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The Lancaster City Council met for its Regular Meeting on Wednesday, August 12, 2015, at 7:00 p.m. in the City Hall Meeting Room.  The following members were present: Barron, Sebenaler and Nordin. Olson and Hilman were absent. The Mayor and Acting Mayor were absent.   Nordin moved to appoint Barron as acting Mayor for purposes of this meeting, second by Sebenaler and carried.

Nordin moved to approve the council minutes of the July 8, 2015 regular meeting, seconded by Nordin and carried.   A copy of the Minutes will be posted at the Lancaster City Hall and U.S. Post Office and available upon request to the clerk.

The council reviewed the August 2015 bills presented this night and any other bills that have been paid prior to this meeting to avoid late payments, receive discounts & meet payroll and all payroll expenses as approved in the 2015 Rates, Fees & Appointments Schedule.   Nordin moved to approve the bills, second by Sebenaler and carried.  An abstract of bills will be posted with the minutes and are available upon request to the clerk.

Mark & Megan Prezkwas met with the council to discuss purchasing Outlot 1, in Bremer’s Addition pointing out that they are willing to start a machining business in town and would offer the city $2000.00 for Outlot 1 in Bremers Addition.  The council discussed that selling the lot to Prezkwas’s would help with economic development as a new business in town would be a great addition to Lancaster.  Sebenaler moved to sell the property for $2000.00 with the attorney fees to be split between the buyers and seller, second by Nordin and carried.

Joshua Whitlock,  met with the council to request a revolving loan for his company WhitMinn, LLC from the revolving loan fund of $35,000.00 for a period of 7 years at 1 % interest.   He will give the city first mortgage on the property (the old Glad’s Store building) on Central Avenue.  Northwest Regional Development Commission representative has reviewed the loan application for the city and sees no material deficiencies with making the loan.  Sebenaler moved loan WhitMinn, LLC $35,000.00 for a period of 7 years at 1% in monthly installments, with a first mortgage on Lots 10 & 11, Block 3 Original Townsite of Lancaster and the city to be added as named insured on Joshua Whitlock’s life insurance, second by Nordin and carried.

Sebenaler reports that per the Kittson County Highway Department CSAH 27 will be milled and overlayed in 2017 not rebuilt.  Sebenaler recommends that the Central Avenue sewer project be delayed until possibly 2016  but be completed before the overlay of CSAH 27.   There is also a possibility that CSAH might be overlayed also in the the approximate same time frame.

Sebenaler reported that J&R Wastewater has cleaned the storm sewers on US Highway 59, and that the MNDOT is to be billed for this work per the agreement with the MN DOT Transportation Supervisor for this area.

Council reviewed the proposed 2016 budget and payroll step system and made some changes to the budget to be reviewed in the September council meeting.   Clerk reported that the council must pass at least a proposed general levy by September 15th , the proposed levy can be decreased by December 15th but not increased.

George Hanson, city attorney; Corrine Karboviak, Tyler & Brittany Swenson met with the council regarding information that has come to light with the proposed house sale between the Karboviak’s and Swenson’s that Central Avenue from Alaska Street to the north end of the Lancaster Cemetery has not been properly recorded as a road.   Hanson assures the council that the city does not face losing the road because they have maintained the road for at least the last 6 years.   But the road not being recorded causes issues for any adjacent land owner when they try to sell the property with Title Insurance companies involved. The Title Insurance companies hold sellers up to a very high ownership standard that was not previously an issue when property mortgages where held with local banks not requiring title insurance, now the secondary mortgage market has made this an issue and would hold up land sales for property along Central Avenue.  Hanson stated that the city would need to move for establishment of the road, complete a land survey and provide land owners abutting the road with notice of the action.  Hanson estimates the attorney fees would be around $3,000 and the survey cost would be around $3,000.00 and that the city could at some point assess all or part of the cost back to the land owners.  If they were to choose that option the land owners would again be notified of this and have a chance to discuss the issue at a properly notice assessment hearing.  Karboviak and Swenson’s asked that the city proceed with establishing the road at this time so that they could proceed with the land sale when this is complete.  Hanson estimated the process would not be complete until at least December but the sooner a decision is made the better for all parties involved.

Sebenaler moved to proceed with establishing Central Avenue from Alaska Street to it’s northern most point of termination as city road; and to hire Brink, Sobolik, Severson, Vroom & Albrecht to complete the paper work including  the hiring of  a certified surveyor for the city; with a determination about possible assessments to be made at a later date, second by Nordin and carried.

Clerk reported that John Miesner’s name had been mistakenly omitted in the minutes of January 14, 2015 accepting 10 fireman onto the fire department but only nine names were listed.  Sebenaler moved to hire John Miesner as a fireman with the Lancaster Volunteer Fire Department retroactive to January 14, 2015, second by Nordin and carried.

Council received correspondence from the League of MN Cities regarding two local legislators, LeRoy Stumpf and Dan Fabian, that have received recognition from the League for their support of issues important to Minnesota Cities.   The council wishes to also recognize the important work that Stumpf and Fabian have done for Minnesota and the surrounding area.

Clerk reviewed information regarding a franchise fee of up to 5% of  the Ottertail Power and Wikstrom Phone Company’s billed sales to Lancaster residents that could be levied by the city by action of a Franchise Fee Ordinance.  This could have the potential to raise $25000-$30000 per year that the city could use for purposes that they so choose.   At this time the council is just learning of this option and is taking no action.

Council reviewed the July 2015 City and Liquor Store financial information and daily sales averages for the liquor store.

Roy Stenmark requests that the city remove brush from the ditch on the road going to his house that is within the city limits.  The ditch banks are very steep in this area and the city doesn’t have equipment than can remove the brush due to the steepness.  Sebenaler will look in to brush removal by a rotary mower attached to an excavator.

Sebenaler reports that the city has a loader for the tractor and a walk behind snow blower that are of no use to the city and could be sold.  Nordin moved to sell the loader and snow blower, second by Sebenaler and carried.  Maintenance will be direct to place ads for these items.

Clerk gave the council maps provided  by Susan Weaver showing the land owners of record for the properties surrounding her residence.  She has standing water issues and wishes to clean an area along here property to help the situation.

Kathy Hunter reports that Burgess’s Greenhouse and Essential Landscapes have made donations of flowers and wood chips and chip placement for the Gazebo Park.  Council thanks these people and many others who have contributed their time and resources to beautify the town this summer.

Fire Department is requesting to purchase a chainsaw with the cost not to exceed $600.00.  Nordin moved to allow the purchase, second by Sebenaler and carried.

Nordin moved to transfer $21075.00 from general fund to Community Center Debt Service fund for the August loan payment, second by Sebenaler and carried.

Clerk reported that the regularly scheduled November council meeting falls on November 11th which is Veterans Day and by state law no city business except emergency actions can be held on a legal holiday.  Sebenaler moved to hold the regular council meeting Thursday, November 12, 2105, second by Nordin and carried.

Due to the state law that no city business except emergency actions can be held on a legal holiday the Council discussed adding to paid holidays Veteran’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, President’s Day to the paid Holiday schedule in the employee handbook.  Clerk was directed to add the 3 holidays listed above to the handbook for the council to review at the next meeting.

Being no further business the council adjourned.

Carol Johnson, Clerk/Treasurer                         Approved:  Mike Olson, Mayor







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