Council Minutes, June 5, 2023

Posted: June 5, 2023

City of LeRoy MN – Council Meeting Minutes, June 5, 2023

A regular meeting of the LeRoy City Council was called to order by Mayor Ed Koppen on Monday, June 5, 2023, at 6:30 PM at the LeRoy Community Center with the following members present:  Mayor Ed Koppen, Council Members Harold Shipman, Brian Thiel, Gerald Payne, Ashley Huntley, Maintenance Employee Nick Sweeney, and City Clerk Patty White.
Also attending: Cole Wilcox, Cindy & Garry Losee, Ron Purkapile, Scott Kerrins, Deputy Andrew Pike, and Joe Hamlin.  All stood and recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

Consent Agenda:

  • Council reviewed the items in the consent agenda. Motion by Payne, second by Shipman to approve the consent agenda.  Motion carried 5-0.

Police Report:

  • Deputy Andrew Pike introduced himself to those present and presented the police report for the past two months. The question was raised if the deputies enforce the LeRoy city ordinances.  Deputy Pike noted the county attorney will not prosecute anyone in relation to the city ordinances; any prosecution would have to be done through the city attorney’s office.  White and Deputy Pike will further check on this.  Deputy Pike was thanked for his time and report.

Public Input Time:

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

Standing Committee Reports:

  • Koppen noted Prairie Visions met; they are preparing for their bike ride to be held on Saturday, June 17. A tree will be replaced along the trail; this tree has died.
  • Huntley reported the second ambulance rig has been refurbished and is back in service.

State Highway 56 Project:

  • White read the waiver of payment. Motion by Huntley, second by Thiel to accept the waiver of payment.  Motion carried 5-0.
  • Thiel noted he is advocating to delay this project by one year. He noted it is a strong possibility for the city to attain a low-cost loan through USDA-Rural Development.  Rural Development currently has an interest rate of 3%.  He noted there are no grants involved.  Thiel presented dollar figures of potential savings based on a 40-year loan through Rural Development for the water and sewer portion of this project.  The city would need to bond for the balance of the project (roughly one-fourth of the project); this bond could be written for 20 years.
  • Thiel referenced an email from Jacob Gasper, the MnDOT project manager, for this project. Gasper’s note referenced that MnDOT could delay this project by one year, but the city council would need to pass a resolution requesting this delay.  Shipman expressed concern that MnDOT could possibly delay this project for more than one year.  Huntley questioned why these funding options were not researched earlier; she noted this project is ready to be completed.
  • Scott Kerrins, the city administrator for the City of Grand Meadow, reported the City of Grand Meadow received a low-interest loan through the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority for a portion of their project; they issued bonds for the remainder of their project.
  • Thiel concurred that if the city were to pursue the Rural Development funding, this would cost an additional $1,074,700 in interest over the life of the loan. Payne noted a couple of business owners were concerned with how this project will be paid for.  It was noted that inflation could also play a role in project costs if the project is delayed one year.  Shipman felt to proceed with doing this project on MnDOT’s schedule.
  • Motion by Shipman to proceed with this project with construction in 2024. Second by Huntley.  One a roll call of votes Shipman, Huntley, and Koppen voted aye.  Thiel and Payne cast nay votes.  The motion carried 3-2.

Land Use Permits:

  • Council reviewed one land use permit.
  1. Lot 1, Block 3, Hickock 2nd Addition, 880 E Lowell, Axel Gumbel-build composite deck
  • Motion by Payne, second by Huntley to approve this land use permit. Motion carried 5-0.

Communications File:

  • Council reviewed the request to become members of the Minnesota Association of Small Cities for a membership fee of $555.60. Council took no action on this.

Alley Vacation Petition:

  • Council reviewed the petition received from the abutting property owners on the alley located east of south Everett Street. Cindy Losee reported she has lived in the same house for 40 years and received two tax statements this year for her parcels that are located on both sides of this alley.  This alley is not maintained by the city; the abutting property owners keep this area mowed.
  • Motion by Thiel, second by Shipman to pass Resolution 2023-03, a resolution calling for a public hearing on the proposed vacation to be held on Monday, July 10, 2023, at 7:00 PM. Motion carried 5-0.

Update on Street Projects for 2022 & 2023:

  • Sweeney reported the projects have all been completed.

Resident Request for Water/Sewer Bill Adjustment-212 Henry Street:

  • Council reviewed the water usage at this residence since the current owner moved in. A large spike in usage was noted in December, 2022.  Council noted they did not want to set a precedent with adjusting this bill.  White was directed to work with the current owner to get this water/sewer bill paid.

City Water Service Request-11364 767th Avenue:

  • Koppen noted that city water service has been taken outside the city limits in the past. It was noted the expense for this water installation is paid by the property owner.  Motion by Shipman to allow connection of city water service to 11364 767th  Second by Payne.  Motion carried 5-0.

Employee Wage Review-Cole:

  • It was noted that Cole Wilcox has attained his Class D wastewater license. Wilcox reported he will be taking his Class D water license exam in July.  Council reviewed the step increments associated with the job positions and wage increases.
  • Motion by Payne to increase Mr. Wilcox’s rate of pay $1.35 per hour retroactive to the date Mr. Wilcox passed his test. Second by Shipman.  Motion carried 5-0.  Council commended Mr. Wilcox for a job well done.

Community Center Kitchen Project:

  • Council reviewed the letter received from the LeRoy Community Foundation pertaining to funding for this project. Koppen noted this kitchen is classified as a warming kitchen.
  • Payne reported he had met with a Minnesota Department of Health Inspector to look at the present kitchen. The inspector recommended keeping the tile floor; the floor will need to be power-washed and sealed.  All the appliances will need to be commercial grade; the existing range can be kept.  The hood over the range will be in compliance if the fire department approves the hood.  The countertop laminate will need to be approved.  A sign needs to be installed by the hand-washing sink noting this sink is only for hand-washing.  A tell-tale drain needs to be installed on the sinks.  An in-floor mop station will need to be installed.  This could be placed in the closet in the small meeting room.  An application will need to be prepared with samples of what will be installed, and sent for approval.  There is a $500 application fee.
  • Motion by Shipman, second by Thiel to proceed with the application process. The motion carried 5-0.

Service Award Recognition:

  • Axel Gumbel had provided a written recognition to commend Bob Hutchinson, Katie Rice, and Cole Wilcox for their good deeds on the Saturday before Memorial Day. This recognition pertained to an American flag that was found in the middle of Main Street.  After some research to find the rightful owner of the flag, the flag was reinstalled.  This was an encouraging episode of citizens doing the right thing and working together.  Most importantly, there was respect for the flag at every turn.
  • Koppen commended all those involved with donating to, attending, and bidding on the numerous baskets that were donated for the annual basket social. Over $4,300 was raised.
  • Koppen commended Nick Sweeney and Cole Wilcox for their quick response to a major issue at the east lift station. Sweeney reported no sewer backup in households was reported.  Having Roto-Rooter here to keep the flow of wastewater handled, to D.C. Braun coming to install a new control cabinet, and some assistance of maintenance employees from Adams and Grand Meadow, the issue was manageable.  Sweeney reported the second pump should be installed this week.
  • Payne noted a thank you to Mike King, Bill Benkstein, Al Hodgdon, and Gene Miller for volunteering to paint the tennis courts.
  • Payne also noted a thank you to Harold Shipman, Ashley Huntley, Cole Wilcox, Nick Sweeney, and Patty White for assisting with the city-wide cleanup. Payne was also thanked for helping.

Vacant Properties:

  • Koppen noted White has been in contact with the city attorney on these properties. Payne noted he would like to get the next steps from the city attorney to proceed with getting these properties cleaned up.  The condition of the property at 208 West Read Street was also discussed.
  • Council would like to meet with the city attorney on these matters. White was directed to set up a meeting, or work session, to address these issues with the city attorney.

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

  • Koppen noted this street has been surveyed; both properties are infringing on the right of way. Koppen was not in favor of doing anything major with this street until after the Hwy 56 project is completed.  Sweeney offered to talk to one of the property owners to see if he can get compliance with moving some of the items located in the street right of way.  The street will also be graded and rock added, if necessary.

ARPA Funds:

  • There was nothing to report on the ARPA funds.

EDA & WWG Report:

  • Payne noted WWG had a good month in April. There are two vacancies at the present time.  He reported Diane Whalen, Administrator at WWG, is now a fully licensed assisted living director.
  • Payne reported he and Spiff Slifka met with some representatives from the DNR about the closure of the pit toilets at the beach area at Lake Louise. It was reported these facilities are to be replaced at some point in time.  The bike trail also needs to be resurfaced.  Payne reported the dam is supposed to be inspected in 2025.  Signage will be installed at Rowe’s Pit.  New Lake Louise signs are to be installed on the highways.  It was requested to change the ‘no camping’ signs to ‘seasonal camping’.  Payne reported the DNR only allows 16 hours per month for someone to take care of the mowing and other duties at Lake Louise.

Being no further business to come before the city council, the meeting was adjourned on a motion by Shipman, second by Huntley at 8:08 PM.  Due to the July 4th holiday, the next regular meeting of the LeRoy City Council will be held on Monday, July 10, 2023.

– Ed Koppen, Mayor

– Patty A. White, City Clerk-Treasurer