By MAGGIE SCHUETTE-VOSS
After years of talking about it, land is finally being annexed into the city.
Last Monday, two petitions for annexation were presented to the Lester Prairie City Council.
Formative Engineering and Glencoe Butter and Produce (GBP) requested a combined 8.23 acres be annexed, which was approved.
Hillard and Marlys Klaustermeier were at the meeting and said they were considering annexing 16.9 acres of their property, but wanted to think it over. Later in the week, City Clerk Marilyn Pawelk said the Klaustermeiers did sign the petition.
Hearings regarding the annexation will be Monday, March 23 beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Pawelk said the hearings are open to the public, but their purpose is to let adjoining property owners be heard. To inform those property owners, a notice of intent to annex must also be sent to them and to Bergen Township.
After the Klaustermeier property is annexed, property taxes from the parcel will be split with the township over the next five years in 20 percent increments beginning with 20 percent in the first year.
The council agreed not to apply the same to the Formative and GBP property, as it wants to receive the full share of taxes after annexation.
The council did agree to pay all the legal costs related to the annexation.
Jepson told the council she had been requested by several people to ask that the city office be open longer. The council chose to check what other cities' office hours are and put it back on the March agenda.
Jepson suggested a three-month trial of leaving the office open on Monday's until 5:30 or 6 p.m., and that the city clerk and deputy clerk could decide between themselves who would stay late.
She pointed out many people commute and cannot make it into the office during its regular business hours 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
"Just as long as when Dorothy (Bettcher, deputy clerk,) is here she doesn't bring her knitting," Mayor Ed Mlynar said.
Pawelk gave a list of times and numbers of people who contacted the office. She said when someone was in the office after 3 p.m., there were four calls each in the months of November and December.
Jerry Pawelk said the council couldn't go by those statistics.
"The hours have been the same for 20 years; people are trained not to call after 3 p.m.," he said. Ehrke agreed.
"Once you do this you'll never get away from it," Clerk Pawelk said.
"I didn't think we were supposed to get away from it. I thought we were here to provide a service," Jepson said.
Private property owners could have a decrease in their insurance rates, thanks to the fire department receiving a better class rating from its insurance company.
The department was bumped up from a class seven to a class six. The class change will be effective March 1.
A letter from Insurance Services Offices, Chicago, Ill., stated this may decrease private property owners insurance premiums.
"Policy holders should contact their agent or insurance company to determine the effect on their policy."