January 14, 2019

REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING
CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY OF ALBERT LEA
Monday, January 14, 2019, 7:00 P.M.

PRESENT: Mayor Vern Rasmussen, Jr., Councilors Rich Murray, Larry Baker, Jason Howland, Robert Rasmussen, Reid Olson and Al Brooks. Also present were City Manager Chad Adams, City Engineer Steven Jahnke, and City Clerk Daphney Maras.

ABSENT: City Attorney Kelly Martinez

CEREMONIAL ITEMS

A. Welcome to Elected Officials

Mayor Rasmussen welcomed re-elected officials back to office. City Clerk Maras administered the Oath of Office to Mayor Rasmussen, Councilors Larry Baker, Reid Olson, and Al “Minnow” Brooks prior to the meeting.

B. Mayoral Proclamation Declaring National Mentoring Month.

Mayor Rasmussen proclaimed January as National Mentoring Month and presented Mentoring Program Coordinator MaryJo Volkman with the proclamation. Volman provided a handout and details of the program.
Mayor Rasmussen provided a public statement regarding the January 3, 2019 officer involved shooting incident. He stated the BCA is currently investigating the incident and therefore, neither he, council nor city staff are able to comment on what occurred. Once the investigation is complete, the BCA will forward their findings to the Freeborn County Attorney’s office for review. When that review is completed, a statement regarding the details will be released.
PUBLIC FORUM

Sue Runden is on the Marion Ross Theatre Board. She respectfully requests an additional handicap parking spot be added in front or on the side of the theatre.

Gary Hagen asked if the HRA meetings are public. He also suggested the Shady Oaks facility would be a more convenient location to hold these meetings. Mayor Rasmussen suggested he present his questions to the HRA board.

CONSENT AND APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Mayor Rasmussen read through each item on the council agenda:

A. Approve Minutes Of The December 20, 2018 Regular Council Meeting
B. Licenses & Permits (See Attached List)
C. Resolution Establishing 2019 Appointments And Designations
D. Resolution Naming Official Newspaper For 2019
E. Resolution Designating Depositories Of City Funds-Signatories-Wire Transfers
F. Resolution Approving Purchase of Utility Department Tractor Backhoe Replacement (Unit No. 782)
G. Resolution Waiving Assessments on Property – 220 College Street East
H. Resolution Accepting Minnesota State Fire Marshals Grant
I. Resolution Approving Grant Application To Leadership in Community Resilience Program

Motion made by Councilor Baker, seconded by Councilor Brooks. 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 19-001 thru 19-007
included with these minutes)

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS

A. Tobacco 21 Proposed Policy & Ordinance – Lana Howe, SHIP Coordinator

Lana Howe, SHIP Coordinator mentioned she and other members of the Tobacco 21 initiative provided background at the Work Session prior to this meeting. She reiterated that she and the members are encouraging council to consider adopting the Tobacco 21 policy.

Baker asked of the 21 cities in Minnesota that have adopted this policy, how the community members of these cities responded. Howe deferred to American Lung Association Specialist Liz Heimer. Heimer relayed that community members were the driving force behind adopting the Tobacco 21 policy in their cities. Baker asked what the feedback has been from 18-24 year-olds. Heimer stated, based on a recent poll, 70% of 18-24 year-olds support the Tobacco 21 policy.

Murray questioned if the 70% poll findings represent the people who are not using tobacco. Heimer confirmed the 70% are smokers that support this policy. Murray asked why the group does not go directly to the legislature with this proposal. Heimer responded many policies such as this need to start at the City level. However, the end goal is to present it to the Legislature.
Rasmussen inquired if there has been backlash from retailers that sell tobacco. Heimer responded there are few Tobacco-only businesses therefore, the impact is minimal. For a business that sells additional products the total impact is 2-4% of tobacco sales coming from 18-20 year-olds.

Howland asked if other communities in addition to Mankato denied adopting the policy. Heimer reported Hutchinson, and St. Cloud denied it. She explained that Mankato is bringing it back for consideration and North Mankato has adopted the policy.

Mayor Rasmussen asked for clarification as to what the next step would be to adopt the Tobacco 21 policy. Heimer explained that state law requires a letter be sent to the tobacco retailers with a 30 day notice prior to a public hearing date.

Councilor Baker made a motion to move forward with the next step to adopt the Tobacco 21 Policy, seconded by Councilor Brooks. Brooks requested point of information. Mayor Rasmussen clarified the letter sent to the retailers would be to notify them of a public hearing for an opportunity to discuss the Tobacco 21 policy and consider adopting an ordinance. A draft ordinance outlining the language would be available for review at this public hearing.

After further discussion, council agreed it is most prudent to allow time for council review of the policy before moving forward. Councilor Baker amended his motion to have staff draft a letter and an ordinance to provide at the January 28th city council meeting. In addition, at that same meeting, council will decide if they will move forward with sending the letter to retailers and scheduling the first reading of the ordinance. Seconded by Councilor Brooks.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

A. ALBERT LEA FIRE STATION
City staff has prepared a resolution and purchase agreement for the purchase of real estate property for the fire station facility.
1. Resolution 19-008 Approving Purchase of Real Estate – 410 Elizabeth Avenue currently owned by Bruce Manwarren

Adams said the acquisition price of this property is $22,000 in addition to other conditions outlined in the purchase agreement.

Baker inquired what the additional conditions consist of in this sale. Adams said, in this case, closing costs would be covered by the City.

Baker asked how many more homes are left to acquire. Adams explained there is one more plus the Freeborn County Coop properties awaiting regulatory approval. He detailed the regulatory approval Freeborn County Coop is required to abide by and is currently held up with the government shut-down at the Federal level.

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 19-008
included with these minutes)

B. Ordinance 219,9d Regarding Public Right-of-Way Management (2nd Reading)

The first reading of this ordinance was held at the December 20, 2018 City Council meeting. Staff is seeking to repeal and replace the existing right-of-way ordinance to administer and regulate the public right-of-way and to provide for the issuance and regulation of right-of-way permits.
Motion made by Councilor Brooks, seconded by Councilor Murray. 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 Ordinance 219,9d (2nd reading)
included with these minutes)

C. Resolution 19-009 Permitting Publication Of Ordinance Summary For The City Of Albert Lea Regarding Public Right-of-Way Management

Adams explained summaries of ordinances may be published if they reasonably inform the public of the effect and intent of the Ordinance. Summaries fulfill all legal requirements as if the entire summarized matter had been published and also directs the public how to obtain the complete Ordinance. This must pass by a four-fifths vote by Council.

Baker asked for clarification as to the necessity of changing this ordinance. Adams detailed the federal laws allowing infrastructure to be put in the right-of-ways. He illuminated approving this ordinance, although a City may not prohibit the placement of infrastructure, it provides the City with parameters to regulate the aesthetics and charge a fee for placement of the infrastructure.

To Howland’s question, Jahnke confirmed this policy will also outline regulation of cell towers already in place.

Motion made by Councilor Brooks, 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 19-009
included with these minutes)

D. Resolution 19-010 Adopting Small Wireless Facility Design and Review Guideline Policy For The City of Albert Lea

In implementing the Right-of-Way Management Section 50-66 through 50-87 of Albert Lea City Code, the Albert Lea City Council (the “City”) finds that in order to protect the public health, safety and welfare of its citizens and to reasonably manage and protect the public rights‐of‐way (the “ROW”) and its uses in the City, it is in the best interest of the City and its residents and businesses to establish a Small Wireless Facility Design and Review Guidelines Policy (the “Guidelines”) to provide aesthetic requirements and other specifications and reasonable conditions that small wireless facilities installed within the public ROW must meet prior to installation and following installation within the City.
The objective of these Guidelines is to strike a balance between preserving and protecting the character of the City through careful design, siting, and camouflaging techniques to blend these facilities into their surrounding environment and provide other reasonable conditions upon such placement and use of the ROW, while enhancing the ability of small wireless facilities carriers to deploy small wireless facilities in the City effectively and efficiently so that residents, businesses, and visitors benefit from ubiquitous and robust wireless service availability.

These Guidelines apply to requests to locate small wireless facilities in the ROW and ongoing use of the ROW for such purposes. These Guidelines are established pursuant to the Right-of-Way Management Section 50-66 through 50-87 of Albert Lea City Code and applicable law. These Guidelines are administered through the permitting process contained therein as conducted by the City Department of Public Works/Engineering.

Baker asked if historic standards were taken into consideration when the policy was written. Jahnke explained there are restricted standards required to be met should small wireless facilities request to be installed in a historic district. Council and staff discussed the policy approval process.

Motion made by Councilor Brooks, 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 19-010
included with these minutes)

NEW BUSINESS

A. Resolution 19-011 And Public Hearing Approving Tax Abatement For Certain Property Pursuant To Minn Stat. 469.1813
A Public Hearing is being held to consider abatement of property taxes levied by the City on the following property identified as tax parcel number:

Address Parcel Number
2313 Ninth Street W. 34.431.0080
Council adopted the Tax Abatement Policy to provide incentives to encourage construction of new owner occupied and rental residential housing units within the City. Persons constructing a single family home, duplex, or multi-family complex that file an application and obtain formal approval from the appropriate local jurisdictions between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2019 shall be eligible to receive 100% tax abatement of the City’s share of the increased real estate taxes resulting from the newly constructed housing unit for a period of five (5) years. Staff recommends approval to grant tax abatement.
Mayor Rasmussen, Jr. opened up the public hearing. No one spoke. He called three times, after no comments, he closed the public hearing.
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 19-011
Included with these minutes)

B. Ordinance 220,9d Amending Chapter 22, Article XII, Sec. 22-468 Permit Issuance Regarding Transient Merchants (1st Reading)

The City seeks to amend the existing Transient Merchant ordinance. The Transient Merchant ordinance states it shall be unlawful for any person to engage in the business of transient merchant without first obtaining a permit as provided in this article. Currently, the City ordinance states the permit shall be obtained from the County Auditor. Along with an amendment which will state a permit required under this article shall be obtained through the City Clerk in compliance with M.S.A. §§329.099-329.17, staff has designed an application to be completed by any Transient Merchant engaging in door-to-door sales or business as outlined in this ordinance. There will be no charge to obtain a permit.

Howland asked why there is no charge for this permit. Adams explained most permits require administrative review and staff time thereby justifying a fee. At this time background checks are not being instituted for a Transient Merchant permit. In addition, these permits will require minimal staff time to issue.

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

(See Secretary’s Original Ordinance 220,9d
included with these minutes)

C. Resolution 19-012 Ordering Preparation of Feasibility Reports For Improvements In 2019
The attached resolution would order the preparation of feasibility reports for assessable improvements proposed for the 2019 construction season. The projects listed have been reviewed and prioritized by the City Council.

Job No. 1901 – Clausen Avenue, High Street, Sheridan Street, & Giles Place Reconstruction Project
Clausen Avenue – Johnson Street to Hawthorne Street
High Street – North Shore Avenue to Valley Avenue
Sheridan Street – North Shore Avenue to Valley Avenue
Giles Place – Lakewood Avenue to Valley Avenue
Alley west of Clausen Avenue – Johnson Street to High Street

Job No. 1902 – Newton Avenue Reconstruction Project
Newton Avenue – Pearl Street to 4th Street

Adams displayed a slide illustrating the project area.

Jahnke responded to Baker and Brooks’ questions regarding the opportunity to pave an alley in the Clausen Avenue area.

To Howland’s question, Jahnke utilized the displayed slide to clarify the proximity of the reconstruction project on Newton Avenue in relation to the new Fire Station.

Motion made by Councilor Olson, 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 19-012
Included with these minutes)

D. Albert Lea Housing Study

The consultant and Staff are in the final stages of completing a Housing Study commissioned earlier in the year through the Albert Lea HRA. A presentation/outline of the key subjects and findings will be provided at the Council meeting. Staff is recommending to accept the Housing Study at the meeting.

Gabrielatos provided a brief presentation of the Housing Study findings. He cited cost as the reason housing stock is old and not being replaced at a rapid rate, noting the minimum cost is $115 per foot to build not including land acquisition. In addition to building costs, he said the median home value is $86,700 with not many homes for sale over $200,000. Gabrielatos spoke of the lack of quality rental stock with only 25% of rental housing available over $800 per month. The lack of quality rental is a concern for not only the people moving into Albert Lea, but also for employers. Gabrielatos provided a list of suggestions that could be done to help the issue:

1. HRA can seek Small Cities programs to assist neighborhoods.
2. Actively advocate for more funding from the State.
3. Continue to offer Tax Abatement for building new homes.
4. Provide incentives requiring less restrictions for the applicant.

Howland asked about Market Rate Rentals and if the study addressed these. Gabrielatos remarked market rate rentals are expensive to construct making them cost prohibitive.

Adams added statistics from the last housing study revealed the City would need at least 100 market rate rentals. Since that study, there have been approximately 30-40 added rentals. He cited lack of builders or developers that are interested in building this type of product contributing to the shortage.

Gabrielatos spoke of the importance of continuing to advocate for housing at the State level.

Howland commented a rental solution could be developers continue to be creative such as the developer of the Ramsey School project in repurposing already existing properties.

Mayor Rasmussen asked for a motion to approve this Housing Study. 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.

MAYOR AND COUNCIL REPORTS

First Ward, Councilor Murray reported:
• Ward Items –None
• Committee Update – Attended the ALEDA Board Meeting where new officers were elected. He also reported the new Director will start in February. Murray also attended the Tiger Cage presentation at the Marion Ross Theatre. He described the program and the benefits of Tiger Cage. Attended an HRA meeting prior to the Work Session tonight, where they discussed housing issues. Participated in a Housing Meeting in Three Rivers with Adams and Gabrielatos.

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

Third Ward, Councilor Howland reported:
• Ward Items – None
• Committee Update – Will attend a Park and Recreation board meeting tomorrow

Fourth Ward, Councilor Olson reported:
• Ward Items – None
Committee Update – Attended the HRA meeting prior to the Work Session Meeting tonight.

Fifth Ward, Councilor Rasmussen reported:
• Ward Items – Working on one ward item.
• Committee Update – None

Sixth Ward, Councilor Brooks reported:
• Ward Items – None
• Committee Update –None

MAYOR REPORT:

  • Announced City Hall will be closed on January 21st in observance of Martin Luther Jr. King Day.
  • Spoke of the Tiger Cage presentation.
  • Attended board meetings at the Port Authority and Senior Center.

Mayor Rasmussen asked for a motion to elect a Mayor Pro Tempore. Motion made by Councilor Brooks to elect Councilor Baker. Seconded by Councilor Olson. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Murray, Howland, Olson, Rasmussen, Brooks and Mayor Rasmussen. Councilor Baker abstained. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.

CITY MANAGER REPORT: No report.

APPROVAL OF CLAIMS

RESOLUTION 19-013 APPROVING CLAIM FROM BROOKS

The attached resolution directs the Mayor and City Clerk to make payment in the amount of $117.11 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 Baker, seconded by Councilor Rasmussen. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Murray, Baker, Howland, Olson, Rasmussen, and Mayor Rasmussen. Brooks abstained. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.
(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 19-013
included with these minutes)

RESOLUTION 19-014 APPROVING CLAIMS

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

Motion made by Councilor to approve payment of claims as presented for checks #70321 through #70499 in the amount of $4,468,549.67. Seconded by Councilor. 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 19-014
Included with these minutes)

ADJOURNMENT – 8:10 PM

Motion made by Councilor, 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, January 28th. 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

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.