Lanesboro Council splits, approving order to improve Zenith street

By : 
Bretta Grabau
News Leader

A hot topic once again at the Lanesboro City Council meeting on Monday, May 7, was the question of paving the gravel portion of Zenith.

After first hearing the proposal in November of last year, the council members have been debating and discussing the topic with residents and amongst themselves. Last month the council requested cost estimates for the project if the street were paved not only to Woodview Avenue, but all the way to the city limits. Two bids were presented to the council, however the price tag was a little larger than originally anticipated.

The first estimate the council had received was around $65,000. But after the council asked for the extension to the city limits, the original estimate settled around $86,000. Of the two quotes, one was about $98,000 and the other was for $95,042.15. The project would simply be laying four inches of asphalt on an existing road, 20 feet wide and grading to gather the gravel where it is needed.

Residents once again attended the meeting held earlier this week, which also included a public meeting regarding the project. Those attending reiterated they would agree to pay 50 percent of the cost, either if the city only paved to Woodview Avenue or all the way to the city limits. They also agreed to indemnify the city against any future claims for reducing the assessment, according to Phil Dybing.

David Webb also noted, however, that the absentee lot owners did not exactly hold the same view as the residents, they do not live there and they encompass only 20 percent of the footage.

There would be a few thousand dollars, between $2,000 to $5,000, saved because the equipment would already be mobilized to finish off Auburn and Zenith, and the city would not need bonds or insurance to complete the project. But even with this and the homeowner’s contribution, the city would still have to pay around $47,000 for the blacktop.

Mayor Autumn Johnson did approve of the project pointing out the city “literally do(es) not have the money.” There are also a bunch of other projects the city needs to address as well.

The council approved a resolution declaring the adequacy of the petition and ordering a preparation of the report. With much discussion, the council split three to two in favor of the resolution ordering the improvement and preparation of plans.

Following that, the council also approved the plans and specifications and solicitation of quotes. It settled on the quote from Elcor Construction for $95,042.15.

Committee reports

City Administrator Michele Peterson attended a three-year training program for municipal city clerks and learned a lot, some of which she informed the council she would like to bring to Lanesboro, making changes on the budget, the employee personnel policy and more.

The planning and zoning commission received a resignation from Peggy Hanson. The council approved the resignation and also approved advertising for the position opening.

The park board interviewed three applicants for a part-time seasonal position. Peterson noted they were all very well qualified for the position, but in the end recommended hiring Garett Melander. The council approved the recommendation. It also approved an application for funding for an ADA compliant municipal garage and bathroom in the park.

On Sunday, several volunteers helped to dismantle part of the ballfield and more workdays are coming.

In the public works department, the council approved a rock bid and the lower of two quotes for a chip-sealing project. The department is also looking to either fix up or purchase a new truck. The truck being used currently was purchased in 1999 with the agreement set up that in 15 years the department could trade it in for a new one. This has not yet happened and there are many things needing to be done to fix it. These are also expensive fixes. Public Works Supervisor Andy Drake did look at a 2020 truck, which would end up being about $95,000. It would also need to be built before the city could get it. There is currently about $30,000 the city could use either way, but the council tabled the subject to see a list of what is needed to be fixed and what the cost would be to repair it before approving a purchase for a completely new truck.

The ambulance department has had 30 calls since Jan. 1, which for Lanesboro is busy, according to Director Deane Benson. The Stryker lift has been installed and working very well for the department. The department is looking to sell the old cot, asking about $4,000 or $5,000.There are two EMTs in class and will be done in August. The department staged a mock crash for the high school last month and is working on recruiting more people onto the crew. Benson requested the council allow Shaune Luck into the department. Luck is already a paramedic and overqualified for the position, but does not meet some of the criteria in the Lanesboro department. She has stated she will try to make it to the meetings and other activities and will attend the training sessions, but her own training will be taken care of by Gold Cross.

Other business

A wellhead protection plan public hearing was held at the same meeting. The council was informed the plan seems to be pretty easy, relatively speaking. Three items looked into were potential old municipal wells in the downtown area, used and unsealed wells on private property and the limited resources the city has for such a plan. There were a few action items shared with the council as well. These included working with Minnesota Department of Health staff for water testing, monitoring the water quality, locating wells 750 feet deep or deeper and sealing unsealed wells. Fillmore County SWCD’s Donna Rassmusen informed the council there are funds available at the county for the plan as well if funding were needed before those from the department of health would arrive.

Last year Peterson and Drake identified a project to remove trees on Zenith and make it look better, possibly removing some or all of the trees. Drake also noted it would aid in the drainage there. Resseman stated there is a lot to do elsewhere in town and it seemed like the city is focusing a lot on one part of the city. Though it is a rather tangled mess on Zenith, the council opted to let it alone at the present and focus on other projects.

The council approved contributing $500 to be a part of the Fillmore County Economic Development Authority housing study. Additionally it approved a contract modification for Ayer’s Associates for wetland delineation, adding $3,800.

It also approved a closure for Coffee Street to the corner of Parkway North for Girls Day Out on Saturday, May 12, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Finally, the council approved a liquor license for Home Sweet Home Restaurant.