REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING
CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY OF ALBERT LEA
Monday, September 25, 2017, 7:00 P.M.
PRESENT: Mayor Vern Rasmussen Jr., Councilors Rich Murray, Larry Baker, Jason Howland, Reid Olson, Robert Rasmussen, and Al Brooks. Also present were City Manager Chad Adams, City Attorney Lee Bjorndal, City Engineer Steven Jahnke, and City Clerk Daphney Maras.
CALL TO ORDER AND ROLL CALL
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
A. Proclamation Recognizing Infants Remembered In Silence
Mayor Rasmussen read a proclamation recognizing Infants Remembered in Silence. He presented the proclamation to Diana Kelley recognizing October 15, 2017 as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day.
B. Proclamation Announcing Splash Pad Community Celebration
Mayor Rasmussen read a proclamation announcing Splash Pad Community Celebration. He said a ribbon cutting ceremony will take place on September 26th at 12:30. Mayor recognized the following committee members:
• Sarah Stultz
• Crystal Miller
• Susie Peterson
• Victoria McGill
• Dena Fornwald
• Jess Richards
• April Jeppson
Fornwald presented a donation to the City for the Splash Pad in the amount of $28,000. Peterson said the total fundraising to date is approximately $152,000, in addition to several in-kind donations. The donor wall will be celebrated at the ribbon cutting ceremony tomorrow. Peterson thanked the committee and the community for its support and contributions.
C. Proclamation Commending Heritage Preservation Commission Members
Mayor Rasmussen read a proclamation commending the Heritage Preservation Commission members. He stated the conference was attended by over 150 people. He recognized the following HPC committee members:
• Lester Anderson
• Robert Hoffman
• Brad Kirchner
• Brad Kramer
• Jennifer Levisen
• Charles Newell
• Tami Staker
PUBLIC FORUM – No one spoke at the public forum.
Mayor Rasmussen reviewed the consent agenda:
MOTION: Move to approve the consent agenda as presented.
Motion made by Councilor Baker, 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 17-178 thru 17-183 included with these minutes.)
PETITIONS, REQUESTS, AND COMMUNICATIONS
A. 2018 Port Authority Budget – ALEDA Executive Director Ryan Nolander
Nolander delivered highlights of the Port Authority budget and projects, noting that Council only approves the budget if there is a request for funding or a tax levy. He reports, as in previous years, there is no tax levy.
B. Distribution Center Outcome – ALEDA Executive Director Ryan Nolander, City Manager Adams, DEED Business Development Director Jeff Rossate
Adams provided background on the Hy-Vee distribution center currently being considered for construction in Austin. He introduced Ryan Nolander and DEED Business Development Director Jeff Rossate. Nolander chronicled what the City and ALEDA did since being provided with the lead. He explained that local entities, including the City of Albert Lea, offered incentive packages, which included tax increment financing and tax abatement, water and sewer extensions, cash incentives to offset land acquisition costs, and waiving permit review fees. Albert Lea was one of 12 locations in Minnesota to submit a proposal for the project. Albert Lea, at one point in March, was eliminated from the running because of the cost to grade the site off of Freeborn County Road 46. After submitting a revised proposal, the city was reconsidered and became one of the top three communities for the project. After months of consideration, the city of Austin ultimately was chosen. Rossate echoed statements made by Nolander. He commended Albert Lea for the efforts and ability to put together a complete package that is appealing to clients.
Murray asked Rossate to expand on the distribution market and what attracts them to constructing in a community. Rossate explained that retail, gas services, and overall tertiary third party services available in the area are common factors. He added, although this distribution center is not being built in Albert Lea, the City should expect ripple effects in years to come from the Austin location.
Howland thanked Nolander and ALEDA staff, as well as City staff for the exemplary work on the project. He asked Rossate why Austin became the chosen site. Rossate commented he could only speculate, and could only base his opinion from working on projects of this nature. He speculated the tight variance in logistics costs, and the site location in Austin providing excess visibility, as small as this seems, were influences on the decision.
Mayor Rasmussen thanked Rossate and DEED for the partnership in this project.
C. Mayo Hospital Update – City Manager Adams
Adams stated Murray attended the Save Our Hospital meeting last night and provided a briefing. Adams said the most prominent point of discussion currently is the hiring of a Health Care Accountant. He stated interviews were in process today and a firm has been chosen to engage in an agreement. Adams anticipates a 45-day process in providing feasibility on a full-service acute care hospital in Albert Lea. He recapped this is not an audit, but rather a feasibility, and Mayo will not be participating to release any financial information.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS – None
A. Approve Fire Facility Architect Services Agreement With Brunton Architects Ltd.
Adams said a fire facility review team consisting of Councilors Murray, Howland and Brooks, along with three Fire Department personnel and City Manager Adams conducted interviews and reviewed four proposals for architect services for the fire facility. The team recommends the hiring of Brunton Architects to design the facility and help the City determine the final site location for the project. Adams introduced Corey Brunton of Brunton Architects. Brunton provided a timeline and details of the proposed fire facility. Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Laskowske provided photos. Adams provided a slide presentation reviewing the funding options. Council exchanged dialogue regarding the fire facility costs, location, and construction material. Murray thanked Brunton for already considering the cost savings by using precast material. Baker expressed the importance of using local contractors for the project, to which Brunton responded they will make every effort to do so.
MOTION: I authorize the City Manager and Mayor to negotiate final terms for the architectural agreement for a fire facility with Brunton Architects.
Motion made by Councilor Howland, 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.
MAYOR AND COUNCIL REPORTS
First Ward, Councilor Murray reported:
- Ward Items – None
- Committee Update – Attended League of Freeborn County Cities meeting in Hayward. Attended several meetings related to the changes at Mayo Hospital.
Second Ward, Councilor Baker reported:
- Ward Items – Received comments from community members attending the Powerboat Drag Race at Edgewater Park. He received requests that the trees be trimmed for better viewing as well as the need for more garbage cans at the Edgewater pavilion. Expressed condolences to Frank Thompson of Thompson Sanitation for the loss of his father.
- Committee – Mentioned the positive comments received during the Historical Preservation Conference.
Third Ward, Councilor Howland reported:
- Ward Items – None
- Committee – Attended the Parks & Recreation Commission meeting last week. He reported this group is working on a process for handling park and recreation requests. Reminded the public that boat docks need to be off the lake by October 15th. He said Thursdays on Fountain was noted to be a great success with attendance ranging from 200 to over 400 people. Both ice rinks are up and running at the City Arena.
Fourth Ward, Councilor Olson reported:
- Ward Items – None
- Committee Update – Attended a Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) meeting. Discussion included evaluation of the Director Jon Ford. Also reviewed the no-smoking policy at the Towers.
Fifth Ward, Councilor Rasmussen reported:
- Ward Items – None
- Committee Update – Attended an Airport Board meeting. He reports October 1st is the tentative date to begin construction. He added a local business, ALAMCO Wood Products will build the beams at the airport.
Sixth Ward, Councilor Brooks reported:
- Ward Items – Follow up on nuisance calls.
- Committee Update – None. He thanked Howland for attending all the interviews involving the architects.
Mayor Rasmussen gave updates and announced upcoming events:
- A Rally for Rural Healthcare, sponsored by ‘Save Our Hospital’ is being held on September 30th at Central Park. Participants will walk to the hospital and back while carrying signs and props. There will be people speaking at this event and donations are welcome.
- Fri, Oct 6 – The Homecoming Parade starts at 4:30 p.m. at the Albert Lea High School; the parade will travel down Hammer Road. The public is invited.
- Sat, Oct 7 – The Autumn Blaze is a fall market & festival starting at 9 a.m. and ending at 9 p.m. The event includes food and beverages and craft vendors between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Then, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., there will be a ‘Gather’ event and live band.
- Thanked Jennifer Nelson of the Park & Recreation Department for her assistance in planning the Heritage Preservation Conference. He said he inadvertently left her name out earlier in the meeting after reading the proclamation.
- Mentioned he and City Manager Adams will attend a round table discussion in Blue Earth tomorrow. Senator Tim Walz will be present to discuss challenges rural communities are experiencing and what the Federal government can do to help alleviate some of these concerns.
- Thu, Oct 5 thru Sun, Oct 8 – The annual Big Island Rendezvous is a very popular family event that re-enacts history.
CITY MANAGER REPORT
- Provided a slide show of the activity at the Splash Pad and provided a fundraising update
- Attended a tour in Austin that included State Commissioners. He had an opportunity to discuss the Fountain Lake Restoration project with the DNR commissioner. He also spoke with the MNDOT Commissioner regarding upcoming projects including the East Main Street overlay project scheduled for 2021.
- Expressed thanks to Dan Burden for coming to Albert Lea and participating in the walking tours.
APPROVAL OF CLAIMS
RESOLUTION 17-184 APPROVING CLAIMS
Adams displayed claims over $25,000 providing detail explanation of each.
Adams explained that the attached resolution directs the Mayor and City Clerk to issue the payment of claims as presented in the Detail of Claims report.
Motion made by Councilor Howland, to approve payment of claims as presented for checks #65323 through #65483 in the amount of $835,364.59, seconded by Councilor Brooks. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Murray, Howland, Olson, Rasmussen, Baker, Brooks and Mayor Rasmussen. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.
(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 17-184
Included with these minutes)
ADJOURNMENT – 8:09 PM
Motion made by Councilor Brooks, seconded by Councilor Murray, 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, October 9, 2017. 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.
Secretary to the Council