April 26, 2021

REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING
CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY OF ALBERT LEA
Monday, April 26, 2021, 7:00 p.m.

PRESENT: Mayor Vern Rasmussen, Jr., Councilors Rich Murray, Larry Baker, Jason Howland, Robert Rasmussen, Reid Olson, 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.

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 – Proclamation Declaring ‘Screen-Free Week’ in the City of Albert Lea.

Mayor Rasmussen read the proclamation declaring May 3-9 “Screen-Free Week” in Albert Lea. He thanked all the partners involved for bringing this celebration forward.

PUBLIC FORUM – Clerk Maras stated there were no emails or letters received. Nor are there any raised hands to requesting to speak.

Mayor Rasmussen read aloud each item on the consent and approval agenda:
CONSENT AND APPROVAL OF AGENDA
A. Approve Minutes Of The April 12, 2021 Regular Council Meeting
B. Approve Minutes Of The April 12, 2021 Work Session
C. License & Permits
D. Resolution Accepting Donations As Presented To The City of Albert Lea
E. Resolution Approving Plans & Specifications And Ordering Advertisement of Bids For The 1-Million Gallon Central Water Tower (Job 2056)

Motion made by Councilor Rasmussen to approve the consent agenda as read, 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 Resolutions 21-064 and 21-065 Included with these minutes)

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS – None

UNFINISHED BUSINESS
A. Ordinance 21-057 Of The City Of Albert Lea, Minnesota Amending Chapter 2 – Administration (2nd Reading)

The second reading of this ordinance would approve the changes to the proposed Director of Community Engagement and Enrichment position. Brooks asked for a brief description of this added position. Rigg described the job requirements and the changes in a portion of the organization structure.

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 21-057
Included with these minutes)

A2. Resolution 21-066 Permitting Publication of an Ordinance Summary Amending Chapter 2 – Administration

Ordinance Summaries may be published if they reasonably inform the public of the effect and intent of the Ordinance. Summaries fulfill all legal requirements as if the entire summarized matter had been published and also directs the public how to obtain the complete Ordinance. The effective date of enactment of the ordinance is April 26, 2021, and must pass by a four-fifths vote by Council.

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

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 21-066
Included with these minutes)

B. Ordinance 21-058 Of The City of Albert Lea, Minnesota Amending Chapter 4 – Alcoholic Beverages (2nd reading)

The second reading of this ordinance would finalize the regulation of on-sale and off-sale alcohol to ensure that definitions and licensing regulations are consistent with state statute.

Motion made by Councilor Murray to approve this second reading, 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 Ordinance 21-058
Included with these minutes)

B2. Resolution 21-067 Permitting Publication of an Ordinance Summary Amending Chapter 4 – Alcoholic Beverages

Ordinance Summaries may be published if they reasonably inform the public of the effect and intent of the Ordinance. Summaries fulfill all legal requirements as if the entire summarized matter had been published and also directs the public how to obtain the complete Ordinance. The effective date of enactment of the ordinance is April 26, 2021, and must pass by a four-fifths vote by Council.

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

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 21-067
Included with these minutes)

C. Resolution 21-068 Granting Approval Of A Conditional Use Permit For 1619 W. Main Street

Rigg state the attached resolution grants approval of a Conditional Use Permit for 1619 W. Main Street, the location of a 50-unit Multi-family Housing Development. Staff has concerns about the design and safety of the only lane around the Skyflats apartments. A 2-way lane must be maintained around the entire facility between the three separate owners. The only lane of traffic they proposed has 90-degree parking directly into the lane of traffic. We would never allow this in a business parking lot or in a residential neighborhood. In a business setting, to park the drive would either pull in and out of an angled spot or pull into a separate lane from the through lanes that lead to 90-degree stalls. In a residential neighborhood there would be setbacks from the intended parking area (peoples’ driveways) giving visibility, or parallel parking allowed on the street.

Staff recommends the Planning Commission’s approval with one of the three added provisions:

A. Developer installs parking along the only throughway lane be made 0 degrees or parallel to reduce parking entrance and egress entering or crossing the opposite lane of traffic.
B. Developer installs parking along the only throughway lane be made 45 degrees to reduce parking entrance and egress entering or crossing the opposite lane of traffic
C. Developer installs parking be provided in a separate area so as to prevent direct access to individual parking stalls from the throughway.

The motion could be “Motion to approve with the addition of Section 2 to read…” and add the preferred parking option. The developers have offered us no cooperation, negotiation or consideration on this matter despite staffs’ recommendations and concerns. They are aware of these options and have chosen to stick with what Plan Commission approved likely assuming Council will not alter the recommendation despite our concerns and history of not approving similar plans.

This process should have been delayed due to their not delivering the plans on time. In the future staff will not proceed with scheduling meetings if plans are not delivered a head of time. The problems that surround this approval are a direct result of not allowing proper review time before the Plan Commission hearing, caused by the developers not delivering before March 27 as instructed. Because of our assumption that their engineer would not suggest something like this, we erred in favor of the developers’ timeline than our own and proceeded with publication of the hearing, reducing our ability to review and respond formally.

Wade Abed was present and is one of the partners involved with this development. He commended the City and staff for their work on this project.

Council Baker and Mayor Rasmussen extended their appreciation to the developers for choosing Albert Lea as the home for this project.

Motion made by Councilor Howland to approve this resolution with the amendment that the Developer installs parking along the only throughway lane be angled parking to reduce parking entrance and egress entering or crossing the opposite lane of traffic, seconded by Councilor Baker. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Murray, Baker, Howland, Olson, Rasmussen, and Brooks. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 21-068
Included with these minutes)

NEW BUSINESS
A. Ordinance 21-059 Amending The Zoning And Land Use Map From Community Business (B-2) to Interstate Development District (IDD) For Property Located At 2501 Main Street East (1st reading)

This is the Freeborn Mower Electric Cooperative site that is for sale. This rezoning is important to the sale and reuse of the property.
Motion made by Councilor Baker, 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 Ordinance 21-059
Included with these minutes)

B. Resolution 21-069 Dedicating Matching Funds And Authorization To Enter Into Grant Agreement For The Plaza Street Culvert Replacement (Job 1913)

This item would dedicate matching City funds in the amount of $51,356.75 and authorize the Mayor and City Manager to enter into a grant agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation for the Plaza Street Culvert Replacement (Job No. 1913). The project will involve the replacement of the dual box culverts underneath the old Plaza Street which now serves as an access road for the City-owned disposal pit and Police Department shooting range. The Engineering Department applied for and was awarded grant funding through Mn/DOT’s Local Bridge Replacement Program in the amount of $256,351. This amount is based on grant eligible bridge items and the lowest responsible bid. The matching City funds are for grant ineligible items such as street pavement, turf establishment and removing the existing culverts.
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, Olson, Brooks, and Mayor Rasmussen. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 21-069
Included with these minutes)

C. Resolution 21-070 Accepting Bid And Awarding Contract For Plaza Street Culvert Repair Project (Job 1913)

Engineering has reviewed the bids opened Tuesday, April 6, 2021 for the Plaza Street Culvert Repairs project. The project involves replacing the concrete box culverts underneath the old Plaza Street where it crosses Wedge Creek. Engineering received four bids. Engineering is recommending the low bid of $307,707.75 as submitted by Jensen Excavating & Trucking LLC of Albert Lea, Minnesota. The Engineer’s estimate was $331,162.25.

Motion made by Councilor Murray, seconded by Councilor Howland. 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 21-070
Included with these minutes)

D. Resolution 21-071 Approving Memorandum of Understanding with Bird Rides, Inc.

Rigg explained Bird Rides, Inc. is an international company providing new recreational opportunities, alternative modes of transportation and new business opportunities. Legal review of the MOU has brought up concerns about liability. The City Manager agrees that there could be better stated indemnification and we are working on language changes that meet intent as the Brid representative and I understand indemnification between the two parties. As for the portion we could be liable for remember they are legal to operate in our city streets and the concern about liability with road conditions is unchanged. The change we are facing is an increased use by 50-100 over the current number of bicycles and scooters by private owners but under an MOU. If at any point we feel Bird is not taking proper precautions or maintaining their rentals adequately, we have the option to cancel or not renew for the following year. Keep in mind we still have a year of indemnification after the MOU expires.

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 21-071
Included with these minutes)

E. Resolution 21-072 Waiving 2021-2022 Permit or License Fees For Impacted Establishments in the City of Albert Lea

License fees would be waived for the 2021-2022 license period only. This is only for those who paid for their licenses and permits during the height of the pandemic and executive orders closing businesses. This included bars, restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, massage providers, sexually oriented businesses, and permits for arcades/pool tables. Many of these businesses could not operate safely during the pandemic or under executive order were forced to close. The basis for these fees is the cost to do inspections, the impact they may have on the community and issues regarding liability. Given these operations were halted or limited, the services and impacts setting the fee levels no longer align and should be waived in full for simplicity.

Howland commented on the fairness of waiving these fees to the businesses.

Motion made by Councilor Brooks, seconded by Councilor Howland. 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 21-072
Included with these minutes)

MAYOR AND COUNCIL REPORTS:
First Ward, Councilor Murray reported:
• Ward Items – Working with City Manager Rigg on city and ward items.
• Committee Update – Attended a special meeting this morning at ALEDA. He reported they are working on business expansion and new business development. Also attended the HRA meeting and the Vortex ground breaking ceremony. Extended his appreciation to the Vortex Company for choosing Albert Lea.

Second Ward, Councilor Baker reported:
• Ward Items – None
• Committee Update – Attended a Heritage Preservation meeting where a certificate of appropriateness was approved for the newly installed windows at 238 S. Broadway. Also attended the HRA meeting.

Third Ward, Councilor Howland reported;
• Ward Items – Spoke of the recent spike in theft of catalytic converters. Suggests, as a City, legislatures be contacted to encourage a law to restrict the re-selling of these stolen items.
• Committee Update – Attended the Vortex Cold Storage ground breaking last week. Extended his appreciation to the young owners for choosing Albert Lea as the home for this company. Attended the Park & Recreation Board meeting. Reports 23 applications were received for the open position of Recreation Coordinator. Contractors started work on the aquatic center. Staff is discussing plans for opening the pool this summer.

Fourth Ward, Councilor Olson reported:
• Ward Items – Spoke with a resident regarding cloudy water issue. This has been resolved.
• Committee Update – Attended the HRA Board meeting where the annual budget is being reviewed.

Fifth Ward, Councilor Rasmussen reported:
• Ward Items – working on a few ward items.
• Committee Update – Attended the Airport Board meeting. He reported the Master Plan is in the process of finalization.

Sixth Ward, Councilor Brooks reported:
• Ward Items – Bleachers Bar & Grill is requesting a handicap parking spot in front of their restaurant. In addition, they are requesting consideration of a cross walk in the area of their restaurant. Brooks spoke of the one-way on E. 7th Street. Mentioned the ordinance approved tonight regarding the extension of off-sale hours. He said he understands the hardship this might put on the business owners being a small business owner himself.
• Committee Update – None

MAYOR’S REPORT:
• Mentioned the need for two new Charter Commission members.
• Attended the Vortex ground breaking. He thanked City staff, ALEDA staff, and Freeborn Mower for their diligent work on bringing this company to fruition.

CITY MANAGER REPORT:
• Echoed appreciation for Vortex choosing to build in Albert Lea. Spoke of the 26 jobs this company is providing to the community as well as the added value they are bringing to this area.
• HRA applied for a grant to assist in reconstruction costs. Rigg offered waiving the permit fees for this project.
• City Hall will be opening up beginning on May 10th from 8:00-4:30, M-F. Noting some staff will continue working remotely and will be available by appointment.
• Staff is working on granting loan agreements
• The Rail Trail will be discussed at a meeting on April 30th
• A series of retirements are coming up creating some open positions
• Attended a seminar on “open spaces.”
• MNDOT met with the Chamber of Commerce on the Highway 65 project.
• Submitted some grant requests to Hagedorn’s office.

APPROVAL OF CLAIMS

A. Resolution 21-073 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 #78276 through #78389 in the amount of $621,148.15. 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 Resolution 21-073
Included with these minutes)

ADJOURNMENT: 7:47 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, May 10, 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