Council Minutes, May 2, 2022

Posted: May 2, 2022

City of LeRoy MN – Council Meeting Minutes, May 2, 2022

A regular meeting of the LeRoy City Council was called to order by Mayor Ed Koppen on Monday, May 2, 2022, at 6:30 PM at the LeRoy Community Center with the following members present:  Mayor Ed Koppen, Council Members Ashley Huntley, Harold Shipman, Brian Thiel, Gerald Payne, Maintenance Employee Nick Sweeney, and City Clerk Patty White.
Also attending: Axel Gumbel and Chris Bosley.  All stood and recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

Consent Agenda:

  • Thiel noted he would like to see a summary of revenue accounts, similar to what is at the end of the disbursement listing. He would also like to see a monthly balance sheet and the cash balances of the various funds.
  • Motion by Huntley, second by Shipman to approve the items included in the consent agenda. Motion carried 5-0.

Police Report:

  • There was no police report to review with the absence of the assigned deputy.

Public Input Time:

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

Standing Committee Reports:

  • Shipman reported Prairie Visions had met. They discussed the Shooting Star Bike Ride that will be held on Saturday, June 11.  Prairie Visions also discussed the Iron Horse Marathon that will begin here in LeRoy on Saturday, May 7.
  • Huntley noted there was nothing new to report from the LeRoy Area Ambulance Service.

State Highway 56 Project:

  • The letter to be sent to MnDOT representatives has not been drafted yet.

Boundary Line Issue-Encroachment Agreement:

  • No information has been received on this.

Request for Ordinance Change-To Allow Honey Bees:

  • Chris Bosley introduced himself to council. He noted he lives at 409 West Main Street; he has lived here in LeRoy for over 21 years.  He noted he enjoys many different hobbies; he has been looking at the feasibility of adding a couple of honey bee hives.
  • Bosley had reached out to city hall to see if bee hives are allowed. Current ordinance classifies honey bees as farm animals; farm animals are not allowed within the city limits.  Mr. Bosley also reached out to the University of Minnesota for information pertaining to bee hives.  He reported the City of Grand Meadow does allow honey bee hives.  Mr. Bosley would like to keep two hives.
  • Payne questioned the risks of having bee hives. Bosley replied that the hive could swarm and take off and there is a possibility that someone could get stung.  Shipman questioned if Mr. Bosley had talked to his neighbors about this.  Mr. Bosley noted he has not talked to his neighbors yet.  Mr. Bosley also noted that bees do not generate waste.  The average hive could have 20,000 bees in it.
  • Huntley does not feel that bees should be included as farm animals. Payne expressed concern about those people allergic to bees and/or bee stings.
  • Bosley noted he is not looking at getting hives yet this year; he is out of the time frame to do that. Council chose to table this to further review the information Mr. Bosley presented and to gather additional information.  Council will review this at future meetings.

Approving Election Judges for 2022 Elections:

  • Council was reminded there will be three elections this year with the first special primary on May 24; the regular primary will be held on August 9, and the general election will be held on November 8, 2022. Council reviewed the slate of election judges.
  • Motion by Huntley to approve Diane Whalen, Georgia Eastvold, John Kerr, Leslie Kerr, Mary Harrington, Georgena Bird, Jerry Utz, Judy Orum, Linda Hendrickson, and Kate Fitzgerald as election judges for the 2022 election cycle. Second by Thiel.  Motion carried 5-0.

Resolution Approving Public Sale of Tax Forfeited Property:

  • White reported the property located at 148 Miller Court, PID 26.070.0160, has forfeited to the State of Minnesota for non-payment of real estate taxes. Motion by Payne to pass Resolution 2022-06, a resolution approving the county board classification of forfeited tax property and the public sale of said property.  Second by Huntley.  On a roll call of votes, all members voted aye.  Motion carried 5-0.

Land Use Permits:

  • Council reviewed one land use permit.
  1. N ½ Lots 17 & 18, Block 11, Caswell & Lewis, 805 N East County Road, Jackson Hockens-install chain link fence
  • Motion by Payne, second by Huntley to approve said permit. Motion carried 5-0.  Koppen noted the alley adjacent to this property is not centered in the right of way.

Communications File:

  • White reported National EMS Week is May 16 through May 22. The LeRoy Area Ambulance Service has planned an event for National EMS Week on Wednesday, May 18, at South Park.  They have arranged to have a medical helicopter land at the Park to be on display.

Street Project for 2022-Road Rock for Gravel Streets:

  • Sweeney reported the need for road rock on West Street and West County Road South. He had contacted Koch, Inc. for pricing for rock.  Rock delivered in an 18 ton dump truck would cost $222.30 per load.  Koch’s would use their truck to deliver the rock; Sweeney and Wilcox would use the tractor and skid loader to spread out the rock.  Sweeney was not sure how many loads of rock it will take on these streets.  Motion by Huntley, second by Thiel to get this rock delivered and use their best judgment on how to spread the rock.  Motion carried 5-0.
  • Council reviewed the new proposal/contract from Heartland Asphalt. Sweeney questioned if the sanitary sewer mains should be televised prior to a street project.  Sweeney had a quote from Empire Pipe to televise the sewer mains at a cost of $4,800 to $5,000 for one day of televising and $6,800 for one and one half days of televising.
  • White noted the price of Heartland Asphalt’s new proposal is over the competitive bidding requirement. Motion by Payne to rescind the motion from the April 4, 2022, city council meeting stating to accept the proposal for $169,072.15 plus adding the block on Mather Street between Cabot Street and Lowell Street.  Second by Shipman.  Motion to rescind passed 5-0.  Motion by Shipman to approve the proposal dated March 17, 2022, from Heartland Asphalt, Inc. in the amount of $169,072.15.  Second by Payne.  On a roll call of votes all members voted aye.  Motion carried 5-0.  Motion by Huntley, second by Payne to authorize Empire Pipe to televise these sewer mains prior to Heartland doing their work.  Motion carried 5-0.

Warning Sirens:

  • Sweeney has been in contact with a representative from Federal Warning Systems about warning sirens. Council was reminded the east siren pole broke off in the December 15, 2021, storms.  The west siren reverses polarity and drains the batteries.  A new siren to replace the one on the water tower would cost $14,000.  Sweeney noted that possibly parts from the water tower siren could be used on the east siren to get that siren up and operational.  Council would like to see battery backup on each siren.  Sweeney will continue to gather more information on these.

Strong & John Street-Right of Way Infringement:

  • Koppen noted a letter could be sent to the affected property owner requesting him to remove items from the right of way. Koppen noted there are survey pins on the north property that can be measured from.  White was directed to send a letter to the affected property owner requesting the removal of these items within 30 days.  White was directed to consult with the city attorney on this matter.  Koppen reminded council he would like to see trees planted in this street right of way to better distinguish where the right of way is.

Sidewalk Repair/Replacement-Assessments:

  • Payne reported a neighbor of his would like to replace their sidewalk, but they don’t have the funds to do the replacement. White reported Mower County offers a loan program for the replacement of failing septic systems.  Council could draft a policy similar to the County’s to offer this type of loan program for sidewalk replacement.  Council discussed other options and payback policies.  White was directed to gather more information for council review at future meetings.

Water Main-West County Road:

  • Koppen noted there has not been any new information on this suggested project. At this time to replace the water main would cause too much damage to the street and would not make this feasible at this time.  Koppen noted if this project would have gone forward, it would have been prudent to loop the water main on West Read Street to the water main on West County Road.

Service Agreement-Roto Rooter for Lift Stations:

  • Sweeney contacted a representative from Roto Rooter; he has not received any information from them yet. Sweeney noted it would be prudent to have the lift stations pumped out twice a year.  This could help on wear and tear on the lift stations and ongoing maintenance.  Payne noted that it is cheaper doing preventative maintenance than having to repair and/or replace pumps.  Council will review this when information is available.

Security Cameras Update:

  • Koppen questioned if the check had been received from the insurance company for the slide. White noted the check has been received in full payment of the slide; shipping was not included.
  • Sweeney reported on a Loss Control Workshop he attended on parks. He noted LeRoy is not alone with park issues and vandalism.  A suggestion that was made at the workshop was to install motion activated lights to possibly help deter trouble.  Payne thought this was a prudent suggestion and felt council should proceed with this.  Thiel noted that trail cameras could also be mounted near these lights.  Sweeney was directed to follow-through with Councilor Huntley on this.
  • Sweeney had a quote for a pine straw rake that could be used for raking up sticks, branches, and pine needles in both parks. The cost of this rake is $500.  Motion by Huntley, second by Payne to proceed with this purchase.  Motion carried 5-0.

Service Award Recognition:

  • Koppen recognized Lutheran Social Services for coordinating the annual Easter Egg hunt. He expressed much appreciation to LSS for doing this.
  • Koppen also recognized Arnet Moe, who recently passed away at 103 years of age. Moe was an icon of the city, a World War II veteran, and a resident that everyone knew.

Nuisance Properties:

  • Koppen reported he had received a letter from Alexander Lucas pertaining to the work he has completed on the property he owns at 213 Henry Street. Koppen read the letter for council and passed around the pictures Mr. Lucas had provided.  Shipman questioned if there is a county building inspector that could be hired to inspect both of Mr. Lucas’s properties.  Payne noted the City of Cresco has a process to address uninhabited properties.  Payne felt a reply letter should be sent to Mr. Lucas noting that his improvements are not satisfactory.  White was directed to get the county valuation records and to contact the city attorney for direction and alternatives to getting these properties habitable or torn down.
  • Payne would like to see letters sent to the owners of record for 212 Henry Street, 509 North Everett Street, 201 East Read Street, and 440 West Main Street to address the accumulations of items in the respective yards. Payne would like to have copies of these letters emailed to him.  Follow-up letters will be sent to Marilyn Knutson and Ron Andrews to address their lack of action from the letters they received last fall.

ARPA Funds:

  • There was nothing new to report on the ARPA funds.

EDA & WWG Report:

  • Koppen noted the EDA financial report shows the funds from the sale of the LCL buses has been transferred to the city; the LCL account has now been closed out. Koppen questioned council how the deficit left on the city side should be handled.  Motion by Payne that the city will write off the balance of the LCL loan from the city for the purchase of the LCL buses.  Second by Huntley.  Motion carried 5-0.
  • Koppen questioned about the funds due from UCare for WWG in the amount of $127,000. Payne explained that UCare had changed their billing codes at the beginning of the year; the billing codes have been updated and rebilled to UCare.  Payne noted WWG seems to be in line with the budgeted figures through the first quarter of 2022.  Payne noted that after the receipt of the UCare funds that some of those funds may be used to pay down the line of credit or repay a short-term loan.  Thiel reviewed the WWG balance sheet.  He noted the balance sheet shows negative equity.  He felt some of that amount should be written off so at some point time WWG would show profitability.  Koppen suggested revisiting this at the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2022.

Being no further business to come before the council, the meeting was adjourned on a motion by Huntley, second by Payne at 8:33 PM.

– Ed Koppen, Mayor

– Patty A. White, City Clerk-Treasurer