At the December 6 Lanesboro City Council meeting, the council reviewed a pay request for a second bathroom for the emergency services building project. To bring the building plans up to code, a half bath with a toilet and sink needs to be added at an additional cost of $3,000. Council member Mindy Albrecht-Benson, who joined the meeting via Zoom, asked why the original plans were not up to code, noting that she found that concerning. She recommended that the project be scaled back elsewhere if possible to make up the extra cost. Mayor Jason Resseman concurred with Albrecht-Benson. “That is unfortunate how that unfolded,” he said, agreeing to speak to the developer the next day to be sure that there are no further code issues with the plans. City Administrator Michele Peterson will reach out as well to see if there is a way to counterbalance the cost. A motion was made and passed to approve the pay request after verification has been made with the state that it is necessary for meeting code. A second pay request was reviewed to have a urinal installed in the main ¾ bathroom in the building at an additional cost of $1,500. The request was denied by the council.
The consent agenda was approved with council member Chase Bakke abstaining. It included accounts payable, an increase in the Fire Relief Association benefit level to $1,650, a gambling application, a DNR grant amendment, a temporary alcohol permit for the Root River Protective League, a resolution accepting American Rescue Act funding, and a resolution requesting a variance from standards for state aid operations.
Pay request #12 from Wapasha Construction for the wastewater treatment facility was reviewed and approved. City Engineer Brian Malm was present at the meeting via Zoom and informed the council that the pay request brings the percentage of work completed up to 39% with approximately three million dollars paid out of the $7.9 million project.
The council approved a resolution supporting the EDA as it applies for a grant for workforce housing. Resolution 2021-29 authorizing the execution of a tax abatement agreement with Geoff Griffin for his housing development was passed as well as Resolution 2021-28 approving the plans and specifications for the street project and ordering the advertisement of bids.
The council board appointments were kept the same for 2022 with Mitchell Walbridge serving as the Parks Board liaison, Chase Bakke as the Fire Department and Ambulance liaisons, and Mindy Albrecht-Benson as the Library Board and Public Utility Commission liaisons. Joe Goetzke will serve on the EDA board and Mayor Jason Resseman on the Planning and Zoning and Heritage Preservation Commission.
Eagle Bluff Executive Director Colleen Foehrenbacher addressed the council to ask for their support for a grant application. Currently, 90% of what the center does has to be scheduled months in advance, which makes it difficult for tourists visiting Lanesboro to stop by Eagle Bluff. Foehrenbacher noted that Eagle Bluff would like to expand its public programs and construct a new building at the entrance of the campus as the current one is in the back of the property, making it difficult for visitors to locate. The building would double as a nature center. They would also like to enhance the signage on the trails and add several staff positions to be able to hold more programs. The grant that Eagle Bluff is applying for is in the amount of several million dollars and does not require any city or taxpayer funds. Mayor Resseman said that the city would be more than happy to support the grant application as Eagle Bluff is an important part of the community. The council approved the letter of support with Joe Goetzke abstaining.
Randy Rakosnik from Root River Unwined submitted a request for an off-sale liquor license. He informed the council that he is not looking to compete with other similar businesses in the area and does not plan to be a full service business, but would work with the B&B community to supply bottles of wine for their guests. As the number of liquor licenses granted is limited by an ordinance, the council will need to discuss the request at length. The request was tabled.
Following a discussion at last month’s meeting, the council approved a motion to reduce the number of PTO hours that a city employee can carry over from 800 hours to 600 hours by the end of 2023.
Brian Roelofs was approved as the new member of the Lanesboro Public Utilities, replacing Don Bell.
Phil Dybing wishes to continue with a second term on the EDA which was also approved. There is still an opening for a three year term on Planning and Zoning which meets monthly and an opening for a two year term on the HPC which meets quarterly. “We are who we are because of the people on our commissions. I find it extremely important to have these boards filled,” Mayor Resseman commented.
Ordinance 54.06 was approved regarding utility rates for the City of Lanesboro.
A motion to give authority to city attorney Joseph O’Koren to consult with or hire an outside attorney if necessary was approved.
A property tax levy hearing was opened at 6 p.m. with no questions or comments from the public and was subsequently closed.
Resolution 2021-30 approving the final tax levy for 2022 was reviewed and approved.
The next Lanesboro City Council meeting will be held on January 3 at 6 p.m.