September 27, 2021

REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING
CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY OF ALBERT LEA
Monday, September 27, 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 Public Safety Director JD Carlson and City Clerk Daphney Maras.
ATTENDING VIA ZOOM: City Manager Ian Rigg, Public Works Director Steven Jahnke, City Planner Megan Boeck, Building/Zoning Administrator Wayne Sorensen, Human Resource Director Mike Zelenak, Finance Director Kristi Brutlag, City Attorney Kelly Martinez

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

CEREMONIAL ITEMS – None

PUBLIC FORUM – None

Mayor Rasmussen read through the Consent Agenda.

CONSENT AND APPROVAL OF AGENDA OF SEPTEMBER 27, 2021
A. Approve Minutes Of The September 13, 2021 Regular Council Meeting
B. Approve Minutes Of The September 13, 2021 Work Session
C. License & Permits
D. Resolution Amending Lawful Gambling Premises Permit – Albert Lea Union Center, Inc.
E. Resolution Granting Approval Of A Conditional Use Permit For 423 Adams Avenue
F. Resolution Accepting Bid And Awarding Contract For Demolition Of 509 Main Street East (Job 1806)

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 21-150 through 21-152
Included with these minutes)

UNFINISHED BUSINESS
A. Ordinance Of The City of Albert Lea, Minnesota Amending Part 1 Charter – Chapter 1, General Provisions (2nd reading)

This amendment resolves an issue making the Mayor the emergency manager. After this second reading is passed and published, staff expects an appointment of the emergency coordinator. Staff recommends approval of the final reading.

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 Ordinance 21-062
Included with these minutes)

NEW BUSINESS
A. Resolution 21-153 Awarding the Sale of General Obligation Utility Revenue Bonds, Series 2021B

Per the City Charter, the City of Albert Lea has the authority to issue General Obligation Revenue Bonds for projects. Staff recommends the sizing of the bond to be $7,155,000 for the removal and construction of the Central Water Tower. The proposed bond will be sold competitively. Rebecca Kurtz from Ehlers & Associates was in attendance and reviewed the bond sale and City’s rating affirmation at AA-. She said a complete report from Standard and Poors is included in Council’s packet. In the report, Standard & Poors affirms the City’s strong management practices and policies and the ability to continue to rapidly amortize the City’s debt. Kurtz reported on the results of the bids and commented they were well received within the current market. She reported, after discussion with City staff, it was determined the additional $363,000 received will be used to fund future utility projects. Kurtz recommends the bond be awarded to FHN Financial Capital Market with a true interest cost of 1.65%.

Howland asked for explanation as to which projects the additional $363,000 would be used. Jahnke responded two projects were identified. One is to replace a section of a watermain on E. Main Street as part of the MNDOT project. Secondly, a reconstruction project is being proposed for 2022. This reconstruction project would include Pillsbury Avenue from Johnson to Sheridan Street, as well as Freeborn Avenue from Ramsey to Sheridan Street.

Motion made by Councilor Baker to award the bond to FHN Financial Capital Market, 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 21-153
Included with these minutes)

B. 2022 PRELIMINARY TAX LEVY
1. Resolution 21-154 Adopting the 2022 Preliminary Budget and Property Tax Levy

Finance Director Kristi Brutlag provided an overview of the 2022 preliminary budget and property Tax Levy. Brutlag noted a General Fund Levy increase of 13.97% with an overall Levy increase of 9.98%. She reminded council this levy cannot go up before the final budget approval in December, but may be decreased.
She detailed slides relating to:

• 2019-2022 Levy, Tax Capacity & Tax rates. This slide outlined proposed tax levy increases during the preliminary budgeting, but was significantly decreased by the final adoption each December.
• 2022 Revenue Changes
• 2022 General Fund Revenue/Expenditure Budget
• 2022 Expenditures – Summary of Changes revealed a total increase of $947,438 of which $660,083 is Personnel.
• What do your taxes buy you?
• 2022 HRA Levy request remains at $109,000. The total budget is proposed to be used toward the Shady Oaks Brick Stabilization project.
• Next Steps including review, finalize and approve budgets, CIP, Financial Management Plan, Utility Rates Tax Levy

At Baker’s request, City Manager Rigg detailed the personnel changes including the new Fire/Police CSO position, new Arena/Parks position and the Community Enrichment Director position.

Brooks stated he does not support the preliminary tax levy increase of 9.98% and encourages staff to work towards lowering that number by the final budget approval time in December. Murray concurred with Brook’s. He believes there is a lot of work to do to decrease this levy before the final budget approval. Additionally, Howland reiterated Murray and Brook’s comments, and stated he anticipates the final levy coming in much lower.

Mayor Rasmussen noted there are many variables that affect the tax levy and more will be known late November.

Motion made by Councilor Olson, 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. Councilor Brooks voted Nay. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 21-154
Included with these minutes)

2. Resolution 21-155 Approving Albert Lea Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) Preliminary Property Tax Levy for Fiscal Year 2022

Staff is seeking approval of the above referenced resolution.

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 21-155
Included with these minutes)

C. Resolution 21-156 Adopting a Modification to Development District No. 5 and Establishing Tax Increment Financing District No. 5-29 (Ulland Development)

Rebecca Kurtz from Ehlers and Associates explained City staff has been working to facilitate the redevelopment of the former Freeborn Mower Electric Cooperative property. In order the make the project financially viable in Albert Lea, the City determined that it will be necessary to provide assistance to the project. As such, the City worked with Ehlers to map out a Tax Increment Finance (TIF) Plan that will use the increment of new tax dollars to pay down the overall cost of the project. She noted the terms of the agreement are still being negotiated with the Developer and will be brought forth at a future council meeting for approval. This resolution is to put TIF District 5-29 in place.

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 21-156
Included with these minutes)

D. Ordinance 21-063 Renaming a Portion of James Avenue (1st reading)

Mayor Rasmussen requested that City staff prepare the necessary documents to re-name a portion of James Avenue to Eddie Cochran Street, from Frank Avenue to the termini (108 James Avenue). This roadway portion accommodates the Pelican Breeze, the City’s Main Lift Station, the City’s impound facility and the Freeborn County Humane Society. These facilities will be given a new address to reflect the new street name. The request is from the Eddie Cochran Organization.

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 Ordinance 21-063
Included with these minutes)

E. Ordinance 21-064 Amending Chapter 8 – Regulations Related to Livestock (1st reading)

Section 8.006 is new in its entirety. Its purpose is to allow for an organized but limited way to use goats for the control of various forms of brush and weeds. There are contractors that provide this service and it is currently utilized in various parts of the State. DNR comments have seen that it works well in shore land areas and approves of its limited use. Section 8.002 is in the existing ordinance and is proposed to be amended to aid in more reasonable controls concerning livestock within the City.
Motion made by Councilor, Baker, 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 Ordinance 21-064
Included with these minutes)

F. Ordinance 21-065 Amending Zoning and Land Use Map for Property Annexed in from Albert Lea Township (1st reading)

City Manager Rigg explained on August 24, 2021, the Albert Lea City Council and Albert Lea Township Board entered into agreement for orderly annexation of four separate parcels in Albert Lea Township. This resolution is an approval to amend the official zoning and land use map for the City of Albert Lea. Now included are parcels 1-3 (residential properties near Wedgewood cove) which will be zoned R-1 Single Family Residence District and parcel 4 (Trails) which will be zoned B-2 Community Business District. He said this ordinance is not approving final assessments but rather the map and zoning.

Mayor Rasmussen invited Attorney Don Savelkoul who was present to speak on behalf of his client, Rocky Trail owner of Trails Truck & Travel Plaza, who is one of property owners included in this proposed annexation. Mr. Savelkoul spoke of their opposition to annexing Trails’ property. He provided background on previous ownership of the property and stated they do not agree with the fairness, or lack thereof, to imposing annexation. He asked that council table this annexation until his client has time to work out the details including the title issues. Savelkoul stated if consideration is not provided for his client, they will pursue further legal action.

Howland asked if the Trail’s would be forced to pay assessments immediately upon annexation. Rigg described the agreement conditions staff proposed a month ago to the property owner. This included the assessments would be deferred until one of the following happened:

1. Property is connected to City water/sewer
2. Property is developed
3. The property is sold

Rigg added the Development Fees would not be required to be paid until the property was sold or developed. In addition, Rigg stated notices of the assessments were provided to the previous owner as well as disclosed to the Title Company who did the title search upon Trail’s purchase of the property. Savelkoul had revealed at an earlier date that the Title Company failed to reveal that information to his client, the Trail’s, upon purchase.

Council and staff exchanged dialogue related to tabling, amending, versus approving the first reading of this ordinance, as well as options and terms.

Motion made by Councilor Brooks to approve the first reading of this Ordinance, 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 Ordinance 21-065
Included with these minutes)

G. Ordinance 21-066 Amending Zoning And Land Use Map From One to Four-Family Residence (R-2) To Diversified Central District (DCD) Located At 722 Fountain Street (1st reading)

Shannon Vandersyde, owner of the Little Hair Place, applied for re-zoning of 722 Fountain Street from One-Four Family Residence District (R-2) to Diversified Central District (DCD) to allow for additional parking area adjacent to the Little Hair Place.

City Planner Megan Boeck explained the Planning Commission held a public hearing on September 7, 2021 in regards to the request to rezone and recommended approval based on findings that the request is compatible with the surrounding area (directly adjacent to properties zoned DCD) and meets the general purpose of the DCD which allows personal and general service businesses, including but not limited to barber, shoe repair, skin care, photography, tailor and laundry.

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 Ordinance 21-066
Included with these minutes)

H. Resolution 21-157 Amending South Broadway Urban Renewal Grant/Loan Policy to the Main Corridor Urban Renewal Grant

This resolution would adopt one of the three grant/abatement policies reviewed two weeks ago. This grant has been altered to simplify the process and to expand its eligibility to all of our main corridors in an effort to control blight and spur economic development. This policy does not require public hearing notices and or hearings when under $25,000. This policy was reviewed by attorneys at Flaherty and Hood who specialize in economic development agreements, policies and law. Changes made since the Council’s last review were those recommendations by Flaherty and Hood to meet legal requirements. Additionally, staff met and discussed a limit on the grant before a property could be eligible again. The City Manager added that the property and owner had to be in good standing with City, County and State grant awards and taxes are current.

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 21-157
Included with these minutes)

I. Public Hearing Regarding Order for Removal Of Hazardous Structure And Abatement of Public Nuisance Located At 719 Alcove Street

Mayor Rasmussen opened the public hearing. He called three times. No one spoke. Mayor Rasmussen closed the public hearing.

J. Resolution 21-158 Authorizing Order for Removal of Hazardous Structure and Abatement of Public Nuisance by City of Albert Lea – 719 Alcove Street

The attached resolution would authorize the removal and abatement of a hazardous structure located at 719 Alcove Street. Building/Zoning Administrator Wayne Sorensen displayed a PowerPoint depicting photos of the hazardous structure. In addition, Sorensen outlined the history of this structure and previous owners.

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 21-158
Included with these minutes)

MAYOR AND COUNCIL REPORTS
First Ward, Councilor Murray reported:
• Ward Items – None
• Committee Update – Attended an HRA meeting last week.

Second Ward, Councilor Baker reported:
• Ward Items – Working on ward items with City staff.
• Committee – Attended an HRA meeting last week. Attended the Blazing Star Trail meeting where the DNR shared helpful information on the project. He suggested the City obtain the PowerPoint slides presented to place on the City’s Government Channel to share with the community.

Third Ward, Councilor Howland reported:
• Ward Items – None
• Committee – Attended a Park & Recreation Board meeting and the Blazing Star Trail meeting presented by the DNR.

Fourth Ward, Councilor Olson reported:
• Ward Items – None
• Committee Update – Attended the HRA meeting where the Tax Levy was reviewed.

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

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

MAYOR’S REPORT
• New event this year: The ‘Fall Frenzy on Fountain’ is coming up tomorrow, (Tuesday) Sept 28th from 11 AM to 8:00 PM. There will be food trucks on Fountain and live music at the Gazebo starting at 4:00. Bring a chair or blanket.
• The 4th Annual ‘Walk to End Alzheimers is being held the morning of Saturday, Oct 2nd at Frank Hall Park. Check-in starts at 9 AM.
• Attended the Blazing Star Trail presentation

CITY MANAGER REPORT
• Fall cleanup date is being discussed and will present to Council for approval at the next meeting
• Interviewed 10 people for the Community Enrichment Director position. It has now been narrowed down to 5.
• He and staff continue to work on housing opportunities
• Anticipates three more Tax Abatement applications for council approval
• Staff continues to review Health Care options
• Met with an individual last Saturday and provided a tour of the town as this person is interested in moving their family to Albert Lea. The person commented on the beauty of the City and was very impressed overall.

APPROVAL OF CLAIMS

A. Resolution 21-159 Approving Claims
(1). Presentation of Claims Over $25,000

The attached resolution directs the Mayor and City Treasurer to issue the payment of claims as presented in the Detail of Claims report.

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, and Mayor Rasmussen. Councilor Brooks abstained. Mayor Rasmussen declared the motion passed.

(See Secretary’s Original Resolution 21-159
Included with these minutes)

ADJOURNMENT: 8:57 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, October 11, 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.
___/s/_________________________
Daphney Maras
Secretary of the Council