September 14, 2020

REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING
TELECONFERENCE ZOOM MEETING, CITY OF ALBERT LEA
Monday, September 14, 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 Interim City Manager Mark Sievert, Public Works Director Steven Jahnke, Public Safety Director JD Carlson, City Attorney Kelly Martinez, 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).

CEREMONIAL ITEMS – None

PUBLIC FORUM – None

CONSENT AND APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Mayor Rasmussen read through each item on the council agenda:

A. Approve Minutes Of The August 24, 2020 Regular Council Meeting
B. Approve Minutes Of The August 24, 2020 Work Session
C. Licenses & Permits
D. Resolution Accepting Donations As Presented To The City of Albert Lea
E. Resolution Authorizing An Agreement With JD Kelley Properties LLC
F. Resolution Accepting Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) Enforcement Grant Award – MN Department of Public Safety
G. Resolution Calling A Public Hearing On Proposed Assessments for the NW Sewer and Water Extension Improvements  – Stables Area Service Hookups (Job 1702)
H. Resolution Calling A Public Hearing On Proposed Assessments for the 2020 Neighborhood Improvement Overlay & James Avenue Reconstruction Project (Job 2050)
I. Resolution Calling A Public Hearing On Proposed Assessments for the Clark Street Reconstruction Project (Job 2051)
J. Resolution Calling A Public Hearing On Proposed Assessments for the Delinquent Water/Sewer Accounts and Miscellaneous Accounts Receivable
K. Resolution Amending Tax Abatement Agreement – Wedgewood Cove Estates

Baker commented he continues to support extending the number of years on the Clark Street reconstruction project (Job 2051). He will be suggesting extending the term 15 to 20 years at a future council meeting.

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

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 20-147 through 20-154
Included with these minutes)

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS – None
UNFINISHED BUSINESS – None

NEW BUSINESS

A. WEST MAIN REDEVELOPMENT DISCUSSION – CITY PLANNER MEGAN BOECK

Boeck sated over the past several months, City staff has been working with David Schooff from Coldwell Banker Commercial to redevelop the old Marketplace Foods building at 1619 West Main Street. The redevelopment includes 40 market rate apartments with high end features that are unlike any other multifamily building available in Albert Lea to date. The developers are working with a tight time frame to close on the sale of the property and due to some obstacles in developing a TIF incentive plan (which will be talked about with Ehlers next). Staff was advised to have the developer address the City Council and discuss their plans for redevelopment and gain some political assurances in order to feel confident moving forward with the purchase of the property before the incentives are finalized. An exhibit of the proposed rendering of the completed project is included. David Schooff President of Coldwell Banker Commercial was present and described the process involving the purchase of the old Market Place building on West Main St. He provided a detailed description of the proposed redevelopment of potentially 50, high-end rental units including amenities in and outdoors. Wade Abed of Coldwell Banker Commercial was also in attendance and provided additional information and answered councils’ questions. Howland voiced his support for this project. Councilor’s Murray and Rasmussen echoed Howland’s support.

B. RESOLUTION 20-155 CALLING A PUBLIC HEARING ON PROPOSED ADOPTION OF MODIFICATION TO A DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM FOR DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT NO. 5 AND THE PROPOSED ESTABLISHMENT OF TAX INCREMENT FINANCING DISTRICT NO. 5-27 THEREIN AND THE ADOPTION OF THE TAX INCREMENT FINANCING PLAN THEREFOR

In part of the proposed redevelopment as discussed previously, City staff has been working with Ehlers to draft a TIF incentive plan to provide economic development benefits to help offset project costs. At this time staff is asking that the City Council adopt the attached resolution calling for a public hearing on November 9, 2020 to establish Tax Increment Financing District and Tax Increment Financing Plan. Rebecca Kurtz from Ehlers and Associates was in attendance and provided additional financing information.

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 20-155
Included with these minutes)

C. ORDINANCE 20-245 AMENDING ZONING & LAND USE MAP FROM COMMUNITY BUSINESS DISTRICT (B-2) TO SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENCE DISTRICT (R-1) LOCATED AT 300 N. 10TH AVENUE

City Planner Boeck said this property sits along Hwy. 13 in a small B-2 zone, shown in red on the attached map. Its current use is a residential property that has been in existence for many years. Recently, Brian and Rebecca Blecker purchased the property and learned of its business district zoning. The property owners are hoping to update, expand or modify the current house and garage, but because of the difference in “use vs. zoning,” a legal non-conformity exists which ultimately prevents the property from being altered or expanded. Single Family Residence exists directly across Wedgewood Road (south) and if not for a platted right-of-way, the property in question would touch other Single Family Residence districts which eliminates the concern for spot zoning. On September 1, 2020, the Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on the proposed re-zoning and recommended approval.

Motion made by Councilor Howland, 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 Ordinance 20-245
Included with these minutes)

D. RESOLUTION 20-156 SUPPORTING A JOB CREATION FUND APPLICATION IN CONNECTION WITH CARGILL MEAT SOLUTIONS CORPORATION

Cargill Meat Solutions has plans to invest approximately $25 million into their existing Albert Lea location to diversify and expand product offerings. The upgrades will result in an increase in local tax dollars as well as additional jobs. In order to apply for rebate and/or reward from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Job Creation Fund (JCF), Cargill has requested the City provide the attached Resolution of Support.

Motion made by Councilor Brooks, 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 20-156
Included with these minutes)

E. RESOLUTION 20-157 APPROVING GOVERNOR’S EMERGENCY DECLARATION – SEPTEMBER 14, 2020 EXTENSION OF MARCH 17, 2020 CITY OF ALBERT LEA, MINNESOTA PROCLAMATION AND DECLARATION OF 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. On July 13, 2020 Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-78 extending the COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency issued by Executive Order 20-01 and further extended by Executive Orders 20-35, 20-53, 20-75, 20-78, 20-83, and tonight’s resolution 20-157 an additional 30 days through October 12th. Multiple confirmed cases of COVID-19 exist in Freeborn County. In light of the ongoing crisis, it is necessary to extend the Declaration and Ordinance. The extension of the Emergency Declaration and accompanying Ordinance allows the terms and conditions contained within to remain in full force and effect through October 12, 2020 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.

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 20-157
Included with these minutes)

F. RESOLUTION 20-158 APPROVING CARES ACT GRANT AGREEMENT FOR 2020 FEDERAL ELECTIONS BETWEEN FREEBORN COUNTY AND CITY OF ALBERT LEA

The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State received funding through the 2020 CARES Act to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus for the 2020 federal election cycle. Freeborn County applied for and received funds from the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State for uses as set forth in the federal CARES Act. The purpose for the use of the funds is to ensure the health and safety of election officials and in-person voters, including the purchase of sanitation and disinfectant supplies; plexiglass sneeze guards, facilitation, support, and preparation for increase absentee voting; preparation of new polling place locations; training materials and administration of training of local election officials; and for other purchases set forth in law. Freeborn County is responsible for elections within its county and the City of Albert Lea operates polling places within its jurisdiction. The City of Albert Lea did not budget to respond to coronavirus for the 2020 election cycle and the $7,189.89 grant amount provided pursuant to this Agreement fills this shortfall. Freeborn County and the City of Albert Lea are duly qualified to perform all services described in the Agreement to the satisfaction of the State and in accordance with all federal and state laws authorizing these expenditures.

Motion made by Councilor Howland, 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 20-158
Included with these minutes)

MAYOR AND COUNCIL REPORTS:
First Ward, Councilor Murray reported:
• Ward Items – None
• Committee Update – Attended, via ZOOM, the August 25th meeting with MPCA and Watershed Board. Attended an ALEDA and JOBS meeting on September 2nd and reports they continue to work on projects adding jobs and housing to the community. Attended the Special Council Meeting on September 10th to review the preliminary 2021 General Fund Budget.

Second Ward, Councilor Baker reported:
• Ward Items – None
• Committee Update – Also attending the MPCA meeting and a Planning Commission meeting.

Third Ward, Councilor Howland reported:
• Ward Items – None
• Committee Update – Also attending the MPCA meeting and the Special City Council Budget meeting.

Fourth Ward, Councilor Olson reported:
• Ward Items – Thanked the Police Department for attending to a sign issue he reported.
• Committee Update – Attended the MPCA meeting and the Special City Council Budget meeting.

Fifth Ward, Councilor Rasmussen reported:
• Ward Items – None
• Committee Update – Will be attending an Airport Board Meeting tomorrow.

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

MAYOR’S REPORT: Introduced interim City Manager Mark Sievert.

INTERIM CITY MANAGER REPORT: Interviews for a new City Manager will take place on September 17th. Commended City Planner Boeck for the projects on tonight’s council agenda.

APPROVAL OF CLAIMS

RESOLUTION 20-159 APPROVING CLAIMS

Sievert 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, Gabrielatos 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 #76166 through #76366 in the amount of $1,484,540.90. 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 20-159
Included with these minutes)

CLOSED SESSION PURSUANT TO MINNESOTA STATUTE 13D.05
A. Discuss Property Located At 509 East Main Street
B. Discuss Pending Litigation Regarding Shell Rock River Watershed Total Maximum Daily Load (“TMDL”) Study

Mayor Rasmussen asked for a motion to move into closed session.

Motion made by Councilor Baker to move into closed session. 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.

Mayor Rasmussen reopened the regular meeting and said council was provided with direction in the closed meeting. The meeting continued with introduction of the following resolution.

RESOLUTION 20-160 AUTHORIZING FILING OF A CONTESTED CASE PETITION IN THE MATTER OF THE SHELL ROCK RIVER TOTAL MAXIMUM DAILY LOAD STUDY

Jahnke explained the MPCA has issued TMDL and Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) draft reports for public comment.  The public comment period concludes on September 25, 2020.   The City of Albert Lea has significant interest in the TMDL and WRAPS draft reports, as our community is located within the Watershed and our Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) discharges to the Shell Rock River. Over the past five years, the City and the MPCA have not been able to reach an agreement on proper numerical values included in the TMDL.  The following are of primary concern to the community:

• The City’s engineering and water quality experts have identified significant technical concerns with the MPCA’s TMDL study and are concerned that the phosphorus reduction requirements proposed by MPCA were developed in error and will not result in meaningful water quality improvements in the Shell Rock River;
• The cost for the City’s needed wastewater treatment improvements could exceed $40 million;
• The TMDL phosphorus limits to be imposed by MPCA could significantly hinder existing and future economic growth in the community;
• The City has a duty to ensure that its limited public resources are spent wisely and will have a closed council session to consider filing a petition for a contested case hearing with MPCA to address is substantive technical and legal concerns with the TMDL.

Staff is seeking authorization of the Mayor or City Manager to file a petition with the MPCA requesting a contested case hearing on the TMDL to limit unnecessary expenditure of resources and to receive correct and reasonable discharge limits.
Motion made by Councilor Murray, 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 20-160
Included with these minutes)

ADJOURNMENT: 8:25 P.M.

Motion made by Councilor Murray, seconded by Councilor Rasmussen. 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 September 28, 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/__________________________
Daphney Maras
Secretary of the Council