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Lanesboro has "snow" problems

Fri, Mar 9th, 2007
Posted in Government

LANESBORO - The Lanesboro City Council spent much of its regular March 5 council meeting dealing with snow problems. The first snow related issue was the consideration of a snow emergency ordinance for city streets. Currently no parking is permitted from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m. daily on downtown streets with a $15 fine for non-compliance. During the recent snowstorms, the $15 fine did not appear to be a strong enough deterrent. City attorney Tom Manion had suggested a $100 fine plus towing and storage costs. Police Chief Matt Schultz offered his opinion that $100 was "steep for a parking violation."

Council member Vince Jeanette responded that patrons in his bar had felt the fee was good-"it'd make them think."

Council member Tom Dybing suggested clearing the Bass Pond parking area first and then having people move their vehicles there until the downtown streets were cleared. Council member Joe O'Connor asked about the possibility of posting snow emergency routes. Also discussed was announcing snow emergencies on a specific radio station and directing residents to check on snow emergencies by tuning in.

Chief Schultz suggested considering alternate side parking from November 1 to March 31 as a way to eliminate confusion as to whether a snow emergency was declared. Schultz acknowledged alternate side parking could actually make street cleanup slower than it is now.

Manion mentioned that other cities take into account the uniqueness of their cities. O'Connor responded that Lanesboro did need to consider their winter visitors' parking needs. Schultz commented that business owners needed to inform their guests of parking regulations.

The council made no decisions regarding the snow policy, choosing to get public input. A decision on the policy will be made before next snow season.

The council lauded the efforts of the city staff in snow removal; several council members commented the clean up in Lanesboro far surpassed that in other neighboring cities.

City office closure policy

City administrator Bobbie Torgerson, absent from the meeting because of pneumonia, asked the council to consider a policy on closing the city office during snowstorms. Apparently, a citizen had complained when the office was closed during the recent blizzard conditions because neither the administrator nor the clerk had been able to get there.

As Council member Tom Dybing stated, "We don't want to put employees in harm's way."

Council consensus was that the city office employees were non-essential and the office could indeed be closed during storms such as the recent ones. Emergency services were available; if bills were due and could not be paid because the office was closed, the due date would be extended. "We'll work with them," assured council member Kevin Drake.

Other business

In other business the council:

• learned Tschumper and Ropes would be visiting Lanesboro Saturday, March 10;

• chose Dybing and Jeanette as negotiating representatives for the Fillmore County/SELCO library contract sessions;

• discussed the city sales tax-Representative Ken Tschumper encouraged Lanesboro to get the legislation to him as soon as possible and opined that Lanesboro might get their tax passed easier because of the city's regional significance. The vote on the tax would need to be at a regular election unless the city submitted for legislative approval for a special election on the issue.

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