Lanesboro City Council rejects request to allow special hunt within city limits

By : 
BRETTA GRABAU
NEWS LEADER

The Lanesboro City Council began its regular board meeting on Monday, Jan. 7, with the swearing in of the new mayor, Jason Resseman, and council members Autumn Johnson and Chase Bakke.

As the meeting began, the Council heard a request from John Hart of the USDA Wildlife Services Program regarding deer issues within the city limits. Hart stated the program has been assisting the DNR in monitoring the chronic wasting disorder over the past few years. Two years ago monitoring was more for surveillance, and over the past few years the disease has continued to spread. Hart shared many bucks which have been found positive have contributed to the spread, but does have been found between Preston and Lanesboro. Due to the spreading, the monitoring is now more of disease control rather simply watching it, decreasing the population and limiting the spread of the disease, which seems to spread through direct contact.

Since Lanesboro has a healthy amount of deer within the area, the program thought it might be good to help control the population in the city limits as well. Hart proposed a special hunting season with only federal employees who are experienced hunters out during the dusk to dawn hours.

Hart stated shooters would fire suppressed .308 caliber shots, which would make a bit of noise, but not too loud. He related the hunters would set out the bait in a predetermined location. He also noted the program is already working with landowners outside the city limits, but the main areas where the shooters would be were the more rural spots in the city limits.

The City Council had only learned of this proposal earlier that same day, so many of the council members were hesitant about not knowing enough information to make an informed decision. However, because the Council was nervous about allowing shooting guns so close to the residential areas, the Council unanimously denied the request.

Appointments

As a part of the first meeting of the year, the council approved its official designations and committee appointments for the year. These included the official depository, official newspaper, authorizing the Lanesboro Fire Department Relief Association for lawful gambling, signature authority for city accounts, mileage reimbursement rates, Fire Relief Association board of trustees, Fire department officers and poling place.

Tom Smith was appointed mayor pro tempore and is a part of the EDA. Resseman is a member of the Historic Preservation Commission and will work with planning and zoning. Autumn Johnson will work with the park and street departments. Bridget Harvey will work with the library board and Chase Bakke will work with the fire and ambulance departments.

Smith no longer wishes to be the liaison to Lanesboro Public Utilities. However, a position is opening in the commission itself, so other council members requested he think of filling the position himself. He will remain the liaison for a few months while he contemplates the proposition.

Monthly meetings have been rescheduled to begin at 6 p.m. on the first Monday of each month rather than 5:30 p.m. as in the past few years.

Snowplowing policy

The council was presented with a new policy for the city snowplowing. With smaller snowfalls as have been seen in the past few weeks, the city has spent a lot of money calling in the workers to clear the streets. Thus, the new policy would have only specific areas such as hills, areas with new asphalt and curves plowed if the snowfall is anything less than one inch. This would only need one person instead of the whole crew to clear up the snow. The council agreed to try this policy out for the 2019 calendar year and review it before the next plowing season.

Community input

Mayor Resseman related that during the election season, he thought community members felt a disconnect with the council members. He hoped to remedy this situation by trying to open a community input opportunity prior to the council’s regular meetings. The council agreed to allot 15 minutes prior to the monthly meetings for members of the community to come in and talk to Resseman and other council members available. Resseman stressed this would not be a place where things could be decided or solved, but the council members could listen to concerns the residents may have about their community.

Other business

The council approved the purchase of a new tractor with a backhoe. The city’s current tractor does have decent trade-in value at this point and it is a good time to trade it in, according to Jarod Wagner. He also noted the hydraulics on the current tractor are not working quite right, though it is still safe.

Planning and zoning approved and passed on the decision to adopt the Minnesota Basic Code of Ordinance to give a base line for the city’s ordinances. This project would cost between $10,000 and $12,000, but Resseman stated the commission is trying to obtain a grant for this project. The council approved.

Ambulance Director Deane Benson presented the Council with a concern regarding his contract as director. The council will hold an evaluation for him and address these issues after the February Council meeting.

The Council approved appointments of Lori Bakke and Suzie Slater to the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC), Heidi Dybing to the library board and Michael Seiler to planning and zoning. It was noted the council is still looking for people to fill in the Economic Development Authority and Lanesboro Public Utilities positions (LPU). In addition, one planning and zoning commissioner is moving to Minneapolis with her husband, who was on the LPU commission, making a vacancy in planning and zoning as well. The council approved her resignation.

City Administrator Michele Peterson informed the Council she was able to change some things regarding the city’s phones. She found $230 of savings per month, and the employees will have a stipend for using their own phones. Johnson and Smith asked her to look at another carrier as well, as she is able.

Resseman stated HPC will be having a meeting in February to discuss the 150th anniversary for those interested in participating. The meetings for HPC are the third Thursday of the month at 7 p.m.

Finally, the council approved employment verification for Peterson’s municipal clerk certification, the pay equity implementation report, Verizon Wireless lease agreements, temporary on-sale liquor license applications for 2019 and the hiring of Shirley Mulder as an assistant librarian.

The city office will be closing on Thursday, Jan. 17, at noon for employee appreciation that afternoon.