November 23, 2020

REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING
TELECONFERENCE ZOOM MEETING, CITY OF ALBERT LEA
Monday, November 23, 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, City Attorney Kelly Martinez, Finance Director Kristi Brutlag, City Planner Megan Boeck, 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). In addition, anyone wishing to address the City Council and/or Mayor during the Public Forum or Public Hearing have been offered the following options:

  • Join the meeting via the following attendee link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85804098175. You will have the option to be called upon during the public comment portion of the meeting via the Zoom raise hand feature.
  • Submit comments in writing via email to dmaras@ci.albertlea.mn.us no later than 5:00 p.m. on the day of the council meeting you are addressing. Comments received will be read into the record during the Public Comment portion of the meeting.

I. CEREMONIAL ITEMS

A. Proclamation Declaring November 28 as Small Business Saturday.

Mayor Rasmussen read the proclamation declaring November 28, 2020 as Small Business Saturday. He urged the community to support the small businesses now and in the future.

II. PUBLIC FORUM – Maras confirmed no raised hands were present in the Zoom meeting.

III. CONSENT AND APPROVAL OF AGENDA

A. Approve Minutes Of The November 9, 2020 Regular Council Meeting
B. Approve Minutes Of The November 9, 2020 Work Session
C. Licenses & Permits (None)
D. Resolution Accepting Donations As Presented To The City of Albert Lea and Albert Lea Fire Rescue
E. Resolution Approving Tentative Agreement With IAFF Local 1041

Mayor Rasmussen announced the addition of a resolution listed under New Business Identifying Funds for Economic Development Agency Recovery and Relief Grant Program.

Motion made by Councilor Baker to approve the consent agenda as read with the addition of the resolution Identifying Funds for Economic Development Agency Recovery and Relief Grant Program, 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 20-206 and 20-207 Included with these minutes)

IV. PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS

V. UNFINISHED BUSINESS

VI. NEW BUSINESS

A. RESOLUTION 20-208 AND PUBLIC HEARING ADOPTING A MODIFICATION TO TAX INCREMENT FINANCING DISTRICT NO. 5-28 AND ADOPTING TIF PLAN FOR VORTEX COLD STORAGE.

Vortex Cold Storage has plans for a potential 125,000 sq. ft. cold storage facility in Albert Lea. The development is planned on nearly 20 acres (2 parcels) of property in the Jobs Industrial Park, currently owned by Albert Lea Economic Development Agency. City Staff worked with Ehlers to draft an incentive package to offset some of the nearly $20 million in costs. This includes nine years of Tax Increment Financing estimated at $1,295,028 and six years of Tax Abatement totaling an additional $350,000. Rebecca Kurtz stated this item, and the next two items on this agenda, are related to the Vortex Cold Storage project. The attached Resolutions support Modification of TIF District 5-28, Tax Abatement and an Interfund Loan Transfer to cover certain costs of the TIF District. Kurtz addressed questions brought forth by council.

Mayor Rasmussen opened the public hearing explaining this public hearing is open for this item as well as the next two items on this agenda. He called three times. Maras confirmed no comments have been received and no hands are currently raised to speak. Mayor Rasmussen closed the public hearing.

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 20-208 Included with these minutes)

B. RESOLUTION 20-209 APPROVING PROPERTY TAX ABATEMENTS FOR VORTEX COLD STORAGE.

The attached resolution would approve tax abatement on the city’s portion of the increase in property taxes. As noted above, abatement is not to exceed $350,000 for a term of up to six years to finance a portion of the costs of the project. Kurtz detailed the timeline of the benefits to the City. Kurtz explained the approval of this abatement and TIF there will be a final agreement, terms and responsibilities of the City and the Developer.

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 20-209 Included with these minutes)

C. RESOLUTION 20-210 AUTHORIZING AN INTERFUND LOAN FOR ADVANCE OF CERTAIN COSTS IN CONNECTION WITH TAX INCREMENT FINANCING DISTRICT NO. 5-28.

The attached resolution states support for the Interfund Loan transfer to cover certain costs of the TIF District. Kurtz explained this resolution, if approved, gives the City the ability to reimburse itself with generated tax increment for City expenses related to the TIF District.

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 20-210 Included with these minutes)

D. RESOLUTION 20-211 PERMITTING AN AGREEMENT FOR LOAN WITH PETERSON, KOLKER, HAEDT & BENDA, LTD.

City Manager Rigg explained the City has a State Economic Development Revolving Loan Fund. Peterson, Kolker, Haedt & Benda Ltd. recently renovated a blighted property to expand their business and increase the tax base. This money is to aid in adding staff to the business. The fund is used, among other things, to create and retain good jobs, leverage private investment and increase the local tax base. The purpose of the program and use of these funds are aligned. The City seeks to enter into an Agreement with Peterson, Kolker, Haedt & Benda Ltd., contingent upon the project meeting criteria for funding, as follows:

1) The Economic Development Revolving Loan Fund traditional loan for $40,000 for a term of five (5) years at two and a half (2.5%) percent interest per annum; and
2) The Economic Development Revolving Loan Fund forgivable loan for $10,000 to create and retain three (3) jobs until December 1, 2025. If the three (3) jobs are created and retained through December 1, 2025, this loan is forgiven. Failure to create and retain the three (3) jobs through December 1, 2025 will require the loan to be paid in full.

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 Resolution 20-211 Included with these minutes)

E. RESOLUTION 20-112 IDENTIFYING AND ESTABLISHING FUNDS TO BE USED FOR THE FREEBORN COUNTY/CITY OF ALBERT LEA/ALBERT LEA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AGENCY RECOVERY AND RELIEF GRANT PROGRAM TO AID BUSINESSES DIRECTLY AND ADVERSELY AFFECTED BY COVID-19 ECONOMIC IMPACT.

Mayor Rasmussen stated the City has been and continues to be significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Restaurants, bars/pubs, salons/spas, fitness centers, small retail businesses and tourist-related businesses within the City have experienced a significant amount of economic loss due to the various Emergency Orders put in place to help protect the health and wellness of the community. The City has been meeting with the County and ALEDA to discuss an additional program for businesses. The City of Albert Lea designated $150,000.00 to be utilized specifically for “eligible businesses” that meet the requirements of the Freeborn County/City of Albert Lea/Albert Lea Economic Development Agency Recovery and Relief Grant Program to aid local small businesses directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This new program will only be started if the County and ALEDA approve this program.

Motion made by Councilor Murray, 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 20-212
Included with these minutes)

MAYOR AND COUNCIL REPORTS:

First Ward, Councilor Murray reported:

    • Ward Items – None
    • Committee Update – Attended an ALEDA, HRA and two budget meetings over the last two weeks

Second Ward, Councilor Baker reported:

    • Ward Items – None
    • Committee Update – Attended the HRA and Historical Preservation Meeting.

Third Ward, Councilor Howland reported:

    • Ward Items – None
    • Committee Update – Received an update from the Park and Recreation staff, as there was no meeting. He mentioned the ‘Letters to Santa” program is in full swing. Attended the budget meetings. He thanked staff for hosting the budget meetings.

Fourth Ward, Councilor Olson reported:

    • Ward Items – Working on a Ward item regarding a tree problem in his ward.
    • Committee Update – He attended an HRA meeting.

Fifth Ward, Councilor Rasmussen reported:

    • Ward Items – None
    • Committee Update – None

Sixth Ward, Councilor Brooks reported:

    • Ward Items – None
    • Committee Update – None

MAYOR’S REPORT:

  • Light Up The Lake’ – On Sunday, Dec 13th, the CVB will be lighting up the lake with luminaries. The public is invited to take a walk or a drive, between 5 and 8PM, to enjoy the luminaries displayed on the Lakeview Blvd. sidewalk – from Fountain St. to Bridge Avenue by the Fairway. (If any issues arise due to weather, the new date would be Dec 20th.)
  • The ‘Letters to Santa’ program has started and runs through December 13th. If you know of any little ones wanting to hear from Santa have them write a letter with their return address and either mail it in to the Parks & Rec office or drop off in our Santa mailbox.
    Santa Claus
    c/o Albert Lea Parks & Recreation
    221 E. Clark Street – Albert Lea, MN 56007
  • Wished the community a Happy Thanksgiving and reminded folks to continue following the COVID-19 guidelines.

CITY MANAGER REPORT:

  • Met with a business to discuss their lease on City owned property
  • Worked with staff on the budget
  • Addressed Governor Walz’ COVID guidelines with staff.
  • Met with the Library Board

APPROVAL OF CLAIMS

A. RESOLUTION 20-213 APPROVING CLAIMS
Mayor Rasmussen 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, Mayor Rasmussen 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 #76933 through #77063 for $421,226.65. 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 20-213
Included with these minutes)

ADJOURNMENT: 7:37 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 December 14, 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/_________________________
Secretary of the Council