REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING
CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY OF ALBERT LEA
Monday, September 26, 2016, 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 Assistant City Manager Jerry Gabrielatos, City Attorney Lee Bjorndal and City Engineer Steven Jahnke
ABSENT: Councilor Marin, City Manager Chad Adams, City Clerk Shirley Slater-Schulte
Howard Thompson, 604 Giles, stated that he has 2½ feet of water in his basement and asked what can be done in this part of town and whether the City can clean it up.
William Bauers, 1401 Margaretha, commented that the sidewalk at his house is caved in and needs to be replaced; he has had to spend money on sand and salt and wants it redone.
CONSENT AND APPROVAL OF AGENDA
A. Approve Minutes Of The September 12, 2016 Regular Council Meeting
B. Approve Minutes Of The September 8, 2016 Work Session
C. Licenses & Permits (See Attached List)
D. Resolution Accepting Donations Presented To The City Of Albert Lea
E. Resolution Approving First Amendment To Water Tower Equipment Location Lease Between City Of Albert Lea And Alltel Communications, LLC d/b/a Verizon Wireless
F. Resolution Authorizing Facilities Agreement Between City of Albert Lea And Independent School District 241
G. Resolution Declaring ‘Albert Lea Autumn Blaze’ A Community Festival Within The City Of Albert Lea
H. Resolution Declaring Fall Hometown Pride Cleanup Day And Authorizing Reduced Rates At Transfer Station
I. Resolution Supporting Grant Application To The James Metzen Mighty Ducks Grant Program
J. Resolution Approving Lot Split Through An Administrative Lot Survey For Property Located At 1813 And 1815 Hale Drive
K. Resolution Awarding Broadway Ridge Grant Funding For Façade Improvements At 314 Broadway Avenue South
L. Request to Allow Bow Hunting
MOTION: Moved to approve the consent agenda.
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, Olson, Anderson, Brooks and Mayor Rasmussen. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.
(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 16-197-16-204
included with these minutes.)
PETITIONS, REQUESTS, AND COMMUNICATIONS
A. GreenStep Cities Update – Quin Brunner
Administration Intern Quin Brunner presented updates on the city’s participation in the GreenStep program; he stated that the City has met the requirements to become a Step 2 (of four) City. He noted the GreenStep projects completed by the City, including complete streets, installation of LED Lighting, upgrading City facilities and being recognized as a ‘Tree City USA.’ Brunner also displayed a map of Blue Zones multi-use trails, bike lanes, and planned and future trails. He concluded his presentation by citing an ordinance employed by another city which addresses vacant big box stores. He said the framework and network provided by the program allowed him to research this item and others.
A. Frank Hall Drive Corridor Review And Recommendations
City Engineer Jahnke presented the Frank Hall Corridor report and evaluation. The report included data collected over the past few months along with sight-line reviews of intersections and other requirements. Jahnke explained that the City used several criteria to determine if stop control is warranted, which included approach speeds, traffic volumes, sight distance restrictions and other miscellaneous conditions. Jahnke reviewed the following factors:
Traffic counters were set out on July 13-14, Aug 1-2, and once when school was in session.
• Average speed on Frank Hall Drive north of 8th Street was 25.9 mph; two vehicles were found to be going 37.5 to 42.5 mph.
• Approach speeds – 85% of vehicles were at 30.5 mph.
• Significantly higher – two vehicles were in the 37.8 to 42.5 mph range
• Traffic volumes – Collector streets in the City (i.e., Broadway Ave., Main St., Bridge Ave.) average about 1500 cars per day, which is more than a residential street. During a four day period, Frank Hall Drive averaged 956 vehicles per day and averaged 257 vehicles per day on 8th Street.
• Key thing is how well you can see; three approaches were observed for obstructions.
• Straight section of roadway with no curves does not have sight distance restrictions.
• City reviewed the crash history; the July 2016 accident was the only one in the last 12 months. No other crashes reported in the past 10 years.
• Proximity of any pedestrian traffic generators such as parks, schools and bus stops do not exist.
• Ten points were given for the crash that occurred.
The study also reviewed the history of accidents on this corridor. In the last three years, there have been three crashes. One accident occurred on 2nd Street & Frank Ave. in winter conditions where one car slid into another car sitting at a stop sign; another accident was a truck backing into a telephone pole; the third crash was a car hitting a trailer parked on the street. Overall, staff sees that the intersection and corridor are working properly. Based on this, the 8th Street intersection received 90 points which does not warrant stop control at this time.
The study evaluated the Frank Hall Drive and 9th Street intersection which is just south of a bend in the street. The bend can cause limited visibility under certain conditions such as trees in full bloom or snowbanks being present, therefore, Engineering recommends a stop control at the 9th Street leg of the intersection.
Jahnke relayed that the Minnesota State Patrol performed a crash evaluation and did not find fault in this incident; several things happened at once which resulted in a very tragic accident.
Amy Gauthier, PO Box 17370, stated that before they arrived in Albert Lea, the community had already taken initiatives for wellness and safety and will seize an opportunity to make improvements if needed. Gauthier said although she does not live on Frank Hall Drive, it does not lessen her concern for those that do and/or travel this street. She commented on parked cars, blind spots, non-existent sidewalks and disregard for speed limits as causing safety concerns for motorists and children playing. She would like to see the city work proactively to address these issues and continue the momentum of this effort in other areas of the community. Gauthier’s daughter also spoke to Council about adding stop signs on Frank Hall Drive and in her own neighborhood to make them safer.
Avis Paulson, 608 S. Washington explained that she has lived on both Academy and Frank Hall and knows it’s a blind spot. She said that a large bush was removed on 9th Street but that Frank Hall remains dangerous for children and wants to see a stop sign installed.
Al Martinson, 614 E. 4th Street, informed Council that he also lost a daughter in this location in 1978 and had to fight for stop signs. He has observed traffic going through stop signs or just braking and continuing on. He urged Council to place stop signs between 4th Street and Frank Hall Drive stating that cars do not go 30 mph as posted.
Mayor Rasmussen interjected that no action is being taken by Council at this meeting regarding the stop control matter; they are listening to concerns and following the process.
Kelly Wassenberg, Wells, Minnesota stated that she commutes to Albert Lea five days a week and attended this meeting to hear the Engineering report regarding stop control on Frank Hall Drive. Wassenberg spoke of her own experience being in a car accident. She expressed her moral obligation to remind everyone that people are not just a statistic in an accident and asked Council to consider people when making their decision.
Nick Ronnenberg, 1123 Frank Hall Drive, stated he understands Council’s course of due diligence with laws and policies. Ronnenberg expressed his concerns with the nature of the study and reminded everyone that there is also a human factor. He wants Council to understand his resolve in the matter of safety; the neighborhood is not taking this lightly.
Raymond Bliss, 1403 Frank Hall Drive, informed Council that he was working in his yard when this accident happened in July and that he did his best to save the victim. Bliss said that the City can put devices on the road but does not believe it will do any good; cars drive so fast he fears being hit when mowing his lawn.
Kathy Sabinish, 20664 – 707th Avenue, stated that she was a resident at 1508 Frank Hall Drive for 20 years; her children were raised there and she now has a grown child living there. Sabinish concurred that the City can gather information about Frank Hall Drive; she said it’s like a freeway and she has always been concerned about this street. She remarked that young people on both South Shore Drive and Frank Hall drive too fast; the street is used by cars, trucks, buses, snowmobiles and kids that are walking, biking and rollerblading to school or the park. She stressed that in the seven blocks from 4th Street to South Shore Dr., one or two stop signs are needed to slow traffic. She stressed that any life lost is too much and requested that Council please consider a few stop signs and speed bumps.
Sarah Stultz, Park Avenue, spoke about moving to Albert Lea 10 years ago for a job opportunity and since coming here was married and had two children. She expressed appreciation for her career but said her greatest goals and joys have come through her role as a wife and mom. Stultz reminded everyone that October 2nd will be the 3-month anniversary of her daughter’s passing. She stated that many factors contributed to the crash, as listed in the State Patrol’s accident report, but firmly believes that had there been 3-way stop signs at the intersection, the crash may not have happened. She said that her daughter taught many lessons in her eight short years of life and reminded everyone that her death is a lesson to all and asked if there is something that can be done to protect the children of this neighborhood. Her opinion is that there needs to be stop signs and reduced speed limits. Stultz expressed hope that everyone can learn from this experience.
Discussion was opened to Council.
Councilor Brooks stated that he has lived in this area a long time and believes something needs to be done to slow traffic. He further stated that a lot of information has been presented and he has articles that show residents are very concerned. Brooks recommended that Council read the articles presented and consider how people are feeling. He requested that each council member take the time to drive the area and see how difficult it is coming down that hill. Brooks proposed putting temporary signs out to see how they work; stating the importance of stopping traffic as a way to control speed. Brooks then made a motion asking staff to consider this request and bring back a recommendation for a 3-way stop at both the 8th and 9th Street intersections and Frank Hall Drive; motion was seconded by Anderson.
Rasmussen expressed his appreciation to staff, council and residents for their time and efforts, noting that Council builds policy that fits this community.
A. Public Works Facility – Phase I
City Engineer Jahnke invited the public to attend the Public Works Open House on September 29th and October 1st. Jahnke highlighted the goals from Council’s annual goal-setting session, which included making the public works facility a priority and hiring BKV to perform a study. He noted that several options were discussed including building off-site but the preferred option was to add on to the current facility in two phases:
• Phase 1 – complete the administrative portion
• Phase 2 – add fleet garage for storage, mechanical and welding areas, also a lift and bay wash for vehicles
Jahnke noted the importance of building a facility that flows well, where work vehicles can move through the facility in the most efficient way. They are also looking at the possibility of trucks being able to use the Freeborn County trail just to the north of this property to get to Front Street which makes it a safer route for the community.
Jahnke highlighted features of the new 5500 sq. ft. building. The Administrative Assistant will be located at the main entrance used by the public. Utilities, Streets and Parks superintendents will have a conference/meeting room which is a feature they currently do not have. There is space to accommodate future staffing. The lunchroom would be along the north wall; the south side of the corridor is divided into three different departments, Utilities, Streets and Parks. This allows each department individual space but walls can be drawn back to create meeting space for emergencies, safety training, or large group meetings. Restroom facilities are currently lacking; the new facility will have a men’s room, individual lockers and two showers.
Meetings are being held to take input and let staff review and revise the plan; public input is welcome at the open houses. The budget for Phase I, including design and construction is $1.5 million. Mayor Rasmussen concurred that public involvement is welcome.
MAYOR AND COUNCIL REPORTS
First Ward, Councilor Schulte V:
• No report or updates.
Second Ward, Councilor Baker:
• Attended the dedication of the Oakwood Park Basketball Court honoring Ryan Moore; noting that almost everything was donated by individuals and businesses and was a nice outpouring of friendship and caring. Baker thanked everyone, noting that Heidi McGill and Amanda Irvine led the project. Also expressed well wishes to residents affected by flooding and invited residents to call him if he can help in some way.
Third Ward, Councilor Marin (Absent)
Fourth Ward, Councilor Olson:
• Attended the Parks & Recreation Advisory meeting; held discussion about a shelter at Morin Park and recommended it be added to the Wish Book for now and also place in the Capital Improvement Plan. Olson recapped other items that were discussed including a new baseball team, scoreboards, fields, and better defining names of shelters in the Edgewater Bay area. Ward items included backyards that he will get answers on.
Fifth Ward, Councilor Anderson:
• Attended Airport meeting where they reviewed the update for the next round of bids for the Arrival/Departure building.
• Noted a lot of flooding in his ward; also encouraged the public to contact Jody Larson at the County to document incidents and losses. Anderson thanked everyone for their support and response in this trying time.
Sixth Ward, Councilor Brooks:
• Attended CVB and Port Authority meeting; has also received calls and emails regarding the Frank Hall corridor and calls about flooding and backed up basements. He has been asked about the ½ cent sales tax and whether any of the money paid to the Watershed can be directly involved in flood control relief and relieving the sewer system. Jahnke responded that the sales tax is directed more toward water quality and lakes. Brooks also highlighted sidewalk issues on Margaretha that have already cracked considerably, perhaps due to a low spot that is causing sidewalks to sink.
Announced upcoming events:
• Albert Lea Tigers Homecoming Football Game and Parade
• Big Island Rendezvous from Sept 29th – Oct 22nd
• Broadway Night of Music, Oct 1st to raise money for the historic Bessesen Building
Rasmussen attended a Senior Center Board Meeting and the Freeborn County League of Cities meeting where they discussed ways to collaborate and save money. The Mayor gave out the United Way’s phone number for the public to relay flood related costs and damages.
CITY MANAGER REPORT
Gabrielatos updated Council on several items that Administration intern Quin Brunner has been working on this summer, including a system for archiving records, correcting some issues with the zoning code, designing charts where land uses are compatible with zoning, and working with sign issues in the city code.
APPROVAL OF CLAIMS
A. Resolution 16-205 Approving Contract with Councilmember Schulte
The attached resolution directs the Mayor and City Clerk to make payment in the amount of $322.70 on behalf of the City for a claim from Jones, Haugh & Smith, Inc. and to issue payment for filing the affidavit of official interest by the interested official, Councilor Schulte.
Motion made by Councilor Brooks, seconded by Councilor Anderson. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Baker, Olson, Anderson, Brooks and Mayor Rasmussen. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed. Councilor Schulte abstained. Councilor Marin was absent.
(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 16-205
included with these minutes.)
B. Resolution 16-206 Approving Contract with Councilmember Brooks
The attached resolution directs the Mayor and City Clerk to make payment in the amount of $116.00 on behalf of the City for a claim from Brooks Safety Equipment and to issue payment for filing the affidavit of official interest by the interested official, Councilor Brooks.
Motion made by Councilor Schulte, seconded by Councilor Baker. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Schulte, Baker, Olson, Anderson and Mayor Rasmussen. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed. Councilor Brooks abstained. Councilor Marin was absent.
(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 16-206
included with these minutes.)
C. Resolution 16-207 Approving Claims
(1). Presentation of Claims Over $25,000
Gabrielatos presented the $25,000 claims.
The resolution directed the Mayor and City Clerk to issue the payment of claims as presented in the Detail of Claims report. Gabrielatos highlighted the claims over $25,000.
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 16-207
Include with these minutes.)
ADJOURNMENT – 8:27 PM
Motion made by Councilor Brooks, seconded by Councilor Schulte, 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 10, 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.
Acting Secretary to the Council