Lansing City Council addresses nuisance issues during regular meeting

by B.J. Tomlinson

The Lansing City Council met in regular session Monday, July 7. Mayor pro-tem Becky Conway presided in the absence of Mayor Mike Brennan. She read an apology from Mayor Brennan for his absence, citing important family matters. He also expressed the necessity of raising the water and sewer rates.   
 At 7:05 p.m. Conway opened the scheduled public hearing on raising water and sewer rates. Several residents in attendance addressed the Council regarding the issue, stating they feel the increase would be a burden to many. Councilman Dick Roeder stated that the hardship issue has been considered and that a policy will be added to the new ordinance at a later date. He also pointed out that the usage increases in the past years have not been enough to cover loan costs, stating “...people have been conserving water, and the summer residents don’t use that much water,” he said.
Conway reiterated that all members of the Council are sorry that the rates need to be raised, but there are no other alternatives. She read Ordinance #191 to amend Title II, Chapter 2 and 3 of the Ordinances of the City of Lansing, re-specifying the water and sewer rates within the municipality. The new Ordinance provisions include an increase of water usage rates by 2% over the established rates and will increase by 2% each year over the rates in effect during the preceding year;  the base sewer rates will increase to $30.38 per month for sewer service plus $5.14 per 1,000 gallons of water used; the base rate for water service will be $21.08 per month plus $4.06 per 1,000 gallons used.
Conway closed the hearing at 7:26 p.m. The Council approved the ordinance and the new rates will be effective August 1, 2014. A second reading of the Ordinance will take place at the next Council meeting July 21.

The Council and Citizens discussed complaints regarding the use of private property as mobile home/RV parking on Dave Swenson’s vacant lot in Southtown. Several residents complained that a large group of people were camped on the lot over the weekend. The lot has electricity and water hookups to accommodate two campers, which is considered a mobile home park and is prohibited in the City limits. Councilman Darling read the current ordinance that permits campers to be parked on private lots but can only be occupied ten days each month. After further discussion, it was determined that the problem will be presented to the City Attorney. In the meantime, Darling said the issue can be corrected via the City’s nuisance ordinance; Police Chief Ed Stahl will talk to the property owner.
The Council discussed complaints from the public that the Properties at 650 South Second Street and 631 South Front Street are in violation of the nuisance ordinance. Foliage is overgrown and junk cars are stored on the property. The owner has been notified by the City several times with no result. The Council agreed to move forward with the appropriate abatement procedure.

In other business, the Council reviewed and approved Lions Club requests for Fish Days. The Council also reviewed Terisa Steiber’s  request to have horses on the Chris Koch property (977 W. Main) as in the past. Councilman Kolsrud suggested the neighbors within 300 feet be notified and allowed to voice their opinions.
The Council also discussed a request from Gene Shogren to plant a tree on Mt. Hosmer in memory of his wife, Joyce. The Council agreed to the request, pending the agreement of Shogren, the American Legion, Kerndt Brothers Savings Bank and landscaping expert.
A Public Hearing date for special assessments on the North Front Street Water and Sewer Project was set for August 4, 2014.

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