The Lanesboro City Council met in regular session on Monday, June 3, and received its 2012 financial summary from Jason Boynton from Smith, Schafer and Associates, LTD.

Boynton reported that the audit had produced an unqualified or "clean" opinion for 2012, which means the city's financials are free of material misstatement.

According to the numbers Boynton presented, the city's general property tax levy collections were at $435,144 for 2012 whereas the levy was at $435,306. Local government aid (LGA) stayed the same from 2011 to 2012 at just over $200,000. Boynton said the state formula for calculating LGA had changed, causing all cities in Minnesota to draw more from their property tax levies.

Revenue from the property tax levy has increased every year to just over $200,000 since 2006 to compensate for LGA cuts made by the legislature.

Expenditures in the culture and recreation category went up by around $47,000 in 2012. Boynton said that increase could be tracked to a landscaping project that was offset by grant dollars. He also mentioned that expenditures in this category would normally be up since Lanesboro focuses more on tourism than other cities.

The unassigned fund balance in the General Fund equaled 32 percent of expenditures in 2012, which Boynton said was in the range the state expectations. He mentioned the city should strive to be closer to 50 percent.

The Lanesboro Public Utility Fund case reserves total $397,472 while long-term debt decreased by $130,000 from 2011 to 2012 to $1,178,252. Boynton said no new debt was issued to the city in 2012.

Ambulance

Ambulance Director David Haugen announced to the council that he planned on stepping down from his position effective July 1. He said it wasn't an easy decision, but that the demand of the job did not allow him to adequately fulfill his other obligations.

Mayor Steve Rahn thanked Haugen for his service to the ambulance crew. He then asked what Haugen thought should be done to the position. Haugen said the position didn't require a full-time person, only a dedicated part-time director who could cover on-call duties during the day hours.

The city has had difficulty staffing those times with their staff. He also suggested the city make it a paid position saying there would be no shortage of applications if it was.

Councilman Joe O'Connor suggested they find someone within the current EMT staff who would be willing to be hired. Haugen said he could help out the city with the hiring process if they got it done by the first of Aug.

"It's an important service to the community and we need to keep it going," Haugen said.

It was mentioned that the city could hire people out of town like the city of Chatfield. Haugen said Lanesboro didn't have arrangements for anyone to stay within the community while on duty. The council will look at providing a place for outside help in the future.

The ambulance department will have two more EMTs complete their training in the near future. Rahn said this would bring the number up to 18 potential people who could be on-call.

Autumn Johnson announced the Explorer Program which would allow 14-20 youth in the Boy Scouts of America program get involved with the ambulance service. The experience, she said, may influence them to come back and be on the service in the future.

New city administrator

Interim city clerk Theresa Coleman updated the board on the hiring process for the new city clerk/administrator. David Todd was announced as having accepted the contract offer and will be beginning the job on Monday, June 10.

Other news

In other matters, the council handled the following issues during its meeting.

• The duly named "chicken" ordinance came up for discussion again due to a proposed amendment to the ordinance. Council member Tom Smith asked if the ordinance was allowing other animals to be grandfathered in. City Attorney Tom Manion explained since the ordinance dealt with having permits for chickens, other animals would not be allowed. The ordinance does allow for future amendments for allowing other animals under permit.

• Upon the completion of a request for proposals for city engineering services, the board approved hiring Davy Engineering. The firm will be putting together an updated base map for the city.

• Discussion was had on a permanent farmer's market sign. Rahn said people who see the sign during the week may be more likely to come back on Saturday when the market is there. The issue was sent to the park board for further review before a decision would be made.

• Sidewalk repair was approved for a stretch along Pleasant Avenue where heaving had taken place over the winter.

• A gambling license was approved for the Lanesboro Chamber of Commerce.