Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, January 18, 1999

Changing of the guard at Lester Prairie city council

By Luis Puga

Last Monday Eric Angvall was sworn in as mayor at the Lester Prairie city council meeting. Larry Hoof and Roland Bruckschen also took oaths as the incoming city council members.

The oath was given by former mayor Ed Mlynar in a brief ceremony after old business on the agenda had been completed.

In a change from swearing in the council members and mayor separately, the new officers took the oath simultaneously, with each of them inserting their names and positions when prompted. The change was requested by Angvall, who typically would have sworn in the council members after he was sworn in himself.

The swearing in was followed by a presentation of a plaque to Larry Peterson by Mlynar for his years of service to the city. Peterson has been a council member from 1985 to 1999. Mlynar thanked him and Angvall also voiced thanks for Peterson's work to save the city's money for the future.

Angvall also had words of praise for outgoing Mayor Mlynar and outgoing council member Stan Erhke. He joked about how he and Mlynar had not always gotten along, but thanked him for his work at what he described as a "thankless job."

Of Erhke, he praised him for his good attitude and helpful willingness. Both the outgoing members and incoming officials received applause from those present.

Presentations were not in short supply that evening. Foreign exchange student Zilvinas Martinaitis was presented with an American flag by Bruckschen from the Legion. He was also given a sweatshirt from Joe Miller, dean of students at Lester Prairie High School. Martinaitis had been in Lester for five months and returned to his home in Lithuania on Tuesday. The sweatshirt was presented on behalf of the high school.

Last actions of the outgoing council

The city council handled some old business before the swearing in. The variance granted to Bill and Leo Melosche for a building had to be adjusted, because it fell short by two feet in its rear yard setback. The measurement was changed to no less than 38 feet.

The council also approved its Pay Equity Implementation Report for the year. The figures reported were those previous to December 31. The report is made periodically to the state's Department of Employee Relations to ensure that the city is paying all of its employees fairly.

Mlynar also took a moment to update the council, both new and old, on the Hwy. 261 turnback project. He said that the county would be able to complete the project in 1999 given that McLeod county is able to obtain some funds.

New city council business

The new city council addressed the issue of its developing comprehensive plan. The comprehensive plan is an approach to city planning based on the Community Based Planning Act of 1997.

The act, passed by the state legislature, creates 11 goals to be reached through city planning. Lester Prairie hired the Mid-Minnesota Economic Development Commission (MEDC) to develop their plan.

On behalf of Matt Johnson of the MEDC, Kay Jepson had requested that the council adjust the bid on the plan since work had not begun as of yet. The original contract signed last summer had stipulated that work would be done in 14-18 months, and Johnson was requesting an extension. Jepson asked that the council members make time to meet with Johnson as soon as possible.

Jepson also asked that council members think of potential candidates for the planning commission for the next meeting with Johnson. The current commission has not met for two years, and only two of four members have indicated that they are interested in continuing on the commission. The other two members have not responded to communiques from the city.

Members will also be needed for a comprehensive planning advisory committee made up of members who live outside of the city proper.

Park Fund

Due to major expenditures on pool maintenance over the past year, Jepson asked the council to approve the movement of $12,000 out of a certificate into the park fund.

The expenditures which depleted the funds included a roof at about $3,500, and pipe and body repairs at about $8,394. Also installed was a heater and pump for the kiddie pool.

The money transferred to the park fund will be held there just in case a walking path is built with the turnback of 261. The certificate that matured was from donations made to the city specifically for the park and pool.

Other business

- Gail Lipe was given permission by the council to use the east end of the park for soccer practices on Tuesdays. Lipe expects that she will use the field for six to eight weeks from the beginning of April.

- Mark Sebora requested that the council approve his preliminary plat drawing for construction on his lot on the south side of County Road 1. The council did so, and Sebora will have to return again for approval of his finalized plot.

- A one day license was granted to the Lester Prairie Sportsman's Club for refreshments and non-intoxicating liquor for their father/son banquet.

- Building codes were updated. The former codes were from 1997 and the council approved additions and amendments sent to them by the state which are more contemporary.

- The city approved the annual notification to their broker on investment of their 4M fund. The investment strategy will comply with limitations set by the state.

- An item on the agenda concerning billboard advertisements was tabled until February's meeting.

- Appointments were discussed, but tabled until the next meeting.

- The council moved to support Mlynar in his efforts to find a developer for lands adjacent to the city.

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