February 8, 2021

REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING
CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY OF ALBERT LEA
Monday, February 8, 2021, 7:00 p.m.

PRESENT: Mayor Pro Tem Larry Baker, Councilors Rich Murray, Jason Howland, Reid Olson, Robert Rasmussen, and Al Brooks. Also present were City Manager Ian Rigg, Finance Director Kristi Brutlag, City Attorney Kelly Martinez, Public Works Director Steven Jahnke, Public Safety Director JD Carlson, and City Clerk Daphney Maras.

ABSENT: Mayor Vern Rasmussen, Jr.

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 – Maras noted no emails were received and no raised hands are present to speak during the public forum.

City Manager Rigg read each item on the consent and approval agenda and provided background.

CONSENT AND APPROVAL OF AGENDA
A. Approve Minutes Of The January 25, 2021 Regular Council Meeting
B. Approve Minutes Of The January 25, 2021 Work Session
C. Licenses & Permits
D. Resolution Approving Purchase of Brush Cutter Attachment
E. Resolution Approving Replacement Of Utilities Department Hydraulic Jackhammer
F. Resolution Waiving Blazing Star Trail Joint Powers Board Annual Audit

Motion made by Councilor Rasmussen to approve the consent agenda as read, seconded by Councilor Brooks. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Murray, Howland, Olson, Rasmussen, Brooks and Mayor Pro Tem Baker. Mayor Pro Tem Baker declared the motion passed.

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 21-016 through 21-018
Included with these minutes)

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS
A. Director of Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Main Street Program, Holly Karsjens, showcased the efforts and successes of the Main Street Program displaying a PowerPoint detailing the following topics:

• Mission of the Main Street program
• Social Media followers
• Events including retailers throughout the entire community
• Campaigns to help increase local shopping
• Public Art
• Community Impact
• Support to Albert Lea Main Street
• Downtown Stats
• 2021 Goals

UNFINISHED BUSINESS – None

NEW BUSINESS
A. Resolution 21-019 Approving Change In Interest Of Deferred Special Assessments For City Project Improvements Against Certain Property Based Upon Age Or Disability

Rigg explained the City has historically had some requests for deferment of Special Assessments if the property owner meets certain guidelines. Because the original resolutions accrued the interest on the assessments until the deferment ended, the interest amounts are high. This resolution removes the accrual of interest on the assessment and begins interest when the deferment terminates, and allows the City Manager to approve a repayment schedule if immediate repayment of the assessment is not possible for the new property owner.

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

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 21-019
Included with these minutes)

B. Resolution 21-020 Accepting Bid And Awarding Contract For The 2021 Neighborhood Improvement Project (Job 2101)

Rigg stated Engineering has reviewed the bids opened Tuesday, February 2, 2021 for the 2021 Neighborhood Improvement project. The project involves the bituminous overlay of streets in various parts of the City, along with replacing sections of curb & gutter and sidewalk that have settled and are causing drainage issues. The entire bituminous pavement on Michaelle Lane from US Highway 69 to the end will also be removed and replaced as part of this project. Engineering received one bid and is recommending the low bid of $427,291.63 as submitted by Ulland Brothers Inc. of Albert Lea, Minnesota. The Engineer’s estimate was $482,653.50.

Motion made by Councilor Brooks, seconded by Councilor Olson. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Murray, Howland, Olson, Rasmussen, Brooks and Mayor Pro Tem Baker. Mayor Pro Tem Baker declared the motion passed.
(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 21-020
Included with these minutes)

C. Resolution 21-021 Awarding Professional Services Agreement With Bolton and Menk For The Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) Preliminary Design (Job 2108)

This agreement is to provide engineering services required for the preliminary design of the proposed Wastewater Treatment Plant improvements. The information developed in these tasks is needed prior to the final design and will better define the scope of the final project, as well as clearly communicate funding needs. The goal of the overall project is to meet permit limits and replace significantly aging infrastructure, while providing the City with long term robust treatment technologies to treat wastewater for the next 20 years. Work includes preliminary design for grit removal and septage receiving, coatings repair, primary and secondary treatment improvements, phosphorus removal, biosolids improvements (digesters, storage, thickening, heating), building rehabilitation, electrical replacements, filter improvements, UV disinfection and general facility rehabilitation. Major items include:

  •  Funding/Planning
  • Data Collection
  • Permitting Assistance
  • Industrial Meetings and Communication
  • Develop detailed scope of final project with updated cost opinions
  • Biosolids Evaluation
  • Chemical Phosphorus Removal Jar Testing
  • Preliminary Treatment Design
  • Geotechnical Evaluation

The City’s WWTP treats the sewage from the entire city and then discharges the treated water to the Shell Rock River. The City has a permit with the State of Minnesota that dictates the standards the water must meet prior to discharging. This permit expired in November of 2014. The state of Minnesota is proposing strict standards that could have an impact on the improvements at the WWTP and ultimately have an impact on the rate payers within the City.

Staff is recommending the City award an agreement to Bolton and Menk, Inc. of Mankato Minnesota for the above-mentioned professional engineering services. The scope of services is proposed to be completed for a fee of $664,855.

Rigg commented this agreement does not change the City’s position regarding the contested case currently in progress.

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

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 21-021
Included with these minutes)

D. Resolution 21-022 And Public Hearing Adopting A Modification To The Development Program For Development District No. 5; And A Modification To The Tax Increment Financing Plan For TIF District No. 5-28

Rebecca Kurtz from Ehlers was present and gave further details about this Resolution, as well as the following Resolution (Item 8E) that are both related to the Vortex Cold Storage adopting a modification to the TIF plan and Tax Abatement.

Vortex Cold Storage has plans to develop a 125,000 square foot cold storage facility in Albert Lea. Since Council first approved TIF and Tax Abatement, the building plans have changed to include Lot 7 of the JOBZ Industrial Park. Since physical development will occur on Lot 7, the TIF plan and Tax Abatement approvals are required to be amended.

Mayor Pro Tem Baker opened the public hearing. He called three times. Maras confirmed there were no emails received and no raised hands. Mayor Pro Baker closed the public hearing.

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

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 21-022
Included with these minutes)

E. Resolution 21-023 Approving The Expansion of Parcels for Property Tax Abatements for Vortex Cold Storage

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

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 21-023
Included with these minutes)

F. Resolution 21-024 Approving The Extension of the March 17, 2020 City Of Albert Lea, Minnesota Proclamation and Declaration of Peacetime Emergency No. 2020-1 And Ordinance 20-232

The City Council convened a special meeting on March 17, 2020 and adopted the City of Albert Lea Proclamation and Declaration of Emergency No. 2020-1 and the Mayoral Declaration Ordinance 20-232 in response to Governor Walz’s Executive Order 20-01 Declaring a Peacetime Emergency and Coordinating Minnesota’s Strategy to Protect Minnesotans from COVID-19.

Executive Order 20-01 has been extended multiple times. On January 13, 2021, Governor Walz signed Executive Order 21-04 extending the COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency an additional 30 days through February 12, 2021. It is anticipated a new Executive Order will be signed on or about February 12, 2021 extending the Governor’s Peacetime Emergency an additional 30 days through March 12, 2021.
Multiple confirmed cases of COVID-19 exist in Freeborn County. In light of the ongoing crisis, it is necessary to extend the City’s Declaration and Ordinance in an effort to decrease the spread of COVID-19 and protect the community. The extension of the Emergency Declaration and accompanying Ordinance allows the terms and conditions contained within to remain in full force and effect through March 8, 2021 unless Governor Walz’s Peacetime Emergency expires or is rescinded by legislative authority. Approval to extend the Declaration and Ordinance requires approval by five members of City Council.

Rigg explained this extension of the Governor’s order provides staff with additional operational function. Murray reiterated his discontent with the Governor’s continued extension without input from fellow legislatures. Howland countered with stating the importance of following the CDC COVID guidelines to protect the community.

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

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 21-024
Included with these minutes)

MAYOR AND COUNCIL REPORTS:
First Ward, Councilor Murray reported:
• Ward Items – Offered condolences to Mayor Rasmussen’s family on the loss of his wife’s father as well as condolences to HRA Director Jeanne Leick on the loss of her mother.
• Committee Update – ALEDA Board met last Wednesday where they reviewed approximately 100 COVID Grant applications. Murray encourages the community to continue to support local businesses.

Second Ward, Councilor Baker reported:
• Ward Items – None
• Committee Update – None

Third Ward, Councilor Howland reported;
• Ward Items – None
• Committee Update – Echoed Murray’s comments to support local businesses. Encourages the community to participate in the Big Freeze Event this weekend.

Fourth Ward, Councilor Olson reported:
• Ward Items – Echoed Murray and Howland’s comments to support local businesses.
• Committee Update – None

Fifth Ward, Councilor Rasmussen reported:
• Ward Items – None
• Committee Update – None

Sixth Ward, Councilor Brooks reported:
• Ward Items – Received questions regarding snow plowing. Thanked Public Works for their assistance. Local restaurants inquired about reducing liquor license fees. Brooks requests discussion at a future meeting to consider reducing or eliminating liquor license fees.
• Committee Update – None

MAYOR’S REPORT:
Mayor Pro Tem Baker announced the following new Board Members and requests a motion from council to accept:

Housing and Redevelopment: Linda Lares
Planning Commission: Steve Thompson
Library Board: Joanne Bracker and Cheryl Priddy

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

CITY MANAGER REPORT:
• Encourages the community to participate in the Big Freeze event this weekend.
• Echoed Councilors’ comments to support local businesses
• Thanked the First Responders and the Public Works staff for their continued outdoor work during these on-going frigid temperatures
• Continues to meet with business to discuss loan and/or grant opportunities
• Reviewed COVID grant applications with ALEDA and the County
• Will be conducting policy updates
• Is working with staff to research what other communities have done to provide financial relief for businesses that hold a liquor license and have been affected by COVID

Councilor Murray responded to Brooks’ comments regarding financial relief to local businesses with an on-sale liquor license. Murray detailed the local COVID Grant relief program as well as the federal grant money they have received and suggested it offers the relief the businesses are requesting.
APPROVAL OF CLAIMS

A. RESOLUTION 21-025 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 Brooks to approve payment of claims as presented for checks #77606 through #77725 in the amount of $994,522.87. Seconded by Councilor Rasmussen. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Murray, Howland, Olson, Rasmussen, Brooks and Mayor Rasmussen. Mayor Pro Tem Baker declared the motion passed.
(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 21-025
Included with these minutes)

ADJOURNMENT: 8:06 P.M.

Motion made by Councilor Murray, seconded by Councilor Howland. 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, February 22, 2021. On roll call vote, all councilors voted in favor of said motion.

Mayor Pro Tem Baker declared the motion passed and the meeting adjourned.

___/s/_________________________
Mayor Pro Tem Larry Baker

__/s/__________________________
Daphney Maras
Secretary of the Council