REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING
VIA TELECONFERENCE, CITY OF ALBERT LEA
Monday, April 13, 2020, 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 David Todd, City Attorney Kelly Martinez, Public Works Director Steve Jahnke, Public Safety Director JD Carlson, and City Clerk Daphney Maras.

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 – City Manager Todd received an email regarding the renaming of Water Street noted on the agenda. The community member was concerned that this would affect residential mailing addresses and personal information. Jahnke confirmed the renaming of Water Street only affects North Broadway to Washington Avenue where there are no residential or commercial properties involved.
Todd also read an email he received from a community member noting their preference for the street to be renamed Eddie Cochran.
CONSENT AND APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Mayor Rasmussen read through each item on the council agenda. He declared the addition of item (E) regarding the Resolution Approving Electronic Signature Policy:

A. Approve Minutes Of The March 23, 2020 Regular Council Meeting
B. Approve Minutes Of The March 23, 2020 Work Session
C. Resolution Accepting Bid For 2020 Neighborhood Improvement Overlay & James Avenue Reconstruction Project – Job 2050
D. Resolution Accepting Donations Presented To The City of Albert Lea
E. Resolution Approving Electronic Signature Policy

Motion made by Councilor Baker to approve the consent agenda with the addition as Mayor Rasmussen noted, 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 20-069 through 20-071
Included with these minutes)

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS – None

UNFINISHED BUSINESS – None

NEW BUSINESS –

A. ORDINANCE 20-243 AMENDING ARTICLE II, SECTION 14-31 THROUGH SECTION 14-43 – DOGS & CATS (1ST READING)

The City seeks to amend the Dog and Cat Ordinance. The City enacted the dog and cat ordinance to require licenses to ensure that owners of dogs and cats properly vaccinate their animals against rabies. In addition, the ordinance provides for the proper care and treatment of dogs and cats; public nuisance issues that impact the peace and quiet and health of the community, and dangerous dog declarations. Definitions were added to provide clarification and make it easier for staff to enforce the ordinance.

Motion made by Councilor Brooks to approve the first reading of Ordinance 20-243, 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 Ordinance 20-243
Included with these minutes)

B. ORDINANCE 20-244 RENAMING WATER STREET TO MARION ROSS STREET (1ST READING)

Mayor Rasmussen requested that City staff prepare the necessary documents to re-name Water Street to Marion Ross Street, from North Broadway to Washington Avenue. The request follows community support and fundraising for a Marion Ross bronze statue outside the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center.

Jahnke reiterated for council that there are no residential or commercial properties whose addresses will be affected by this name change.

Motion made by Councilor Baker to approve the first reading of Ordinance 20-244, 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 Ordinance 20-244
Included with these minutes)

C. APPROVING EXTENSION OF MARCH 17, 2020 CITY OF ALBERT LEA, MINNESOTA PROCLAMATION AND DECLARATION OF EMERGENCY NO. 2020-1 AND ORDINANCE 20-232

The World Health Organization declared COVID 19 a pandemic. In response, on March 13, 2020, President Trump declared that the outbreak of COVID 19 constituted a national emergency. Later that afternoon, Governor Walz declared the outbreak of COVID 19 constituted a state emergency that poses an imminent threat to the loss of life and public health. On March 17, 2020, City Council convened a special meeting and approved the City of Albert Lea Proclamation and Declaration of Emergency and Ordinance. The city’s declaration and ordinance expires on April 15, 2020. Multiple confirmed cases of COVID 19 exist in Freeborn County. In light of the ongoing crisis, it is necessary to extend the declaration and ordinance. The extension of the Emergency Declaration and accompanying ordinance allows the terms and conditions contained within to remain in full force and effect through May 4, 2020. Approval to extend the declaration and ordinance requires approval by five members of city council.

Councilor Rasmussen commented that he heard today Governor Walz has extended the Executive Order 2020 mandating employees to stay home until May 13, 2020. Other council members echoed the same. Howland explained his understanding of this extension was for the Peacetime Order only. Martinez clarified extending the Peacetime Order to May 13th allows the Governor to make adjustments to Executive Order 2020 should he deem it necessary.

D. RESOLUTION 20-072 EXTENDING THE CONTINUATION OF SALARIES FOR EXEMPT AND NON-EXEMPT EMPLOYEES UNABLE TO WORK DUE TO CLOSURES OF CITY FACILITIES DURING COVID-19 EMERGENCY DECLARATION

The Governor of Minnesota extended Executive Order 2020 mandating employees to stay at home to assist in preventing the spread of COVID-19 through May 4, 2020. The City has endeavored to reduce the spread of the disease by requiring all City employees to work remotely except those deemed emergency workers, such as, police, fire and rescue, and public works. On March 17, 2020, the Governor issued Executive Order 20-07 ordering the continued pay of state agency employees until the emergency declaration is lifted. In doing so, the Governor recognized the purpose of government is for the security, benefit, and protection of Minnesotans. Likewise, the City of Albert Lea is obligated to protect the safety, welfare and public health of the community. Continued payment of salaries/wages serves a public purpose by preventing the destabilization of the City workforce and contributes to state and local economy. The resolution continuing the payment of salaries/wages of city staff would expire on May 4, 2020.

Murray stated this is the second extension of this Order and he has trepidations of the financial issues that could affect the City should this continue. He asked City Manager Todd what the plan is in the future should the Governor’s order continue. Todd spoke of the seriousness of the situation and the fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers of this community. He said staff is currently working on determining a set amount of furloughs that not only mirror the amount of work that is taking place, but to also display to the community that City employees, just like the taxpayers of this community, are not exempt from an economic slowdown. He explained he and staff are working on putting a plan in place and he requests this extension to make necessary adjustments to staffing.

Motion made by Councilor Baker to approve extending the continuation of salaries for exempt and non-exempt employees unable to work due to closures of City facilities during COVID-19 emergency Declaration, 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 20-072
Included with these minutes)

MAYOR AND COUNCIL REPORTS:
First Ward, Councilor Murray reported:
• Ward Items – None
• Committee Update – Attended the ALEDA meeting last week via Zoom and said they are continuing to work on the Strategic plan that was introduced a few weeks ago. He also attended an HRA meeting but will defer to the Chairman of the Board, Reid Olson to report. Murray also mentioned the positive comments he has received from the community regarding the temporary opening of the Transfer Station for disposal of brush and leaves.

Second Ward, Councilor Baker reported:
• Ward Items – Working with City Manager Todd on ward items. He also suggested extending the timeframe the Transfer Station is scheduled to be open due to the recent snow that brought cleaning up yards to a halt. Mayor Rasmussen deferred to Todd who agreed this is amenable. Mayor Rasmussen request staff explore that possibility.
• Committee Update – None

Third Ward, Councilor Howland reported;
• Ward Items – None
• Committee Update – Will attend a Park & Recreation Board meeting next Monday. He asked Todd to confirm the meeting is still scheduled to take place. He asked if ALEDA and/or City staff is reaching out to businesses to let them know of available resources to help them through this difficult time of business closures. Todd replied that ALEDA has been relaying the information using many different sources. In addition, the information is available on the City’s website. Mayor Rasmussen added that ALEDA Director Phillip Johnson is working diligently at researching all available resources and encourages businesses to contact ALEDA for more information. Murray noted that the Board of Directors for ALEDA asked ALEDA staff to make communicating with businesses to inform them of the available resources a priority at this time. He commended ALEDA for their diligence in doing so. Howland reminded the community to continue with persistent hand washing and social distancing.
Fourth Ward, Councilor Olson reported:
• Ward Items – None
• Committee Update – Attended an HRA meeting a couple of weeks ago and spoke of how the seating has been rearranged at the HRA facility to follow the recommended distancing. Also, staffing has been changed to having just two staff members working at any one time. In addition, the bid opening has taken place for the Elevator repair project at the HRA building. Olson said they look forward to securing a contractor in the near future.

Fifth Ward, Councilor Rasmussen reported:
• Ward Items – None
• Committee Update – None

Sixth Ward, Councilor Brooks reported:
• Ward Items – Stated he has received calls related to extending the timeframe of the Transfer Station remaining open. Contractors are in need of disposing debris from roofing projects and are currently forced to renting dumpsters for storage. He said disposing at the Transfer Station would be much more cost effective and convenient for them. Brooks also mentioned that he, as a small business owner in the community, was contacted by ALEDA staff to inform him of the resources available while he is not able to conduct business. Brooks said he appreciated that they took time to make this call. He also extended his appreciation and thanks to Steve Jahnke and the Engineering Department for listening to the concerns of the residents on James Avenue regarding the installation of a proposed sidewalk included with the reconstruction project. Brooks said Jahnke and his staff took the time to review and assess this request and ultimately eliminated a sidewalk from that project as the residents desired.
• Committee Update – None

MAYOR’S REPORT:

• Reminded the community to participate in the Census count.
• Echoed Howland’s comments regarding social distancing.
• Encouraged the community to continue supporting small businesses now more than ever and suggested purchasing gift cards.
• He also encouraged the community to follow the CVB’s suggestion and go on-line and write a positive review about a local business on YELP.

CITY MANAGER REPORT:

Todd commended staff for working attentively through the challenging circumstances. He reported he has increased the Department Head meetings to twice weekly in order to stay connected. He has advised Department Heads to keep in regular contact with their staff to keep them informed of the day to day operations mitigating COVID-19 throughout the organization.
APPROVAL OF CLAIMS
A. RESOLUTION 20-073 APPROVING CONTRACT WITH COUNCILMEMBER AL D. BROOKS

– The attached resolution directs the Mayor and City Treasurer to make payment in the amount of $226.65 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 in the amount of $226.65. 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 20-073
Included with these minutes)

B. RESOLUTION 20-074 APPROVING CLAIMS

David Todd 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, Todd 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 #74804 through #74965 in the amount of $1,128,201.45. 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 20-074
Included with these minutes)
ADJOURNMENT: 7:38 P.M.

Motion made by Councilor Murray, seconded by Councilor Howland. 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 27, 2020. 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