Council Minutes, February 1, 2021

Posted: February 1, 2021

City of LeRoy MN – Council Meeting Minutes, February 1, 2021

A regular meeting of the LeRoy City Council was called to order by Mayor Ed Koppen on Monday, February 1, 2021, at 6:30 PM at the LeRoy Community Center with the following members present:  Mayor Ed Koppen, Council Members Ashley Huntley, Harold Shipman, Daisie Fox (by phone), Gerald Payne, Maintenance Employee John Jones, and City Clerk Patty White.
Also attending: Axel Gumbel, Jessica Green, Sue Schumann, Todd Johnson, Craig Jacobson, Don & Alice Darland, and Deputy Sawyer Weiss.  All stood and recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

Consent Agenda:

  • Shipman questioned one party listed on the disconnect water list. Jones noted he is not able to shut this water service off due to the shut-off pipe being filled with rocks and/or dirt.  The proper way to fix this would be dig up the curb stop and install a new pipe.  Council discussed having Jones inform this resident that his water will be disconnected as of a predetermined date; council also considered capping the service and removing the meter if the bill is not paid in full.  It was the consensus of the council to have the maintenance guys proceed with trying to get this bill paid; if this is unsuccessful, law enforcement will become involved.
  • Motion by Huntley, second by Shipman to approve the consent agenda. Motion carried 5-0.

Public Input Time:

  • Koppen read a letter from the chairman of the LeRoy Ostrander School Board addressing concern with snow removal on Main Street in front of the school. Council was reminded the city clears the snow back to the curb in the downtown portion of the city from near BP Food Shop to Everett Street.  Koppen will follow through with direction for the school to either contact the State Highway Department to address snow removal or contact a private individual to clean the snow away from the curb.
  • Todd Johnson reported he had received a portable chicken coop for Christmas. He would like to have some hen chickens on his property at 218 East Frederick Street.  Council was reminded that current city ordinance does not allow farm animals within the city limits unless the property is zoned agricultural or is at least 10 acres in size.  Chickens are considered farm animals.  Johnson questioned what would happen if he kept chickens and did not follow the ordinance.  Council noted they just addressed chickens last year; at that time the seated council chose not to change the ordinance to allow chickens in town.  Huntley questioned who would enforce the ordinance if it were changed; she expressed concern with adding more work to the city employees.  It was the consensus of the council to gather more information and review this at upcoming meetings.
  • Craig Jacobson questioned about past discussion from previous city council meetings; he questioned when the city council had discussed paying the work comp and property/casualty insurance bills for Wildwood Grove. Payne reviewed a summary of Wildwood Grove; he also discussed the proposed bond refinance structure.  Payne questioned Mr. Jacobson about unpaid payroll taxes.  Jacobson reported he did not know these taxes were not being paid.  Koppen and Mr. Jacobson reviewed some history on Wildwood Grove.  Payne noted that better oversight is being worked on at Wildwood Grove to help get Wildwood Grove on a better financial footing.

Police Report:

  • Deputy Weiss handed out the written police report for January; this report showed 42 total incidents in LeRoy in January. Council thanked Deputy Weiss for his time.

Standing Committee Reports:

  • Huntley reported the LeRoy Area Ambulance Service responded to a total of 162 calls in 2020. She noted there are currently three EMTs on a leave of absence.  She also reported the $10 per capita per resident will stay the same for budgeting purposes for 2022.
  • Shipman reported there was no Prairie Visions meeting due to COVID-19.

Wildwood Grove Bonds:

  • Jessica Green from Northland Securities presented information on the Wildwood Grove bond refinance. She reported Northland held a bond sale this morning.  The Series 2021A bonds initially appeared to have a negative savings of $15,000.  At the time of the bond sale, the negative savings went down to $2,736.83.  The EDA chose to extend the term of the bonds by an additional six years.  This extension will help level out the principal and interest payments to be paid over these six additional years.  Green noted if the bond refinance proceeds, the existing bonds will be paid off on March 9, 2021.
  • Koppen questioned what will be gained by this bond refinance. Shipman reported the city could potentially lower the property tax levy by approximately $45,000 in 2022.  Payne noted it is hoped that WWG will be able to meet their obligations and not rely on city funds.  Payne noted the EDA and WWG cannot continue to come to the city for additional funds.  He felt the EDA needs to monitor WWG to make sure WWG can cash flow.  Koppen noted he cannot foresee the city being able to lower the levy for WWG to $45,000.  Payne reiterated the need for a budget for WWG and following that budget.  Payne also noted the need for communication between the city and the EDA.
  • Motion by Shipman to pass Resolution 2021-04, a resolution approving the sale by the Economic Development Authority of the City of LeRoy, Minnesota’s $1,100,000 housing development refunding bonds, Series 2021A (City of LeRoy, Minnesota, General Obligation) and levying a tax for the payment thereof. Second by Huntley.  On a roll call of votes, all members voted aye.  The motion carried 5-0.  Green was thanked for her time.

State Highway 56 Project:

  • There was no new information to report on this project.

Appointments to Library Board & Administrative Fine Board:

  • Payne reported the Library Board is recommending the appointment of Wendy Vikre to the Library Board. Motion by Huntley, second by Shipman to appoint Wendy Vikre to the unexpired term of Dianne Ahrens on the LeRoy Library Board.  Motion carried 5-0.
  • Koppen expressed apprehension to appointing anyone to the Administrative Fine Board. Koppen would prefer to not make any appointments to this board at this time.

Land Use Permits:

  • There were no land use permits for council review.

Communications File:

  • There was nothing in the communications file for council review.

Water & Sewer:

  • Jones updated council on a water leak that happened last Friday. This leak was caused when a new power pole was installed and came in contact with a water service line.  This line had not been located due to not having the proper equipment.  Jones requested to purchase a water line tracer to be able to locate these lines.  Jones was directed to get the cost for a line tracer.
  • Koppen questioned about the city-owned sewer camera. Jones reported the camera has not worked for some time; there are not parts available to fix it.  Koppen would like to see prices for a new camera.
  • Koppen questioned if the sewer main on Lowell Street should be televised prior to the street project this spring. Koppen would like to see the cost for televising this sewer main.  Jones will compile this information and present it at the March council meeting.  Payne questioned if the contract for the 2021 street project had been signed.  White reported the contract has been signed and returned to Heartland Asphalt.

Service Award Recognition:

  • Council has not received any nominations for this award.

North Baumbach Park Fence:

  • This project will be completed this spring.

Nuisance Properties:

  • White reported she has received two signed complaint letters. These will be addressed in the coming days.  Koppen noted the council may have to think ‘outside the box’ to get these properties cleaned up.  He noted the council may have to offer a roll-off dumpster or other means to get these properties cleaned up.  Council questioned if the city would need to enter the properties to clean them up.  This will be addressed if compliance is not made by the property owners.

Being no further business to come before the council, the meeting was adjourned on a motion by Shipman, second by Payne at 7:39 PM.

– Ed Koppen, Mayor

– Patty A. White, City Clerk-Treasurer