City Council Meeting Minutes - April 22, 2013

Date: 
April 22, 2013

MINUTES OF THE CITY COUNCIL MEETING

APRIL 22, 2013

 

Pursuant to due call and notice thereof, a regular meeting of the City Council of the City of Saint Peter was conducted in the Governors' Room of the Community Center on April 22, 2013.

A quorum present, Mayor Strand called the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m.  The following members were present:  Councilmembers Pfeifer, Kvamme, Zieman, Eichmann, Carlin, Brand and Mayor Strand.   The following officials were present: City Administrator Prafke, City Attorney Brandt, and City Engineer Domras. 

Approval of Agenda – A motion was made by Pfeifer, seconded by Brand, to approve the agenda.  With all in favor, the motion carried. 

City Administrator Prafke reviewed the rules adopted by the City Council for conducting a public hearing.

Public Hearing:  Tax Increment Financing District No. 1-19 – Mayor Strand opened the public hearing on establishment of Tax Increment Financing District No. 1-19 at 7:07 p.m. Shannon Sweeney of David Drown Associates indicated staff had originally suggested creation of a redevelopment Tax Increment Financing District at the site of the old hospital but after further discussion with Nicollet County and reviewing recent legislation, staff was recommending a housing district be established instead.  Sweeney reported Nicollet County had valued the structures on the lot prior to demolition at $4.5 million, however staff believed the actual value was substantially less and rather than dispute the valuation, staff believed it was simpler to do a housing district instead of a redevelopment district.  Sweeney recommended the process for the redevelopment district be stopped and notices re-issued for a public hearing on May 28th.  Sweeney pointed out that the new hearing date would not provide a substantial delay for development of the project.  Councilmember Carlin asked for more explanation as to how tax increment financing works and Sweeney provided that information.  There being no further speakers, the hearing was closed at 7:14 p.m.

Public Hearing:  Ewing Street Vacation – Mayor Strand opened the public hearing on a request to vacate a portion of Ewing Street at 7:14 p.m.  Community Development Director Wille provided a review of the issues related to the petition to vacate a portion of Ewing Street which had originally been heard and acted upon by the City Council in 1970.  Wille indicated the Mayor at that time had refused to sign the resolution and the vacation was never recorded although staff action since that time had been with the understanding that the alley was vacated. Wille also pointed out that the original action included maintaining a 16’ easement for the City but Wille noted the resolution language was not clear enough to determine where the easement was placed within the 80’ right-of-way.

Wille reported all property owners within 350’ of the roadway to be vacated had been notified of the public hearing and notice was duly published in the St. Peter Herald.  City Administrator Prafke indicated the Council would have three possible actions related to the petition to vacate the roadway including tabling any action until a future meeting; more clearly defining the 16’ easement provided in the 1970 Council action; or approving vacation of the entire right-of-way.  Leon Tellijohn, 1021 North Washington Avenue, addressed the Council as one of the petitioners for the vacation.  Tellijohn asked for the roadway to be completely vacated and indicated the City would “always have access to his and his neighbor’s property”.  Tellijohn also indicated his desire to plant wildflowers and native grasses as an oasis in the area and a safe zone for children to play.   There being no further speakers, the hearing was closed at 7:25 p.m.

Public Hearing:  Nash Finch Tax Abatement Request – Mayor Strand opened the public hearing on a request by Nash Finch (Econofoods) for tax abatement of $40,000 at 7:26 p.m.  Community Development Director Wille reported the proposed tax abatement would be an incentive for further development of an undeveloped lot and while the City hesitates to consider tax abatements, in this particular instance it was a workable alternative to tax increment financing.    Wille indicated the abatement would be provided as $25,000 in cash which would be repaid by the City’s share of taxes at $3,000 a year for the next nine years; removal of $8,100 in water, sewer, and electric access charges that would be funded by a transfer from the General Fund to the utility funds; and $6,900 in in-kind services and materials by the City to patch the parking lot, provide river rock, and remove a fence that currently separates Econofoods from the St. Peter Food Coop.  Wille also noted the City would be able to keep the fence which was valued at more than $15,000.  Wille indicated the proposed development agreement stipulated Nash Finch would agree to a $390,000 minimum valuation of the liquor store being built; Nash Finch would give up claim to a curb cut agreement which was provided as part of the Highway 169 renovation project; Nash Finch would provide the Coop access to a drainage pipe on the Econofoods property; and the Arts Center would be engaged to develop a mural on the South Third Street wall of the new liquor store which was being built with a building permit valued at $495,417.  There being no further speakers, the hearing was closed at 7:30 p.m.

Approval of Minutes – A motion was made by Brand, seconded by Eichmann, to approve the minutes of the April 8, 2013 regular City Council meeting.  With all in favor, the motion carried and the minutes were approved.  A complete copy of the minutes of the April 8, 2013 regular City Council meeting is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Proceedings 18. 

City Administrator Prafke indicated a correction would be made to the special meeting minutes to reflect that Councilmember Eichmann was in attendance and Councilmember Carlin arrived four minutes late.  A motion was made by Carlin, seconded by Zieman, to approve the minutes of the April 15, 2013 special City Council meeting.  With all in favor, the motion carried and the minutes were approved as corrected.  A complete copy of the minutes of the April 15, 2013 special City Council meeting is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Proceedings 18. 

Visitors – Leon Tellijohn, 1021 North Washington Avenue, addressed the Council to thank City staff and the Council for assistance provided to him on his petition to vacate a portion of Ewing Street.

Consent Agenda – In motion by Kvamme, seconded by Pfeifer, Resolution No. 2013-57 entitled “Resolution Approving Consent Agenda“ was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-57 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19.

Ewing Street Vacation Request – Community Development Director Wille recommended approval of a request to vacate the entire width of the portion of Ewing Street between the north-south alley of Block 27 of Skaro and Evenson’s Addition and North Washington Avenue.  City Attorney Brandt pointed out that Ewing Street had originally been platted going westerly through Capital Heights Subdivision, but replatting of the subdivision eliminated the extension of the roadway.  Councilmember Eichmann questioned who would own the property if the roadway was vacated and staff indicated each of the abutting property owners would get 40’ which would result in a marginal increase to the value of their properties.  Councilmember Zieman questioned if the road would actually be closed off.  City Administrator Prafke indicated the City would do nothing to close off the roadway, but improvements to North Washington Avenue would most likely result in curb and gutter being installed.  Councilmember Carlin asked staff to take action to make the rest of the 1970 Council action, which had vacated the entire length of Ewing Street between North Fifth Street and North Washington Avenue, legal.

In motion by Pfeifer, seconded by Brand, Resolution No. 2013-58 entitled “Resolution Vacating That Portion Of Ewing Street Lying Between North Washington Avenue And The North-South Alley Within Block 27, Skaro And Evenson’s Addition“, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-58 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Eminent Domain Proceedings – City Administrator Prafke recommended the City Attorney be directed to begin eminent domain proceedings on property owned by Summit Park MHC, LLC as part of the Washington Avenue Link Project.  Prafke noted that although staff was negotiating with the park owners for purchase of the property, initiating eminent domain proceedings would guarantee the City’s timeline for property acquisition for the Washington Avenue Link Project continues to be met and funding for the land purchase is not jeopardized. In motion by Kvamme, seconded by Eichmann, Resolution No. 2013-59 entitled “Resolution Directing The City Attorney To Initiate Eminent Domain Proceedings“, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-59 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Land Acquisition:  Andresen Property – City Administrator Prafke recommended authorization be provided for purchase of property owned by James Andresen, which is located in the path of the Washington Avenue Link Project.  Prafke indicated the purchase price would be $60,000.  Councilmember Zieman expressed his belief that the owner of the property should feel very fortunate that the City needed the property for the Washington Avenue Link Project because there was very little value to the property without it being needed and the City would be paying $40,000 per acre.  In motion by Douglas, seconded by Brand, Resolution No. 2013-60 entitled “Resolution Approving Purchase Of Real Estate Owned By James W. Andresen As Part Of The Washington Avenue Link Project“, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-60 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Nash Finch Tax Abatement Request – Community Development Director Wille reviewed the tax abatement request for Nash Finch and recommended approval.  Councilmember Zieman questioned if the sale of property from Nielsen/Rislove to Nash Finch had been completed.  Craig Root of Nash Finch (7600 France Avenue South in Edina), indicated closing was scheduled for April 23rd and easements for stormwater were in place with the St. Peter Food Coop.  Zieman objected to the utility access fees being waived and expressed his belief that Nash Finch was gaining more and City would not recoup the value of what is being provided to them.  Zieman also indicated concern that home owners in Saint Peter have to pay the utility fees and stated Nash Finch should be footing the bill for what the City is paying.  Wille responded that the City would receive value by Nash Finch relinquishing the curb cut agreement and providing recordable easements that the City currently does not have.  In motion by Eichmann, seconded by Kvamme, Resolution No. 2013-61 entitled “Resolution Approving Property Tax Abatement For Certain Property In The City Of Saint Peter“, was introduced.  Upon roll call, Councilmembers Pfeifer, Kvamme, Eichmann, Carlin, Brand and Mayor Strand voting aye, Councilmember Zieman voting nay, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-61 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Unbudgeted Purchase:  Wastewater Treatment Plant Conveyer Repairs – Public Works Director Giesking requested approval of the emergency conveyer repairs which were needed at the Wastewater Treatment Plant.  Giesking indicated the failed conveyer required biosolids to be trucked to New Ulm for treatment and the emergency repairs to the conveyer system, including trucking costs, totaled $20,296.88 which would be funded by wastewater fund reserves.  Councilmember Kvamme pointed out that the City of New Ulm treated the biosolids at no cost to the City of Saint Peter. In motion by Pfeifer, seconded by Brand, Resolution No. 2013-62 entitled “Resolution Authorizing Unbudgeted Emergency Repairs For The Conveyor At The Wastewater Treatment Plant“, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-62 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

2013 Street Maintenance Program – Public Works Director Giesking requested approval of the 2013 street maintenance program which included crack sealing, full depth patching, curb, gutter and sidewalk replacement, handicap access replacement, 114 blocks of seal coating, and the beginning of a street sign replacement program in the total amount of $459,500.   In motion by Pfeifer, seconded by Zieman, Resolution No. 2013-63 entitled “Resolution Approving Street Maintenance Program For 2013“, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-63 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19.

Construction Standard Detail Updates – Public Works Director Giesking requested approval of modifications to several construction standard detail plates related to handicap sidewalks and new banner standards.  In motion by Eichmann, seconded by Carlin, Resolution No. 2013-64 entitled “Resolution Approving Modifications To City Construction Standard Details“, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-64 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

2013 North Third Street Project Approval – Public Works Director Giesking requested approval of the 2013 North Third Street Project design and requested authorization to receive bids for the project on May 7th.  City Administrator Prafke noted that the sidewalk in front of the Lager’s dealership had been changed to be set back from the curb line at the direct request of the property owner.  Councilmembers questioned whether the boulevard would be paved or sodded and whether trees will be planted as part of the project.  Staff indicated policy was to plant sod in the City owned right-of-way and trees would be planted north of the Third Street/Old Minnesota intersection.  Councilmember Zieman questioned whether the City would haul away snow that accumulates on the boulevard.  Staff indicated the City would not.  City Engineer Domras reviewed the proposed bid and construction schedule for the project.  Giesking responded to a Council question about ponding on North Fourth Street by indicating that the storm sewer would be televised to determine if an obstruction was present and if not, the Engineer’s would address the issue. In motion by Carlin, seconded by Eichmann, Resolution No. 2013-65 entitled “Resolution Approving 2013 North Third Street Improvement Project And Authorizing Receipt Of Bids“, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-65 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Reports

“Arbor Month” Proclamation – Mayor Strand proclaimed May as “Arbor Month” in the community.

“Police Officer Memorial Day” Proclamation – Mayor Strand proclaimed May 15th as “Police Officer Memorial Day” and May 12-18, 2013 as “Police Officer Memorial Week”

Mayor’s Reports - Mayor Strand reported that since the last Council meeting he was to have attended Region Nine Development Commission meetings which had been cancelled due to inclement weather.

City/School District #508 Committee Meeting Schedule – City Administrator Prafke reminded Councilmembers of the April 23rd City/School District #508 meeting at City Hall at 12:00 noon.

City/County Committee Meeting Schedule – City Administrator Prafke reminded Councilmembers of the April 24th City/County Meeting at City Hall at 3:30 p.m.

Board of Appeals and Equalization Meeting – City Administrator Prafke reminded Councilmembers of the April 23rd Board of Appeals meeting at the Nicollet County Government Center.

Park Use Problems – City Administrator Prafke implored local residents to stay out of the City’s parks until the City provides notice that the parks are officially open.  Prafke noted that the recent snowfalls had made the turf mushy and indicated the parks could easily be damaged resulting in even lengthier closures.  Prafke encouraged all area athletic organizations to schedule use of the parks and ball fields with the Recreation and Leisure Services Department.

In light of the heavy snowfall that occurred during the Council meeting, City Administrator Prafke encouraged everyone to drive safely on the way home.

There being no further business, a motion was made by Pfeifer, seconded by Brand, to adjourn.  With all in favor, the motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 8:35 p.m.