REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING
CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY OF ALBERT LEA
Monday, November 25, 2019, 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 David Todd, City Attorney Kelly Martinez, Public Works Director Steve Jahnke, and City Clerk Daphney Maras.
Glen Parsons spoke of the proposed Marion Ross statue to place in front of the Marion Ross Theatre. He shared a photograph of the specific location for the statue that Joe Grossman recommended. He said the Park and Recreation Board supports this location however, the Board does not meet again until January. Mr. Parson’s is asking for approval from council to move forward with fundraising and promoting this project.
Mayor Rasmussen and council agreed this is a reasonable request. Howland confirmed that the Park & Recreation Board support this project.
Motion made by Councilor Howland to approve the location and to move forward with fundraising, 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.
Jahnke requests amending the motion to include that the proposed statue location will be approved upon inspection and review by City staff. Motion amended by councilor Howland to postpone approval of the location of the statue until City staff inspects and approves, seconded by Councilor Baker. On roll call vote, all councilors voted in favor.
CONSENT AND APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Mayor Rasmussen read through each item on the council agenda:
A. Approve Minutes Of The November 12, 2019 Regular Council Meeting
B. Approve Minutes Of The November 12, 2019 Work Session
C. Approve Minutes Of The November 19, 2019 Special Meeting
D. Licenses & Permits
E. Resolution Amending The Donation Policy To Include Streetscape
F. Resolution Approving A Lot Division Through Certificate of Survey
G. Resolution Approving The Decertification of Tax Increment Financing District
No. 5-23 of the City of Albert Lea
Mayor Rasmussen stated item E, amending the donation policy, will be removed from this agenda so council may have time for further discussion.
Motion made by Councilor Baker to approve the consent agenda with removal of item E, 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 19-179 through 19-180
Included with these minutes)
PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS
A. Trunk Highway 13 & Trunk Highway 69 Traffic Study Presentation From The Minnesota Department Of Transportation (MNDOT)
The Minnesota Department of Transportation has been evaluating the speed limit on TH-69 and TH-13 in Albert Lea to determine if the current speed limits are appropriate. MNDOT representative, Michael Schweyen District Traffic Engineer at MDNOT in Rochester presented findings of the speed study performed, noting more recently public safety concerns warranted a traffic study on this corridor including TH-69 and 9th Street to identify if speed zones could be adjusted.
He explained that any recommendations he makes this evening would be encapsulated in a Speed Limit Authorization. This will comprise of his recommendations to be sent to the central office where the Commissioner’s representative would review the outcome and approve or disapprove the proposal.
Schweyen outlined the results of a traffic study MNDOT performed on TH-69 and TH-13. MNDOT’s recommendation from north to south is to reduce the speed limit from 55 mph to 45 mph north of Sunset Street. South of Sunset Street the speed limit would be increased from 40 mph to 45 mph. The 45 mph speed limit would be maintained from Sunset Street South to south of west 9th Street. Currently this area is 40 mph with the speed limit increasing to 60 mph at Southview Lane. He added that by changing these speed limits, in his professional opinion, will bring uniformity to the speed patterns and improve safety.
Baker commented this study has been well received by the residents in the Sunset Street area, and is pleased with the recommended speed limits. He extended his appreciation to Schweyen for his proposal. To Murray’s question regarding the new speed limit, Schweyen confirmed this new speed limit will be a better match and character of the road now and in years to come. Howland relayed his appreciation for the study done on Hwy 69 and for the common sense recommendation. Howland also had questions on the results of the speed study on Hwy 69 versus Hwy.13. Schweyen stated, in his opinion the speed pattern on Hwy 13 revealed 40 mph is still too slow and 45 mph resulted in safer traffic flow. He added that with the crossing guards provided in the area by the school district, the flashing lights, and the data collected, he is confident that setting the speed limit at 45 mph will not make a significant impact on the speed profile.
Howland asked for a timeline on the approval of the new speed limit and signs in place. Schweyen replied it is being pressed through the approval process quickly, and hopefully within a week to ten days it will be approved followed by the new sign work order. Mayor Rasmussen commended MNDOT for working with the City and the communit, and to Schweyen for the detailed explanation of the process of setting speed limits in the community.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS – None
A. Public Hearing and Resolution 19-181 Adopting Assessments for the NW Sewer and Water Extension Improvements – Stables Area Service Hookups (Job 1702)
The attached resolution would adopt the final assessments on November 25, 2019 for City Job No. 1702, the NW Sewer and Water Extension Improvements – Stables Area Service Hookups. Roadways as part of this project include Belgrade Drive, North Trail, East Trail, West Trail, Elm Street and Country Club Road.
The City project installed sanitary sewer and watermain to the right of way line for the homeowners. The homeowners are responsible for all work from the right of way line into the property. This includes the private sewer service and private water service, as well as the removal or crushing of the existing septic system. The City hired a contractor to perform this work but found the majority could hire their own plumber to perform this work at a lower cost. The project allows the sewer and water hookups to be assessed to the property. The assessments will be over 25 years at 2% interest. 25 years follows the PFA terms of the loan.
Mayor Rasmussen opened the public hearing. Rodger Nelson spoke of his issues with the depth of his property relating to sewer line hook up. He commented he may need a pump to assist the necessary outcome of a working sewer, and was hoping the City may consider assisting in the cost of the pump.
Josh Harmdierks asked, on behalf of Mr. Nelson, how deep the actual sewer mains are in that area versus the sewer lines. Jahnke provided answers to Harmdierks’ questions.
Mayor Rasmussen called a second and third time. No one spoke. He closed the hearing. Jahnke confirmed Mayor Rasmussen’s comment that these residents have all agreed to have sewer line hookups installed and have the charges assessed to their property.
Brooks had questions regarding the hookup at Rodger Nelson’s home. Jahnke said the City will continue to work with Mr. Nelson to ensure a suitable result.
Motion made by Councilor Murray, 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 19-181
Included with these minutes)
B. Public Hearing and Resolution 19-182 Adopting Assessments for the NW Sewer and Water Extension Improvements – Stables Area Project Including Country Club Road (Job 1702)
The attached resolution would adopt the final assessments on November 25, 2019 for City Job No. 1702, the NW Sewer and Water Extension Improvements – Stables Area Project, including Country Club Road. This project provided sanitary sewer and water to the Stables area and properties along Country Club Road, as well as accommodates a future extension of the sanitary sewer and watermain north along CSAH 20 to the West Plaza area. Roadways and a storm sewer system are being reconstructed as part of this project that include Belgrade Drive, North Trail, East Trail, West Trail, Elm Street and Country Club Road.
The City of Albert Lea and Freeborn County have both contributed up to $300,000 ($600,000 combined) toward this project. The Public Facilities Authority has provided grants for the project, the estimated amounts are $736,927.77 for water and $943,338.75 for sewer. These amounts are lower than the original estimate because overall costs decreased from the proposed amount.
Per the City of Albert Lea assessment policy, the entire cost for the project will be assessed to the benefiting property owners less the funding from the City, County and Grant funds, if available. The costs for the project are assessed at a per lot basis. This was done because all properties benefit equally from this construction. The final assessment per lot is approximately $18,918.00 per lot including sewer and water development fees. This is approximately 11 percent lower than the original estimate.
Two property owners who own a home and vacant lot have requested the council consider only assessing for one lot. They have been assessed for two lots because both lots are considered buildable lots. This resolution allows 1607 Richway Drive West until November 25, 2023 to connect to sewer and water due to a new septic at the property. These costs do not include the cost to crush septic or install sewer and water services. The assessments will be over 25 years at 2% interest. Mayor Rasmussen reminded the residents that they must provide a written appeal before the end of this council meeting.
Mayor Rasmussen opened the public hearing.
Dan Kolker presented as legal counsel for Mr. Larry Wangen who provided an appeal this evening. Kolker explained that Wangen is one of the owners of two lots on Country Club Rd. Wangen combined his two lots for enjoyment purposes with no intention of building on the second lot. Wangen spoke on his own behalf describing conversation he had with City staff regarding combining the lots to avoid two assessments. Jahnke explained the lots were combined for tax purposes only as opposed to an Administrative Survey, which would have resulted in two separate parcels.
Mayor Rasmussen called a second time. Jason Sajdak relayed his objection of the assessment on his property. He read his appeal to council.
Mayor Rasmussen asked a third and final time. No one spoke. The public hearing was closed.
Brooks commented on Larry Wangen’s two lots. He asked for clarification on why both lots are being assessed. Mayor Rasmussen deferred to Jahnke who reiterated the lots on this property were combined for tax purposes only. This allows Mr. Wangen to be able to still sell each lot separately. Howland commented, due to Wangen’s intention of combining the lots to avoid two assessments, can adjustments be made to his assessments charges. Olson suggested moving forward with the assessment charges and allow the District Court to make the final decision.
Motion made by Councilor Rasmussen, seconded by Councilor Murray. On roll call vote, the following councilors voted in favor of said motion: Murray, Howland, Olson, Rasmussen, Brooks, and Mayor Rasmussen. Councilor Baker voted nay. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.
See Secretary’s Original Resolution 19-182
Included with these minutes)
MAYOR AND COUNCIL REPORTS:
First Ward, Councilor Murray reported:
• Ward Items – Working on items with staff
• Committee Update – None
Second Ward, Councilor Baker reported:
• Ward Items – None
• Committee Update – Attended the HPC meeting where approval for signs was discussed. He also mentioned two developers that attended the HPC meeting and spoke of their interest in renovating the old VFW building.
Third Ward, Councilor Howland reported;
• Ward Items – None
• Committee Update – Attended the Park & Recreation Board meeting last week where Glen Parsons spoke about the Marion Ross statue. He also described the new on-line program the Park & Recreation Department now has available for the community to sign up for rentals and/or programs.
Fourth Ward, Councilor Olson reported:
• Ward Items – Working on a couple of properties in his ward.
• Committee Update – None
Fifth Ward, Councilor Rasmussen reported:
• Ward Items – Working on a ward item
• Committee Update – None
Sixth Ward, Councilor Brooks reported:
• Ward Items – Working on ward items.
• Committee Update – Attended a CVB meeting and provided updates including the information that Clerk Maras provided on Lodging Establishments in Albert Lea.
• Water Tower Location’ Open House – tomorrow evening, Nov 26th in City Council Chambers, from 5:30 to 7PM.
• Special Event: 1st Annual Vendor & Crafters Christmas Event – Everyone is invited to attend this Christmas event at the American Legion on Saturday, Nov 30th from 9AM to 4PM. The event includes pictures with Santa, Christmas crafts for the kids and lots of shopping. Lunch is also available for purchase
• Encouraged the community to participate in Small Business Saturday this coming Saturday.
• Attended the Community Action Forum aka Make it Albert Lea. Spoke of his appreciation to this group. Spoke at Leadership Day.
• Attended the ALEDA Visioning forces meeting.
• Attended the Coalition of Greater Minnesota conference in Alexandria.
CITY MANAGER REPORT
• Working with the City Attorney on finalizing loan agreements and the South Broadway Urban Renewal Grant policy.
• Also working with ALEDA Director Philip Johnson on securing incentives for workforce grants.
• Plans to start discussion on Repurposing space at City Hall when the Fire department moves out.
APPROVAL OF CLAIMS
A. RESOLUTION 19-183 APPROVING CLAIMS
David Todd 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, Todd 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 #73511 through #73643 in the amount of $577,812.17. 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 19-183)
ADJOURNMENT: 8:17 PM
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 9, 2019. On roll call vote, all councilors voted in favor of said motion.
Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed and the meeting adjourned.
Mayor Vern Rasmussen, Jr.
Secretary of the Council