LESTER PRAIRIE, MN Lester Prairie City Council, during Tuesday’s meeting, adopted a resolution establishing the city’s proposed 2020 levy of $1,035,393. This is an increase of $211,181, or 25.6 percent from the 2019 final levy of $824,212.
The council could reduce, but not increase, the total prior to adoption of the final levy in December.
The city’s annual truth in taxation hearing, which is a chance for residents to ask questions and comment on the proposed levy, is set for Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m.
The levy increase in 2019 was 8.9 percent. In 2018, the levy increased 2 percent. In 2017, the increase was 10 percent.
Fire truck discussion
The council discussed a request to allow the fire department to take the new fire truck to the state fire chief’s convention in Duluth.
It was noted it is common practice for the department with the newest truck to take it to the convention so other fire chiefs can see it and get ideas for their own equipment needs.
Mayor Eric Angvall said he was not in favor of the idea due to wear-and-tear on the vehicle, and the city would get nothing out of it.
Councilor Ron Foust said this would take the truck out of service for two days.
Councilor Luke Meyer said the city of Winsted took its new truck to the convention in St. Cloud.
Councilor Tim Dahl said the city should allow it so the Lester Prairie Fire Department can collaborate with other departments.
After discussion the council approved the request on a 3-1 vote, with Meyer, Foust, and Dahl in Favor, and Angvall opposed. Councilor Bob Messer was not present.
“I just think it’s silly,” Angvall commented.
The council discussed a proposal to develop a canoe landing on the Crow River near the wastewater treatment plant.
City Administrator Mike Skrbich said he has discussed the proposal with Kristy Rice from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and the DNR said this would be a suitable site.
Sergeant Mark Thiry of the Lester Prairie Police Department expressed concern about safety.
He noted he has talked to people who have “barely made it out of the river alive.”
He added that this section of the river can be especially dangerous due to the number of fallen trees in the river.
The department does not have equipment for water rescues.
Thiry said a canoe launch would be an issue for the police department.
“We are about saving lives and preventing death,” Thiry said.
The council did not take action on the proposal.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• scheduled a citywide fall cleanup day Saturday, Oct. 12 from 9 a.m. to noon.
• approved the purchase of a truck and plow.
• approved the purchase of benches for Central Square Park.
• approved the installation of basketball hoops at the city tennis courts.