April 11, 2016

Monday, April 11, 2016, 7:00 P.M.

PRESENT: Mayor Vern Rasmussen Jr., Councilors John Schulte V, Larry Baker, George Marin, Reid Olson, Larry Anderson and Al Brooks. Also present were City Manager Chad Adams, Assistant City Manager Jerry Gabrielatos, City Attorney Lee Bjorndal and City Engineer Steven Jahnke.
ABSENT: City Clerk Shirley Slater-Schulte


Mike Zelenak, staff liaison to the Human Rights Commission, recognized the essay contest winners. The Albert Lea Human Rights Commission, in conjunction with the League of Minnesota Cities Human Rights Commission, holds an essay contest for middle-school students. The students write about a human rights issue. The topic this year was excessive use of force in arrests with law enforcement officials interacting with minorities. The winners are as follows:

  • 1st place: Ava Corey-Gruenes
  • 2nd place: Jenna Steffl
  • 3rd place: (tie) Raine Dana and Kendall Bolinger


Gary Pestorious, Chairman of the Shell Rock River Watershed District (hereinafter referred to as the “Watershed”), 20770 707th Avenue. He offered to answer questions from the Council about the Watershed.

Councilor Baker asked how funding for the dredging of Fountain Lake would be structured. Pestorious said the Watershed has spent $1.9 million on dredging and that funding would be provided in phases. Pestorious said the State of Minnesota (hereinafter referred to as “the State”) would provide matching funds for Watershed expenditures.

Watershed Administrator Behnke then spoke. He said the $1.9 million already expended is not part of the $7.5 million that is expected to be spent on dredging. Councilor Baker inquired about the status of the permits for dredging. Behnke explained the following items: Watershed is working on the Confined Disposal Facility (CDF) first, the State has allocated $7.5 million for the project and that the Watershed has signed a contract with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Pestorious then provided background on a Watershed district and how it is governed, reading from a handout he brought. Pestorious stated that the Watershed is the only one he knows of that collects a sales tax and he believes that the sales tax is better because tax is paid by a wider population than just local property owners. He emphasized the availability of Watershed to meet with Councilors.


A. Approve Minutes Of The March 28, 2016 Regular Council Meeting
B. Approve Minutes Of The March 24, 2016 Work Session
C. Licenses & Permits (See attached list.)
D. Resolution Accepting Donations Presented To The City Of Albert Lea
E. Agreement with Kennel Club Of Freeborn County
F. Resolution Accepting Bid And Awarding Contract For City Hall Main Elevator Replacement
G. Resolution Requesting Acquisition Of 1761 Pride Lane – Tiger Hills Subdivision
H. Resolution Authorizing City Staff To Approve Special Event At Edgewater Bay Pavilion
I. Resolution Authorizing Broadway Ridge Small Project Grant Agreement With Holly Karsjens

MOTION: Move to approve the consent agenda as presented.

Motion made by Councilor Baker, seconded by Councilor Brooks. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Schulte V, Baker, Marin, Olson, Anderson, Brooks and Mayor Rasmussen. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.
(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 16-68-16-72
included with these minutes)


Carol Lang, 806 Lincoln, spoke about the Monarch Flower Park, a proposed pollination park in Edgewater Park. Lang, representing the group Save the Monarchs of Freeborn County, detailed the importance of pollination. Lang explained that the spraying of chemicals has resulted in a decline in milkweed, the plant that caterpillars eat.

Lang selected the Edgewater site because students would be able to visit the site for educational opportunities, it is accessible for the disabled and there is water for watering available. She is applying for a grant with Pheasants Forever and will have to detail these items on the application. She is requesting use of a half-acre to one acre of property near the Pavilion and for city staff to assist with some maintenance responsibilities of the land prior to its establishment. Volunteers will maintain the park afterward. The DNR will provide technical advice.

The Councilors thanked Lang for her work, asked questions about expanding the program to other locations in the City as well as informing homeowners about best practices that could be implemented at their residences and what duties city staff would be responsible for if the park is established.

Anderson motioned to direct staff to work with Ms. Lang to implement the Park; Olson seconded.


Councilor Adams provided the background of the sales tax, amending the language on the original resolution and presented two options for the council and public to review. One option does not change the language, another does, with relation to water quality and Council review. A separate draft side agreement between the Council and the Watershed has also been drafted.

Councilor Marin thanked City staff, City Council and Watershed for passion for water clarity and process in deliberating the tax and language options. Marin read a list of items that he has learned about the Watershed throughout the process. Councilor Baker chronicled the negotiations between the City and the Watershed, stating that Council has been working toward a decision.

Councilor Brooks asked if Watershed Chair Pestorious could answer additional questions. Mr. Pestorious answered questions from Councilor Brooks.
Councilor Marin entered a resolution for staff to submit the second option into the resolution for a Council vote at the next City Council meeting. The resolution would include a side agreement with the Watershed. Baker seconded this.

The Council debated the language options and the agreement.

In favor: Schulte V, Baker, Marin, Olson. Opposed: Anderson, Brooks and Mayor Rasmussen.



City Manager Adams relayed that the City received two proposals in response to the RFP for the Freeborn Bank Building. A review team examined the proposals and recommended renewing an agreement with Cohen-Esrey. The plan is for the Interchange to remain in the Jacobson building and for the Albert Lea Art Center to relocate to the Freeborn Bank Building.

Councilor Marin asked the rationale behind the decision that the review team made. Mayor Rasmussen answered that the Cohen-Esrey proposal was complete. The other response was not. Adams added that the likelihood is greater that a group would be awarded tax credits from the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA) for project proposals submitted in even-numbered years; even-numbered years are bonding years. MHFA has rated the project each year it has been submitted.

Councilor Marin stated that he would like signage from the Art Center currently attached to the building to be removed, as there is no formal agreement for the Art Center to relocate.
No vote taken.


City Manager Adams said that the City received four proposals to provide fire extinguisher service to the City; some of which did not meet minimum qualifications. The proposals were reviewed by Deputy Fire Chief Laskowske. Adams stated that because a member of the Council owns Brooks Safety Equipment, a unanimous vote is required. Councilor Brooks would have to abstain from voting.
Motion made by Councilor Baker, seconded by Councilor Anderson. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Schulte V, Baker, Marin, Olson, Anderson, and Mayor Rasmussen. Councilor Brooks abstained. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 16-73
included with these minutes)


First Ward, Councilor Schulte V.:

  • Ward Items – Received calls on sales tax renewal; stated he will not be running for reelection in 2016. City Manager Adams noted that the time to declare candidacy with the City is a two-week period in May.
  • Committee Updates – None

Second Ward, Councilor Baker:

  • Ward Items – None
  • Committee Updates – Attended ‘Beyond the Yellow Ribbon’ ceremony; enjoyed the experience. Also attended Downtown Association and Wind Down Wednesday meetings.

Third Ward, Councilor Marin:

  • Ward Items – None
  • Committee Updates – Attended the Human Rights Commission meeting, Announced a free film being shown in Austin, MN about Sex Trafficking.
  • Councilor Marin also announced that he will not seek reelection.

Fourth Ward, Councilor Olson:

  • Ward Items – People are concerned about items for sale in front yards. He also asked the city staff to determine the legality of painted tires being repurposed used as flower pots.
  • Committee Updates – None
  • Councilor Olson thanked Councilor Marin for his service.

Fifth Ward, Councilor Anderson:

  • Ward Items – None
  • Committee Updates – None
  • Councilor Anderson commended Councilor Marin for his service. He also announced that he will not seek reelection.

Sixth Ward, Councilor Brooks:

  • Ward Items – Commented that construction work in the ward has recommenced.
  • Committee Updates – attended Port Authority meeting.

Mayor Rasmussen reported the following:

  • Announced Fountain Lake 5 and Tiger Trot event; charity runs happening in Albert Lea, as well as a disc golf tournament happening on April 23rd. He also mentioned the final Bike-a-thon.
  • Attended Port Authority meeting, adding that the Enders property may be purchased by a local business for expansion.
  • Received two requests for proposals for development of the Freeborn Bank Building. Met with both groups.
  • Attended Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities’ Legislative Action Day on Wednesday, March 16th. The group met with Governor Dayton.


Adams attended a public hearing regarding a proposed rate hike by the Minnesota Energy Resources utility company. He stated that customer service charges will increase because the previous company did not raise its rates for a number of years. He asked for direction from Council to provide a letter from the Mayor to the Utility that would detail the City’s concerns as a customer and that of the Mayor on behalf of the city. Councilor Anderson motioned to provide the letter to the Utility; Councilor Baker seconded.
Adams also attended a meeting of the Planning Commission. There may be an amendment to the comprehensive plan because of the landfill site. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency requested a change be made, and the change would have to be reflected in the comprehensive plan. He stated that workforce housing remains an issue in Albert Lea. He has been working with Southeast Minnesota Together, testifying in hearings by the State Legislature and intended to host a housing summit in Albert Lea.
Adams then noted claims from previous week and listed claims over $25,000 on the agenda this week.


The attached resolution directs the Mayor and City Clerk to issue the payment of claims as presented in the Detail of Claims report.

Motion to approve made by Councilor Brooks, seconded by Councilor Baker. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Councilors Schulte, Baker, Marin, Olson, Anderson, Brooks and Mayor Rasmussen. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.
(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 16-74
included with these minutes)


Motion made by Councilor Marin, seconded by Councilor Brooks, 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, March 28, 2016. 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.

Jerry Gabrielatos
Council Secretary Pro Tem