April 12, 2021

REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING
CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY OF ALBERT LEA
Monday, April 12, 2021, 7:00 p.m.

PRESENT: Mayor Vern Rasmussen, Jr., Councilors Rich Murray, Larry Baker, Jason Howland, Robert Rasmussen, and Al Brooks. Also present were City Manager Ian Rigg, Finance Director Kristi Brutlag, Human Resource Director Mike Zelenak, City Attorney Kelly Martinez, Public Works Director Steven Jahnke, Public Safety Director JD Carlson, and City Clerk Daphney Maras.

Councilor Olson arrived at 7:10 p.m.

NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Governor’s Stay-At-Home Order, this council meeting was conducted via teleconference as provided by Minnesota Statute 13D.021 Sub(1).

CEREMONIAL ITEMS – None

PUBLIC FORUM – Clerk Maras read emails received from Albert Lea Liquor Stores.

A1 Liquor and One Stop Liquor & Tobacco wrote in favor of extending weekday off-sale hours to 10:00 p.m. as proposed in the ordinance on the council agenda. Letters were read allowed on behalf of the owners of Liquor Depot, Eastside Liquor, Cheers Liquor, and Skyline Liquor opposing the extended hours. Brian Reindl emailed speaking on behalf of Liquor store employees opposing the extended hours. Owner of DAE Liquor Dyllan Engebretson was present with raised hand. Engebretson spoke of his opposition to the extended hours. Dustin Trail presented with raised hand and spoke in support of the weekday hours being extended. He disagreed with the comments regarding the competition factor.

The statements read aloud this evening are available for inspection during normal office hours. The information may be obtained by contacting:
City Clerk’s Office
221 East Clark Street
Albert Lea, MN 56007-2421
507-377-4335

CONSENT AND APPROVAL OF AGENDA
A. Approve Minutes Of The March 22, 2021 Regular Council Meeting
B. Approve Minutes Of The March 22, 2021 Work Session
C. Approve Minutes Of The March 13, 2021 Retreat/Goal Setting Session
D. License & Permits (None requested)
E. Resolution Supporting 2021 Shinefest Week of Service
F. Removal of 2-Hour Parking Signs And No Parking Signs on the 100 Block of East College Street
G. Resolution Approving Preliminary and Final Plat of Blazing Star No. 1

Motion made by Councilor Baker to approve the consent agenda as read, 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 21-053 through 21-054
Included with these minutes)

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS
A. Presentation – Bird Motorized Scooter Rentals

Mike Butler a representative of the Electric Scooter Company BIRD presented information about the company and the option to have motorized scooter rentals in Albert Lea. After the presentation, Council asked questions about the program to determine if they wish to proceed. Council indicated interest in moving forward. Rigg said a Memorandum of Understanding will be brought forward for approval at the April 26 council meeting.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS
A. Ordinance 21-056 Amending Zoning and Land Use Map from Light Industrial (I-1) To Planned Development District (PD) For Property Located At 423 Adams Avenue (2nd reading)

This Ordinance amends the Zoning and Land Use Map to accommodate an adaptive reuse housing development. The Planning Commission held a public hearing and recommended approval based on findings that the request was compatible with the surrounding area and with general zoning requirements in the Planned Development District.

Motion made by Councilor Baker to approve this second reading, 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 Ordinance 21-056
Included with these minutes)

NEW BUSINESS
A. Resolution 21-055 and Public Hearing Permitting an Agreement for Loan with Mercy Health Services Iowa Corp D/B/A MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center.

Mayor Rasmussen explained he will hand the gavel over to Pro Tem Mayor Baker for this item on the agenda. He and Councilor Howland will both recuse themselves from participating due to a conflict of interest.

City Manager Rigg explained the City has a State Economic Development Revolving Loan Fund. The fund is used, among other things, to create and retain good jobs, leverage private investment and increase the local tax base. The City seeks to enter into an Agreement with Mercy Health Services Iowa Corp d/b/a MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center, contingent upon the project meeting criteria for funding, for:

1. The Economic Development Revolving Loan Fund traditional loan for $150,000 for a term of seven (7) years at three (3%) percent interest per annum; and
The Economic Development Revolving Loan Fund forgivable loan for $50,000 to create and retain five (5) jobs until April 15, 2026. If the five (5) jobs are created and retained through April 15, 2026, this loan is forgiven. Failure to create and retain the five (5) jobs through April 15, 2026 will require the loan to be paid in full.

Mayor Pro Tem Baker opened the public hearing. He called three times. After each calling, Clerk Maras confirmed there were no raised hands to speak and no written communication has been received.

Motion made by Councilor Baker to approve, seconded by Councilor Murray. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Murray, Baker, Olson, Rasmussen, and Brooks. Mayor Rasmussen and Councilor Howland abstained. Mayor Pro Tem Baker declared the motion passed.
(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 21-055
Included with these minutes)

B. Ordinance 21-057 Of The City of Albert Lea, Minnesota Amending Chapter 2 – Administration (1st reading)

Rigg explained the proposed ordinance change is to allow the changes necessary with the proposed Director of Community Engagement and Enrichment. The first section 2.074 is the most important in that it states that the organization of those who manage (not control) departments, divisions or services can be reorganized as needed for efficiency and accountability. Deleting 2.076 through 2.080 was considered but without more direction from the Council it seemed to be too large of a shift or these departments may have been established by ordinance for a reason not identified by the City Manager at this time.

Motion made by Councilor Baker to approve the first reading of this ordinance as read, 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 Ordinance 21-057
Included with these minutes)

C. Ordinance 21-058 Of The City of Albert Lea, Minnesota Amending Chapter 4 – Alcoholic Beverages (1st reading)

Rigg stated the city is permitted to issue liquor licenses, upon approval by the State, and regulate the on-sale and off-sale of alcohol pursuant to Minnesota Statute. The city’s ordinance regarding alcoholic beverages has been amended to ensure the definitions and licensing regulations are consistent with statute. Most notably amended was clarification regarding the sale of 3.2% malt liquor allowable for sale on grocery stores, drug stores, and gas stations, as well as extending the weekday off-sale hours from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. as consistent with State Statute. Rigg said this ordinance takes into consideration the public safety of the community. Howland questioned why Albert Lea has historically maintained the 8:00 p.m. closing as opposed to the state allowable closing of 10:00 p.m. to which, the answer is unknown. Howland commented his appreciation to all the comments and emails received on this topic. He supports extending weekday hours to follow statute.

Motion made by Councilor Brooks to approve the first reading of this ordinance as read, seconded by Councilor Howland. 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 Ordinance 21-058
Included with these minutes)

D. Resolution 21-056 Providing For The Sale of $2,325,000 General Obligation Bonds, Series 2021A

Rebecca Kurtz of Ehlers & Associates was present and reviewed the bond sale. As per the City Charter, the City of Albert Lea has the authority to issue General Obligation Improvement Bonds to provide financing for assessable public improvement projects undertaken by the City. Staff recommends the sizing of the bond to be $2,325,000 to finance City improvement projects, including the 2021 Neighborhood Improvement Project, the Edgewood Ave, St Peter Ave Stanley Ave and Ulstad Ave Reconstruction Project and the Washing Avenue and Water Street Parking Lot Reconstruction. The proposed bond would have a term of 10 years and be sold competitively.

Motion made by Councilor Baker, 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 21-056
Included with these minutes)

E. Resolution 21-057 Accepting Bid And Awarding Contract For Washington Avenue And Water Street Parking Lot Reconstruction (Job 2104)

Engineering has reviewed the bids opened Tuesday, April 6, 2021 for the Washington Avenue & Water Street Parking Lot Reconstruction project. The project involves the removal of the existing bituminous pavement, replacement of the existing aggregate base, and paving of the new bituminous surface. New sign posts and signage will also take place where warranted. Engineering received one bid and is recommending the low bid of $84,149.16 as submitted by Ulland Brothers Inc. of Albert Lea, Minnesota. The Engineer’s estimate was $86,240.

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 21-057
Included with these minutes)

F. Resolution 21-058 Accepting Bid And Awarding Contract For 2021 CIPP Sliplining Project (Job 2105)

Engineering reviewed the bids opened Tuesday, April 6, 2021 for the 2021 CIPP Rehabilitation project. The project involves installing a cured in place pipe liner inside of the existing sanitary sewer mains in the following locations. Construction shall use Cured-In-Place-Pipe methods.

  • Dane Bay Crossing (Abbott Street to Blackmer Avenue)
  • Sewer main between Abbott Street and Lakeview Boulevard
  • 2nd Street to James Avenue (Backyards west of Frank Avenue)
  • Shell Rock River Channel Crossing Area

Engineering received three bids. Engineering is recommending the low bid of $391,803.50 as submitted by Municipal Pipe Tool Company of Hudson, Iowa. The bid abstract is attached. The Engineer’s estimate was $311,970. The Engineers estimate was low on the larger sized pipe and bypassing items.

Motion made by Councilor Baker, seconded by Councilor Howland. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Murray, Baker, Howland, Rasmussen, Brooks, and Mayor Rasmussen. Councilor Olson was absent. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 21-058
Included with these minutes)

G. Resolution 21-059 Establishing Reopening Requirements

Rigg explained the attached resolution is both instruction on getting fully open and understanding what may set us back. With vaccination rates increasing we should consider opening back up and having more staff in person. There have been increases in infection rates in the younger population believed to be caused by the limited number vaccinated and new variants greater ease of transmission.

Motion made by Councilor Howland, seconded by Councilor Rasmussen. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Murray, Baker, Howland, Rasmussen, Brooks, and Mayor Rasmussen. Councilor Olson was absent. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.
(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 21-059
Included with these minutes)

H. Resolution 21-060 Determining The Need For Conducting City Meetings By Telephonic Or Other Electronic Means

Rigg stated to maintain electronic meetings this resolution must pass. This is similar to the previous emergency orders that had to be passed every month but narrowed to just the meetings.

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, Rasmussen, Olson, Brooks, and Mayor Rasmussen. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 21-060
Included with these minutes)

I. Resolution 21-061 Permitting Agreement For Senior Center Services

To date the only submittal has been from the Albert Lea YMCA. The opening closes Friday. This resolution allows the City Manager to finish the process of making an agreement for services with an organization quickly so that services may soon resume at the Senior Center. Mayor thanked staff for their persistence in exploring all the options available to not only save the City money, but also to continue to support our seniors.

Motion made by Councilor Brooks, seconded by Councilor Murray. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Murray, Baker, Howland, Rasmussen, Olson, Brooks, and Mayor Rasmussen. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 21-061
Included with these minutes)

MAYOR AND COUNCIL REPORTS:
First Ward, Councilor Murray reported:
• Ward Items – Received calls regarding rerouting traffic patterns during the Bridge Avenue construction.
• Committee Update – Attended ALEDA meeting. Mentioned the grand opening of Vortex coming up in a couple of weeks.

Second Ward, Councilor Baker reported:
• Ward Items – None
• Committee Update – Plans were approved at the Planning Commission meeting for the Market Place development albeit concerns of the parking.

Third Ward, Councilor Howland reported;
• Ward Items – Received a call from the developer of the Market Place development regarding concerns about the plan and parking lot. Howland reports he learned more about the project including the addition of indoor parking of the building. Answered inquiries regarding the purchase of the Godfathers property and the E. Main Street construction project. Spoke with the owner of the Barn at Chapeau regarding his interest in building a walking path on City owned property in that area. Howland knocked on doors in the Chapeau neighborhood to inquire if the walking path is something they would support. The majority of the people Howland spoke with do not support this.
• Committee Update – None

Fourth Ward, Councilor Olson reported:
• Ward Items – Took calls regarding the subjects the other Councilors have reported.
• Committee Update – None

Fifth Ward, Councilor Rasmussen reported:
• Ward Items – Received calls regarding extending the off-sale liquor store hours.
• Committee Update – None

Sixth Ward, Councilor Brooks reported:
• Ward Items – Received complaints of excessive garbage issue on private property. Received calls regarding the plans for E. Main St. construction.
• Committee Update – None

MAYOR’S REPORT:
• Attended the Port Authority (ALEDA) meeting and spoke of the many exciting things happening in the community including the opportunities for growth.
• Has received many of the same calls the council members have reported.

CITY MANAGER REPORT:
• Met with Congressman Jim Hagedorn at the Marion Ross Theatre. Hagedorn toured the facility and commented that with people being able to work from home, a community is not so much a place where you work, but rather a quality of life. Hagedorn supports funding to assist the Marion Ross Theatre as he agrees the theatre is an important asset to the City of Albert Lea.
• Continues to work with ALEDA Director Phillip Johnson on a number of projects from exploring lake front opportunities to potential commercial and industrial businesses coming to Albert Lea.
• Staff has been working with the MPCA on the WWTP improvement requirements.
• Staff will be working on developing a work-at-home policy as City Hall works towards resuming regular open hours to the public.
• Working with staff on business items related to zoning
• Staff will be working on a resolution to waive license fees for the 2021-2022 season for on-sale bars/restaurants
• Closed on the purchase of the old Godfathers Pizza building

APPROVAL OF CLAIMS
A. Resolution 21-062 Approving Contract With Councilmember Al D. Brooks dba Brooks Safety Equipment

The attached resolution directs the Mayor and City Treasurer to make payment for $878.31 on behalf of the City for a claim from Brooks Safety Equipment and to issue payment for filing the affidavit of official interest by the interested official, Councilor Brooks.

Motion made by Councilor Howland to approve payment of claims as presented for $878.31. Seconded by Councilor Baker. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Murray, Baker, Howland, Olson, Rasmussen and Mayor Rasmussen. Councilor Brooks abstained. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.
(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 21-062
Included with these minutes)

B. Resolution 21-063 APPROVING CLAIMS

Rigg explained that the attached resolution directs the Mayor and City Treasurer to issue the payment of claims as presented in the Detail of Claims report. In addition, Rigg displayed a list of claims over $25,000 for the public’s viewing, transparency and education.

Motion made by Councilor Baker to approve payment of claims as presented for checks #78103 through #78275 in the amount of $1,640,091.09. 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 21-063
Included with these minutes)

ADJOURNMENT: 8:27 P.M.

Motion made by Councilor Murray, seconded by Councilor Olson. 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, April 26, 2021. On roll call vote, all councilors voted in favor of said motion.

Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed and the meeting adjourned.

___/s/_________________________
Mayor Vern Rasmussen, Jr.

___/s/_________________________
Daphney Maras
Secretary of the Council