The Lake Preston City Council met in the Community Room on November 2 for a regular meeting. All members were present except Gary Buer.
Deputy Nutter of the Kingsbury Sheriff’s Department was present for the beginning of the meeting to address traffic concerns on South Park Avenue. There has been concern from a resident about the number of trucks using Park Avenue as a truck route. Deputy Nutter assured the council that law enforcement is patrolling that part of town to cut down on the number of trucks using that road. The council rewrote the truck route ordinance and made sure truck signs are clearly posted in an effort to reduce traffic on Park Avenue.
Deputy Nutter informed the council that the Sheriff’s Department would continue to patrol the area as part of community patrol. Any citizen with concerns about truck traffic on truck routes is encouraged to call local law enforcement.
There was discussion about nuisance properties. Councilwoman Bumann expressed frustration about what seemed to be little progress with the cleaning up of certain properties, even with the contract with Dave Miller. One of the challenges for Mr. Miller was that many properties are not clearly marked with house numbers.
The lack of house numbers has been addressed in previous city council meetings with regard to impeding the ability of emergency personnel being able to best respond to calls. The council encourages all citizens to make sure their address is clearly marked so that emergency personnel will be better able to respond in a time of need.
The council voted to renew the law enforcement contract with the Kingsbury County Sheriff’s Department. They also voted to approve an ad in the Glacial Lakes magazine. Finance Officer Brenda Klug reported that she will make a video available for new residents. This video will explain the water bills and how they relate to the upcoming water projects.
As it was recently learned that the rubble site is able to accept construction debris, the council decided to establish a committee to review the rates of area communities to determine rates for the Lake Preston rubble site to be effective in 2021.
The council also approved the hiring of two part-time employees to assist with snow removal as needed. In the past, the city employees utilized the aid of citizens and sometimes needed to hire outside help to clean the streets in a timely manner.
City employee Brian Zeeck expressed concern about some citizens who have used tools to turn on their water after it was disconnected. While reading meters last month, it was determined that there is a residence where the occupants had bypassed the meter system and were getting water without charge. The council instructed Mr. Zeeck to look into a lock system for meters which will eliminate situations that might be interpreted as fraud.
The council voted to approve the renewal of on and off sale licenses for New Horizon Lounge and The Other Bar. Councilwoman Bumann was the lone dissenting vote on the renewal of the off-sale liquor license for The Other Bar. Bumann asked Councilman Verhey if he would consider relinquishing one of his off-sale liquor licenses in the event that a new business came to town. Verhey answered that he would entertain the idea, but that he would not give up a license for any business that would be competition with his businesses.
During council concerns, Councilwoman Kristen Longville inquired as to where the city was with assigning a person to the position of city health inspector. Duties of that person would be to deem which dogs met criteria for nuisance dogs. Mayor Andy Wienk reported that he has reached out to someone in the medical field and was awaiting an answer. He added that he would follow up with that person and go on to another person if that answer was no.
Longville also asked that attention be given to the pot holes on north Main Avenue. Verhey expressed concern about trucks going down Main Avenue rather than following the truck route.
Bumann shared that the Chamber will be adding an event to the Christmas festivities this year. Individuals, families, organizations and/or businesses will be able to “sponsor” a pole on main street. The winner will receive $50 in Chamber bucks.
Bumann also urged people to use caution given the rising COVID-19 numbers in our community. Bumann encouraged people , at a minimum, to wear a mask if they had close contact with someone who has tested positive. Longville reminded people to follow CDC guidelines including social distancing and proper hygiene. She also noted that businesses in town continue to follow the 50% occupancy guidelines even though restrictions have been lifted.
Verhey shared that the bar continues to offer curbside pickup. Maynard’s Grocery offers delivery and curbside pickup. The Lake Preston Café also offers curbside service. Wienk noted that while many people are tired of hearing about COVID-19, now is the time to use precautions.
The council then went into executive session for personnel reasons.