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Lanesboro City Council Report: Police protection - satisfactory?

Fri, Dec 22nd, 2006
Posted in Government

Hal Cropp addressed the Lanesboro city council at their regular meeting December 18, relating the concerns of the Chamber of Commerce on their perception of police presence in the downtown area during bar closing time (between 12:20 a.m. until closing Friday and Saturday nights). Cropp stated that business owners and downtown residents on Parkway and Coffee Streets had commented on the behavior issues during the past summer and fall and noted he'd gotten more calls since the agenda for the council meeting had been published. Mayor Steve Rahn responded he hadn't gotten any calls on the issue and only found out about it after the recent tourism meeting.

Cropp related no specific incidences, but referred to public urination, public drunkenness and vomiting, as well as loud conversations and fights. "When there was police protection, behavior was minimal," Cropp commented. He emphasized he was not saying the police were doing a bad job; rather he was merely asking for more police presence at bar closing times.

Police Chief Matt Schultz responded he'd been "running the logs" and found the officers have been in Lanesboro "quite a bit," including weekends. The city is currently under contract with Preston for a certain number of hours; the schedule is purposefully unpredictable. He noted there had been no such problems in Preston. "Call me-I'll come to your meetings (Chamber of Commerce). We'll discuss it," he invited Cropp.

Cropp answered, "We will welcome you!"

Reynolds lot split

Mark Welch of GGG Inc., an engineering, surveying and planning company, appeared before the council to request waiving the platting procedures and allow a simple lot split on some property owned by Randy Reynolds. Located on Zenith Street between Everett Johnson's and Jon Pieper's property, the newly created lot would measure 52 feet wide at the street, around 83 feet wide in the middle and 108 feet at the back of the lot. The larger remaining portion of the property is unsuitable for building and would be used for recreation trails and/or picnic area.

Council member Tom Dybing expressed his concern that a home built on such a small frontage would need to be extremely narrow and would likely end up very close to Johnson's shed.

Welch answered that homes are being built more and more on narrow lots and that he felt the lot would be okay. He informed the council he'd staked out the property points on the line.

The council encouraged Welch/Reynolds to check with neighbor Jon Pieper on the possibility of purchasing more land from him. The council referred the matter to Planning and Zoning the following week for their input. City administrator Bobbie Torgerson will meet with Welch at the site after Christmas.

Other business

In other business, the council:

• appointed Kevin Drake to fill Robert Norby's position on the council for the next two years (Drake was scheduled to leave his spot on the council in January; Norby's position will be up for a special election for the remaining two years of the term in fall of 2008);

• noted the volunteer positions open on city commissions-two on planning and zoning, three on HPC, two on the library board, and one on EDA-and asked interested citizens to apply (forms available on the city's website and at city hall);

• approved the hiring of Laura Gudmundson to replace Sharon Peterson at the library; Gudmundson who has a master's in library science will be working Tuesdays and Saturdays, ten hours a week with a beginning wage of $8.25;

• increased the rate charged by the fire department for mutual aid from $200 to a maximum of $300 per hour at the request of the DNR to coincide with rates charged by other tri-county fire departments (Winona, Houston, and Fillmore);

• decided to stay with two council meetings per month for the time being;

• adopted the $364,486 levy for 2007;

• directed city administrator Bobbie Torgerson to proceed with attempting to collect unpaid fire and ambulance bills dating as far back as 2000-the estimated $7,000 outstanding fire call charges may be turned over to a private collection service, while the $19,000 unpaid ambulance runs may pursued by the Minnesota Department of Revenue. Torgerson will first attempt again to collect the fees by sending a letter to the delinquents offering a payment plan.

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