Brian Malm presented a feasibility study for the proposed Zenith Street paving project to the Lanesboro City Council at their February 5 meeting. The study was done because of a petition presented to the city by the homeowners who live on the gravel stretch of Zenith Street. The study gave two estimates for the project, one with 100% assessments to the homeowners and the other with 30% assessments. Malm noted that the costs quoted were based on current prices and would increase the longer the council waited to do the project. “The conclusion of the study is that the project is definitely feasible from an engineering standpoint,” Malm said. “We would recommend that if you choose to proceed with the project, you do so at 100% assessment.” The homeowners would also need to sign a waiver of rights to appeal the proposed assessments. The city’s financial advisor, Mike Bubany from David Drown and Associates concurred with Malm’s findings and recommendations. A motion was made to assess the project at 100%.
Zenith Street resident Phil Dybing, who had been the driving force behind the petition to pave the gravel road was present at the meeting as well. “There’s no way I’m going to sign a waiver that I’m paying 100%. It’s frustrating that we can’t even talk about a situation that’s agreeable for all parties,” he said. “It would be nice to have a forum where we could actually work this out.”
“The policy says 30% or 100%, but it’s really up to the council’s discretion,” Malm noted. “If you want to move forward with the project in any form, the next step would be to call for a public hearing and notify the homeowners.”
“I’m not in favor of them spending 100% at all,” Council member Tom Smith commented.
The motion on the table came to a tie with two for and two against votes. A new motion was made and approved to hold a public hearing with the date and time to be announced later.
Don Lukkason gave the Chamber of Commerce update to the council, noting that the annual member meeting in December was successful. He added that the type of questions that the chamber receives from business owners the most are about advertising.
The 2018 Lanesboro Visitors’ Guide has been printed and is available at the visitor center along with 5” x 7” cards printed with the annual events.
Council member Marge Drake mentioned to Lukkason that she frequently receives comments and questions about wanting extended evening hours for the visitor center. Lukkason agreed to address that with the chamber.
Ambulance director Deane Benson informed the council that there are several Lanesboro residents who are EMTs on other ambulance services who would also like to join the Lanesboro Ambulance Crew. “This would give us a little more flexibility with call time,” he said. Because the individuals interested in joining are already certified as EMTs, the city would not have to pay to train them, allowing them to join the service without falling under the same criteria as other members. The council approved a motion to allow the additions to the Lanesboro Ambulance Crew.
The ambulance crew also requested permission to purchase a power load cot system from Stryker which would include a new cot and loading system that would be installed in the ambulance. With the power load cot system, one person could load and unload a patient by themselves. Mayor Johnson, who also serves as a EMT in Lanesboro, noted that many times, there are only two people available to go on ambulance calls and they are often working on uneven or icy ground. “You have one back injury and what’s that going to cost?” she pointed out. The total cost of the system would come to just under $40,000. The ambulance crew has already raised quite a bit of that and would like to take the remaining $25,000 out of the account to pay for it. “I think our ambulance service is very important,” council member Marge Drake noted. The council approved the purchase.
Chris Goodwin from Ayers Associates presented the council with proposed plans for the new dam. “We’re basically building a new dam upstream of the old dam,” he said. The estimated cost of the plans is 1.3 million dollars although city administrator Michele Peterson pointed out that there will be additional costs on top of that to complete every aspect of the project. Ayers projected that if paperwork is started right away, the necessary permits would be received by November 2018, and construction could begin in the spring of 2019. The council thanked him for the updates.
There is a dispute between Generation X Construction and the city over some of the work during the 2017 street and utility improvements. Extra work was done that wasn’t approved by the engineer, the final completion date was late, and a property on Auburn sustained damages that occurred during the project. Ryan Oian from Generation X was present at the meeting to discuss the matter with the council and Brian Malm. Oian requested that the company be paid for the remainder of the work for which they billed the city. “It has been held for 100 days now,” he stated. Oian’s attorney joined the meeting via speaker phone.
“It’s difficult to make a payment when the set-off amounts haven’t been determined, and so payment amount cannot be established,” Malm pointed out. He recommended setting up a separate meeting between himself, Oian, his attorney, Lanesboro’s city attorney, and a council liaison to discuss the issues and work on a resolution for them. Oian and his attorney were agreeable to the recommendation. City Administrator Michele Peterson agreed to contact everyone involved to set up a meeting.
A request was made to vacate an alley near Beacon Street and Parkway Avenue. Planning and Zoning reviewed the request and recommended that the council deny it. A motion passed to uphold the Planning and Zoning committee’s recommendation.
Riverside on the Root owner Michael Charlebois once again addressed the council about payment for the riprap work behind his restaurant. This has been an ongoing issue for a number of years now. “I don’t think there’s any doubt about whose responsibility it should’ve been,” he said. “This should’ve never been my problem. It was the infrastructure that failed.” He proposed that the city pay $6,000 of the bill and he would pay the other $1,800, adding “I think it’s time to put this thing to rest.”
Council member Jason Resseman agreed. “I don’t see how we can hold Mike responsible for something that failed in the infrastructure.” The council approved the payment.
At the January meeting, Maintenance Director Andy Drake informed the council that the city had been maintaining some areas that turned out to be private property. Peterson reviewed the city maps and determined that he was correct. The council agreed to get input from the homeowners before deciding what to do about the issue.
The Lanesboro school contacted the city offices to ask if a student could work there during their study break to get work experience. The council approved the request.
Peterson asked permission to attend the Minnesota Municipal Clerk Institute training program which will be held at St. Cloud State University. She has applied for a grant to help cover the cost, but the city will need to cover the remainder. The request was approved.
The council passed Resolution 2018-14 regarding a funding application for Sylvan Park. Peterson will continue to work on a grant application to receive funds to do the needed repairs.
The next Lanesboro City Council meeting was moved to March 6 at 5:30 p.m.