By Ivan Raconteur
Lester Prairie is under new management after a round of seat-shuffling at last Monday’s city council meeting.
Mayor Eric Angvall, who announced his resignation in March, stepped down at the end of the meeting.
Council Member Larry Hoof, as acting mayor, would normally have been appointed to fill the vacancy, but respectfully asked the council to appoint Council Member Andy Heimerl instead.
The council appointed Heimerl to serve the remainder of Angvall’s term, which ends in January.
If Heimerl wishes to continue as mayor beyond that point, he will have to run for the office in November. If he chooses not to do so, or if he runs but is not elected, he would resume his term as council member for the remainder of the term, which runs through 2010.
Heimerl, who was elected in 2006, was the newest member of the council.
The council then appointed resident Bob Messer to fill the council vacancy created by Heimerl’s move to mayor. The appointment will run until January, and if Messer wishes to remain on the council beyond that point, he will need to run for office this November.
Hoof administered the oath of office to Heimerl, and, in one of his first official acts as mayor, Heimerl administered the oath of office to Messer.
More changes are on the horizon for the city. The terms of council members Art Mallak and Ron Foust are up for election in November, and Mallak has said that he does not plan to seek re-election.
Community calendar project approved
The council approved a proposal to participate in a joint community calendar project between the city and the Lester Prairie School District.
Principal Scott Fitzsimonds presented a revised proposal to print 1,000 copies of the calendar at a total cost of $4,000. The city and the school district will split the cost.
Fitzsimonds said the cost could be reduced if other community groups choose to participate, and if local businesses choose to purchase advertising on the calendar.
The calendar will include dates for both school and city events, as well as other information such as recycling days and meeting dates for community organizations.
The final draft will be completed in June, and the calendars will be delivered at no charge to school district residents by students in August.
Cooperative agreement for law enforcement services approved
The council approved a joint cooperative agreement for law enforcement services with other McLeod County law enforcement agencies.
The agreement will cover participation in events such as the Winstock Country Music Festival.
Police Chief Bob Carlson said that in the past, local agencies were working at the event under their existing mutual aid agreement.
They recently learned that this agreement only applies to emergency situations, and the city’s workers’ compensation does not cover employees who work at Winstock.
“It is a non-profit organization, and they work with volunteers. They have never had a need for workers’ compensation,” Carlson said.
He explained that the issue does not apply to him, because he is employed by the City of Winsted and wears a Winsted police uniform when working at Winstock.
The agreement is necessary for the part-time officer and the reserve officer from Lester Prairie who work at Winstock to be covered by workers’ compensation insurance.
There was discussion about why Lester Prairie should incur costs and assume liability when its officers work in other cities, but, in the end, the council approved the agreement.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• scheduled an open house at the wastewater treatment plant Saturday, May 31 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• heard that the next court hearing for Corey and Clint Schmidt, owners of the former hotel property at 100 Maple Street South, is scheduled for Tuesday, July 8 in McLeod County District Court. The property was found to be hazardous, and the city has been in litigation with the Schmidts to get the problem corrected.
• approved a proposal from C&C Striping of Hutchinson for street-striping and curb painting at a cost of $3,165.
• approved the hiring of pool staff for the season.
• approved a $9,997 quote from Wm. Mueller & Sons of Hamburg for street repair at 10 locations in the city.
• approved a $2,450 proposal from Midwest Coating Technologies for sandblasting and painting two slides at the city pool.
• approved the purchase of two trash receptacles and three benches for Sunrise Nature Park using grant money.