Dan Anderson approached the Lanesboro City Council about the Church Hill Condominium parking area once again at its regular meeting on Monday, Aug. 4. He brought forth quotes on asphalt costs for fixing that area.
He was met with questions regarding the priority of the project itself and who exactly benefits from any action. Mayor Steve Rahn questioned if that particular portion of the street would really be a benefit to the public. Anderson stated it is used as public parking every week and does need to be repaired.
Councilmember Tom Dybing described the problem of repairing the street to be an issue with the property lines. Since the back wheels of any vehicle parking there are sitting on the city's property, he declared that if Anderson had laid the curb a little farther in, the parking spaces utilized would not be on public property and they would not have to work through the problem.
However, Anderson explained he deliberately planned the lines in such a way to let the parking remain public to let churchgoers utilize the spaces.
City Administrator David Todd brought up one resident's objection to the possibility of the city committing funds to that project when there are allies and streets in even more dire need of repair.
Anderson contended that the place in question is a street used by the public.
Councilmember Ceil Allen agreed that it is a street in definition, but she still questioned if it was a priority. "I would say there are projects with higher priority," she declared.
Likewise, from Todd's perspective, the city should not be involved in this issue.
"We may have pretty irate citizens in here if we gave money for this parking versus some other projects," Todd commented.
The council supported the vacation of the property to be more in the city's best interest, which would include a public hearing regarding the issue.
Rahn suggested that Anderson work with the churches to determine their use of the spaces.
Library report
According to the librarian, Tara Johnson, the summer reading program was a fantastic success. The library is moving forward on the mural. The artist will begin in late August or the beginning of September. Kids will be able to paint pieces that will be incorporated into the mural.
The library is currently having trouble putting a board member onto the SELCO board. Todd related that the current board member has missed three meetings, so the library may be looking for a new board member.
Bass Pond issues
Dybing commented on the amount of algae seen in the Bass Pond Lagoon.
"The algae is terrible. It looks kind of nasty," he said.
Todd agreed and said he would ask the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) about it and find out what could be done to resolve the issue.
The council discussed the fate of the skate park equipment in the Bass Pond Parking Lot. It is not being used and the council feels it would be in the best interest of the city to sell it. Todd said that Flagship Recreation, which just put in the playground equipment, also deals with skate park equipment. He would reach out to Charlie Colvin about the park.
The council also discussed the Park Board recommendation to relocate the Root River Outfitters parking to the ball field area. They had been using this arrangement a while ago, but the issue was with them going in and out of the ball field parking lot too fast. Rahn noted this issue has been going on for a number of years and if those entities utilizing the Pond parking lot wish to have a say, they must come to a meeting.
Other business
Councilmember Tom Smith asked if the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) had looked into getting a fee from Mediacom for using Lanesboro's poles.
He supports that they pay for the use, but Todd stated that whatever the city would require for a fee would more than likely pass through to the citizens’ bills, not be paid for by the company.
Smith also asked to look at the budget for the PUC before it would be approved. It was noted this is public information, but the council would not be able to provide any input.
The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) has been dealing with Merchant's Bank to erect a more historical sign in the historic district. However, the group has received word that there is no intention to change the lighted sign for one that is more historical. The committee has issues with the sign due to its lights, the green color and the color bracket. Since there has been no action, the HPC is looking to pursue a more stern avenue, according to Todd.
Slinde conveyed a compliment to the council regarding Buffalo Bill Days. "This weekend there were a number of people coming to specifically say how clean and nice the public restrooms were around the city," she said. When the people learned the crew looking after the restrooms consisted of only three people, they could not believe it. The crew was openly congratulated and thanked by both Slinde and the council for their great work during Buffalo Bill Days.
Mayor Rahn noted the alley behind Red Hotel is in bad shape. Todd stated there is a serious run-off issue with the alley, looking like a rockslide every time it rains. He asked Dunn Blacktop Company to survey it. They said it was too steep and there was no way they would be able to fix it without worrying their equipment would not roll on top of someone. Todd noted Andy Drake would be investigating about raising the curb. Dybing mentioned looking into a webbing that could be put down with the rock placed within it.
Dunn Blacktop Company will be returning soon to work again on the streets. Todd noted the company has been very thorough and quick so far and have not shut down the streets yet. He is impressed with the company and its work.
The council also discussed the DNR lease of the Chamber building. So far, all that has been accomplished has been to determine the rate. The DNR will be paying $850 per year for utilities and has also been asked to pay half of the trash pick-up fee. The city is currently paying $1,700 for the utilities for the whole building.
Andy Drake updated his resignation from the Parks and Street Superintendent position understanding his wage would also be altered. Todd stated Drake accepted the change because he is currently spread too thin. His resignation is effective Friday, Aug. 8.
Todd conveyed a request from the fire department regarding a $100 increase to the firemen's retirement. It was approved.
Regarding the run-off issues Lanesboro has been experiencing due to the rain, Todd received a legal opinion on what exactly the city can do to resolve the issues. The document is now available for public review if citizens are interested.
Eric Bunge approached Todd with a question of ownership of the "alley" at the northeast portion of the Cottage House property. The asphalt has settled causing a ridge that scrapes the side of vehicles. Manion stated there is evidence pointing to it being an alley as it has the width for an alley as described in the abstract. Bunge inquired into whether he or the city owns that alley. The council will be working to establish the ownership.
Finally, Todd related he had received a quote from Mediacom for the phone and media service for the city. He has no problem with their quote, but he has not gotten a quote from ACE. He will be asking for them to submit a bid or will be asking other companies for bids.