January 11, 2021

REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING
CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY OF ALBERT LEA
Monday, January 11, 2021, 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, Finance Director Kristi Brutlag, City Attorney Kelly Martinez, Public Works Director Steven Jahnke, Public Safety Director JD Carlson 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 – None

Mayor Rasmussen read each item on the consent and approval agenda.

CONSENT AND APPROVAL OF AGENDA

A. Approve Minutes Of The December 28, 2020 Regular Council Meeting
B. Approve Minutes Of The December 28, 2020 Work Session
C. Licenses & Permits
D. Resolution Establishing 2021 Appointments And Designations
E. Resolution Designating Depositories Of City Funds And Signatories For Withdrawal Of Funds And Authorizing Credit Card Use, Electronic Or Wire Transfers, Investment Of Municipal Funds And Collateral Securing Deposits For 2021
F. Resolution Establishing Rules And Procedures For The City Council of Albert Lea
G. Resolution Designating The Polling Places For 2021
H. Resolution Naming Official Newspaper For 2021

Motion made by Councilor Baker to approve the consent agenda, 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 21-001 through 21-005 Included with these minutes)

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS – None

UNFINISHED BUSINESS – None

NEW BUSINESS

A. Public Hearing And Resolution 21-006 Ordering Improvement And Preparation Of Plans For The Edgewood Avenue, St. Peter Avenue, Stanley Avenue, & Ulstad Avenue Reconstruction Project (Job 2102)

Rigg explained a public hearing is being held for public input for City Job No. 2102. The proposed project calls for the complete reconstruction of several streets located throughout the City (approximately 3,406 total feet). Proposed work will include complete removal and replacement of the pavement, curb & gutter, sidewalk, sanitary sewer, storm sewer and watermain. The existing concrete and bituminous pavements will be removed and replaced with a bituminous surface. The streets are:

• Edgewood Avenue – Stevens Street to Johnson Street
• St. Peter Avenue – E. Main Street to Johnson Street
• Stanley Avenue – 159 ft north of Elmira Avenue to Sunset Street
• Ulstad Avenue – Johnson Street to Sheridan Street

All streets are 31 ft. wide from back of curb to back of curb, and are proposed to be reconstructed to the same width as the existing streets. This layout serves the areas well and functions adequately given the traffic and use patterns. The existing sidewalks on Edgewood Avenue, St. Peter Avenue and Ulstad Avenue are proposed to be replaced. There is no existing sidewalk along Stanley Avenue, and no new sidewalk is proposed as part of this project. Approximately 25 boulevard trees have been identified for removal as part of this project by City staff.
The existing pavements were constructed between 1951 and 1953 and are severely deteriorated beyond the ability of routine maintenance to address. The watermain, sanitary sewer and storm sewer were constructed between 1946 and 1947 and have reached the end of their useful life. If left in place, these utilities would not last as long as the new roadway and are recommended to be replaced. Existing pavements on these streets are concrete. The streets have relatively low traffic counts and are not on the Municipal State Aid system. Engineering does not feel that these roadways warrant the additional costs to reconstruct using concrete pavement and is proposing to rebuild all streets using a bituminous surface.

Assessments will be levied to the benefiting properties based upon constructing the street back to its existing width configuration with the City minimum standard of 4 inches of bituminous over 8 inches of aggregate base. The proposed preliminary assessment rate is $130.17 per front foot. The City Council recently amended the Assessment Policy to reduce the assessment rate for sidewalks to 25% of the replacement costs. The proposed assessment rate for the sidewalk is $2.74 per square foot.

There are 101 properties proposed to be assessed as part of this project. A preliminary assessment roll is attached to this report. A summary of the proposed residential assessments is as follows:
Average Assessment: $8,026.63
Median Assessment: $7,193.50
Lowest Assessment: $4,022.25
Highest Assessment: $14,038.83

Following the assessment policy, the assessments will be over 10 years. The interest rate will be based on bonding in 2021. The estimated project cost is $3,172,056.50 and would be paid for with assessments, general obligation bonding money, city funds, and water and sewer funds. The neighborhood meeting was held December 29, 2020 to discuss the project with affected residents.

Mayor Rasmussen opened the public hearing.

Maras explained Betty Anderson who lives on Stanley Avenue called and spoke to Engineer Chris Lowe. Mrs. Anderson does not have access to email therefore; Lowe provided an email detailing their phone conversation. Mrs. Anderson reports she received an estimated street assessment of $12,803.52. Her and her husband live on a fixed income and do not know how they can pay this amount. Lowe explained the assessment process to her. Anderson stated she would be contacting City staff when the final assessment amount is secured. Baker requests staff call her and explain the special assessment deferral program.

Maras read an email received from Katie Eyanson:

Good morning,

Here is my question for the zoom meeting tonight.

I run an in home daycare on Edgewood Ave., my daycare parents come at all different times of the day. Will they have access to my driveway?

Thank you,

Katie Eyanson

Jahnke stated he would contact Ms. Eyanson and personally address her question.

Mayor Rasmussen called two more times. Maras confirmed there are no raised hands. Mayor Rasmussen closed the public hearing.

Due to the nature of the Zoom meeting, Mayor Rasmussen allowed to address a raised hand that came up after the public hearing was closed.

Cody Eyanson asked for clarification of how the total amount of all the street assessments are determined for each property. Jahnke explained all four street projects are lumped together when advertising bids, in hopes of obtaining the lowest bid possible, however each parcel is assessed based on lot size.

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 21-006
Included with these minutes)

B. Resolution 21-007 Approving January 11, 2021 Extension Of The March 17, 2020 City Of Albert Lea, Minnesota Proclamation And Declaration Of Emergency No. 2020-1 And Ordinance 20-232

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 February 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 there are many benefits to approving the extension of the Governor’s Emergency Declaration. Approving the extension allows the City to implement certain safety measures such as holding council meetings via Zoom. It also ensures the City may receive and use grant money related to COVID toward items deemed COVID expenses. Additionally, it allows staff to alter services as the infection rate within Freeborn County fluctuates. Rigg stated staff recommends approval of this extension.

Murray reaffirmed his disagreement with the Governor’s ability to continuously extend this Emergency Declaration without obtaining input from the other 201 duly elected officials in the State of Minnesota.

Motion made by Councilor Howland to extend the Proclamation and Declaration of Emergency No. 2020-1 and Ordinance 20-232 through February 8, 2021, 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 21-007 Included with these minutes)

MAYOR AND COUNCIL REPORTS:

First Ward, Councilor Murray reported:

  • Ward Items – Murray responded to recent letters to the Editor with reference to the job City officials are NOT doing to bring businesses to the community. Murray stated this council and staff take that job very very seriously. Every opportunity that presents itself to the community is looked at thoroughly not only by the City, but also by the County and Albert Lea Economic Development. Murray reminds the community that all residents of Albert Lea and Freeborn County are ambassadors of this community. Community members should bring leads and/or ideas to City and County officials. He encourages all community members to get involved and ask yourself what you are doing to help bring businesses to this community.
  • Committee Update – Attended the ALEDA jobs meeting last week. The board members are working on the second round of the COVID grant relief program.

Second Ward, Councilor Baker reported:

  • Ward Items – None
  • Committee Update – None

Third Ward, Councilor Howland reported;

  • Ward Items – Thanked Councilor Murray for his report regarding the letters to the Editor.
  • Committee Update – None

Fourth Ward, Councilor Olson reported:

  • Ward Items – Mentioned youth sports are starting up again. Reminds all spectators and players to stay safe.
  • Committee Update – None

Fifth Ward, Councilor Rasmussen reported:

  • Ward Items – Concurs with Councilor Murray’s comments regarding the letters to the Editor.
  • Committee Update – None

Sixth Ward, Councilor Brooks reported:

  • Ward Items – None
  • Committee Update – None

MAYOR’S REPORT: None

CITY MANAGER REPORT: Rigg reported on the following items:

  • Continues to meet with Investors in obtaining/retaining and expanding jobs.
  • Reports Freeborn County COVID numbers remain high.
  • Approved the Library to open by appointment, but City Hall will remain closed to the public until COVID numbers decline.
  • Mentioned some changes to the staff organization chart noting the Assistant City Manager position will no longer hold that title, as it will take on a different form. The position may restructure certain aspects of the Senior Management team and may affect certain services.
  • Conducting one-on-one meetings with staff.
  • Reviewing Comprehensive Plan
  • Cleaning up Development Agreements

APPROVAL OF CLAIMS

A. RESOLUTION 21-008 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 Howland to approve payment of claims as presented for checks #77379 through #77475 in the amount of $695,569.77. 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 21-008
Included with these minutes)

ADJOURNMENT: 7:29 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, January 25, 2021. 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.

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Daphney Maras
Secretary of the Council