The Lanesboro City Council met on the early evening of May 6 to address a few city ordinance issues and the city administrator/clerk/treasurer position. Mayor Steve Rahn was not present at the meeting so Vice Mayor Tom Dybing called the meeting to order.

The council discussed the progress being made in hiring a new city administrator/clerk/treasurer to fill the vacancy left by Bobbi Vickerman. In a special meeting held on Thursday, April 27, the council interviewed four candidates: Michele Peterson, Emily Ellis, Jeffrey Pederson and David Todd.

At the regular council meeting, Dybing said the council was considering making an offer to Todd. Council member Tom Smith suggested the city run a full background check on him and make an offer for a starting salary. After discussion on how much should be offered, it was approved to put forward a negotiable offer of $46,000 with employee benefits included.


The council discussed Section 200 of the city's ordinance, which addresses the appointment of a Board of Health and Health Officer for the city. The city currently does not have anyone appointed to these positions and it was mentioned that many cities in Minnesota do not follow similar ordinances.

According to the language in the ordinance, the board would consist of three residents, one of whom must be a physician who would act as the Health Officer. The board would enforce local and state health ordinances and laws.

The ordinance was estimated to have been created prior to 1974. The council discussed possibly changing the language of the ordinance, but opted to check with the League of Minnesota Cities to see what other cities have done with similar ordinances.

The council also discussed ordinance 1005, which addresses the requirement of permits for the keeping of animals and fowl on residential property within city limits. The language said permits allowing animals and/or fowl would be for one year and would need to be renewed yearly upon inspection.

Again, council members pointed to other cities' ordinances which have allowed, to varying degrees, fowl and animals within municipal limits.

Council member Joe O'Connor said it would be hard for the city to make a decision based on what was in the ordinance. Two families in the city have requested an opportunity to own chickens.

O'Connor suggested the city look at other cities' ordinances and bring a newly drafted ordinance to the next council meeting. The decision to do so was unanimously approved.

Committee reports

O'Connor presented several items discussed during the last Public Works committee meeting. He said there was a possible firm through which the city could contract a full-scale engineering effort to handle the water quality initiative. This company, Short Elliot Hendrickson, Inc., sent representative Rebecca Flege, who encouraged council members to attend an upcoming workshop relating to acquiring and managing funding.

O'Connor also said the city still doesn't know if the dam project will receive funding through the state bonding bill this year.

"We don't even know if we will have a bonding bill this year," said O'Connor.

Dybing agreed saying that this year wasn't looking like a typical year for bonding. O'Connor reminded the council of a resolution they passed requesting State Senator Jeremy Miller and Representative Greg Davids to include $1.1 million in the state bonding bill to balance the dam repairs.

He also reported that the city is in the process of acquiring three-quarters of an acre next to the well on Zenith Street. The land will be used to add a new water treatment plant in order to address radium levels in the city water.

O'Connor also mentioned that a new backup generator had been approved for emergency use only. Dybing asked if the generator could be used on really hot days when electricity use would be up. O'Connor said it could be used in an emergency, but that he didn't know if those events could be included.

Other business

In other business, the council handled the following items.

• Ceil Allen told the council about a beautification project the Chamber of Commerce started, which would have people or groups adopt a space to weed and take care of during the summer months. Those sites include the bass pond, by the community center walking circle, near the bike trail, by the riverside museum, by the depot, the gazebo in Sylvan Park and others. She also garnered council approval to put up signage to recognize the people and groups who would be adopting these spaces to beautify.

• An action was tabled for the next meeting which dealt with a request for a new Farmer's Market sign which would be permanent. Interim city administrator Theresa Coleman said the current sign along Parkway Avenue South by the city building could be a good place for a permanent sign. The council made no decision.

• The Fire Relief Association Street Dance to be held during Buffalo Bill Days was once again approved.

• Discussion was held on rekeying the community center and updating the policy for loaning keys out for any type of events. Coleman said many non-profit groups have used the community center, but have failed to return the keys. A new system of signing out and paying a $150 deposit was discussed.

• The council decided to check a portion of Coffee Street in order to determine how it had allowed a flow of water to enter a resident's garage.