By Ivan Raconteur
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN Residents Tim and Jennifer Ross approached the Lester Prairie City Council during Tuesday’s meeting, and asked if the city was considering banning golf carts on city streets.
Mayor Andy Heimerl said the city has never allowed golf carts on city streets, except to accommodate a person with a handicap.
Council Member Art Mallak said he has done some research, and found that the closest city that allows golf carts is Norwood Young America, which recently began allowing them.
Mallak said he doesn’t see a problem with allowing golf carts on city streets.
Lester Prairie Police Chief Bob Carlson and officer Mark Thiry voiced safety concerns about allowing golf carts on streets.
Discussion followed, some in favor of allowing golf carts, and some opposed.
Heimerl said if the council is going to consider allowing golf carts, it will require more research.
Among the items discussed were:
• What permit process should be required?
• What will permit cost?
• Where will golf carts be allowed?
• When would carts be allowed to operate on city streets?
• What equipment would be required (mirrors, lights, etc.)?
Heimerl said the council will do some research, and add the subject to the agenda for the Tuesday, Sept. 13 council meeting.
Carlson said he would check with the city attorney to see if there are any legal issues the council should be aware of.
Council Member Ron Foust said the council will need to consider not only the core part of the city, but the two developments (Prairie Ridge and East Park Estates) when considering a golf cart policy.
“We will come up with a plan and present it to the council in September,” Heimerl said.
The council briefly discussed the city budget for 2012.
The council expressed its intention not to increase the levy.
The council did not increase the levy in 2009. There was a 6.3 percent levy increase in 2010, and a 1.9 percent levy increase in 2011.
Council Member Eric Angvall said he would like something added to the budget for staff wage increases.
Last December, the council approved an across-the-board 4 percent wage increase for all full-time and permanent part-time employees, effective the first pay period of 2011.
The preliminary budget will need to be approved at the Tuesday, Sept. 13 council meeting.
Planning meeting changed to quarterly
The council approved changing planning and zoning commission meetings from monthly to quarterly.
It was noted that since the housing slowdown, there has been very little business for the commission.
Each commission member is paid $20 per meeting, so to save money, the council agreed to change the meetings to quarterly unless there is business that requires the group to meet more often.
Lester Prairie Schools activities director Thayne Johnson asked the council for approval for a 5K run called the Halloween Hustle and a Tot Trot for children as a fundraiser for school activities.
The events will take place Saturday, Oct, 29, and will start on the north side of the school. The 5K route will follow Second Avenue North to Pine Street, and then follow the trail on the north side of Central Avenue, and loop through East Park Estates.
Johnson asked the city for help with traffic control.
Heimerl suggested that Johnson approach the Lester Prairie First Responders for help with traffic.
The council approved the request to allow the events.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• approved a request to close the city pool at 7 p.m. (rather than 8 p.m.) for the remaining three weeks of the season.
• discussed the former hotel property at 100 Maple Street South, which has been identified as a public health hazard. Heimerl will contact the city attorney to see what the city can do about the situation.
• scheduled an assessment hearing for 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13.
• approved the addition of a new member of the Lester Prairie Fire Department, Aaron Hoover.