December 14, 2020

REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING
TELECONFERENCE ZOOM MEETING, CITY OF ALBERT LEA
Monday, December 14, 2020, 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 Ian Rigg, Public Works Director Steven Jahnke, Public Safety Director JD Carlson, Finance Director Kristi Brutlag, City Attorney Kelly Martinez, and City Clerk Daphney Maras.

NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Governor’s Stay-At-Home Order, this council meeting was conducted via teleconference as provided by Minnesota Statute 13D.021 Sub(1).

CEREMONIAL ITEMS – None

PUBLIC FORUM – Clerk Maras confirmed there were no comments received prior to this meeting and currently no hands raised to address during the public forum.

CONSENT AND APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Mayor Rasmussen read each item on the council agenda.

A. Approve Minutes Of The November 23, 2020 Regular Council Meeting
B. Approve Minutes Of The November 23, 2020 Work Session
C. Approve Minutes Of the November 12, 2020 Canvass Board Meeting
D. Licenses & Permits
E. Resolution Accepting Donations As Presented To The City of Albert Lea
F. Resolution Granting A Variance To Accessory Structure Setback Requirements
G. Resolution Accepting and Awarding Bids for Yearly Chemical Supplies, Gasoline and Diesel Fuel
H. Resolution Accepting Feasibility Report And Calling A Public Hearing For 7:00PM on January 11, 2021 For the Edgewood Avenue, St. Peter Avenue, Stanley Avenue And Ulstad Avenue Reconstruction Project (Job 2102)

Motion made by Councilor Baker to approve the consent agenda as read, 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 20-214 through 20-217
Included with these minutes)

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS – None

UNFINISHED BUSINESS – None

NEW BUSINESS

A. 2021 BUDGET – TRUTH IN TAXATION – PUBLIC COMMENT SESSION

Finance Director Brutlag provided a slide show detailing the General Fund Levy for fiscal year 2021. She noted changes from the preliminary budget in September to the final budget presented this evening.

1. RESOLUTION 20-218 ESTABLISHING THE TAX LEVY FOR 2021

City Manager Rigg stated the City Council in September approved a preliminary levy of $7,037,767 for 2021. The levy being recommended for final adoption will be established at $6,707,233 ($330,534 less than what was proposed in September), with $4,826,000 for the General Fund operating levy and $1,881,233 for the debt service levy. This is the first time since 2012 that the General Fund operating levy has been increased. The increase from 2020 is $67,547 or 1.42%.

Motion made by Councilor Howland, seconded by Councilor Baker. 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 20-218
Included with these minutes)

2. RESOLUTION 20-219 APPROVING ALBERT LEA HOUSING AND REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY FINAL PROPERTY TAX LEVY FOR FISCAL YEAR 2021

The City Council in September approved a preliminary property tax levy of $109,000. The maximum special levy as provided by Minnesota Statute 469.033 is $195,839 (.0185% of Estimated Market Value of $1,058,588,300 but the HRA and Staff are recommending $109,000 or 56% of the maximum.

Motion made by Councilor Baker, 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.

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 20-219
Included with these minutes)

3. RESOLUTION 20-220 ADOPTING THE 2021 GENERAL FUND BUDGET

Rigg reported the General Fund budget being recommended for approval is $16,877,681, which is an approximate .72% increase over 2020.

Motion made by Councilor Howland, 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 20-220
Included with these minutes)

4. RESOLUTION 20-221 ADOPTING THE 2021 – 2025 CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PLAN

Each year a five-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) is developed by staff for the City of Albert Lea. One of the best approaches to this decision making process is to use long-range planning as a means of identifying needs, available resources and the significance of the impact. 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. The attached resolution would adopt the proposed 2021 – 2025 Capital Improvement Plan.

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 20-221
Included with these minutes)

5. RESOLUTION 20-222 AMENDING FEE SCHEDULE FOR 2021 – EXCLUDING WATER AND SEWER UTILITY RATES

Rigg explained there are two resolutions approving the fees for 2021. The first resolution approves all fees except Water and Sewer rates and the second approves the Water and Sewer Rates. The attached fee schedule is formatted to provide a comparison between the 2020 schedule and proposed 2021.

Motion made by Councilor Baker, seconded by Councilor Olson. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Murray, Baker, Howland, Olson, Rasmussen, and Mayor Rasmussen. Councilor Brooks voted Nay. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 20-222
Included with these minutes)

6. RESOLUTION 20-223 AMENDING FEE SCHEDULE FOR 2021 – WATER AND SEWER UTILITY RATES

This resolution approves the water and sewer utility rates only. The new fee schedule includes the recommended 4% increase to the sewer rates and a 5% increase to water rates. Brutlag explained that Ehlers was hired to conduct a rate study earlier in the year due to the large upcoming proposed projects such as the Central Water Tower and most notably, the Phosphorus project at the WWTP. She also noted this is the first sewer rate increase since 2017.

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 20-223
Included with these minutes)

7. RESOLUTION 20-224 ADOPTING THE WATER, SEWER, SOLID WASTE, SENIOR CENTER AND AIRPORT BUDGETS

While the City is not required to formally adopt budgets for other funds, Staff recommends approving the budgets to provide more information and transparency to the public on spending for such funds.

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 20-224
Included with these minutes)

Maras confirmed there were no comments received prior to this meeting and no raised hands to address during public comment portion of this Truth-in-Taxation meeting.

B. RESOLUTION 20-225 AND PUBLIC HEARING ORDERING IMPROVEMENTS AND PREPARATION OF PLANS FOR THE 2021 NEIGHBORHOOD IMPROVEMENT PROJECT (JOB 2101)

A public hearing is being held for public input on the 2021 Neighborhood Improvement Project (Job 2101). The proposed project involves the bituminous overlay of streets in various parts of the City. The streets are as follows:

Wilson Street – Bridge Avenue to E. Main Street
Stevens Street – Ulstad Avenue to the northeast end
Oakwood Terrace – S. Shore Drive to Waldorf Road
Waldorf Road – Oakwood Terrace to Oakwood Terrace
David Drive – S. Shore Drive to Kevin Drive
Kevin Drive – North end to the south end
Kenneth Drive – S. Shore Drive to Eunice Drive
Eunice Drive – S. Shore Drive to S. Shore Drive

The project will involve milling the existing bituminous street surfacing for a 6-foot width along each concrete gutter line so the new bituminous layer will match with the level of the concrete gutter. A 2-inch thick layer of bituminous will be laid over the entire width of the street. The project would also involve replacing sections of curb & gutter that have settled and are causing drainage issues. Sidewalk will be replaced where it is damaged or uneven and causing a tripping hazard. Additionally, the sidewalk pedestrian ramps will be replaced to bring them into compliance with current ADA standards. Per the assessment policy, 25% of the costs to replace damaged or displaced sidewalk will be assessed to the abutting properties.

The City costs are for side yard credits, work in the intersections, and for work along City-owned property. The sanitary sewer costs are for repairs to manholes that will be completed as part of this project and done prior to placement of the overlay.

The average age of these streets is 35 years old. Only Stevens Street has been overlaid in the past. The last overlay was placed in 2000. Typically, Engineering has tried to extend the life of the roadways by performing an overlay between year 20 and 30 and every 15 to 25 years thereafter. The goal is to extend the life of the roadway to approximately a 75-year life. This is the estimated life of the underground utilities.

The total centerline footage of the project is approximately 11,561 linear feet (2.19 miles).

Michaelle Lane Bituminous Surface Reconstruction
The bituminous surface on Michaelle Lane from US Highway 69 to the dead end is badly deteriorated and is past the point where a mill & overlay would be beneficial. Proposed with this project is to remove and reconstruct the aggregate base and bituminous surface. The watermain and sanitary sewer that were installed in 1978 are still in good condition and are not proposed to be replaced. The curb & gutter is mostly in good condition and will only be replaced where it has settled and is causing drainage problems.
Assessments
There are 137 properties to be assessed as part of this project (133 in the overlay areas and 4 along Michaelle Lane). The assessments for the overlay work depend on the width of the roadway and range between $14.57 per foot to $29.39 per foot. The preliminary assessment rate for Michaelle Lane is $51.97 per foot.

Following the Assessment Policy, the assessments will be over 5 years for the overlay work and 10 years for Michaelle Lane. The interest rate will be based on bonding in 2021. The estimated project cost is $539,793.33 and would be paid for with assessments, general obligation bonding money, and sanitary sewer and water funds.
The neighborhood meeting was held December 3, 2020 to discuss the project with affected residents.

Mayor Rasmussen opened the public hearing. Maras confirmed no comments were received prior to the meeting.

Mayor Rasmussen called three times. Maras confirmed no raised hands were present during the public hearing.

Mayor Rasmussen closed the public hearing.

Motion made by Councilor Baker, seconded by Councilor Howland. 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 20-225
Included with these minutes)

C. RESOLUTION 20-226 APPROVING THE DECEMBER 14, 2020 EXTENSION OF THE MARCH 17, 2020 CITY OF ALBERT LEA, MINNESOTA PROCLAMATION AND DECLARATION OF EMERGENCY NO. 2020-1 AND ORDINANCE 20-232

Councilor Murray implored the Governor to open up the State of MN once again in an effort to help save small businesses.

Motion made by Councilor Howland, seconded by Councilor Baker. 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 20-226
Included with these minutes)

MAYOR AND COUNCIL REPORTS: Mayor Rasmussen asked for a motion to approve the appointment of Amy Leach and Tony Segura to the Parks & Recreation Board.

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

First Ward, Councilor Murray reported:
• Ward Items – Working on ward items with staff.
• Committee Update – Will attend an HRA meeting tomorrow night. Attended an ALEDA meeting and discussion continues regarding the COVID Grant Program in hopes to have it available to small businesses in the area by early January.

Second Ward, Councilor Baker reported:
• Ward Items – None
• Committee Update – Attended the HPC Board Meeting. He spoke of the Architectural History investigation by the State Historic Preservation office that was performed to ensure the water tower proposed to be replaced on Fountain Street is not within the historic district. They also discussed the possibility of adding a logo to the tower addressing the Historical Downtown District. Baker also reported that he will attend the HRA meeting tomorrow night.

Third Ward, Councilor Howland reported:
• Ward Items – Spoke of the two recent major events in our community – the large warehouse fire and the active shooter incident. He extended his appreciation to the Fire and Police personnel for their continued dedication and protection to the community.
• Committee Update – Attended the neighborhood meeting regarding the proposed Street projects.

Fourth Ward, Councilor Olson reported:
• Ward Items – None
• Committee Update – Echoed Howland’s appreciation to and for the Public Safety personnel. Attended the neighborhood meeting regarding the proposed Street projects. Encouraged the community to continue supporting small businesses.

Fifth Ward, Councilor Rasmussen reported:
• Ward Items – None
• Committee Update – Will attend an Airport meeting next week. Extended his appreciation and commended the Public Safety Personnel.

Sixth Ward, Councilor Brooks reported:
• Ward Items – Responded to calls regarding the proposed Street projects.
• Committee Update – Supports Murray’s comments imploring Governor Walz to open up the State in an effort to save small businesses.

MAYOR’S REPORT – Extended appreciation to Holly Karsjens and the CVB for their efforts provided in the recent creative community events during these difficult times of COVID. In addition, he extended appreciation to Riverland College for the snowflakes added to the downtown planters. Wishes the community Happy Holidays.

CITY MANAGER REPORT:

  • Echoed thanks and gratitude to the Fire and Police staff for their dedication to the community.
  • Extended his appreciation to staff at the efficiency of how well they work together during events such as the warehouse fire and active shooter incidents to resolve residual concerns.
  • Mentioned the Library has extended curbside pickup to Sundays.
  • Spoke of the 300 and 400 level NIMS training he and additional staff members are completing this week.
  • Human Resource Department will be completing the wage classification study to present to council.
  • Continues to meet with staff to address:
    • Strategies to deal with abatements on nuisance properties in the community
    • Discussions on development and/or redevelopment economic strategies for market rate housing or general cleanup
    • Will meet with Engineers and staff to discuss how to get outcomes that are more favorable from the State regarding the WWTP phosphorus issues in an effort to not put all the cost on taxpayers.
    • Also met with ALEDA to discuss the COVID Grant program to help small businesses.

APPROVAL OF CLAIMS

A. RESOLUTION 20-227 APPROVING CLAIMS

Rigg explained that the attached resolution directs the Mayor and City Treasurer to issue the payment of claims as presented in the Detail of Claims report. In addition, Rigg displayed a list of claims over $25,000 for the public’s viewing, transparency and education.

Motion made by Councilor Baker to approve payment of claims as presented for checks #77064 through #77250 in the amount of $1,380,471.98. Seconded by Councilor Howland. 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 20-227
Included with these minutes)

ADJOURNMENT: 8:19 P.M.

Motion made by Councilor Murray, seconded by Councilor. 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, 2020. On roll call vote, all councilors voted in favor of said motion.

Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed and the meeting adjourned.

__/s/__________________________
Mayor Vern Rasmussen, Jr.

_/s/___________________________
Daphney Maras
Secretary of the Council