Council Minutes, February 6, 2023

Posted: February 6, 2023

City of LeRoy MN – Council Meeting Minutes, February 6, 2023

A regular meeting of the LeRoy City Council was called to order by Mayor Ed Koppen on Monday, February 6, 2023, at 6:30 PM at the LeRoy Community Center with the following members present:  Mayor Ed Koppen, Council Members Gerald Payne, Harold Shipman, Brian Thiel, Ashley Huntley, Maintenance Employee Nick Sweeney, and City Clerk Patty White.
Also attending: Axel Gumbel, Caleb Hovde, Cole Wilcox, and Deputy Tim Donovan.  All stood and recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

Consent Agenda:

  • Council reviewed the information included in the consent agenda. Being no questions, a motion was made by Payne, second by Huntley to approve the consent agenda.  Motion carried 5-0.

Police Report:

  • Deputy Donovan presented a written report covering all the types of calls for 2022. He also had a report for the calls from January, 2023.  He reported there were 50 calls for service in January.
  • Council thanked Deputy Donovan for his service and his time in presenting these reports.

Public Input Time:

  • No one present had anything to bring during public input time.

Standing Committee Reports:

  • Shipman reported on the Prairie Visions meeting he had attended. Prairie Visions is planning the Shooting Star Bike Ride for Saturday, June 17.  Shipman also reported the IronHorse Marathon will be held on Saturday, May 6; this marathon will begin here in LeRoy.
  • Huntley reported the LeRoy Area Ambulance Service will have the second rig refurbished in April.
  • Huntley reported on a conversation she had with Kyle Stern pertaining to the large pine tree at the cemetery that is dying. A crane will be needed to help take this tree down.  The cost to take this tree down is estimated at $6,500 or more.  Stern had expressed concern with the monuments that are located in this area.  Stern had requested signing a paper holding him harmless if any monument is damaged during the tree removal.  White questioned if his insurance should cover any monument damage.  Council was in agreement that this tree needs to be taken down.  Motion by Shipman to proceed with this tree removal.  Second by Huntley.  Motion carried 5-0.
  • Thiel reported the LeRoy Library Board will be discussing snow removal at their next meeting.
  • Payne reported of an interested party in operating a daycare here in town. The daycare group members will be meeting with this person in the near future.

State Highway 56 Project:

  • Koppen reported he had met with Sweeney to discuss storm sewers. It was noted there is no catch basin at the corner of the North Business Alley and Everett Street.  The installation of a catch basin in this area may be considered during the Hwy 56 project.
  • White updated the council on a conversation she has had with the city engineer and the MnDOT project manager pertaining to costs associated with this project. Council was reminded the bid letting for this project will be later this year.

Fire Chief Report:

  • Fire Chief Caleb Hovde thanked the council for approving the officers for the LeRoy Fire Department at the January meeting. Hovde reported there are currently 20 firefighters and seven explorers on the roster for the fire department.  Applications for becoming a firefighter are available at City Hall.
  • The fire department responded to 27 calls in 2022. Seven of these calls were city calls; 14 of these calls were rural calls; six of these calls were mutual aid calls with other departments.  The firefighters logged 750 training hours in 2022.
  • A new rescue truck was purchased; the department now has more space for additional tools. Hovde reported the price for new trucks increases 3% to 5% each year; the price for a new pumper truck lists at over $400,000.  The city pumper is 10 years old; the city tanker is 20 years old.  Thiel questioned what the replacement cycle should be for trucks.  Hovde noted the industry standard is 15 years, but he felt the LeRoy trucks are in good condition and are very well maintained; this adds to the useful life of these trucks.
  • Morale on the department is good. The department will be conducting a raffle and dance again in August.  Standard operating procedures are being worked on.  When these are completed, they will be brought to the council for their review and approval.  It was reported the John Jones Memorial has been hung up at the fire hall.
  • Koppen reminded those present that the fire chief is in charge of the fire department. If there are any major issues, the fire chief would bring those issues to the mayor.

Law Enforcement Contract:

  • Council reviewed the new contract provided by Mower County. Council discussed the amount of coverage the city receives.  Motion by Shipman, second by Payne to approve this new law enforcement contract.  Motion carried 5-0.

Land Use Permits:

  • There were no land use permits to review.

Communications File:

  • White reported the Open Book Meeting for Mower County is April 10, 2023, through June 6, 2023, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM each day at the Mower County Assessor’s Office.

Update on Street Project from 2022:

  • Sweeney reported he has been in contact with Colton from Heartland Asphalt. This project will be completed when the weather is fit.

Community Center Light Bulbs:

  • Sweeney and Wilcox were going to change the fluorescent tubes in the light fixtures at the community center. Instead of changing the tubes, Sweeney questioned if these bulbs should be switched to LED bulbs.  Sweeney noted the ballast would need to be removed from the light fixtures and the wiring changed.  The cost of an LED bulb is $11 per bulb.  158 bulbs would be needed for all the fixtures at the community center.  The removal of the ballasts and wiring change would need to be inspected by a licensed electrician.  Sweeney noted he and Wilcox could do this part, but Wheeler Electric or another licensed electrician would need to inspect these.  Wheeler Electric quoted a price of $4,000 to do all the work including the removal of the ballasts, the wiring change, the inspection, and the bulbs.
  • Koppen questioned what the council would like to do. Huntley suggested getting another quote and/or opinion on the lighting at the community center.  Council will review this at their March council meeting.

Community Center Kitchen Proposal:

  • Koppen noted there have not been any public input sessions pertaining to the proposed kitchen renovations. Any public input has come individually from residents and people that use the center.  Koppen noted the one wall in the community center is not a load-bearing wall.  He questioned if any walls were being taken down or moved with this project.
  • Payne reported there are no plans to remove walls. He noted an application has been submitted to the LeRoy Community Foundation in the amount of $50,000 for these kitchen renovations and other renovations in the facility.  This application will be reviewed at the LeRoy Community Foundation February meeting.  This will also be reviewed at the March council meeting.

Community Center Utility Room:

  • There was no discussion on this topic.

Service Award Recognition:

  • Koppen noted the 30th anniversary of the formation of the LeRoy EDA is coming up in March. He noted the many projects the EDA has been involved with including Dr. Morse medical practice and the Mayo Clinic Health System, Wildwood Grove, and LeRoy City Lines.  Council noted an active EDA is so important to the vitality of a community.
  • Thiel noted accolades to the LeRoy Food Shelf, to the director, and to the many volunteers. The Food Shelf serves such a great purpose for the community.  Director Bev Loven does a tremendous job with the Food Shelf; she goes over and above with her duties with the Food Shelf.

Vacant Properties:

  • White was directed to get the county assessor’s information on the three discussed vacant properties. Koppen reported he has talked to Spiff Slifka to see if she has ideas on how to proceed with getting these properties livable and rentable.  White also has received the steps to follow from the city attorney to declare these parcels hazardous.
  • Council will continue to monitor progress, or lack thereof, on these properties.

Strong & John Street-Right of Way Infringement-Traffic Flow:

  • The survey from the city engineer still needs to be completed. Council also discussed the possibility of vacating John Street if there are no utilities under this street.  This will be further reviewed.

ARPA Funds:

  • There was nothing to report on the ARPA funds.

EDA & WWG Report:

  • The combined/joint meeting was excellent. EDA President Sara Gerk was commended for the set of protocols that have been instituted between the EDA and WWG.
  • Thiel would still like to see more information on the WWG reports. He noted five elements needed on these reports including revenue, expense, balance of the line of credit, cash balance, and the amount of accounts receivable.  Payne noted these items will be included on the report presented at the joint meeting.  Payne and Shipman will take any suggestions from the council back to the EDA.  Koppen reiterated the need to follow protocols.

Being no further business to come before the council, the meeting was adjourned on a motion by Payne, second by Shipman at 7:32 PM.

– Ed Koppen, Mayor

– Patty A. White, City Clerk-Treasurer