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City establishes economic development authority
Nov. 21, 2016

By Ivan Raconteur

LESTER PRAIRIE, MN – Lester Prairie City Council conducted a public hearing and adopted an ordinance establishing the Lester Prairie Economic Development Authority (EDA) during Tuesday’s meeting.

Economic Development Coordinator Adam Birkholz said the EDA will be governed by a five-member board which will consist of two members of the city council and three others. The members will need to live or work in the City of Lester Prairie to be eligible to serve on the EDA.

The EDA will be an advisory body, and will present recommendations to the city council for approval.

Birkholz said the EDA will have taxing authority. Typically, the budget of an EDA is run under the city’s budget.

The EDA is subject to the open meeting law.

Birkholz said his goal is for the council to approve the EDA board members in December, and the first meeting to take place in January.

EDA board members are not compensated for their service.

Water and sewer rates

The council approved increasing the base charge for sewer and water service by $1.25 per month each. This will increase the sewer base charge to $39.25, and the water base charge to $16.75.

The annual combined revenue will increase by an estimated $20,190.

Mosquito control

The council approved changes to the city’s mosquito control program for 2017.

Birkholz noted the city believes it is in the best interest of residents to reduce the number of nuisance mosquitoes.

In 2016, the city’s program consisted of eight citywide treatments at a cost of $624 per treatment. Two stormwater ponds were treated at a cost of $360 each. The total cost of the program was $5,712.

In 2017, the city plans to increase public education to reduce the number of mosquito breeding sites.

The city also plans to increase the number of citywide treatments from eight to 11 (if needed).

The plan also includes larvae control of stormwater ponds in the Prairie Ridge and East Park Estates developments, as well as private stormwater ponds at Casey’s General Store and Glencoe Regional Health Services.

Because the 2nd Ave. South Park has been identified as a primary location for outdoor recreation, the city will add 11 treatments of the park (in conjunction with the citywide treatments, as well as barrier treatments of the park and adjacent wooded area.

The total projected cost of the program is $8,771. Birkholz will get a firm quote for the project now that the scope of the work has been approved.

Election certified

The council certified the results of the Nov. 8 general election.

Voter turnout in Lester Prairie was 94.47 percent. A total of 889 residents voted.

All incumbents on the ballot ran unopposed and were re-elected. Mayor Eric Angvall received 660 votes; Council Member Tim Dahl received 634 votes; Council Member Bob Messer received 601 votes; and there were 17 assorted write-in votes.

City Clerk Marilyn Pawelk noted there was a request to increase election judge wages for the next election. Wages are currently $10/hour. She also noted the city will likely need additional voting booths for the next election.

Budget shift

Birkholz presented a request from city staff to shift $15,000 from other areas of the 2017 budget to help cover the increased cost of individual health insurance for city employees. The city does not currently offer health care, but instead pays employees a stipend that they can use toward their own policies.

Birkholz said the goal is not to decrease city services by shifting these funds.

Pawelk said department heads may need to go through individual line items in their budgets to come up with the $15,000.

The matter will be brought back to the council in December, when the final budget and levy need to be certified.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• approved a request from resident Hillard Klaustermeier to allow Music in the Park again in 2017. Dates will be May 23, 30, and June 6, 13, 20, and 27.

• approved a request from the park board to apply for a grant to resurface the baseball field and install dugouts. The estimated total cost of the project is estimated at $15,000, with a potential city contribution of $5,000. The project will be brought to the council for approval at a later date. The project is expected to be done in 2018.

• approved the final payment to close out the Second Ave. N. storm sewer improvement project. The total cost of the project was $352,852.

• authorized council members Dahl and Foust to work with Police Chief Bob Carlson on a draft ordinance amendment regarding solicitors and peddlers.

• approved an assessment agreement with McLeod County for assessment services at an annual cost of $6,408.

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