REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING
CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY OF ALBERT LEA
Monday, July 9, 2018, 7:00 P.M.
PRESENT: Mayor Vern Rasmussen, Jr., Councilors Rich Murray, Larry Baker, Jason Howland, Reid Olson, and Al Brooks. Also present were City Manager Chad Adams and City Engineer Steve Jahnke.
Absent: Councilor Robert Rasmussen and City Attorney Kelly Martinez.
Lee Wiese spoke of the vehicle traffic and pedestrian safety concerns on Lakeshore Road. She clarified that closing the road was a misconception and was not what she or the group that spoke at the June 11th council meeting intended. She suggested placing signs that say the area is a Blue Zones recreational road. She mentioned the statistics reported after the traffic study were badly timed due to the torrential rains that would account for fewer cars. She reiterated that to do something to slow traffic would be better than doing nothing at all.
Robert Ackland spoke of his concern with local ordinances and enforcement by the Inspection Department.
Bruce Manwarren asked where the Fire Station is going to be built. Mayor Rasmussen responded the decision has not been made.
Donald Jensen owner of Come Back Auto mentioned concerns of City staff walking into his building unannounced and tagging the building due to the abundance of tires.
Mayor Rasmussen asked if anyone else wanted to speak. No one did. Mayor Rasmussen closed the public forum.
CONSENT AND APPROVAL OF AGENDA
A. Approve Minutes Of The June 25, 2018 Regular Council Meeting
B. Approve Minutes Of The June 25, 2018 Work Session
C. Licenses & Permits (See Attached List)
D. Resolution Approving Lawful Gambling Premises Permit – Albert Lea Amateur Hockey Association
E. Resolution Approving Lot Reconfiguration Through A Certificate of Survey For Property Described As Lots 2, 3 & 4, Blk. 6, Summer Dale Addition
F. Resolution Approving Lot Reconfiguration Through A Certificate of Survey For Property Described As Lots 22 and 23, Webber’s Subdivision
G. Resolution Declaring the Chapel Con Street Dance as a Community Festival within the City Of Albert Lea.
Baker and Howland had questions regarding the rules and restrictions of alcohol at the downtown community festivals to which Adams reviewed the rules currently in place.
Motion made by Councilor Baker to approve the consent agenda with the removal of item 6A – Barr Engineering, seconded by Councilor Brooks. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Murray, Baker, Howland, Olson, Brooks and Mayor Rasmussen. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.
(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 18-121 thru 18-124
included with these minutes)
PETITIONS, REQUESTS, AND COMMUNICATIONS
A. Barr Engineering – TH-65 (E. Main Street) Joint MNDOT / City of Albert Lea Flood Study (As noted above, this item was removed from tonight’s agenda)
B. Lake Shore Drive Traffic Findings Update –
Adams explained a group of residents approached the City Council at the June 11, 2018 meeting regarding pedestrian safety concerns along Lakeshore Drive. In response, the Engineering staff placed traffic counters at three locations to obtain traffic counts and speed data. The traffic counters were placed on June 20th and picked up on June 22nd. The Police Department also performed 20 directed patrols along Lakeshore Drive between June 12th and June 28th. The results indicate that 85% of vehicles are travelling at or below 20mph (posted speed limit is 15mph). The Police Department did issue a number of warnings as part of their directed patrols. It is also a very low volume roadway with less than 200 vehicles per day.
The Police Department also looked at the 4-year crash history for Lakeshore Drive and only found one minor crash along the street that involved one vehicle backing into another. There have been no past reported incidents in that timeframe that indicate pedestrian safety is a problem along Lakeshore Drive. Lakeshore Drive currently functions safely in its existing configuration. If the Council would like to pursue options to close Lakeshore Drive to vehicle traffic, Engineering can prepare cost estimates for a future meeting.
Howland suggested this discussion end due to the data provided shows there is no safety issue. He stated if residents are concerned about speed perhaps law enforcement get involved adding, enough time and resources have already been used on this issue. Brooks appreciated that the residents that spoke earlier clarified that closing the road was not the intent as that is not what he would support. He suggested displaying signage indicating it is a biking/walking road. Baker suggested searching for a simple fix to some degree to help rectify safety concerns that have been addressed. Olson commented that the City should provide due diligence and review options to make the road safer. He suggested increasing signage and keep the road available to all walkers, bikers, and vehicle traffic.
Adams stated that a simple solution sounds like what the majority of Council is asking and stay clear of any major changes. Howland added he is hesitant to offer even a simple solution as it opens up a can of worms and may encourage more community members to come forward and ask for solutions to a road they feel may have similar vehicle traffic issues. Olson added in his years on the council he does not feel this is an unusual request or something the City should not be looking into.
Motion made by Howland to make no changes and leave things as they are on Lakeshore Drive area. No one made a second motion. Motion failed.
Motion made by Olson to direct staff to research and come back with options to address safety concerns for council review. Seconded by Councilor Brooks. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Murray, Baker, Olson, Brooks and Mayor Rasmussen. Howland voted Nay. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.
C. Stables Area Funding Update:
Adams said the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has recently approved the application to provide sewer and water to the Stables area. The project is now eligible for low interest loans and grants. This is the last step in what has been a multiple year project of receiving funding for the Stables area project. The City, Township, and residents will be meeting in the near future to discuss the annexation and construction processes. The City’s goal is to have the annexation completed, project bid, and funding received in 2018 so the project construction can proceed first thing in 2019.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS – None
A. Resolution 18-125 Accepting Feasibility Report and Calling Public Hearing For August 13, 2018 at 7:00 PM Regarding the Concrete Alley Paving Project Between Valley Avenue and Clausen Avenue, North of Johnson Street and South of High Street (Job 1817)
Adams explained the attached resolution would accept the feasibility report and call a public improvement hearing for August 13, 2018 for City Job No. 1817, the Johnson Street and High Street Concrete Alley Paving project. The proposed project is to construct a 12-foot wide concrete alley to replace the existing gravel surface between Johnson Street and High Street from Valley Avenue to Clausen Avenue.
Adams further explained the City has received a petition from the abutting property owners requesting that a feasibility study be completed for this work. There are 24 properties that would be assessed as part of the project. The preliminary assessment rate for this project is $82.02 per alley foot. The City costs are for construction of the alley entrances. Following the Assessment Policy, the assessments will be over 10 years. The interest rate will be based on bonding in 2018 if constructed in 2018, or 2019 bonding if constructed then. The estimated project cost is $138,621.00 and would be funded by assessments and City funds. A neighborhood meeting is scheduled for July 16th to discuss the project with the affected property owners.
Motion made by Councilor Olson, seconded by Councilor Baker. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Murray, Baker, Howland, Olson, Brooks and Mayor Rasmussen. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.
(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 18-125
included with these minutes)
B. Resolution 18-126 Approving A Conditional Use Permit For Expansion Of A Food Processing Facility At 517 Adams Avenue
Adams said AmTech is a food processing company that makes dried food products. Their location at 517 Adams Avenue is zoned PD, Planned Development District. All uses within the PD zone require a Conditional Use Permit (CUP). A CUP was issued previously, but only for a loading and warehouse facility addition. They would like to add a new 90 foot tall drying facility which requires this permit. At their meeting of June 26, 2018, the Planning Commission held a public hearing and made a unanimous recommendation to approve the application. They are recommending approval with three conditions as stated on the drafted resolution.
Howland commented although this is encouraging that the company is adding more jobs, he noted this particular area has been an issue with emissions and powder in the air landing on cars, homes, and businesses. He asked what the stipulations are to the zero particulate emissions noted in the resolution should emissions occur. Adams stated although, technically, the CUP could be removed at the City’s discretion, it may be more prudent to follow the typical process to be flexible and progressive. This could include a warning depending on the nature of the actual emission, the situation, the number of times involved, and if the company is trying to remedy the problem.
Motion made by Councilor Murray, seconded by Councilor Brooks. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Murray, Baker, Howland, Olson, Brooks and Mayor Rasmussen. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.
(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 18-126
included with these minutes)
C. Resolution 18-127 Adopting Inflow and Infiltration (I&I) Program Continuation – Failed Sump Pump Inspections and Implementation of I&I Surcharge (Job 9914 & 0701)
In 1999, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency required the City of Albert Lea to address the inflow and infiltration to its sanitary sewer system. At that time, Council adopted Resolution 99-218 which required all homes to be inspected to determine if they had a sump pump or cross connection of storm water with the sanitary sewer system. The purpose of the inspection was to identify and eliminate a cross connection, therefore eliminating storm sewer discharges into the sanitary sewer system. The first phase of this program was voluntary and when completed there were approximately 105 homes which were either not inspected or had failed the inspection and did not allow the City back to verify if corrections were made. Because the program was voluntary and the sanitary sewer lines were not yet inspected, no further action was taken.
In 2007, the Council adopted Resolution 07-26 allowing the City to continue the inflow and infiltration inspections. This phase focused on inspection of the sanitary sewer lines looking for tile line connections to the sanitary sewer system. There were approximately 5600 homes inspected. To enforce completion of the inspections the City Council then passed Resolution 10-28, that applied a $50/month charge to the water bill for all homes that had not had an inspection or had failed the inspection and not corrected the problem.
There are 105 properties from the 1999 sump pump inspections that either have the cross connection or have not allowed inspection. This resolution would apply that $50/month charge to these properties to ensure an inspection is completed and/or have the connection removed. The properties would have until January 1, 2019 to have the inspection completed and/or have the connection removed. The charge would not be applied until after the January 1, 2019 deadline.
Brooks stated he will be voting no due to the imposition of the $50 fee. He surmises the homeowner may not understand the details of this program and/or have the ability to fix the problem of water getting into their basement that may be coming in through the walls.
Mayor asked Jahnke to expound on this program. Jahnke explained this program does not address or resolve cracks in the walls. The program was designed to enforce a sump pump is involved to direct the water outside as opposed to going down the drain. Mayor Rasmussen asked Jahnke what has been done to educate these 105 homeowners not in compliance. Jahnke said a letter will be sent with detailed information followed by one or two more letters before the first of next year to remind homeowners to address the issue before the fees are imposed after January 1st. To Howland’s question, Jahnke detailed the phases of this program beginning in 1999 to current.
Olson asked if data could be brought back regarding the amount of inflow at the WWTP for comparison from 1999. Jahnke provided generalities adding the problem has not been eliminated but it has made a significant improvement. Slip lining and replacing lines are also being resolved to help the issue.
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, and Mayor Rasmussen. Brooks voted Nay. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.
(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 18-127
included with these minutes)
D. Resolution 18-128 Rescinding Resolution 18-95 And Replacing With Resolution Approving The Sale of Real Estate From The City Of Albert Lea To Mortarr, LLC a/k/a SOBRO Properties, LLC
Adams provided background to this resolution stating in the process of transacting final documents for the sale of a portion of the Freeborn Bank Building, it was discovered that the original approval with Vault Properties, LLC had not been registered with the MN Secretary of State’s Office and another entity had registered the name in another community in north central Minnesota. Therefore, staff is recommending to rescind the original resolution and replace it with the resolution in the packet with the new entity SOBRO Properties, LLC.
Motion made by Councilor Baker, seconded by Councilor Howland. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Baker, Howland, Olson, Brooks and Mayor Rasmussen. Murray abstained. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.
(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 18-128
included with these minutes)
E. Resolution 18-129 Rescinding Resolution 18-96 And Replacing With Resolution Permitting An Agreement For Loan of City of Albert Lea Economic Development Fund And Revolving Loan Fund With Mortarr, LLC a/k/a SOBRO Properties, LLC
Adams said as noted similarly above, in the process of transacting final documents for the loans for Mortarr LLC (a/k/a Vault Properties LLC), it was discovered that the original approval with Vault Properties, LLC had not been registered with the MN Secretary of State’s Office and another entity had registered the name in another community in north central Minnesota. Therefore, staff is recommending to rescind the original resolution and replace it with the resolution in the packet with the new entity SOBRO Properties, LLC.
Motion made by Councilor Howland seconded by Councilor Baker. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Baker, Howland, Olson, Brooks and Mayor Rasmussen. Murray abstained. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.
(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 18-129
included with these minutes)
MAYOR AND COUNCIL REPORTS
First Ward, Councilor Murray reported:
• Ward Items – Referred a constituent to the City Engineer’s Office regarding a water issue. Received calls regarding the Lakeshore Drive area.
• Committee Update – Attended the July 3rd Parade and July 4th Fireworks.
Second Ward, Councilor Baker reported:
• Ward Items – Received a call with concerns of people speeding on Lakeview Blvd. near Grace Street. Baker asked if patrols could spend a little time in that area.
• Committee Update – Encouraged the community to attend Wind Down Wednesday on July 18th.
Third Ward, Councilor Howland reported:
• Ward Items – Received a grass nuisance complaint of grass and weeds three feet tall. He expressed his appreciation to staff for attending to the cleanup so quickly.
• Committee Update – None
Fourth Ward, Councilor Olson reported:
• Ward Items – Attended an HRA Meeting last week. Reports HRA Director interviews are taking place tomorrow with the final interview on July 16th.
• Committee Update –None
Fifth Ward, Councilor Rasmussen reported:
• Ward Items – Absent
• Committee Update – Absent
Sixth Ward, Councilor Brooks reported:
• Ward Items – None
• Committee Update- Commended the Street Department for the time spent fixing pot holes in alleys in his neighborhood. He received calls from residents in the area thanking the City staff for fixing the holes. Brooks also questioned the fee charged for siding a home in Albert Lea. Adams responded the fee schedule was changed a few years ago to a flat fee. He offered to take a look at the fees again, and report back. Howland asked why we would charge a fee for putting siding on. Mayor explained the inspection department is required to provide inspection to house siding projects.
CITY MANAGER REPORT:
APPROVAL OF CLAIMS
RESOLUTION 18-130 APPROVING CLAIMS
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 Brooks, to approve payment of claims as presented for checks #68343 through #69502 in the amount of $1,853,042.12 seconded by Councilor Baker. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Murray, Baker, Howland, Olson, Brooks and Mayor Rasmussen.
Baker asked the process of purchasing the trucks. Adams explained the City’s uses a State bidding process.
Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.
(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 18-130
Included with these minutes)
CLOSED SESSION – Land Acquisition Pursuant To Minn. Stat. §13D.05, Subd. 3(c)
Adams listed the properties to be discussed in the Closed Session are:
• 220 and 224 College Street
• 406, 408, 410, and 412 Elizabeth Avenue
• 411,415, and 417 Newton Avenue South
Motion made by Councilor Howland to go into Closed Session seconded by Councilor Murray. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Murray, Baker, Howland, Olson, Brooks and Mayor Rasmussen. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.
Mayor Rasmussen reopened the regular meeting at 8:19 p.m. Mayor Rasmussen noted staff was provided with direction in the closed session.
ADJOURNMENT – 8:20 PM
Motion made by Councilor Murray seconded by Councilor Baker, 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 23, 2018. On roll call vote, all councilors voted in favor of said motion.
Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed and the meeting adjourned.
Mayor Vern Rasmussen, Jr.
Secretary of the Council