Lansing City Council acts on citizen requests; No papers of nomination yet filed for September 14 mayor special election

by Julie Berg-Raymond

In its regular meeting Monday, August 16, the Lansing City Council acted on three citizen requests for their respective properties - a temporary driveway permit at 294 Wall Street on a City platted street, a retaining wall at 691 South Front Street, and a fence variance at 190 Iowa Street.

Lansing City Clerk Katie Becker also spoke later in the meeting on the September 14 special election scheduled to fill the vacant mayor seat, noting that no papers of nomination have yet been filed by any candidates. Deadline for filing papers is this Friday, August 20 by 5 p.m.

Speaking on the request for a temporary driveway permit at 294 Wall Street, councilman Curtis Snitker said, “I think it’s a logical step to take and I think the area will be better off with (the resident) using that approach than the really steep incline on the left side of his property.”

City Street Superintendent Ken Ripp added the stipulation that the resident not do anything to the bank between the driveway and the road. Other stipulations included requiring the resident to clean up any mud and dirt the work brings into the street; requiring that the resident control and be responsible for run-off; and agreeing that the resident is responsible for any damage to the property that might result from the work being done.

The council voted to require the property owner of 691 South Front Street to remove a minimum of 36 inches from a retaining wall at that location. The wall sits on City property and currently cuts across a sidewalk.

The request for a fence variance at 190 Iowa Street was carried over from the council’s August 2 meeting. After having received no responses from a letter sent to neighbors of the property detailing the request, the council approved the variance request, with a six-foot height limit place on the fence.

In other business carried over from August 2, the council was unable to act on a revised proposal by Damon Olson of Damon Construction, New Albin for repair work and renovations to the Lansing swimming pool guard house because the City Clerk had not yet received the revised proposal from Olson. Due to budgetary concerns and the requirement that an $18,000 grant be spent on a completed project by the end of the current year, the council had at its August 2 meeting asked Olson to break down the project and costs into two parts - with one part of the project to be completed this year, and the other portion of the project to be completed in 2022.

PeopleService, Inc. representative Duane Estebo submitted a water/sewer report, detailing recent actions taken by the water/wastewater systems contract operations company.

Among the water operation and maintenance actions Estebo reported were the following: exercising all of the water valves in town by closing and opening them, and the cleaning of water reservoirs. Estebo noted that, due to rain the previous night, the Northern reservoir was not accessible per the original schedule. Mt. Ida was cleaned, and Estebo said that because the City’s contract allows for cleaning up to three to four inches of sediment and because Mt. Ida had about six inches of sediment, the company charged more for that work. Because that work took longer at more cost and Northern had to be rescheduled, the cleaning of the Mt. Hosmer reservoir also has been rescheduled for a later date.

Among the wastewater operation and management actions Estebo reported were the following: cleaning grease out of the ball diamond lift station and the receipt and installation of a new timer for the digester aeration. The report also noted that while one resident was having work done to fix water and sewer lines prior to the paving work planned for Center Street, it was discovered that the water and sewer lines were in bad shape. People Service, Inc. had to replace a two-foot section of the sewer line.

City Clerk Katie Becker reported approval of the City of Lansing’s request for funding for infrastructure improvements through the American Rescue Plan. The City of Lansing will receive a total of $139,337.12, to be issued in two installments. Within the next four to six weeks, the City will receive a payment of $69,668.56; the second installment will be issued at a later, undetermined date. The funds are to be used for broadband or climate change projects connected to water, sewer and stormwater projects; the funding cannot be used for roads.

The next meeting of the Lansing City Council is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Lansing City Hall Tuesday, September 7, due to the Labor Day holiday falling on the council’s typical Monday meeting date.