February 5, 2024, Meeting Minutes

Posted: May 2, 2024

City of LeRoy MN – Council Meeting Minutes, February 5, 2024


A regular meeting of the LeRoy City Council was called to order by Mayor Ed Koppen on Monday, February 5, 2024, at 6:30 PM at the LeRoy Community Center with the following members present:  Mayor Ed Koppen, Council Members Harold Shipman, Gerald Payne, Brian Thiel, Ashley Huntley, Maintenance Employee Nick Sweeney, and City Clerk Patty White.
Also attending: Dick Soltau, Cole Wilcox, Caleb Hovde, Ashley Roney, Deputy Katlynne Fisher, Spiff Slifka, Ron Purkapile, and Axel Gumbel.  All stood and recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

Consent Agenda:

  • Payne posed a couple of questions on the bills. He also requested to move the Report of the EDA/WWG to the Standing Committee Reports.  Council agreed to this move.
  • Thiel noted the information from the KPI Report showing Wildwood Grove ended the year with a positive cash flow with all bills being paid. He also made note of the figures associated with the water and sewer funds.
  • Motion by Huntley, second by Shipman to approve the consent agenda. Motion carried 5-0.

Police Report:

  • Deputy Fisher reported the Mower County Sheriff’s Department averaged just over seven hours per day during the past month. She reported the majority of the calls were traffic stops and medical calls.  She reported there were 19 stops within the city limits; 20 stops were made outside the city limits.
  • Deputy Fisher reported of receiving some calls about parking on East County Road. It was noted the vehicles are parked on the east side of the street.  It was noted East County Road is not a full-width street.  Dick Soltau reported he put reflective markers along his property.  Soltau noted there used to be ‘no parking’ signs on the east side of East County Road between Main Street and north of Frederick Street.  No one on the council could remember these ‘no parking’ signs.  Huntley questioned what the process is to address this parking situation.  Koppen reported he has not seen enough of a problem.  He felt it best to continue to monitor this situation.  If these issues continue, the council will need to come up with a plan.  Another option would be to turn East County Road into a full-width street.

Public Input Time:

  • Ashley Roney questioned about the increase in the water/sewer bills for the Hwy 56 debt service. Thiel gave a summary of this project including the debt service.  Roney thanked Thiel for this explanation; she just wanted to have her questions answered and to understand the process.

Standing Committee Reports:

  • Payne reported the EDA has been working on a new website for the EDA. Council and those present moved to the lower banquet room to review a proposal for a new website by Spiff Slifka, the EDA coordinator through CEDA, and Axel Gumbel.  The council was told it will cost approximately $2,200 to build this new site plus a one-time fee of $100 for the domain name.  These costs will be covered with a grant from the LeRoy Community Foundation.   Koppen noted his understanding for this new website was this new site would be for the EDA; he noted he thought the city would retain the present website.  That would keep the current site as the government-type site.  Gumbel felt both the EDA and city council would all be working on this together with one site.  Thiel questioned who is building this site.  Slifka reported Iroc Designs from Calmar, Iowa, has been contracted to build this new site.  Iroc Designs has been in business for 20+ years.  Thiel noted he would like more information on this company.  Gumbel noted Iroc Design is requesting of the city council the rights to the present website to be able to take that information and transfer it to the new site.  Motion by Thiel to table this request to give the council more time to review this company.  Motion by Payne to allow access to the city domain name and proceed with this new site.  Koppen noted no motions would be accepted until the council is seated back at the council table.  Koppen felt it best to table this request to give the council more time to research this.  Huntley noted you currently have a city employee, the CEDA rep, and a resident that is not a member of the EDA that have access to the current website.  Those present moved back to the small meeting room.  Questions were posed if both sites could be linked, or if it would be better to have just one site with all the information.  Motion by Payne to move the current website to the new website with White, Slifka, and Gumbel being named to manage this site; Iroc Design will guarantee the security of this new site.  Gumbel noted he is not a member of the EDA or city council; he would volunteer to help maintain the site.   Second by Shipman.  Slifka gave an explanation on many different websites and the reasons behind having either combined or separate websites.  Payne and Shipman noted the need to sell LeRoy and all that is here.  Huntley questioned if this decision is tabled for one month will the council members take the time to review this company.  Shipman noted that Slifka and Gumbel have spent much time on this new site.  On a roll call of votes, Shipman, Payne, and Huntley voted aye.  Thiel and Koppen cast nay votes.  The motion carried 3-2.
  • Koppen reported he had attended the Prairie Visions meeting. It was reported the DNR will be rehabbing the bike trail from the boundary of Lake Louise State Park going six miles west at a cost of approximately $4M.  Funding for the connection of the Shooting Star Trail and Wapsi Trail is being worked on with area state representatives and senators.  The Chert Quarry near Grand Meadow is hoping to have a grand opening in the spring.
  • Huntley reported the LeRoy Area Ambulance Service responded to 220 calls in 2023. The EMT class has begun; it is hoped to increase the crew here in LeRoy by seven or eight when this class is completed.

State Highway 56 Project:

  • White requested to open a savings account to deposit the debt service funds into so those funds are available when the debt service payments are due. Motion by Payne, second by Thiel to allow the opening of this savings account.  Motion carried 5-0.

City Attorney RFP:

  • Motion by Thiel to confirm the appointment of LeVander, Gillen & Miller, P.A. as city attorney. Second by Huntley.  Motion carried 5-0.

LeRoy Fire Department-Fire Chief Report:

  • Fire Chief Caleb Hovde thanked the council for approving the slate of officers for the fire department for 2024. He reported there are currently 20 firefighters and five (5) explorers on the department.  One firefighter is currently taking the Firefighter 1 training.  The department is always accepting applications from people that would like to serve on the department.
  • Hovde reported the MN/IA Fire Assn. has purchased a 6,000 gallon water tanker; this truck is now in use. A firefighter needs to have a CDL license to drive this truck.  All the firefighters do take a driving course to be able to drive the fire trucks.  The current ISO rating for the City is 5.
  • Hovde noted the equipment is in good shape. The oldest pumper is 21 years old; the other pumper is 13 years old.  Both pumpers are in good shape; the pumps are tested annually.  Hovde noted a new pumper cost can range from $500,000 upwards to $1M; a new truck ordered would take 18 months to arrive.  Hovde reported the city calls account for 34% of the total fire calls; these calls include Mayo 1 landings.  Hovde reiterated this is a great community to work in; the morale on the department is good.  Hovde reported the Department is researching grants and donations for the purchase of a Ranger; this UTV could be used for grass fires and other rescue operations.  The council thanked Chief Hovde for his report and the LeRoy Fire Department for all they do.

Land Use Permits:

  • Council reviewed one land use permit:
  1. Lot 29, Block 1, River’s Edge Addition, 149 Miller Court, Heather Hughes-build new home
  • Motion by Payne, second by Shipman to approve said permit. Motion carried 5-0.
  • Thiel presented Housing Incentive schedule showing what the comparison with the tax abatement program the city currently participates in along with the cost of offering a $12,000 cash incentive when the house construction is dried in. Council discussed this alternative and wondered if they can withdraw from the tax abatement program.  White will check into this.  White reported Ms. Hughes planned on filing the tax abatement paperwork with Mower County.  Motion by Shipman, second by Huntley to call for a public hearing for tax abatement for March 4, 2024, at 7:00 PM.  Motion carried 5-0.

Communications File:

  • Koppen noted that Summer Fest will be held in 2024 the third weekend in July, namely July 19, 20, & 21. Thiel thanked Sweeney & Wilcox for removing the one handicap parking sign from the library parking area.

2024 Street Project-South Mather Street Storm Sewer:

  • Sweeney presented a quote from Mehmert Tiling, Inc. in the amount of $98,008.77 for the installation of this storm sewer. Sweeney contacted another contractor for a quote, but that contractor declined to give a quote due to not having availability to do this project.  Sweeney reported a drive-over curb and catch basins will be installed with this project and will tie into Hwy 56 during that construction.  Motion by Thiel, second by Huntley to accept this quote from Mehmert Tiling, Inc. for this project.  Motion carried 5-0.

East Lift Station Repairs:

  • Sweeney presented a quote for two ABS dry-pit submersible oil filled/cooled pumps for a cost of $53,358.71. This price includes the pumps and installation.  Motion by Shipman, second by Thiel to accept this quote and allocate funds from the Capital Projects Fund.  Motion carried 5-0.  It was questioned if the pump issue had been submitted to the city insurance.  Sweeney reported it had been submitted.

East County Road-Sanitary Sewer Project:

  • Sweeney received two quotes for this project. One quote from Mehmert Tiling, Inc. was in the amount of $90,612.28.  The other quote was from Bustad Dozing & Excavating in the amount of $86,298.00.  Sweeney noted both quotes were comparable and included installing new manholes.  Sweeney reported the city engineer was involved with this.  Sweeney would like to see this project completed early this spring; Sweeney recommended using Bustad for this project.  Sweeney noted Bustad does good work; they also do a lot of work for the city.  Motion by Payne, second by Shipman to accept the quote from Bustad Dozing & Excavating and allocate funds from the Capital Projects Fund.  Motion carried 5-0.

Well House Report:

  • Sweeney reported Ness Electric installed new VFD motors at the well house. Sweeney noted the items contained in the control cabinet are not all the same age; some of the items are a number of years old.  The PLC that communicates with everything has been causing issues.  Sweeney reached out to the company that installed this; he has not received a response from him.  Sweeney will reach out to the company that built the cabinet to get the schematics for it.  Sweeney noted part of the equipment is Idec; Ness Electric uses Rockwell equipment.  Koppen questioned the cost to switch to Rockwell equipment.  Council consensus to have Sweeney proceed with Ness Electric and use equipment that Ness is familiar with to correct these issues.

Community Center Marquee Sign:

  • Thiel had received a quote from Stewart Signs; the sign would be roughly twice as big as the existing sign. The quote was in the amount of $17,000.  Thiel was directed to continue researching signs.

Community Center Kitchen Project:

  • Koppen made note of the trap door in the floor of the small meeting room. He noted to be OSHA compliant a ship ladder should be installed to the basement.  This will be researched.
  • Payne reported the project is underway. Koppen questioned what category the kitchen will be when it is completed.  Payne reported it will be a Category 1 kitchen; Payne noted this will be a certified kitchen when it is completed.
  • Koppen noted that it would behoove the city to authorize Ron Purkapile to be at the community center during the plumbing construction. Koppen noted as Mayor and as being assigned to public buildings, he can authorize Mr. Purkapile to be at the community center during this.  Payne noted the state plumbing inspector will need to inspect any plumbing work prior to closing up any of the construction.  Payne noted the MDH inspector will need to inspect the kitchen prior to the kitchen being used by anyone.  Huntley questioned if the council is questioning the ability of B & C Plumbing.  Koppen noted that is not what he is questioning; he again reiterated that as his position of Mayor and being assigned to public buildings that Mr. Purkapile will be at the Community Center during this process.  Payne noted he is not looking for confrontation; he does not appreciate being called names and having to put up with this badgering at every meeting concerning this kitchen project.  Shipman felt that Mr. Purkapile should not be there; he noted the inspections that will occur.  Thiel questioned what the meaning of this entire conversation is; he noted licensed contractors are doing the work.

Service Award Recognition:

  • No one had anyone or anything to bring forward for service award recognition.

Vacant & Nuisance Properties:

  • It was questioned about the property located at 210 East Frederick. White reported this property is now in foreclosure.  She will reach out to the city attorney for direction.

Strong & John Street-ARPA Funds:

  • There was nothing new to report on these two items.

Being no further business to come before the council, the meeting was adjourned on a motion by Thiel, second by Shipman at 8:40 PM.




Edwin Koppen, Mayor




Patty A. White, City Clerk-Treasurer