October 26, 2015

REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING
CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY OF ALBERT LEA
Monday, October 26, 2015, 7:00 P.M.

PRESENT: Mayor Vern Rasmussen Jr., Councilors John Schulte V, Larry Baker, Reid Olson, Larry Anderson and Al Brooks. Also, present were City Manager Chad Adams, City Engineer Steve Jahnke, City Attorney Lee Bjorndal, Public Safety Director Dwaine Winkels, and City Clerk, Shirley Slater-Schulte

ABSENT: Councilor George Marin

CALL TO ORDER AND ROLL CALL

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

CEREMONIAL ITEMS

OATH OF OFFICE – ALBERT LEA POLICE DEPARTMENT
Director of Public Safety Dwaine Winkels introduced Nathan Idstein as the newest member of the Albert Lea Police Department. Nathan received his Bachelor of Science degree in Law Enforcement from Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Oath of Office was administered to Nathan Idstein by City Clerk Slater-Schulte. On behalf of the City of Albert Lea, Mayor Rasmussen welcomed Officer Idstein to the community.

OATH OF OFFICE – POLICE RESERVE OFFICERS

Director of Public Safety Dwaine Winkels introduced the inaugural group of citizens to be sworn in as the City’s first Police Reserve Officers. Two years ago the police department initiated a study to determine the possibility of forming a Reserve Officer Program and what that program should look like to serve the needs of the citizens of Albert Lea. Many police personnel participated in the study and visited programs in other communities. All of the data collected was presented to focus groups to help determine this program. Policies and procedures were then created, reviewed and approved. The candidates listed below were selected from a field of applicants to represent the inaugural class of Police Reserve Officers. The Reserve Officers to be sworn in as Police Reserve Officers are Michael Johannsen, Wyatt Manges, Andy Nelson, Chris Schroeder, Rodney Steele, Shaun Willaby, and Jamie Williamson.

Oath of Office was administered to the Police Reserve Officers by City Clerk Slater-Schulte.
On behalf of the City of Albert Lea, Mayor Rasmussen welcomed and thanked the Police Reserve Officers for volunteering their services to our community.

PUBLIC FORUM
Harold Kamrath, 326 Glenn Road, presented the following:

  • Questions regarding the process for objecting to two (2) special assessments.
  • Comments regarding the removal of his personal property, without his consent, stated that the city violated his constitution rights.

Rhonda Moen, 1891 Paradise Road, addressed the following:

  • Long Term Financial Plan for the City of Albert Lea, needs growth to support spending increases
  • Reviewed the 2016 Budget and 5 year Capital Improvement Plan, stated that this financial plan is not sustainable. Debt level is too high and it is unfair to the taxpayers and it will create a problem for the city’s economy.
  • Slide showed a Debt Service Levy fading away and that slide is not available on the City’s website. It showed that there is only 2 years in the next 5 years where there is a debt issue being paid-off in full. In each of those 5 years, the City will have new debt going on.
  • Council needs more information to make good decisions for the future.
  • Stated concerns about future tax levies, need to consider the future growth of the community, utility rate increases, etc.
  • Stated concerns about the levy increases proposed by the County and School District.
  • Stated the city has had their bond rating downgraded and has concerns about the future impact on bond ratings.
  • Primary concern is long term financial planning
  • Council is to lead the community, have the courage to ask questions, challenge the decisions and do the right thing.

CONSENT AND APPROVAL OF AGENDA

A. Approve Minutes Of The October 12, 2015 Regular Council Meeting
B. Approve Minutes Of The October 8, 2015 Work Session
C. Resolution 15-219 Accepting Donations Presented To The City Of Albert Lea
D. Resolution 15-220 Adopting Policy For Data Practices
E. Resolution 15-221 Authorizing Sanitary Sewer And Water Service Agreement For 307 Hammer Road (Job 1566)
F. Resolution 15-222 Approving A Lot Consolidation Through An Administrative Survey For Property Located At 1110 Rosehill Drive

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: Councilors Schulte V, Baker, Olson, Anderson, Brooks and Mayor Rasmussen Jr. Mayor Rasmussen Jr. declared the motion passed.

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 15-219-222 included with these minutes)

PETITIONS, REQUESTS, AND COMMUNICATIONS

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

RESOLUTION 15-223 ADOPTING ASSESSMENTS FOR LAKEVIEW BOULEVARD RECONSTRUCTION PROJECT (JOB 1001)

City Manager Adams explained that the attached resolution would adopt the final assessments for the Lakeview Boulevard Reconstruction Project. The public hearing was held and closed on October 12, 2015. The Council tabled the action to the October 26, 2015 Council meeting. Adams stated that there had been some questions regarding how the city calculates the interest rate for all projects. Adams explained that the city considered the bond interest rate plus the assessment rate for reasonable balance between the two. Past practice has been 2% above the bond rate, which helps to cover for delinquent or prepaid assessments, also to cover administrative costs and bond council, etc. Assessment rate is the same for all projects unless there is an exception for private development projects. Any dollars that are remaining after a project it is returned to street projects.

Councilor Baker encouraged residents to call him with their issues or concerns. Baker stated that a resident in this area had pavers for his driveway and requested that this driveway be completed by a Paver Company.

City Engineer Jahnke stated that he will be in contact with the contractor regarding this driveway.

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

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 15-223 included with these minutes)

RESOLUTION 15-224 ADOPTING ASSESSMENTS FOR 2015 NEIGHBORHOOD IMPROVEMENT PROJECT (JOB 1550)

City Manager Adams explained that the attached resolution would adopt the final assessments for the 2015 Neighborhood Improvement Project. The public hearing was held on October 12, 2015. The Council tabled action to the October 26, 2015 Council meeting. The project involved the bituminous overlay, reconstruction, miscellaneous and total curb replacement and miscellaneous sidewalk replacement of streets in the north and central parts of the City. The streets are as follows:

Jefferson Avenue – Front Street to Madison Avenue
College Street – Adams Ave to Washington Ave
Court Street – Adams Avenue to Washington Avenue
Mill Street – Euclid Avenue to Washington Avenue
Washington Avenue – Front Street to UPRR

The final costs came in higher than the original estimate. Staff is proposing that the final assessment rates match those of the preliminary estimate. As per the assessment policy, the assessments will be over 10 years at 4.52%. Staff recommends approval.

City Engineer Jahnke explained that the city has agreed to remove the sidewalk, also lower and grade the two driveways; work is not completed as of this date.

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

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 15-224 included with these minutes)

PUBLIC HEARING AND RESOLUTION 15-225 AUTHORIZING ORDER FOR REMOVAL OF HAZARDOUS PROPERTY – 1326 SOUTH BROADWAY

City Manager Adams explained that a removal hearing for the property at 1326 South Broadway was set for September 14, 2015. At that time, the property had the following problems which supported a removal of the structure: broken windows, no natural gas or electricity, no foundation under the front porch, bad siding, and the back porch appeared to have fallen off. The property is owned by a trust. The hearing was continued to October 26, 2015 to give the trust time to attempt repairs of the deficiencies. Some work has been done. Staff recommends awaiting a report from the Inspection Team to monitor the progress, if any.

Rob Rice, Building Inspector and Jeff Laskowske, Deputy Fire Chief gave a power point presentation on this building which showed the work that needed to be completed. Rice stated that an inspection was completed this a.m. and showed some improvements that have been made, owner applied for a permit for the repair of the porch and a permit for a new deck on the back of the house. Rice recommended a 30 day extension to make the final repairs.

Councilors held discussion regarding the property and the timeline needed for the repairs.

Mayor Rasmussen opened the Public Hearing.

Mr. Bruce Cather, 1402 S. Broadway, lives next to this property, stated that windows are covered with plywood; material has been removed and reused on the house. Cather stated that Freeborn Mower has removed the electrical wires from the house and taxes are unpaid. Mr. Cather commented that this property is a hazard and should be removed.

Terry King, 1326 N. Broadway, owner of the property, stated that he has had a lot of medical issues, making process on the house and stated his intentions to complete this project. King stated that the gas is being turned on tomorrow. In the past 6 weeks, owner has hauled away garbage, replaced windows, repaired some sliding and foundation, etc.

Jodie Cather, 1402 S. Broadway, lives next to this property. Ms. Cather stated that this property has been abandoned for several years and deems that the property should be demolished. Cather commented that the property owner is living somewhere else at this time.

Mayor Rasmussen called three times. Mayor Rasmussen closed the Public Hearing.

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

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 15-225 included with these minutes)

NEW BUSINESS

PUBLIC HEARING AND RESOLUTION 15-226 AUTHORIZING ORDER FOR REMOVAL OF HAZARDOUS PROPERTY – 914 NEWTON AVENUE SOUTH

City Manager Adams explained that a removal hearing for the property at 1326 South Broadway was set for September 14, 2015. At that time, the property had the following problems which supported a removal of the structure: broken windows, no natural gas or electricity, no foundation under the front porch, bad siding, and the back porch appeared to have fallen off. The property is owned by a trust. The hearing was continued to October 26, 2015 to give the trust time to attempt repairs of the deficiencies.

Mayor Rasmussen opened the Public Hearing.

Mayor Rasmussen called three times and no one spoke to this issue.

Mayor Rasmussen closed the Public Hearing.

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

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 15-226 included with these minutes)

PUBLIC HEARING AND RESOLUTION 15-227 AUTHORIZING ORDER FOR REMOVAL OF HAZARDOUS PROPERTY – 123 LAKE AVENUE

City Manager Adams explained in June of 2014, the house at 123 Lake Avenue was placarded as unfit for human habitation. The property is unoccupied. Removal of the structure is recommended because there is no electric, water or gas service, foundation is failing, deck on back of house is not safe, broken windows, unsecure doors, and severely damaged by fire on north side of house. The owners who appear to have left the State and lived in Florida have been notified by mail of the hearing. Notice of this hearing has been published and mailed. Staff recommends the structure be removed.

Mayor Rasmussen opened the Public Hearing.

Mayor Rasmussen called three times and no one spoke to this issue.

Mayor Rasmussen closed the Public Hearing.

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

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 15-227 included with these minutes)

RESOLUTION 15-228 OF SUPPORT TO SECURE STATE BONDING FOR STABLES SEWER AND WATER INFRASTRUCTURE AND BLAZING STAR LANDING PROJECT

City Manager Adams explained that the Senate Capital Investment Committee will visit Albert Lea on October 29th as part of their Southeast Minnesota Tour to learn about state bonding requests. City representatives consisting of staff, elected officials, project stakeholders and Blandin members will present information and requests for two potential projects in Albert Lea. The attached resolution would provide support for the City of Albert Lea to secure state bonding money for the Stables Sanitary Sewer/Water Infrastructure Project and the Blazing Star Landing project. Staff recommends approval.

City Manager Adams gave a PowerPoint presentation as follows:

  • Reviewed the background on this site
  • Reviewed the 2015 Community Survey
  • Proposal for requesting State bonding funds
  • Project scope for future requests for bonding funds
  • Phase 1 details which included the Albert Lea Lakefront
  • Phase 2 details which included project costs and fund for a Blazing Star Community Center
  • Stakeholders and the community benefits
  • Stables Sanitary Sewer & Water Project and the State bonding request for $1.35 million

Mr. Gary Hagen, 501 Albert Lea Street, stated the following:

  • Same questions and concern as stated by Rhonda Moen regarding our financial issues.
  • Questions regarding the Blazing Star Landing project, bonding, maintenance of building, lease agreements, collection of receipts, etc.
  • Taxpayers are being burdened with a lot of expenditures from the county, city and school districts.
  • Not fair or equitable for the taxpayers.

Annette Peterson, 2005 Willey Circle, had the following comments:

  • In, 2002, there was discussion about merging the Senior Center and Senior Resources and that discussion continues today with the Blazing Star Landing project. These two organizations should be in one location in order to provide better services to the residents.
  • Community Center will be a positive addition to our community.
  • Encouraged the council to support this project.

Miles Pechacek, 524 East 4th Street, stated the following:

  • Attended the “Open House” and is not in support of this project; the Blazing Star Landing site contains hazardous waste material
  • Albert Lea needs good paying jobs, transportation and rail, more businesses.
  • Albert Lea Lake’s water table is not deep enough to attract large fishing vessels.

Mr. Dennis Dieser, 1002 Wood Park Lane, Executive Director of the YMCA, offered the following comments:

  • Albert Lea YMCA has been looking for a new location. YMCA proposed to collaborate with the City and other non-profits to share costs in delivering services to the residents.
  • Need to work with all individuals within the community with help from United Way and other agencies.
  • YMCA is a 501.3c, private non-for-project and is able to receive tax deductible donations for projects and financially assist families and youth in-need, so no one is denied access to membership or programs due to the inability to pay.
  • Encouraged the city to seek bonding dollars for this project
  • All of the groups need to work together and pool the money together to make a difference.

Mayor Rasmussen stated that Freeborn County needs to be involved with the Stables Project as the property is located outside city limits. Rasmussen commented that the Blazing Star Landing is an opportunity for the city and the city should move forward, public needs to understand that the city will not move forward without dollars to fund this project. Rasmussen stated that council needs to support this bonding request.

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

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 15-228 included with these minutes)

MAYOR AND COUNCIL REPORTS

First Ward, Councilor Schulte V reported:

  • Ward Items – Upcoming HRA meeting, City Engineer Jahnke gave an update on Lakeview Blvd, stating that the project should be complete within 2 weeks.
  • Committee update – none

Second Ward, Councilor Baker reported:

  • Ward Items – Referred to city staff
  • Committee Update – none

Third Ward, Councilor Marin – Absent

Fourth Ward, Councilor Olson reported:

  • Ward Items – none
  • Committee update – Park Commission meeting updates.

Fifth Ward, Councilor Anderson reported:

  • Ward Items – Thanked KATE radio for the invitation to participate on the Radio Show
  • Committee update – none
  • Encouraged residents to be careful on wet and slippery leaves

Sixth Ward, Councilor Brooks

  • Ward Items – Referred to city staff
  • Committee update – CVB meeting updates and reported on the collection of lodging taxes

REPORT OF THE MAYOR

Mayor Rasmussen Jr. reported the following:

  • Sat, Oct 31 – Downtown business owner, Gilbert Johnson is hosting the 3rd annual Chapel Comics Halloween Party on Saturday, Oct 31st. The event goes from 12 noon to 7PM; the party includes a costume contest, pumpkin painting, food by Grandma’s Gourmet, and caricatures. Everyone is invited.
  • Boards & Commissions – The City is looking for people interested in serving on City boards and commissions starting Jan 1, 2016. There will be openings on the Airport, Library, and HRA boards. Applications are available on the City website (www.albertlea.org), or in the City Manager’s office.
  • Community Service Awards – Awards will be awarded to “Volunteers of the Year,” “Service by a Senior Citizen”, “Human Services”, “Good Neighbor” and “Mayor’s Choice.” Mayor Rasmussen is seeking names to be forwarded to the city for nomination for these awards.

APPOINTMENT TO THE HRA BOARD
Mayor Rasmussen Jr. requested the appointment of John Severtson, 214 South Pearl Street to the HRA Board.
MOTION: Move to appoint John Severtson to the HRA Board
Motion made by Councilor Baker, seconded by Councilor Anderson. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Councilors Schulte V, Baker, Olson Anderson, Brooks, and Mayor Rasmussen Jr. Mayor Rasmussen Jr. declared the motion passed.

CITY MANAGER REPORT

City Manager Adams reported on the following:

  • Presented the Quarterly Budget Report – Third Quarter Fy15
  • Reviewed the revenues & expenditures and they are on schedule for the year, projecting a budget reserve
  • Reviewed General Fund revenues and expenditures by department

Adams informed Council that the city did not receive the Low Income Housing Tax Credits for the Freeborn Bank and Jacobson Buildings. Staff will update the Capital Improvement Plan for the next work session, Management Plan for tax levy; review the needs of the community and the community plan.

Adams reminded the public that the SE MN Together group will be at Wedgewood Cove on Thursday, October 29, 2015 to look at a regional plan to grow the work force in southeast Minnesota to attract and retain a quality work force.

APPROVAL OF CLAIMS

RESOLUTION 15-229 APPROVING CONTRACT WITH COUNCILMEMBER SCHULTE V

City Manager Adams explained that the attached resolution directs the Mayor and City Clerk to make payment claim to Jones, Haugh & Smith; in the amount of 1,845.20, and to issue payment for filing the affidavit of official interest by the interested official, Councilor Schulte V.
Motion made by Councilor Brooks, seconded by Councilor Baker. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Councilors Baker, Olson, Anderson, Brooks and Mayor Rasmussen Jr. Councilor Schulte V abstained. Mayor Rasmussen Jr. declared the motion passed.
(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 15-229
Included with these minutes)

RESOLUTION 15-230 APPROVING CLAIMS
Motion made by Councilor Anderson to approve payment of claims as presented for checks #57629 though #57807 in the amount of $1,649,253.61, seconded by Councilor Baker. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Councilors Schulte V, Baker, Olson, Anderson, Brooks and Mayor Rasmussen Jr. Mayor Rasmussen Jr. declared the motion passed.
(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 15-230
included with these minutes)

ADJOURNMENT – 8:56 P.M.

Motion made by Councilor Olson, 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, November 9, 2015. On roll call vote, all councilors voted in favor of said motion. Mayor Rasmussen Jr. declared the motion passed and the meeting adjourned.

 

_________/s/__________________________
Mayor Vern Rasmussen, Jr.
Dated this 26th day of October, 2015

 

________/s/___________________
Council Secretary

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.