By Ivan Raconteur
LESTER PRAIRIE Lester Prairie City Council approved a preliminary levy of $757,015 during a meeting Sept. 12, which represents an increase of $14,843 (2 percent) compared to the 2017 levy.
The council has the option of reducing the proposed levy before the final levy is adopted in December, but it cannot be increased.
Community Development Coordinator Adam Birkholz said the city’s tax rate has decreased due to an increase in tax capacity.
The city will conduct its annual truth in taxation hearing during the Tuesday, Dec. 12 council meeting.
The council adopted an assessment policy which will provide a consistent method of assessing property owners for street projects.
The council also reviewed a pavement management plan.
Lester Prairie’s nine miles of streets were evaluated for age and condition. The plan prioritizes the need for maintenance and repairs on streets and sidewalks, and will be used as a guide by the council when determining what projects are needed in the future.
City engineer Jake Saulsbury of Bolton & Menk said Lester Prairie is fortunate because it has good subsoils, which increases the lifespan of streets, and the city has kept up with maintenance such as sealcoating, which also extends pavement life.
The council tabled the plan until its October meeting to allow council members time to review the information.
The council discussed a safety issue with a play structure in Second Avenue Park.
After discussion, the council directed maintenance staff to remove half of the structure and make changes necessary to make the remaining portion safe.
This will give the city time to research options for new equipment.
The current structure was installed in 1992.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• noted that sales of pool passes were down this year, with 118 passes covering 279 people were sold, compared to 144 passes covering 338 people in 2016.
• amended the bylaws of the Economic Development Authority (EDA) to add a per diem of $25 per meeting.
• heard an update from Kandis Hanson, relationship manager with MNSPECT, the city’s building inspector. The city issued twice as many permits this year as last year, including five permits for new residences.
• worked out a timeline for blight issues to be corrected at the Keith Weise property. Foundation and roof repairs are to be completed by November, and other issues are to be corrected by July 1, 2018.
• tabled adoption of the city’s comprehensive plan until October at the request of Winsted Township.
• approved a dugout project for Lions Field.
• approved a pro-rated liquor license for B’s Bar & Grill (formerly One Eyed Willy’s).
• declined a request from Lester Prairie Schools to put bulldog emblems on city squad cars. Council members noted that, while the city supports the school, putting logos on squad cars could open up requests from other organizations to put logos on squad cars, fire trucks, and city maintenance vehicles.
• by consensus, agreed to move forward with plans to replace the pool heater next year.
• approved transferring maintenance of the Little Free Libraries in the city to the Lester Prairie Lions.
• authorized staff to move forward with negotiating a development agreement for an eight-lot Planned Unit Development (PUD) as recommended by the EDA.