May 9, 2016

Monday, May 9, 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


A. Albert Lea Police Department 2016 Citizens Academy Graduation

The Mayor introduced the graduates of the Albert Lea Police Academy and thanked them for participation in the program.


Tami Staker and Susie Petersen spoke on behalf of the Downtown Association and Wind Down Wednesday. Staker presented banners designed by the Marketing Plant for Wind Down Wednesdays. The pair also showed banners for the Blue Zones Project and explained where these banners would be posted. Petersen showed a poster for Wind Down Wednesday, and informed Council of clean-ups occurring this weekend, flower installations and a pop-up splash pad. She thanked the Council.

Harold Kamrath, 326 Glenn Road, asked what the City must do before removing items from private property. He relayed how items had been confiscated from his property. Adams stated that the matter was recently settled in district court and the judge ruled in favor of the city.


A. Approve Minutes Of The April 25, 2016 Regular Council Meeting
B. Approve Minutes Of The April 21, 2016 Work Session
C. Licenses & Permits (See attached list.)
D. Resolution Declaring 2016 Wind Down Wednesdays As Community Events Within The City Of Albert Lea
E. Resolution Accepting Bid For 2016 Bituminous Materials

MOTION: Move to approve the consent agenda.

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, Brooks and Mayor Rasmussen. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.
(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 16-96-16-97 included with these minutes)


A. Dog Park Presentation – Sheila Schulz

Sheila Schulz of the Rotary club presented the Council with a donation for the dog park from the organization. She thanked individuals and businesses who donated, the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, Council and staff. The Mayor thanked Schulz and all of the Rotarians.

B. 2015 Audited Financial Statements – Abdo, Eick and Meyers

Brad Falteysek of Abdo, Eick & Meyers, LLP spoke about the audit of the City’s finances that the firm recently completed. He presented a PowerPoint with slides about the following funds: general, special revenue, debt service, capital projects, enterprise and pension. He also displayed a slide showing a ratio analysis, comparing Albert Lea to cities of a similar population size.

Baker asked about the decline in the balance of the Parking Maintenance District (PMD). Marin questioned Falteysek how the City’s overall financial outlook would be affected by disbanding the PMD. Falteyesek suggested devising another revenue stream for costs currently funded by using revenue from the district.

MOTION: Move to accept the 2015 Audited Financial Statements.

Motion made by Councilor Anderson, seconded by Councilor Baker. 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.

C. Blue Zones Initiative Update – Carol Bower, Ellen Kehr

Ellen Kehr, organization lead for the Blue Zones Project and Carole Bower, Board Chair of the National Vitality Center and a volunteer for the Blue Zones Project, read a prepared statement enclosed in this packet. (See attachment to these minutes.)

The Mayor and Councilor Anderson thanked the pair for their work.


A. Ordinance 199,6d Amending Chapter 66, Article II, Section 66-63 Prohibiting Private Wells For Domestic Use On Properties Within The City Served By The Albert Lea Water System (2nd reading)

Adams stated that the first reading of this ordinance was held on April 25th. Adams stressed both the importance of having a safe water system in the City and that Council and staff are charged with the health and welfare of the City and its residents. He explained that significantly restricting or banning the use of private water wells for domestic use on properties served by the City water system is necessary to protect the integrity of the water system. Existing wells will be allowed to remain. Adams stated that staff supports the 2nd reading of the ordinance, whether voted on at this meeting or tabled to the next meeting.

Motion made by Councilor Baker, seconded by Council Marin to table the approval of this ordinance to the next meeting. 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.

B. Resolution 16-98 Permitting Publication Of Ordinance Summary 199,6d Amending Chapter 66, Article II, Section 66-63 Prohibiting Private Wells For Domestic Use On Properties Within The City Served By The Albert Lea Water System

Adams recommended tabling this publication until the May 23rd meeting as well. Motion made by Councilor Baker, seconded by Council Marin to table the publication of this ordinance to the next meeting. 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.


A. Resolution 16-99 Amending Agreement With Houston County Regarding Federal Aviation Administration Airport Improvement Program Non-Primary Entitlement Funds For Albert Lea Municipal Airport

Adams explained that at the April 25th meeting, Council had approved an Agreement with Houston County to receive $150,000 of their FAA entitlement funds for the construction of the new Arrival/Departure building at the Albert Lea Municipal Airport. Since that time, Houston County has offered to transfer up to $300,000 of funds to Albert Lea instead of $150,000. If approved, this would provide the City with more funding flexibility and funding can be carried over for a three year period. The City is required to pay it back prior to December 31, 2019 with the City’s future funds, if Houston County requests the funds back. Houston County currently does not have a 2016 Federal project. The agreement provides the terms of the funding transfer and staff recommends entering into the revised agreement.

Schulte asked if accepting the funds would affect the City’s local share of FAA funds. Adams said it does not. Baker enquired if the funds would need to be repaid. Adams said that it would depend on what responsible officials do in Houston County, but there are no plans to use the funds at this time.

Motion made by Councilor Anderson, 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 16-99
included with these minutes)


First Ward, Councilor Schulte V:

  • Thanked everyone involved in the establishment of the dog park.
  • Mentioned that ESPN will be airing a special about “hockey hair.”

Second Ward, Councilor Baker:

  • Queried about the potential installation of a dispenser for dog waste installed along Blackburn. Baker informed the public that there would be an organized clean-up of the downtown this weekend.

Third Ward, Councilor Marin:

  • Attended a meeting of the Human Rights Commission. A speaker from the Greater Mankato Diversity Council spoke. Members of the Choose Civility organization also attended.

Fourth Ward, Councilor Olson:

  • Mentioned a diseased tree that he would like the City staff to examine. Thanked the “Masters of Disaster” demolition competition.

Fifth Ward, Councilor Anderson:
• Thanked the Rotary Club for raising funds for the dog park, and expressed gratitude to volunteers with Rudy’s Pantry. He later made an announcement about the Glider competition that will take place at the airport.

Sixth Ward, Councilor Brooks:

  • Asked for an update on the ongoing projects in the ward. Jahnke informed Brooks of the next steps in the construction process.
  • Brooks said that he was approached by a group of musicians who wanted to play music in the parks and asked Adams about what the process would be to enable this. Adams said the staff is beginning to explore venue and time options.


  • The Mayor publicized the ShineFest event, an upcoming triathlon and the Farmers Market.
  • He commented about the Hometown Pride Clean-up Day and thanked staff for its work on the event. He attended a Port Authority meeting and provided an update on projects the group is pursuing. He applauded staff for its work in preparing to exhibit the city for site selectors.


Adams updated the Council about the following matters:

  • Met with Governor Dayton and Lt. Governor Smith to discuss transportation.
  • Informed Council that the Blazing Star Landing project was included in the bonding bill, but the bill did not pass. He reported that the bonding request for the Stables may go forward.
  • Provided testimony on the Workforce Housing Tax Credit, a critical issue for the city and that he would like to host a housing summit in Albert Lea.
  • Attended the Minnesota City Managers conference, where he spoke about the community engagement strategies that the city enacted.
  • The Department of Employment and Economic Development awarded a Small Cities Development grant in the amount of $525,000 that will be used for rehabilitating commercial and residential properties throughout the downtown.
  • The City was awarded a grant to host the 2017 Statewide Historic Preservation Conference.



The resolution directed the Mayor and City Clerk to issue the payment of claims as presented in the Detail of Claims report. Adams highlighted the claims over $25,000.

Motion made by Councilor Brooks, seconded by Councilor Anderson. 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 16-100 included with these minutes)


Motion made by Councilor Marin, 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, May 23, 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



Blue Zones Project Albert Lea
Community Update
May 9, 2016 – Albert Lea City Council

Carole Bower: Board Chair of the National Vitality Center
Ellen Kehr: Organization Lead, Blue Zones Project Albert Lea

Thank you for giving us time this evening to present an update on the progress of the Blue Zones Project over the last 9 months and share some of the highlights.

Last August we moved the National Vitality Center and Blue Zones Office from the Interchange Wine and Coffee Bistro to 314 South Broadway. We enjoyed the year we spent together and appreciated the opportunity to be at the heart of the community. At the 314 South Broadway location we are still at the heart of the Community. This summer we anticipate full occupancy of that location and are looking forward to being community partners in a vibrant, diversified and central location that will give our residents convenient access to many of our community resources.
Our Organizations have continued to be the strong champions and economic drivers that they have always been for the Blue Zones Project. We have increased the number of Blue Zones Designated Worksites from 13 to 22 and are working with many others. The Chamber of Commerce Worksite Wellness Committee hosted a Worksite Summit this April and the City of Albert Lea was one of 4 worksites to make a presentation and share best practices. This was a very successful event and the intent moving forward is to make the Worksite Summit an annual event. The Worksite Committee has also been very active in supporting and participating in numerous community events. Their newest venture is partnering with the City of Albert on the 3 neighborhood picnics sponsored by the city in August each year.

Our schools have contributed to the Blue Zones Project on the very highest level. With the designation of Albert Lea High School in January ….100% of Albert Lea Area schools have achieved Blue Zones School designation. We are looking forward to presenting District #241 with many of their designation certificates at the next School Board meeting on Monday May 16th. I hope some of you can join us to thank them. They have achieved 6 School designations and 7 Worksite designations and continue to challenge themselves to discover new and more creative avenues of wellbeing for themselves and their students. We have several new initiatives that will be launched in the 2016-17 school year.

Community Policy and our built environment initiatives have proven to be a strong economic driver for the City of Albert Lea. Using our lodging tax as a metric indicator our tourism rates have increased 18% over the last three years. At the end of May we will again do trail counts of our signature built environment projects and provide you with the results. To date our trail counts show a 40% overall increase in active living in Albert Lea over the last 6 years.

Last fall the Lakeview Blvd and South Broadway projects were completed resulting in widened sidewalks on a portion of the Blue Zones Walkway and a community friendly design for the South Broadway corridor. The Commissioner of Transportation, Charles Zelle and several of our State Representatives joined us to dedicate the South Broadway project. It was a first of its kind partnership with MNDOT and received high praise for the level of community engagement and vision demonstrated by the City of Albert. Commissioner Zelle continues to encourage other communities to follow Albert Lea’s example and work with MNDOT to create built environment that best reflects their community’s needs and vision.

The Tobacco Free Ordinance passed this spring for our City Parks provides a strong leadership model for all communities across the State of Minnesota and the Nation.

The results of this aggressive initiative pursued by the community policy committee and other sectors of the community are stunning. The Robert Woods Johnson Foundation County Health Rankings released this spring show our smoking rates are at an all-time low of 16% from a high of 23% in 2010. In 2010 we were 4 percentage points above the state average. Freeborn County is now, for the first time, even with the State of Minnesota average. The community health benefits connected with reduced smoking rates is something that we can all be very proud of. The health outcomes and savings associated with this strong initiative will affect all area residents and businesses for decades to come.

As a result of working together to improve our environment and social networks the 2016 Freeborn County ranking for “Overall Health Outcomes “ moved us from 64th out of 87 counties to 45th. Although we still have room for much improvement this is a significant change and we are definitely moving in the right direction.
Part of Albert Lea’s Blue Zones legacy has always been our commitment to passing it forward. In keeping with that, last fall we hosted the Chisago Lakes Area Leadership team. They appreciated our willingness to share our successes and help them build on their resources and vision.

In November Mayor Rasmussen and Ellen Kehr were invited to present at the Governor’s Conference in Oregon as they kicked off their statewide Blue Zones Project. Mayor Rasmussen presented on community policy and built environment and Ellen Kehr on sustainable Worksite initiatives. In February Ellen returned to Oregon to present at the “Organization Summit” for Klamath Falls as they became Oregon’s first demonstration site.

As a community we continue to stay in the forefront of the Blue Zones Project and many other community well-being initiatives. We receive numerous requests from journalists, organizations and communities both within and outside of the United States to share our story. All of this outreach provides us with marketing opportunities to highlight our community as a great place to live work and play.

The Blue Zones Project has become a strong marketing tool for creating a point of difference between Albert Lea and other communities. Last Fall Realtor .com released a report listing the top 10 “most affordable small towns in America…. that you would actually want to live”. Albert Lea was ranked 3rd…..Our lakes, trails, walkways and the Blue Zones Project where the items noted that best reflect our community’s commitment to Quality of Life.

To continue to drive those economic opportunities we aggressively pursue marketing efforts both within and outside the community. This spring we partnered with the Downtown Business Association to provide additional banners for the Broadway corridor that will extend from Fountain Street to Front Street. We are currently highlighting Community events and partners on the radio with an “Experience Albert Lea Blue Zones Community update” and will continue that initiative through June. In April we celebrated all of our great community volunteers in print, posters and on social media for their contributions to our community’s well-being and we continue to engage in community events that align with the Blue Zones Power 9 Principals.

The purpose of the Blue Zones Project is to improve the well-being of Albert Lea by optimizing our physical surroundings, policies and social connections. Our goal is to bring real and tangible changes to people’s lives that make the healthy choice the easy choice. Thank you for giving us the time to present this Blue Zones Community update and THANK YOU Albert Lea for choosing to create a place where people can Live Longer, Better lives.

Minnesota state law (Chapter 156 of the Session Laws of 2005) requires that "a city or county with a population of more than 15,000 must annually notify its residents of the positions and base salaries of its three highest-paid employees." For the City of Albert Lea, titles and salaries as of Jan. 1, 2019, are: City Manager, $138,375.12; Director of Public Works/City Engineer $110,780.80; and Director of Public Safety $103,646.40. Date of publication: January 23, 2019.