December 14, 2015

REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING
CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY OF ALBERT LEA
Monday, December 14, 2015, 7:00 p.m.

PRESENT: Mayor Vern Rasmussen Jr., Councilors John Schulte V, Larry Baker, George Marin, Larry Anderson, Al Brooks and Reid Olson. Also present was City Manager Chad Adams, City Engineer Steven Jahnke, City Attorney Lee Bjorndal and Deputy Clerk Daphney Maras

CEREMONIAL ITEMS

Mayor Rasmussen presented a Proclamation recognizing Lindsey Horejsi for her achievement in Swimming. She broke the national high school record for the breaststroke and will be trying out for the Olympic team this year.

PUBLIC FORUM

Mr. Harold Kamrath, 326 Glenn Road, had questions regarding the necessity of the Audible Pedestrian Warning signals installed at different locations throughout the City. City Engineer Steven Jahnke responded, stating the audible signals are mandated by the State. Councilor Marin added the importance of providing this type of system to people who are visually impaired. Mr. Kamrath also inquired about the possibility of adding stop signs to the Hawthorne and Bridge St. corridor. Mayor Rasmussen clarified the options are still being explored.

CONSENT AND APPROVAL OF AGENDA

A. Approve Minutes of the November 23, 2015 Regular Council Meeting
B. Approve Minutes of the November 19, 2015 Work Session
C. Licenses & Permits (See attached list.)
D. Resolution Accepting Quotation and Awarding Contract for Demolition of Property
E. Resolution Approving Request for Annexation of 2008 Country Club Road and Orderly Annexation Agreement
F. Resolution in Support of Increasing Local Government Aid in the 2016 Legislative Session
G. Resolution Approving Non-Union Employee Salaries for 2016
H. Resolution Approving Lease Agreement with ACT for 314 South Broadway

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, Marin, Anderson, Olson, Brooks and Mayor Rasmussen Jr. Mayor Rasmussen Jr. declared the motion passed.
(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 15-263-267
included with these minutes)

PETITIONS, REQUESTS, AND COMMUNICATIONS

Park And Facility Naming Policy – At the November Park Board meeting, the Board reviewed a draft of a Policy and Procedure for the naming of city parks. The Board suggested some additions and changes. The draft included possible expansion to include all City facilities rather than just parks. A related request was received from the George Dress family asking that a sign be installed on Dress Island identifying the island as “Dress Island.” The Dress family would pay for the sign and installation. The island property was deeded to the City by the family in 1972 and was officially designated as “Dress Island.” The Board voted and recommended approval of the request to Council. No action was taken on this item to allow for public comment. Staff will be seeking Council approval at the December 28th meeting.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

NEW BUSINESS

2016 Budget – TRUTH IN TAXATION-PUBLIC COMMENT

RESOLUTION 15-268 ESTABLISHING THE TAX LEVY FOR 2016

City Manager Adams gave a presentation outlining the proposed budget for 2016 and Tax Levy. The City Council in September approved a preliminary levy of $6,156,614 for 2015, which included $4,758,453 for the General Fund operating levy and $1,398,161 for debt service. This amounts to a 3.32% increase in the levy from last year. Mr. Adams explained the impact on property owners is about a 2% increase over last year. On a $100,000 home, that increase equates to a $12.63 increase assuming property values have stayed the same. Staff recommends approval of the resolution.

Mayor Rasmussen opened the public hearing.

Harold Kamrath, 326 Glenn Road, had questions regarding the Fire Truck that was recently purchased. City Manager Adams explained this was budgeted for and came out of the general fund.

Roger Swanson, 524 Meadow Lane, asked what the City is doing to try to increase tax base and is concerned about money being spent for a new City Garage, Fire Station as well as other building projects. Mr. Adams explained that the city is offering incentives for developers to build and the city won’t see the benefit of that for a number of years. An example is the St. John’s project which will bring in jobs, but will have to wait on taxes for 26 years. He also mentioned that the city is working with existing businesses to expand and that new businesses are opening in the downtown.

Dustin Trail, 1902 Brookside Drive, expressed agreement with Mr. Swanson, and explained that the cost of a new fire station seems high at $8 million. Mayor Rasmussen stated that there was a preliminary study conducted and the cost was high in those estimates. Mr. Trail asked the reasoning behind building a new station. Mayor Rasmussen explained that there was need for an Emergency Command Center, training facilities, larger room for trucks, and locker rooms for both male and female. Mr. Adams further explained approximately four years ago the City held a public comment session regarding maintaining a full-time versus part-time fire department. The public consensus was to maintain a full-time fire department. Mr. Trail questioned the need to spend an exorbitant dollar amount to build a new city garage. Mayor Rasmussen explained the bids will be looked at closely when they are submitted.

MOTION: Move to approve this resolution was made by Councilor Schulte V, seconded by Councilor Olson. On roll call vote the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Councilor Schulte V, Baker, Marin, Olson, Anderson, Brooks, and Mayor Rasmussen Jr. Mayor Rasmussen Jr. declared the resolution passed.

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 15-268
Included with these minutes)

RESOLUTION 15-269 APPROVING ALBERT LEA HOUSING AND REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY PROPERTY TAX LEVY FOR FISCAL YEAR 2016

The City Council in September approved a preliminary property Tax Levy of $109,000. Mr. Adams explained this HRA special levy covers a housing study plan every 3 years, residential property rehabilitation program, city acquired substandard property demolition, Section 8 administrative fee, publish housing reserve and a public housing subsidy for capital funds. The maximum special levy as provided by Minnesota Statute 469.033 is $141,558 but Staff is recommending $109,000 or 77% of the maximum. Staff recommends approval of the resolution.

MOTION: Move to approve this resolution was made by Councilor Schulte V, seconded by Councilor Baker. On roll call vote the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Councilor Schulte V, Baker, Marin, Olson, Anderson, Brooks, and Mayor Rasmussen Jr. Mayor Rasmussen Jr. declared the resolution passed.

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 15-269
Included with these minutes)

RESOLUTION 15-270 ADOPTING THE 2016 GENERAL BUDGET

The proposed 2016 General Fund Budget being recommended for approval is $15,163,645 which is an approximately 1.5% increase over 2015. The overview presented covered highlights of the City’s Budget including restoring personnel positions (2.5 FTE), no summer ice from June 1 to September 1 allowing a cost savings, a Facilities Master Plan analysis (Airport, Public Work Facility, and Fire Station) as well as adding a general fund reserve into the plan and providing a long-term Financial Management Plan. Staff recommends approval.

MOTION: Move to approve this resolution was made by Councilor Anderson, seconded by Councilor Olson. On roll call vote the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Councilor Schulte V, Baker, Marin, Olson, Anderson, Brooks, and Mayor Rasmussen Jr. Mayor Rasmussen Jr. declared the resolution passed.

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 15-270
Included with these minutes)

Councilor Marin stated he is supporting the budget because of the addition of a full-time Police Officer as well as another Street Department employee. Mr. Marin stated this is very important to the quality of life in Albert Lea.

Councilor Brooks stated his support for the budget because of the additions of two staffing positions. Concerns were also addressed regarding the debt being created and reminded council the need to be mindful as decisions are being made on the budget.

Councilor Baker expressed his support of the budget to work on the street improvement projects and infrastructure.

Mayor Rasmussen agreed it is necessary to continue to work to increase the tax base.

RESOLUTION 15-271 ADOPTING THE 2016-2020 CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PLAN

Each year a five-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) is developed by staff for the City of Albert Lea. The five-year Capital Improvement Plan is a long-range planning tool the City can successfully use in setting priorities for the community’s infrastructure improvement. Mr. Adams explained some of the projects in the 2016 Capital Improvement Plan include Airport Arrival & Departure Building, East Water Tower Chlorine Building, replacing City Arena bleachers, and City Center elevators, addition to Public Works Facility, Fire Station, and other street overlay and reconstruction projects and utility system improvements. Staff recommends approval.

Council had further discussion. Mayor Rasmussen stated this CIP is a “working document” and foresees changes as the year progresses. Councilor Marin expressed his appreciation for the public approaching council with questions. Marin stated he will not support this CIP due to the declining population in Albert Lea.

MOTION: Move to approve this resolution was made by Councilor Anderson, seconded by Councilor Baker. On roll call vote the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Councilor Schulte V, Baker, Olson, Anderson, Brooks, and Mayor Rasmussen Jr. Mayor
Councilor Marin voted nay. Rasmussen Jr. declared the resolution passed.

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 15-271 included with these minutes)

PUBLIC HEARING AND RESOLUTION 15-272 ADOPTING 2016 FEE SCHEDULE

In reviewing the Fee Schedule, Mr. Adams explained no change in the sanitary sewer rates but an 8% increase in water sewer rates, which is equivalent to $1.62 increase per month for the average residential customer. This is necessary to keep the water fund solvent. There was also a slight increase in mixed municipal solid waste disposal. Additional new fees also include Airport Hangar #5, the Community Garden on Margaretha and street sign and sign post replacement. Other fees adjusted include airport hangar rents. Mr. Adams explained the Airport fund is not self-sufficient at this time causing a gradual increase in rentals each year. In addition, there are new fees on the hourly charge for practice ice time, and park reservation rentals. Staff recommends approval of the proposed changes.

Mayor Rasmussen opened the public hearing.

Harold Kamrath, 326 Glen Road, had questions regarding the balance in the water and sewer fund.

Mayor closed the public hearing.

Councilor Baker asked for clarification on the water and sewer rates.

MOTION: Move to approve this resolution was made by Councilor Anderson, seconded by Councilor Schulte V. On roll call vote the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Councilor Schulte V, Baker, Olson, Anderson, and Mayor Rasmussen Jr. Mayor. Councilor Brooks, nay. Councilor Marin, nay. Rasmussen Jr. declared the resolution passed.

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 15-272 included with these minutes)

RESOLUTION 15-273 ESTABLISHING FUND APPROPRIATIONS

Mr. Adams explained while the City is not required to formally adopt budgets for other funds, Staff recommends approving the expense budgets to provide more information and transparency to the public on spending for such funds. Fund appropriations being recommended for approval include the Water, Sewer, Solid Waste, Senior Center and Airport funds.

MOTION: Move to approve this resolution was made by Councilor Schulte V, seconded by Councilor Baker. On roll call vote the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Councilor Schulte V, Baker, Olson, Anderson, Marin, Brooks, and Mayor Rasmussen Jr. Mayor
Rasmussen Jr. declared the resolution passed.

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 15-273 included with these minutes)

MAYOR AND COUNCIL REPORTS

First Ward, Councilor Schulte V reported:

  • Ward Items – No ward items.
  • Committee update – Attended the HRA Board meeting; reported the housing occupancy and utilization is holding steady.

Second Ward, Councilor Baker reported:

  • Ward Items – Reported his ward items are currently being addressed by staff.
  • Committee Update – The Historic Preservation meeting was cancelled due to lack of quorum.

Third Ward, Councilor Marin reported:

  • Ward Items – No ward items.
  • Committee Update – Attended the Human Rights Commission meeting and informed Council that two new members were added.
  • Councilor Marin asked who advises the City on choosing to use general fund dollars as opposed to police and fire pensions when purchasing vehicles. City Manager Adams explained in the case of the fire truck, the City started setting aside funding for a replacement when the existing truck was purchased. Mr. Adams further explained the City is open to exploring options of how those decisions would be made in the future.
  • Councilor Marin also asked who advises the City on rental rates of City-owned property. City Manager Adams explained he made the decision in the case of the property at 314 South Broadway. That decision was based on the condition and use of the building, as well as the current market for the type of space that building offers.
  • Marin extended wishes to everyone for a Merry Christmas.

Fourth Ward, Councilor Olson reported:

  • Ward Items – Addressed concerns regarding the Hawthorne and Bridge Street corridor project; this included residents living on Minnie Maddern who depend on the current stop lights to exit onto Bridge Street from Minnie Maddern.
  • A resident living in the area reported conflicts with the timing of the traffic light that runs east and west on Bridge Street and Hawthorne. He stated the light is set to stay green 15 seconds when it is normally set at 30 seconds.
  • Committee Update – None

Fifth Ward, Councilor Anderson reported:

  • Ward Items – Reported his ward items are currently being worked on by staff.
  • Committee update – None
  • Reminded residents to drive safely as the winter weather approaches.

Sixth Ward, Councilor Brooks

  • Ward Items – Asked the status of the “watch for children” signs in the Milo Street area. The City Engineer stated he would get an update shortly.
  • Asked the status on the ice for the Sondergard Park; City Manager Adams stated he will follow up with the Parks and Recreation Department.
  • Thanked the Mayor for the ability to respond to difficult comments presented during public forums during council meetings.
  • Committee update – None

REPORT OF THE MAYOR

  • Attended the Port Authority meeting. The Port Authority discussed the importance of expanding the retention ponds in the Northaire Park. Tax Increment Financing would be used for this project.
  • Reported there are construction projects currently in process in the City; six are growth projects and three are new.
  • Reminded the community that the Albert Lea Economic Development Agency (ALEDA) is self-sustaining. ALEDA pays over $200,000 a year in property taxes to the city and county.
  • Had discussion recently with Representative Peggy Bennett regarding local government aid (LGA). Mayor reminded everyone the importance of continuing to receive LGA.
  • Asked for the public to participate in nominating people for the Mayor’s Community Service Award. The forms are located on the City’s website – www.cityofalbertlea.org; which can be filled out electronically and emailed. Forms can also be obtained in the City Manager’s office.
  • Reminded the community to support High School winter sports.

REPORT OF THE CITY MANAGER

City Manager Adams provided updates on various topics as follows:

  • Attended the Golden K Kiwanis group where he had the opportunity to discuss the projects in progress in the City.
  • Attended an open house for the Market Rate Rental units. The units are now open and management is advertising.
  • The concurrent Work Session with the County last Thursday addressed notable progress on the Bridge Avenue project. County and City engineering staff were given direction to proceed with application for federal funding for the year 2021. The Stables project was also discussed at length. Updates were also given on the Blazing Star Landing project.

APPROVAL OF CLAIMS

RESOLUTION 15-274 APPROVING CONTRACT WITH COUNCILMEMBER BROOKS

City Manager Adams explained that the resolution directs the Mayor and City Clerk to make payment in the amount of $103.65 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, Councilmember Brooks.

Motion to approve 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, Marin, Anderson, Olson, and Mayor Rasmussen Jr. Councilor Brooks abstained. Mayor Rasmussen Jr. declared the motion passed.

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 15-274 included with these minutes)

RESOLUTION 15-275 APPROVING CLAIMS

City Manager Adams explained that the 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 Baker to approve payment of claims as presented for checks #58106 through #58299 in the amount of $1,361,788.12, seconded by Councilor Brooks. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Councilors Schulte V, Baker, Marin, Anderson, Brooks, Olson, and Mayor Rasmussen Jr. Mayor Rasmussen Jr. declared the motion passed.
(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 15-275
included with these minutes.)

CLOSED MEETING – Land Acquisition Pursuant To Minn. Stat. §13D.05, Subd. 3(c)

City Manager Adams stated the purpose for the Closed Session was pursuant to Minn. Stat. §13D.05, Subd. 3(c); the specified parcel to be discussed is 802 East Main Street.

MOTION: I will move into closed session.

Motion made by Councilor Olson, seconded by Councilor Schulte V. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Councilors Schulte V, Marin, Olson, Anderson, Brooks and Baker. Mayor Rasmussen, Jr. declared the motion passed.
Mayor Rasmussen Jr. stated that Council discussed potential land acquisition and added that staff was given direction in Closed Session regarding 802 East Main Street.

ADJOURNMENT- 9:00 P.M.
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, December 28, 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 14th day of December, 2015

_/s/___________________________
Daphney Maras
Secretary to the Council

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.