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Lanesboro City Council Report: Passable Ox Trail Impasse

Fri, Oct 20th, 2006
Posted in Government

Mayor Steve Rahn reported on his recent hour-long meeting with the Carrolton Township Board at the Lanesboro City Council meeting October 16, telling the council the board was not interested in widening OxTrail unless it met state standards or at least township specifications in order to get their new bridge built. The council hesitated to follow state standards; such standards would require creating a thirty mph curve in the road, radically changing the existing road.

The township is now considering purchasing land to build a new road over the top of the hill. Rahn informed the council the township wanted to know if the city would be willing to contribute to the new road construction.

Council member Tom Dybing shared a phone call he'd received from a city resident who was concerned about the city paying toward a township road. Council member Robert Norby opined, "I still don't see helping the township when that segment doesn't even come into town." Norby pointed out that the city still needed to decide what to do with Ox Trail even if the township built a new road.

Council member Joe O'Connor declared the city had an obligation for public safety and suggested a guardrail was the minimum the city should do. Dybing agreed, noting the road might need to be widened in order to add the guardrails. Council member Kevin Drake joined in, stating the city should "just do it and make the road safer."

City Administrator Bobbie Torgerson will check on the signs for the road and the yearly resolution concerning the road's status as a minimum maintenance road.

Fire and Ambulance


Fire Chief Jim Peterson reported to the council on the state of the fire department. The department has no plans for any major equipment purchases. Currently the department is putting together a grass rig. After purchasing a cab and chassis, they will add a box next week and then send it to the Cities for emergency lights and sirens. The total cost will be under $50,000, a significant saving over a premade rig ($100,000 to $150,000).

Other than maintenance of the fire hall roof, Peterson's main concern, as well as that of Ambulance Director Steve Klotz, is the fact that in March six or seven of the nineteen EMT's will be leaving. Klotz recommended getting six more people lined up to begin the three-month training. "Lanesboro's ambulance service isn't having any problems that are unique," declared Klotz. "The largest problem is recruitment and retention."

Rahn added, "Part of the problem is state mandates too."

The city is asking for a year's commitment from new recruits; if people leave the department before then, they may be required to pay the $600 training cost. Classes will be found to fit the new recruit's schedules if possible.

Klotz suggested the city might want to raise the ambulance rates; Lanesboro charges much less than surrounding communities. Medicare will pay $8.50 a mile; Lanesboro charges $5 less with a low base rate as well. O'Connor pointed to the need to accumulate funds for a separate ambulance garage with the appropriate clothes washer and dryer and shower for the staff. Klotz mentioned the department would need six more pagers in the spring; Peterson said the fire department had applied for a grant for new pagers and would give Klotz their old ones if they got the grant. No action was taken regarding the ambulance rates at this time.

Other business

In other business the council:

• learned the Friends of the Library book sale brought in $1,075, the highest amount ever made;

• were reminded to help distribute city surveys and fill out their own survey (people were encouraged to fill out the surveys online since the tabulation would be done that way);

• learned the junk ordinance violations in the city would be reviewed again soon;

• heard Torgerson's report on the process of establishing a city sales tax-legislation must be prepared and supplied to a legislator to present, after passage a local election would be held. Torgerson reminded the council the tax could help pay for capital improvement plans such as changes to the inefficient heating and cooling systems in city hall. The biggest job according to Norby would be to convince residents of the benefits of such a tax; namely, that visitors would help pay the tax and, as a result, property taxes would not need to go up as much.

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