Lanesboro commences discussion on department facility improvements

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The Lanesboro City Council gathered on Monday, Nov. 5, sparking a discussion about the future between members of the ambulance, fire and public works departments.

City Administrator Michele Peterson opened the discussion stating the current facilities in Lanesboro are fine now, however once certain improvements are made in the departments, there will be problems immediately. Thus, the goal of the discussion is to look at what is best for the town in the future.

Council Member Tom Smith asked the members of the departments how it would be if all three departments would be in the same building. It would require a large enough building to house all three departments and also the equipment that may not have a home even now.

Fire Chief Jarod Wagner commented looking to the future would be good, and the fire department is already maxed out in terms of space. In fact, the Root River rescue boat has no place presently.

Having the departments together could potentially be much more cost effective, with the equipment, phone, internet, meeting rooms and other items shared. Also, Peterson hoped being in the same facility, or at least close enough to each other, would create some “joint camaraderie” between the departments. Peterson related to the council there could be FEMA and USDA funding available for the city.

Smith suggested the three departments come together to figure out what each department would want in such a building, which would in turn inform them if the possibility is even feasible and figure out a starting point.

Each department head concurred and will bring their suggestions to the council at a later meeting.

Interim financing options

At the meeting, the council’s financial advisor Mike Bubany updated it on the Minnesota Rural Association mini loan he had presented to the council at the previous meeting for the upcoming street construction project. He noted the rate he included in the update this month was better than the one he gave last month since the lender locked in the rate. Once the rate was solidified, the rates rose.

Bubany also stated this mini loan is a temporary financial option until the city could obtain construction bids. Once the construction bids would be received, there would be other funds available. Under certain circumstances, if the city would not be able to get a bid after three years, the conventional sale would have been better, according to Bubany.

However, since the rates have been locked in, this mini loan would be better for the city even if there would not be any bids given in three years. The council approved a resolution for the mini loan.

Equipment purchases

The council approved two purchases of equipment – one from public works and the other from the park board. Public Works requested the city invest in a snow pusher that would fit on the smaller tractor or larger backhoe. The pusher would be more efficient with a 25-foot wide blade and snow would be pushed for quite a distance.

The purchase would also give the city the ability to back drag from buildings. The back drag would also add to the stability of the pusher.

Council Member Jason Resseman noted the current way the department has been removing snow is “extremely hard on equipment and time consuming. It is a night and day difference.”

Though this purchase was not a part of the current budget, Peterson noted there was an extra $9,000 that had not been used in the previous budget.

The park recently purchased a pickup, but at the time had not considered buying a lightweight plow. However, since it has been trying to figure out a way to keep the workers out of the elements, this was a good option to pursue. The total cost for the plow is $4,900.

Other business

On the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving, High Court Pub will hold its Turkey Bowling event again this year. A request was presented to the council to reserve three parking spots for the event. It was granted.

The council approved the last, final pay request from Generation X for its construction project.

The Council approved an amended list of election judges, since one judge has become a candidate.

Additionally, the council approved the Community Center Use for Fundraising policy and passed a resolution for cooperative snow removal on Highway 250.

The utilities fee schedule was also approved by the council.

Due to a potentially very late night on Election Day, the council also approved opening the city office at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 7. The council will be holding a canvassing board meeting on Thursday, Nov. 15 to go over the election results.