Lanesboro City Council declares local emergency due to water main breaks
Wednesday, May 07, 2014 6:17 AM
A few weeks ago, water main breaks emerged at 700 Kenilworth and 400 DuPont in Lanesboro. Due to the fact there is currently no water in that area, the council decided on Monday, May 5, to declare a local state of emergency in order to circumvent the bidding procedure for a contractor.
City Administrator David Todd explained the city will be hiring Wieser Septic & Excavating as the company has already dealt with the city's freezing pipe issues. The total cost for the fix is estimated to be $100,000. Public Utilities will pay for the plumbing, equipment and labor with the only expense for the city being the blacktopping of the repair area.
Because there will not be any improvements done to the area, only repairs, there is no need for an assessment or public hearing.
Though the repairs are quickly needed, the weather has proved to be a great nuisance. Rather than letting a trench flood during the days of rain, the equipment has been sitting in the area of repair for the past few weeks.
Todd also reported that recently the state's appropriation funds for the rehabilitation of certain structures, such as the Lanesboro Dam, was shaved from $4 million to $3 million. Because of this, funding for the reconstruction of the dam may be somewhat limited.
Lanesboro has applied for a grant from the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS). Todd is seeking an extension from the June 2014 deadline the MHS placed on the use of the money. In contacting the MHS Todd learned they would be able to extend the grant by matching the amount of federal money the city has received rather than extending it themselves.
Currently, Lanesboro has a $600,000 loan from the USDA. Todd's next step is to investigate whether or not it works for the MHS.
If not, Todd encouraged the council to develop a contingency plan. The dam is listed on the high hazard, high priority list for reconstruction, pending on additional funds. The project would cost roughly $2.7 million.
Craig Blommer from the DNR informed the council about the end of the 30-year lease of the DNR with their office in Lanesboro. The lease was initially meant for the basement of the museum, but has since moved to the chamber building.
This move has been beneficial for the DNR as they have close access to the bike trail, but the expiring lease was meant for a space five times greater than what they have now.
The council and a negotiator sent by the Department of Administration will have to determine the next lease.
A few years ago, the city replaced all the carpeting in the chamber building, in all areas except for the DNR office. Blommer asked that the council incorporate plans to replace the carpeting into the new lease.
Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce Dee Slinde was present at the meeting to inquire of the council for aid in replacing the mulch in various areas around town. The total area to be replaced would be 35 square yards.
Todd related that there are two possibilities the council could pursue if it so desired. Either they could buy only the amount of much necessary to do the areas Slinde outlined or the city could get an excess amount, the remainder to be used for other areas around the city.
However, Councilmember Tom Smith opposed the city giving the chamber money for the mulch. He described mulch as eventually decomposing, but not necessarily needing replacement every year.
Mayor Steve Rahn declared the council ought to get more information prior to approval.
Lee Peterson informed the council that Lanesboro received three new defibrillators through a grant from the county. One was given to the fire department, one to the ambulance and one will go in city hall.
Peterson also explained that, next year, there will be two more coming to the city and Peterson was open to suggestions for where they should go. The school was suggested as a place, and he informed the council that Superintendent Jeff Boggs may be adding defibrillator training to the CPR training staff must go through.
The playground equipment is slated to be installed beginning the Monday after Father's Day and completed by July 1, prior to the Fourth of July holiday. Since the old equipment is in such disarray, Todd informed the council the equipment will not be recycled by sending it to another country without playgrounds, as was mentioned as a possibility at a prior meeting.
A petition for a street vacation in the Church Hill Condominium area was declared as not being valid as it did not have the required percentage of signatures. This is likely due to the fact the condominium units are all listed as owned by the residents. Therefore, either the required number of signatures must be obtained or the residents must name a power of attorney to act for them. Since the council determined this petition incomplete, the matter was tabled until all the necessary information is obtained.
Rob Wagner briefed the council on the fire department's activity this past month. There were three calls the department responded to. They consisted of a grass fire, a motorcycle accident and a burning barn. They did have a member of the department retire and voted Anthony Schwartz to replace him.
The new owners of Mrs. B's Historic Lanesboro Inn, Trish Capua and Matthew Vedder attended the meeting to introduce themselves to the council. Vedder asked the council to put them on a future meeting agenda for applying for a beer and wine license to serve such drinks at their inn.