REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING
CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY OF ALBERT LEA
Monday, August 14, 2017, 7:00 P.M.
PRESENT: Mayor Vern Rasmussen Jr., Councilors Rich Murray, Jason Howland, Larry Baker, Reid Olson, Robert Rasmussen, and Al Brooks. Also present were City Manager Chad Adams, City Attorney Lee Bjorndal, City Engineer Steven Jahnke and City Clerk Daphney Maras.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
OATH OF OFFICE
Mayor Rasmussen administered the Oath of Office to new City Clerk, Daphney Maras. Deputy Chief Laskowske of the Albert Lea Fire Rescue announced the promotion of Kurt Wallace to Fire Lieutenant as well as the hiring of new firefighters Jedadiah Lokken, Christopher Bergerson, Connor Korton, Justan Bellrichard, and Brad Kramer. He then read the Pledge of the Firefighter.
Clerk Daphney Maras administered the Oath of Office to Lieutenant Wallace and Firefighters Jedadiah Lokken, Christopher Bergerson, Connor Kortan, Justan Bellrichard, and Brad Kramer.
PROCLAMATION COMMENDING GILBERT JOHNSON AND RANDY HARIG FOR HOSTING THE CHAPEL COMIC CONVENTION IN ALBERT LEA
Mayor Rasmussen read the proclamation recognizing Gilbert Johnson and Randy Harig for hosting the first ever Chapel Comic Convention in Albert Lea. Johnson and Harig provided brochures showcasing the celebrities and activities of the convention.
Gary Hagen, 501 Albert Lea Street, expressed concerns regarding the location of the proposed Fire Station. He spoke about the Blazing Star Landing not being considered as the chosen site. He stated he believes this is based on previous discussion regarding the potential of public and private developments using the property. City Manager Adams explained the Blazing Star Landing and the East Main Street locations are both being considered at this time, and that many variables are involved when choosing the ideal site. He said he anticipates a decision being made by December.
Bruce Cather, 1402 S. Broadway commented that Building Official, Wayne Sorensen has kept the neighborhood up to date on the nuisance property at 1326 S. Broadway. Mr. Cather stated he believes there will continue to be a problem with weeds. He also commented that the assessments for work done on that street have added no value to his property.
George Marin, 1311 S. 4th Avenue thanked council for saving Morin Park from becoming the site for the proposed Fire Station.
Marin stated he was summoned by staff to attend the Council Meeting regarding his request for a park shelter to be installed at Morin Park. He said that when he was on council he understood there is a specific process to request a Capital Improvement Project be considered for approval. He added that he requested the Park Shelter be put in the CIP when he was on the council, but it was not. He also asked for the project to be fast tracked, and it was not. He mentioned his wife made the same request twice, and has not received a response. Marin stated a local citizen requested $90,000 be put in the CIP to fund the Margaretha Sidewalk, and received it. He was informed this new Shelter would cost $17,000 and explained a group of individuals have raised $1,162 to contribute towards the project. This group was prepared to present their request for financial assistance to the Parks Board at their next meeting. Marin is asking the City to pay the additional $15,838 to build the Park Shelter. He mentioned a Marina is in the CIP to build on Fountain Lake, as well as a water fountain at New Denmark Park, all of which cost over $53,000 in taxpayers’ dollars.
Mayor Rasmussen nor Adams were aware that Marin was summoned to present his request to the Council. Mayor explained that the procedure is to present a request such as this to the Park Board first, and in turn, the Park Board would present the recommendation to the Council.
Baker commented that he supports the Morin Park Shelter, and suggested staff ask ALAMCO Wood Products if they would be interested in providing the wood for the project. Mayor Rasmussen reminded council that this request needs to be presented to the Park Board first.
Adams provided clarification that it is the City’s practice to contribute approximately 50% to park shelters, once the Park Board and the Council have approved support of a project. He explained current items in the CIP are reviewed before final approval noting it is not unusual for items to be removed.
Keith Shaw, 1324 S. Broadway, thanked Council for helping get the home at 1326 S. Broadway, owned by Gerald and Terry King placarded. He asked what the timeline will be going forward as far as mowing and snow removal.
Jill Marin, 1311 S. 4th Avenue, asked for consideration in approving building the Park Shelter at Morin Park.
Mayor Rasmussen closed the public hearing and proceeded with review of the Council Agenda.
CONSENT AND APPROVAL OF AGENDA
A. Approve Minutes Of The July 24, 2017 Regular Council Meeting
B. Approve Minutes Of The July 20, 2017 Work Session
C. Licenses & Permits (See Attached List)
D. Resolution Accepting Donation Of Goods Or Services For The Albert Lea Splash Pad Project
E. Resolution Accepting Donations Presented To The City Of Albert Lea
F. Resolution Authorizing The Sale Of City Property To The City Of Brownsdale
G. Resolution Accepting Bid And Awarding Contract For 2017-2019 Biosolids Removal Project (Job 1709)
MOTION: Move to approve the consent agenda as presented.
Motion made by Councilor Baker, seconded by Councilor Howland. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Murray, Howland, Baker, Olson, Rasmussen, Brooks and Mayor Rasmussen. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.
(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 17-142-145 included with these minutes)
PETITIONS, REQUESTS, AND COMMUNICATIONS
COALITION OF GREATER MINNESOTA CITIES (CGMC) LEGISLATIVE UPDATE – ELIZABETH WEFEL
Elizabeth Wefel with the Coalition of greater Minnesota Cities presented the 2017 Legislative update. Wefel discussed the work that the CGMC performed on behalf of the member cities at the legislature, as well as a preview of work to be done in 2018.
Wefel explained that the CGMC’s number one priority was passing a tax bill with a Local Government Aid increase, ultimately receiving a permanent increase of $15 million. She noted Albert Lea’s LGA increased approximately $100,000. She discussed the passage of a $987 million bonding bill. Wefel said the CGMC pushed for two main bonding priorities: clean water infrastructure and Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure (BDPA) Grant Program funding. The final bonding bill included nearly $117 million for water infrastructure programs and $12 million for BDPI.
Wefel reported other legislative outcomes highlighted in the CGMC report include $300 million in bonding, $16 million for small-city streets and $8 million for workforce housing grants. Included in the 2017 Tax Bill is a new exemption from state commercial/industrial property tax on value up to $100,000. With this exemption businesses will see reductions in their state business property taxes.
Wefel concluded with stating good things came out of the session while, as is often the case, some things were left undone. She reminded council through effective lobbying, thorough research, timely communications, and active involvement in the legislative process, the CGMC gives cities an effective voice at the Capitol. Wefel reminded council of the upcoming CGMC conferences and events in November, March, and July.
Baker had questions regarding the MPCA regulations. Wefel said she believes the CGMC is making progress enforcing transparency and sees the MPCA going in the right direction.
MAYO CLINIC HOSPITAL UPDATE
Mayor Rasmussen said Adams will provide an update on discussions and research that staff has been conducting over the past weeks.
Mayor Rasmussen and Councilor Howland removed themselves from Mayo-related agenda items, due to their employment with the hospital system. The meeting was turned over to Pro Tem Mayor Baker.
Adams noted meetings he has had with various politicians and staff, local Mayo officials as well as attending meetings held by the Save Our Hospital group.
He reported the City is working with a firm that provides services on economic development impact noting Mayo Hospital will pay for the impact study. Adams said the City continues to explore all options which include requesting that Mayo delay all or some of the planned services. Adams reports he, as well as members of Save Our Hospital, have met with alternative health providers for services. He mentioned other options such as the City owning the Hospital, help to finance a second provider, or the City owning the hospital and contracting out to another provider.
Adams explained that according to State Statute as a City Government, there are no grounds to file a temporary restraining order based on the information provided thus far. He also explained that the City is not authorized to fund litigation costs against another local business such as Mayo Clinic. He added that Mayo is currently not violating any zoning laws in their proposed plans or change in services. Adams further noted City Attorney Lee Bjorndal is present to answer questions pertaining to these legal matters.
Al Arends, 1702 Bay Oaks Dr. stated he is on the steering committee of Save Our Hospital. He explained he is in charge of raising funds. He said Mayo Clinic is one of the most valuable resources in the City of Albert Lea. In speaking on behalf of the Save Our Hospital group, he said they believe Mayo Clinic is in violation of the contracts they signed. They believe they should seek outside legal assistance. They have contacted a corporate attorney who advised them on several issues involving Mayo Clinic. Arends stated the group commends City Manager Adams for the work he has done to this point. He said the corporate attorney encouraged contacting the Attorney General. Arends reviewed several points the Attorney General could address on the City’s behalf against Mayo Clinic. He implored the City Council to join with the County Commissioners in contacting the State Attorney General’s office.
Mariah Lynne, 67498 310th Street, Hartland, MN spoke on behalf of Save Our Hospital. She commented the loss of trust in Mayo Clinic. Lynn echoed Mr. Arends’ request in contacting the State Attorney General.
Paul Overgaard, 1728 Bay Oaks Drive, discussed how Mayo Clinic’s decision has threatened the heart of the City. He described the changes in services Mayo made affecting Fairmont, MN. He also requested the City get involved in contacting the State Attorney General’s office for support.
Jerry Collins, 1401 Swanhill Drive, commented on the metrics of the economic impact study. He asked for clarification on the study to which Adams reiterated the variables considered at this time. Collins asked that the economic impact study be done sooner rather than later to meet Mayo’s deadline.
Cynthia Gail, 1520 Ashley Court, asked that the City Council start a class action suit against a corporation that is being unjust.
Don Sorensen, 72823 220th Street, stated he is in agreement with everything stated during the public forum. He commented that the impact of Mayo decisions would be devastating to the economy in Albert Lea. Sorensen supports Arends’ statement to get the Attorney General involved.
Tony Trow, 522 Park Avenue, stated that the dollar figures received from Mayo Clinic may not be accurate. He spoke about the costs of helicopter and ambulance services.
Barbara Callahan, 608 S. Washington, stated concerns regarding the care of patients and the need for a full service hospital within Albert Lea.
Jill Morstad, 1316 Fountain Street, said she has been a nurse at Mayo Clinic Health Services in Albert Lea for 41 years. She expressed her concern for the urgency in resolving this issue before October 1st as that is the date the ICU department will be dismantled.
Mike Jensen, 1703 Plainview Lane, shared concerns of the urgency in this situation. And asks for support to the Save Our Hospital group.
Mary Hinnekamp, 423 Park Avenue, asked Council’s support in keeping the current hospital services in place.
Baker asked Bjorndal to expound on the possibility of the City financially supporting this issue. Bjorndal explained that explicit legal authority, as well as an explicit claim is necessary to make expenditures for litigation against an employer. This issue may not be in the jurisdiction of the City. He further explained the process of financial litigation may also include posting a bond, which is a time sensitive action.
Baker asked Bjorndal if the League of Minnesota Cities is available to assist the City with this legal issue. Bjorndal explained the League provides information on what are legitimate expenditures. He stated the Attorney General, unlike the City of Albert Lea, has the ability to intervene in an action involving non-profit organizations.
Adams suggested that council direct staff to contact the Attorney General’s office to coordinate a meeting.
Murray stated he agrees this is the most important issue this community has had to deal with since the loss of Farmstead. Murray also congratulated Adams on the representation he showed on behalf of the community during a meeting with Mayo officials earlier today. Murray stated the question continuously being asked to Mayo and not getting answered is what the impact their decisions will have on Albert Lea. He said he anticipates results from the economic impact study.
Brooks stated he will go to any lengths to support the community.
Councilor Rasmussen commended the Save Our Hospital group on their compassion and hard work. He expressed his full support.
Howland added he is recusing himself from this discussion since he is a Mayo employee.
Olson stated the community and city needs to find the best option for Albert Lea.
MOTION: I move to direct staff to contact the State Attorney General’s office.
Motion made by Councilor Olson, seconded by Council Murray. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Murray, Baker, Olson, Rasmussen, Brooks. Pro Tem Mayor Baker declared the motion passed. Mayor Rasmussen and Howland abstained.
RESOLUTION TO EXTEND FREEBORN DEVELOPMENT GROUP, LLC THE EXCLUSIVE TIME PERIOD UNTIL NOVEMBER 23, 2017
Hoium provided an update on the Freeborn Bank Building project. He explained they are currently working with a consultant on a feasibility study. The final budget for the project is not complete. He explained the historic tax credits are an important part of this project and they are working to secure those credits. Hoium stated the group is requesting a 90-day extension to complete the budget and obtain final design concepts. He said the development team is very excited about this project and they remain confident in its completion. Mayor Rasmussen asked if a 60-day extension would be realistic to keep things moving. Houim said he would accept the 60 days, but 90 days would be preferred. Adams suggested an October 23rd submittal date of the study with a review date 30 days later, which ultimately still provides the 90 day extension requested.
Hoium thanked Council for their continued support.
MOTION: Move to approve 90-day extension with a feasibility report to be reviewed in 60 days.
Motion made by Councilor Baker, seconded by Councilor Brooks. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Murray, Baker, Howland, Olson, Rasmussen, Brooks and Mayor Rasmussen. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.
(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 17-151
included with these minutes)
PUBLIC HEARING AND RESOLUTION DEFERRING ASSESSMENT FOR 1525 BLAKE AVENUE (JOB 0107)
Adams provided a presentation of the property at 1525 Blake Avenue outlining the parcels. He explained a public hearing is being held to receive public comment regarding a request from the owner of property located at 1525 Blake Avenue. The owner has asked that the City continue deferring the assessment related to Job 0107 (Blake Avenue Construction) until the property is sold or used for commercial purposes. City Council took previous action in 2009 to defer the assessment. Options for the Council to consider are: 1. No immediate action and follow past resolution approved by Council to require payment of full assessment upon pending sale of property. 2. Modify resolution to trigger assessments being paid, but through a new re-assessment of current principal and interest balance (plus new interest rate) over 15 years. 3. Same as #2, but provide additional triggers such as new addition to buildings, change in use from residential to any commercial, etc. 4. Continue deferring the assessments until the property is sold or changed to a commercial use.
Mayor Rasmussen called three times and then closed the Public Hearing.
Adams recommended which ever option council chooses a modified Resolution be prepared with the proper language prior to approval.
MOTION: Move to approve option number three and staff return with a modified Resolution for approval.
Motion made by Councilor Murray, seconded by Councilor Rasmussen. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Murray, Baker, Howland, Olson, Rasmussen, Brooks and Mayor Rasmussen. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.
(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 17-146
included with these minutes)
ORDINANCE 208,6d ENACTING AUTHORIZATION FOR EXTENDING A LOCAL OPTION SALES AND USE TAX (1ST READING)
The City of Albert Lea currently imposes a one-half of one percent sales and use tax for water quality projects outlined in the Shell Rock River Watershed plan. The tax was set to expire once $15,000,000 or 15 years had expired. As of June 30, 2017, there was $14,243.639.34 collected. On November 8, 2016, the voters in the City of Albert Lea voted in favor of a referendum to extend the tax for another period of up to 15 years or until $30 million total were collected. The Minnesota State legislature approved this extension in its 2017 Minnesota Special Session Law under Chapter 1, Article 5, Sections 12 and 13. A special law of this nature is not effective without the approval of the local government. The City Clerk shall, upon approval, file with the Secretary of State a Certificate pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 645.021, subds. 2 and 3.
Motion made by Councilor Baker, seconded by Councilor Olson. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Murray, Baker, Howland, Olson, Rasmussen, Brooks and Mayor Rasmussen. Mayor Rasmussen declared the ordinance passed.
(See Secretary’s Original Ordinance 208,6d included with these minutes)
RESOLUTION ACCEPTING BID AND AWARDING CONTRACT FOR MARGARETHA SIDEWALK INSTALLATION PROJECT (JOB 1707)
The attached resolution would accept the completion of about 3 blocks of sidewalk along Margaretha. The project will be funded entirely through Municipal State Aid dollars. Adams clarified misconception associated with this project. He stated this project was on the Capital Improvement Plan a number of years ago. The project was recommended by the Blue Zones team, several other community leaders, as well as the Councilor representing that ward at the time. Staff recommends acceptance of the low bid.
Motion made by Councilor Brooks, seconded by Councilor Olson. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Murray, Baker, Howland, Olson, Rasmussen, Brooks and Mayor Rasmussen. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.
(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 17-147 included with these minutes)
Brooks added several individuals in the neighborhood are supporting the installation of this sidewalk.
Councilor Rasmussen commented the importance of the addition of this sidewalk for safety reasons.
RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING CITY OF ALBERT LEA TO EXECUTE US DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION GRANT AGREEMENT FOR AIRPORT ARRIVAL/DEPARTURE BUILDING & PARKING LOT (JOB 1608)
Attached, for Council approval is a U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration Grant Agreement for construction of the Albert Lea Municipal Airport Arrival/Departure Building and Parking Lot. The Federal funds are in the amount of $766,342.00 with a 10% local match. This is the second of three (3) agreements. The City has received a State Grant. Sometime after July 1st there will be an amendment to the state agreement to include additional 2018 fiscal year funds.
The estimated project cost is $2,151,134.69 with the State portion estimated at $1,000,043.06, Federal portion estimated at $766,342.00 and the City portion being estimated at $384,749.63. JD Driver, Ltd. Of Rose Creek, MN is the low bidder and will be awarded once all funding is in place. The work is expected to start in the fall of 2017 and be completed in the 2018.
Motion made by Councilor Rasmussen, seconded by Councilor Baker. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Murray, Baker, Howland, Olson, Rasmussen, Brooks and Mayor Rasmussen. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.
(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 17-148 included with these minutes)
RESOLUTION ACCEPTING LOW BID AND AWARDING CONTRACT FOR THE AIRPORT ARRIVAL/DEPARTURE BUILDING (JOB 1608)
Bids for the Airport Arrival/Departure Building (AD Building) project were opened on May 16, 2017. Engineering and Mead & Hunt have reviewed the bids which included six separate schedules. The project will involve demolishing the old AD building, constructing a new AD building, and reconstruction of the parking lot. The current AD building and flight school are outdated and are no longer fully compliant with code requirements. Some of the amenities will include office spaces, a conference room, flight school, pilots lounge and briefing area, and lobby.
Four bids were received. After examining the bid proposals JD Driver, Ltd. of Rose Creek, Minnesota is the apparent low bidder. The base bid plus parking lot and temporary facility has a low bid of $1,948,000.00. The bids were higher than the engineer’s estimate of $1,741,930.00. The award is dependent on Federal, State, and Local funds. The attached resolution would authorize the Mayor and City Manager to enter into an agreement with JD Driver, Ltd once Federal and State funding is in place.
Baker had questions regarding money invested to date as well as the Federal grant timeline. Jahnke provided background on the distribution and timing of the grants. Howland asked for clarification on receiving Federal and State funding. Jahnke explained the approval process and timeline on these grants.
Motion made by Councilor Rasmussen, seconded by Councilor Olson. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Murray, Baker, Howland, Olson, Rasmussen, Brooks and Mayor Rasmussen. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.
(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 17-149 included with these minutes)
RESOLUTION RATIFYING THE ORDERING OF IMPROVEMENTS AND PREPARATION OF PLANS AND SPECIFICATIONS FOR THE SUNSET STREET RECONSTRUCTION PROJECT (JOB 1614)
On February 13, 2017, the City received a feasibility study for Job 1614, improvements including the Sunset Street – Trunk Highway 13 to Lakeview Blvd and Hillside Avenue to the dead end (the “Improvements”). The Council held a public hearing on the Improvements on March 13, 2017 and ordered plans and specifications for the improvements by Resolution 17-49. This vote will approve the feasibility study, finding they are necessary, cost-effective and feasible and ratify the intent to order the Improvements at a cost of $1,992,722. This vote must be approved by a 6-1 vote prior to closing on the bonds on August 17, 2017.
Motion made by Councilor Howland, seconded by Councilor Rasmussen. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Murray, Howland, Olson, Rasmussen, Brooks and Mayor Rasmussen. Nays: Councilor Baker. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.
(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 17-150 included with these minutes)
MAYOR AND COUNCIL REPORTS
First Ward, Councilor Murray reported:
- Ward Items – None
- Committee Update –attended an ALEDA meeting as well as several Save Our Hospital meetings
He commented on the critical issue the City of Albert Lea is facing with Mayo Clinic’s proposed changes. He thanked City Manager and Council for their efforts in supporting this cause.
Second Ward, Councilor Baker reported:
- Ward Items – Items referred to staff
Encouraged people to attend the last Wind Down Wednesday of the season this Wednesday, August 16th. Also asked about the status of the repairs on the bent poles in the downtown area, as well as the lack of electrical supply in that area to provide sufficient power during events.
Jahnke responded that the company that built the poles has acknowledge the poles were not designed correctly. That company has since provided a financial settlement to the City. Jahnke said his department is working on finding another company for quotes. Regarding the electrical supply, he explained the vendors are attempting to plug in too many high voltage appliances thereby blowing the power source.
Third Ward, Councilor Howland reported:
- Ward Items – Items referred to staff
- Committee – Attended the Fire Station Public Forum
Fourth Ward, Councilor Olson reported:
- Ward Items – None
- Committee Update – Requested staff be mindful of running the street sweeper through the “Larryland” area
Fifth Ward, Councilor Rasmussen reported:
- Ward Items – Followed up on one Ward item
- Committee Update – None
Sixth Ward, Councilor Brooks reported:
- Ward Items – Received a couple of nuisance complaints
- Committee Update – None
Mayor Rasmussen: announced the following upcoming events:
- Attended a Port Authority meeting
- Reports the Port Authority, in conjunction with Greater Jobs, is building a 75,000 square foot building for Zumbro River Brand.
- Reported the lease with Carpenter Company was renewed for another three years.
- Asked everyone to keep the Kehr family in their thoughts as Randy is dealing with health issues at this time.
CITY MANAGER REPORT – None
RESOLUTION 17- 152 APPROVING CLAIMS
Adams displayed claims over $25,000 providing detail explanation of each.
Adams explained that the attached resolution directs the Mayor and City Clerk to issue the payment of claims as presented in the Detail of Claims report.
Motion made by Councilor Olson, to approve payment of claims as presented for checks #64789 though #65031 in the amount of $1,710,752.19, seconded by Councilor Howland. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Murray, Howland, Olson, Rasmussen, Baker, Brooks and Mayor Rasmussen. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.
(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 17-152 Included with these minutes)
ADJOURNMENT– 9:35 PM
Motion made by Councilor Howland, seconded by Councilor Murray, that there being no further business, the Council meeting adjourn until the next regular meeting of the Albert Lea City Council at 7:00 p.m., on Monday, July 24, 2017. On roll call vote, all councilors voted in favor of said motion. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed and the meeting adjourned. Councilor Baker was absent.
Mayor Vern Rasmussen Jr.