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Lester Prairie council discusses intersection concerns
Oct. 21, 2013

By Ivan Raconteur

LESTER PRAIRIE, MN – Lester Prairie City Council Member Ron Foust, during the Oct. 8 meeting, presented concerns about the slope at some intersections along Second Avenue South that have resulted from this summer’s street turnback project.

Foust noted his primary concern is the steep slope where side streets meet Second Ave. So.

He said this is a safety concern during the winter snowplowing season.

City engineer Jake Saulsbury said he and Foust conducted a site visit, and adjustments will be made to reduce the slope at all of the intersections to 3 percent. The slope at some intersections was as much as 4 or 5 percent.

Saulsbury said McLeod County agreed to modify the streets, and the city will not incur any cost for this.

Yard waste plan discussed

McLeod County Commissioner Ron Shimanski was present to discuss the county’s yard waste plan.

Among the issues discussed were reimbursement from the county for compost site workers, and recycling reports.

The county reimburses the city up to $9 per hour for half of the hours worked by compost site employees, and the city pays the rest.

Foust said it will become increasingly difficult to find people to work for $9 per hour.

Foust also said the city has been asking for reports on recycling participation in the city, and has yet to see a report for 2013.

Council Member Eric Angvall said it is difficult for the community to get excited about recycling and support the program if the city can’t get information about the results.

There was also discussion about going to single-sort recycling.

Foust said the county will probably have to go to single-sort if it wants to increase participation in the recycling program.

The council approved a yard waste funding agreement, although members noted they are not happy with some of the provisions.

Rental questions addressed

Tim Wartmann, who owns the residence at 115 Maple St. So., appeared before the council to respond to a complaint about his property.

Wartmann said the city has received a complaint that he has moved out, and he should be required to obtain a rental license because he is operating a rental property.

Wartmann said that is not true. He said he has not moved out, and stays at the residence three or four nights per week.

He said he has a few roommates, one couple and one adult male, who stay with him, but said they are not renters.

He also denied that he is operating a halfway house. He said he considered this a few years ago, but he is not doing so.

Building inspector Ty Turnquist said the city’s rental ordinance “needs some clarification,” and by definition, under the existing ordinance, Wartmann’s property is a rental property.

“The same would apply if I owned a house and I had a roommate living with me,” Turnquist explained.

Foust told Wartmann that the reason the city’s building official was concerned was partly to protect Wartmann from potential lability. He suggested Wartmann should apply for a rental permit.

City Clerk Marilyn Pawelk noted the cost of a rental license is $50 for two years.

The council, by consensus, decided not to require Wartmann to obtain a rental license, although it recommended he do so.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• approved replacement of street name signs along Second Ave. So. at a cost of $3,768.

• approved replacement of the gas stove in the kitchen at city hall. The previous unit was found to be unsafe. The replacement was approved 3-1, with Foust, Angvall, and Council Member Bob Messer in favor, and Council Member Sandie Adams-Bruins opposed. Adams-Bruins said an electric stove would be safer.

• adopted a resolution accepting Darin Jahnke and Jonathan Pherson as part-time police officers.

• acknowledged a $250 donation to the Lester Prairie Fire Department from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.

• heard from Police Chief Bob Carlson that Bay West was nearly finished decontaminating the house at 62 First Ave. N. Occupation of the dwelling has been restricted due to methamphetamine contamination. Carlson noted that, although the city will incur the initial cost of the required decontamination, the cost will be assessed to the property, and the city will eventually recover its costs.

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