January 8, 2024, Meeting Minutes

Posted: May 2, 2024

City of LeRoy MN – Council Meeting Minutes, January 8, 2024


A regular meeting of the LeRoy City Council was called to order by Mayor Ed Koppen on Monday, January 8, 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: Cole Wilcox, Keith Winkels, Ron Purkapile, Deputy Katlynne Fisher, Dick Soltau, and Axel Gumbel.  All stood and recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

Appointments to Standing Committees:

  • Council reviewed the proposed appointments to the standing committees. Appointments to the standing committees for 2024 were made as follows:
  • Brian Thiel-Fire Department Personnel Committee; Service Award Recognition; Library Board
  • Harold Shipman-Streets & Alleys; Prairie Visions; Acting Mayor; Legal & Accounting; EDA
  • Ashley Huntley-Parks & Recreation; Ambulance Board; Cemetery & Tree Boards
  • Gerald Payne-Water & Sewer; EDA
  • Ed Koppen-Legal & Accounting; Public Buildings
  • Motion by Payne, second by Huntley to approve the appointments to the standing committees for 2024 and to name Koppen, Shipman, and White as official signatories for city accounts. Motion carried 5-0.

Appointments to Appointed Committees:

  • Council reviewed the two RFPs that were received for city attorney. These RFPs were submitted by LeVander, Gillen & Miller, P.A. from Eagan and by Flaherty Hood, P.A. from St. Paul.  Koppen recommended that he and Shipman, as being appointed to legal and accounting, to review these RFPs.  Payne noted he liked the three-year price that LeVander, Gillen & Miller provided.  Motion by Huntley to proceed with the review of these RFPs by Koppen, Shipman, and White, and to approve their recommendation for city attorney.  Second by Thiel.  Motion carried 5-0.
  • Council reviewed the proposed appointments to the appointed committees. Koppen noted the appointment of Courtney Vosberg to the LeRoy Library Board to the seat held by Wendy Vikre.  It was also noted the terms of Sara Gerk and Josh Diemer on the LeRoy EDA expired at the end of the year.  Both Gerk and Diemer are willing to serve another term on the LeRoy EDA.  Koppen noted the Administrative Fine Board does not have any appointments.  This board will be filled when necessary.
  • Fire Relief Assn. Board Reps-Ashley Huntley, Patty White
  • City Auditor-Smith Schafer & Associates, LTD
  • Official City Newspaper-Mower County Independent
  • Official Depositories-First National Bank, LeRoy; First State Bank Minnesota, LeRoy
  • City Engineer-Jones, Haugh & Smith
  • Library Board-Lisha Hindt, Jessica Fraser, Laurie Schmidt, Vada Dahl, Shirley Miller, Georgia Eastvold, Courtney Vosberg, Brian Thiel (council rep)
  • Fire Dept. Personnel Committee-Brian Thiel, Patty White, Caleb Hovde, Dan Feather
  • Administrative Fine Board:
  • LeRoy EDA-Josh Diemer, Jan Dohlman, Sara Gerk, Tracy Smith, Cristi Masters, Harold Shipman & Gerald Payne (council reps)
  • Motion by Shipman, second by Huntley to approve the appointments to the appointed committees. Motion carried 5-0.

LeRoy Fire Department-Fire Chief Report:

  • Due to the absence of the fire chief, council reviewed the slate of officers for the LeRoy Volunteer Fire Department. The officers include Caleb Hovde-Fire Chief; Dan Feather-Assistant Fire Chief; Brent Dohlman-Captain; Dan Hanson-Lieutenant; Nick Sweeney-Fire Marshall/Emergency Management; Jake Payne & Tim Freerksen-Training Officers; Jason Bastian-Secretary.  Motion by Shipman, second by Payne to accept the election results and the slate of officers for the LeRoy Volunteer Fire Department for 2024.  Motion carried 5-0.
  • Fire Chief Caleb Hovde will attend the February council meeting to give a report of the Fire Department.

Consent Agenda:

  • Council reviewed the items included in the consent agenda. Payne posed a couple of questions on the bills paid.  Motion by Payne, second by Shipman to approve the consent agenda.  Motion carried 5-0.

Police Report:

  • Deputy Fisher reported deputies were on duty here in LeRoy 6.8 hours per day over the past month. There were 38 total calls for service.  She noted the majority of calls have been traffic stops and medical calls.  Council thanked Deputy Fisher for her report and service.

Public Input Time:

  • Ron Purkapile reported on conversations he has had with Leslie Hines at MDH. Koppen suggested keeping this conversation until the agenda item, Community Center Kitchen.
  • No one else had anything to bring during public input time.

Standing Committee Reports:

  • Huntley noted an EMT class will be beginning here in LeRoy. It is hoped to gain six new EMTs for the LeRoy service from this training.

State Highway 56 Project:

  • Tree removal began today for this project. White noted payment for this project has been made to MnDOT.

Request to Attend MRWA & MCFOA Conferences:

  • Motion by Payne, second by Thiel to allow attendance for Cole Wilcox to the MRWA Conference and to allow attendance for White to the MCFOA Conference. Motion carried 5-0.

Appoint Election Judges for Presidential Nominating Primary:

  • White presented the names of Diane Whalen, Georgena Bird, Georgia Eastvold, Jerry Utz, Kathy Stern, and Jessica Fraser as judges to serve at the Presidential Nominating Primary to be held on March 5, 2024. Motion by Shipman, second by Huntley to appoint these judges.  Motion carried 5-0.

Land Use Permits-Proposed Smoke Shop:

  • There were no land use permits for council review.
  • White updated council on the email conversation she had with the city attorney pertaining to a person that had contacted city hall about opening a smoke/vape shop. Council was reminded the city does not license tobacco; Mower County does that licensing.

Communications File:

  • Council reviewed a thank you from Boy Scout Troop 84 thanking the council for the use of water for their car wash fundraisers.
  • It was noted the city received a bequest from the Dorothy Karlen Trust in the amount of $132,474.59. The will stipulates these funds are designated to the cemetery.  Council was much appreciative of this bequest.  White noted these funds have been deposited into savings.  It was questioned if these funds should be invested in a CD or CDs at First National Bank to get a better interest rate.  White was directed to check this out.



Proposed 2024 Street Project:

  • Council reviewed the video of the condition of the sanitary sewer main on East County Road between John Street and Frederick Street. The condition of this main is very poor.  Sweeney recommended with the need to repair this, the Hwy 56 project, and the South Mather storm sewer project to not consider any other street project for 2024.
  • Thiel questioned if there was a plan for street repair/replacement. Sweeney noted there is not.  Sweeney and Wilcox will work on this type of plan as time allows.
  • Sweeney reported he has been in contact with Mehmert Tiling about replacing the sewer main on East County Road. The city engineer was also involved with this.  Sweeney noted approximately 645’ of sewer main that will need to be replaced.  This main cannot be lined; it is in too poor of condition for lining.  Motion by Payne to proceed with getting this section of East County Road sewer main replaced as soon as Mehmert Tiling can work it into their schedule.  Second by Thiel.  Motion carried 5-0.

East Lift Station Repairs:

  • Sweeney reported Minnesota Pump was here to look at the pumps in the east lift station. There are two 7.5 horsepower pumps in the lift station now.  Minnesota Pump recommended replacing these two pumps with two 12 horsepower pumps.  To do this, some electrical work will also need to be done.  Sweeney noted he has not received a price quote yet.  Sweeney reported if these pumps are replaced along with the other things that have already been done at the lift station, this lift station would be almost completely refurbished.  Motion by Thiel to approve the east lift station repairs as discussed.  Second by Payne.  Motion carried 5-0.

Empire Pipe Report-East County Road:

  • This item was discussed under the proposed 2024 street project.

Community Center Marquee Sign:

  • Council reviewed the proposal received from Precision Signs for a new marquee sign. One proposal was for a 6’x4’ 16mm full color sign in the amount of $33,633.12; the other proposal was for a 6’x4’ 10mm full color sign in the amount of $40,601.76.
  • Thiel reported he had researched other signs and companies on the internet. He had quotes for a couple different signs, comparable to what is currently there, for costs of $6,295 & $6,795.  Council chose to table this item and continue to research signs for the center.

Community Center Kitchen Project:

  • Ron Purkapile reported he had reached out to Leslie Hines from MDH. He noted from his conversation with her that the MDH inspector that had been at the community center was not in the basement.  Purkapile reported he reached out to Rob Davis, the MDH inspector that came here to LeRoy.  Mr. Purkapile also questioned Ms. Hines about the Ansul system.  Koppen reported he had reviewed minutes from previous meetings.  He questioned about the different classifications of kitchens including a warming kitchen, a Category 1 kitchen and a Category 2 kitchen.  Huntley questioned what the council is trying to accomplish with this conversation.  She questioned what MDH thinks when all these outside people contact them about a project.
  • Payne thanked Mr. Purkapile for investigating this when he (Payne) had already done this work. Payne noted Mr. Davis was here to look at the existing kitchen.  Davis pointed out items that needed to be changed to be in compliance.  Payne explained a Category 1 kitchen is a minimal use kitchen with minimal cooking being done.  Most food from a Category 1 kitchen is catered.  A Category 2 kitchen is a kitchen with much cooking and serving being done from this kitchen.  A warming kitchen is not listed in the categories with MDH.  Payne reported he submitted plans for a Category 1 kitchen.  He also had plumbing plans, prepared by B & C Plumbing, submitted.  Payne then again spoke with Ms. Hines.  Plumbing plans for the drain were then submitted; these plans were also prepared by B & C Plumbing.  Payne reported Ms. Hines then reported the plans had been approved, and the renovations could proceed.  Payne noted Ms. Hines did recommend the Ansul system, but Mr. Davis noted you do not need the Ansul system if the hood extends beyond the stove and the fire department and city insurance company says the Ansul system is not necessary.  Both the fire chief and the city insurance agent were contacted about this; they both noted the use of the kitchen is not changing so the installation of an Ansul system would not be necessary.  Payne explained the plumbing and drain lines.  He noted that all of this will be done according to code.  Koppen questioned if new steps to the basement will be installed for the plumbers.  It was noted the existing steps should suffice for the plumbers.
  • Shipman noted he would like to proceed with this project as it has been discussed for many months now. He noted the council has spent more time discussing this project than what they have discussed the Hwy 56 project or the East County Road sewer.
  • Koppen questioned if this entire project will be completed for $50,000, the amount awarded by the LeRoy Community Foundation. Payne noted the project will go over the $50,000 due to the other inspections and plans that have been required.  Payne figures the project to cost between $51,000 and $55,000.  Thiel called for a point of order as all of this has been discussed at previous meetings.  Payne noted the cabinets and appliances have been ordered.  Half down payment was required at the time these were ordered. These funds will be reimbursed by the LeRoy Community Foundation.  Payne reported this project will begin at the end of January and continue into February.

Service Award Recognition:

  • Huntley recognized the LeRoy Area Ambulance Explorers (Madaline Huntley, Max Reburn, Candace Hanson, Kacee McKenzie, Jacob Payne, Kelly Hanson) for all they do for the ambulance service. They are a great help to the service and are an asset to the service.
  • Koppen recognized the Jingle & Mingle Christmas event that was spearheaded by Brent & Ashley Dohlman. Many people enjoyed this event.

Vacant & Nuisance Properties:

  • Koppen noted the house at 210 East Frederick has had plywood nailed over the open windows and doors. He noted the other properties the council has been working on are much improved from what they were.  There are some other properties that will be addressed at future meetings.

Strong & John Street-Right of Way Infringement & ARPA Funds:

  • There was nothing new to report on these two items. The large electrical box on the corner of East Main Street and North East County Road will be monitored as it is to be moved for the Hwy 56 project.  Shipman noted he wants to be informed of any future preconstruction meetings on the Hwy 56 project.  He, Payne, and Thiel would like to attend these.  White reminded them that all three of them cannot attend the same meeting as this could be seen as a violation of the open meeting law.

EDA & WWG Report:

  • Payne noted things at WWG seem to be operating smoothly.
  • White noted the request for a street light to be installed near the entrance to WWG. This driveway is quite dark.  Motion by Payne, second by Shipman to have Freeborn-Mower Electric install a street light at the entrance to WWG.  Motion carried 5-0.

Being no further business to come before the council, the meeting was adjourned on a motion by Shipman, second by Thiel at 7:58 PM.