Lakes Area Police Chief Kevin Stenson told the city council last week the department is having no problems filling a vacant officer post and that he should be bringing a hire recommendation shortly. There were 40 applicants for the job and 27 tested positively to qualify for final scrutiny. Lindstrom City Council last week also heard that the Rose Hill Resort annexation petition, accepted by the township and the city months ago, is delayed pending an agreement on a proposed public works project funding.
The city is holding final paperwork to the state Boundary Adjustments Office while details are being worked out on a permanent solution to a sewer system failure and city water extension. Rose Hill’s owner, Alan Davis, who started the annexation process so he could hook-up to city services, died before things could be wrapped-up. City Administrator John Olinger said he is meeting with Davis’s daughters; who have expressed a willingness to run the resort and complete the annexation. They would be the third generation to own and operate Rose Hill. There are several cabins, a marina provides boat rental and a main house. A separate commercial lot, alongside Hwy. 8 at Lehigh Avenue, is for sale.
City Attorney Soren Mattick told council the city is expecting a large contribution from the resort. Estimates are between $400,000 and $600,000 for the public works project to replace a failing wastewater network and bring city water through a new main for Lehigh Court and a stub for 306th residences to hook-up in the future. The variance is if the city paves the road all the way or not. Mattick said, it is wise to tie the request to annex into getting a waiver where resort owners promise not to appeal that future assessment.
Then the plan is to build out the new infrastructure in fall of 2014. Council voted to accept the engineering feasibility study last week showing early cost estimates on which to base the assessments. Council set a public hearing to review the improvements, with affected property owners in and around Lehigh Avenue, for November 20 at 7 p.m. (Council anticipates lengthy discussion and wanted the hearing to have its own time slot; and the regular council session is still Nov 21.) The assessment roll contains about 12 “units” that would each have a share of the project, and the trailer spots for RV camping at Rose Hill are counted a one-half unit. Lindstrom is also contributing to items integral to a city network, such as a lift station at approximately $172,000 for installation. Everything hinges on Rose Hill accepting its estimated assessment bill.
Olinger added-- “We will not file (with the state boundary office) until we have an agreement.” Rose Hill did operate this past summer and has renters year-round on-site utilizing a non-permanent fix to remedy an “imminent health threat” identified as surface sewage discharge by county inspectors. A much simpler annexation request for two properties on Glader Blvd along the south end of South Center Lake, was approved 5-0. The Gabriel and Wickstrom lots were cleared to come into the city. The planning commission sent up a recommendation NOT to vacate a platted street near Sunrise Lake. As part of the Morning Sun development the city had plans for public access to a community owned open area and the vacation of this platted street at this time is not supported by the planning commission or by council.
Council member Bill Schlumbohm Sr.. is a planning commission liaison and he said if there are definite reasons why the city should abandon that street they haven’t been made clear by the applicant, who owns land adjacent to “Newport Curve” the street in question. Council voted 5-0 to accept the public works union wage contract with a 2.5 percent hike. Olinger said the increase “coincides” with the agreement with non-union workers for the city. Council rejected the request that seasonal college workers be further limited in number of days of work allowed. Attorney Mattick said he hadn’t reviewed the entire negotiations package, but it appeared the union was asking for a language change that could affect defining of seasonal workers and therefor impact benefits. Looks like those sidewalk planter cutouts downtown will be empty for a while yet. MnDOT reports the Hwy. 8 plant materials installation will continue into spring 2014, Olinger shared.
Last Christmas somebody donated 28 pines to set in the planters for lights, and that helped to fill in the green gaps and dress up mainstreet, said Olinger.