Assessment Policy during the second meeting in February. Items to be discussed are the sidewalk assessments, the policy, and upcoming projects. The council also adopted a resolution regarding unpaid water and sewer bills and unpaid electric bills.

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