By Ivan Raconteur
LESTER PRAIRIE After months of preparation, revision, and seeking community input, the Lester Prairie City Council adopted the city’s new comprehensive plan during its meeting Oct. 10.
“My goal is to use this every year as a part of the budget process,” Community Development Coordinator Adam Birkholz noted.
The comprehensive plan identifies priorities and objectives, and is intended to guide planning and policy decisions.
The council expressed appreciation to Birkholz and others, including a committee of community residents, who helped to update the plan. Mayor Eric Angvall commented that the city received more input from residents on this update than it has on previous revisions.
Pavement management plan
The council also adopted a pavement management plan.
City engineer Jake Saulsbury worked with city staff to evaluate the condition of all streets and sidewalks in the city, and developed the plan as a tool to maintain the infrastructure in a fiscally-responsible manner.
Although the plan identifies priorities, specific maintenance projects will still be reviewed by the council prior to approval.
Saulsbury noted that roads in the city are generally in good shape, but said every year projects are delayed can increase costs.
Birkholz said the first project identified in the plan could be scheduled as early as 2019, but more likely would happen in 2020.
Councilor Tim Dahl requested that the plan be posted on the city website now that it has been approved.
Pool usage is down
Birkholz presented a year-end summary of the city pool operation.
He noted participation was down substantially in 2017.
Of the 88 possible days the pool could have been open this season, it was closed, or closed early, on 22 days. Most of these closures were due to weather, and two were due to lack of staff.
Birkholz said the pool operation lost $13,000 in 2017.
The council approved slab-jacking a concrete pad for the pool heater at a cost of $900. The heater will be replaced before next season at an estimated cost of $16,000. The current heater was installed in 2003.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• scheduled a public hearing Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m. regarding delinquent utility bills. Amounts that remain unpaid at that time will be assessed to residents’ property taxes.
• adopted a resolution approving a one-year agreement with The Sand Creek Group Ltd. for critical incident counseling for employees.
• approved moving forward with preparation of specifications for the purchase of a new fire truck using HGACBuy. Fire Chief Jim Hoof will meet with townships in the fire service area to explain the proposal. Approval of the purchase will be considered later in the process after costs are known.
• approved a contribution of $844 to the McLeod County Historical Society and Museum, which represents 50 cents per city resident. The vote was 4-1, with Angvall and councillors Larry Hoof, Bob Messer, and Ron Foust in favor, and Dahl opposed. Dahl noted he supports the museum, but believes the city has other budget priorities.