City Council Meeting Minutes - July 8, 2013

Date: 
July 8, 2013

MINUTES OF THE CITY COUNCIL MEETING

JULY 8, 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 July 8, 2013.

A quorum present, Mayor Strand called the meeting to order at 7:01 p.m.  The following members were present:  Councilmembers Pfeifer, Kvamme, Eichmann, Brand, Carlin and Mayor Strand.  Absent was Councilmember Zieman.  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. 

Approval of Minutes – A motion was made by Pfeifer, seconded by Carlin, to approve the minutes of the June 24, 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 June 24, 2013 regular City Council meeting is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Proceedings 18. 

Consent Agenda – In motion by Kvamme, seconded by Carlin, Resolution No. 2013-99 entitled “Resolution Approving Consent Agenda“ was introduced.  Councilmember Kvamme asked if the street maintenance plan would still be under budget if the additional $30,000 in asphalt purchase was approved.  City Administrator Prafke indicated the additional purchase was still within the budget.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-99 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19.

Chapel View Development Agreement Release – City Administrator Prafke recommended approval of a request by Chapel View LLC for release of the terms of the development agreement for Chapel View No. 2 Subdivision.  Prafke indicated the terms of the agreement stipulated that the agreement may be released upon completion of the public improvements in the subdivision.  Prafke indicated the improvements had been completed to City standards.  Prafke also noted that if Outlots A and B were developed in the future, an additional development agreement would be required.  In motion by Eichmann, seconded by Brand, Resolution No. 2013-100 entitled “Resolution Releasing Chapel View LLC From Development Agreement For Chapel View No. 2 Subdivision”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-100 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Unbudgeted Purchase:  Vehicle Repair Lift –  Public Works Director Giesking requested authorization for an unbudgeted purchase of a wireless vehicle repair lift ($38,807) and two jack stands ($1,536 plus sales tax) from Benco Equipment.  Giesking indicated the current vehicle lift is not of sufficient size to safely lift some of the larger City vehicles and using the current lift to lift only one end of a larger vehicle is dangerous and has caused a recent near miss.  Giesking indicated staff had researched options for a lift and had tried out a wireless lift from Benco Equipment as a test model.  Giesking requested the unbudgeted purchase be funded by reserves.  In motion by Pfeifer, seconded by Carlin, Resolution No. 2013-101 entitled “Resolution Authorizing Unbudgeted Purchase Of Portable Lift And Jack Stands”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-101 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Highway 169 Project Public Hearing – Public Works Director Giesking requested adoption of  a resolution calling for an August 12th public hearing on the Highway 169 Improvement Project which is proposed for construction by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).  Giesking indicated the City would be doing improvement work at intersections along Old Minnesota Avenue in conjunction with the MnDOT project and the project was planned for 2014.  Giesking also noted the project would consist of raising the southbound lanes of Highway 169 from Union Street to Old Minnesota Avenue and providing enhanced safety at the intersections with the Highway.  Giesking reported State Statute required a public hearing before the City Council prior to adoption of the plan concept.

Kip Lager, President of Lagers, Inc. at 910 Old Minnesota Avenue, addressed the Council to question why a public hearing was being scheduled at this time “when the traffic patterns and controls behind it are unknown at this time”.  Lager expressed his belief that the intersection of Union Street/Highway 169, which is adjacent to his business, was not currently a safety issue and that there wasn’t enough retail development north of his property to justify making changes at this time.  Lager asked for project information including detailed traffic safety facts and indicated his belief that the public hearing should not be held “without something ironclad to discuss”.  Lager also expressed his belief that no one is in favor of the proposed changes.

City Administrator Prafke offered Mr. Lager an opportunity to meet with City staff to once again review the designs and concept plans for the City improvement projects which had been discussed with him on several other occasions.  Prafke indicated the plans are being developed using reasonable assumptions about future growth and traffic patterns and the City was being proactive in addressing potential safety issues on Highway 169 while working to save Saint Peter taxpayers money by doing a joint project with MnDOT. 

Mayor Strand informed Mr. Lager that while the Council values his opinion, the City Council makes their decisions based on what is best for the entire community.

Public Works Director Giesking indicated MnDOT has allocated safety funds for the improvement project in 2014 and that if the project was not completed by then, funding for the improvements may not be available for an additional 15-20 years. 

Councilmember Kvamme pointed out MnDOT holds the cards in relation to intersections with State Highways and that if something is not done to address MnDOT’s safety concerns at the Union Street intersection, MnDOT may very well close the intersection entirely.

In motion by Brand, seconded by Eichmann, Resolution No. 2013-102 entitled “Resolution Calling For Public Hearing On Proposed Minnesota Department Of Transportation Highway 169 Improvement Project”, was introduced.  Staff asked for the resolution to be modified to indicate the public hearing would be to discuss the proposed plan by MnDOT for improvements to Highway 169 from Union Street to Old Minnesota Avenue.  Councilmembers Brand and Eichmann agreed to modify their motions with that change.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted as modified.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-102 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

2013 Wastewater Budget/Rate Approval – Finance Director O'Connell presented a recommendation for changes to wastewater rates that will take effect with bills due August 1, 2013 (10% increase); November 1, 2013 ($0.50 increase); January 1, 2014 ($1.00 increase); and January 1, 2015 ($1.00 increase).   O’Connell indicated that projected sales had decreased due to infrastructure changes and customer use and the rates needed to be modified to allow adequate revenues for payment of the PFA bonds used for construction of the plant and to increase the unrestricted reserve funds.  O’Connell also reviewed the proposed wastewater budget and outlined the projected capital expenditures.  

Mayor Strand pointed out that the Council has been talking about, planning for, and expecting the increases since the plant was constructed with the understanding that the debt service amounts would increase throughout the life of the loan.

Councilmember Kvamme suggested refinancing of the PFA loan.  Kvamme pointed out that once the debt service on the PFA loan was paid, rates would drop 40% and suggested that issuance of a bond at this time would allow repayment of the PFA loan and extending the debt service over the useful life of the plant rather than just the first 20 years.  Kvamme noted that would also spread the cost of the plant to all users.

Councilmember Brand expressed concern that the City’s high utility rates did not allow Saint Peter to be competitive for new businesses when rates in Mankato were half that of Saint Peter.

In motion by Kvamme, seconded by Eichmann, Resolution No. 2013-103 entitled “Resolution Adopting Wastewater Rates”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, Councilmembers Carlin, Eichmann, Kvamme, Pfeifer and Mayor Strand voting aye, Councilmember Brand voting nay, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-103 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Finance Director O'Connell recommended the 2013 Wastewater Fund budget be established at $3,406,266.  In motion by Carlin, seconded by Eichmann, Resolution No. 2013-104 entitled “Resolution Adopting 2013 Wastewater Fund Budget”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, Councilmembers Carlin, Eichmann, Kvamme, Pfeifer and Mayor Strand voting aye, Councilmember Brand voting nay, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.   A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-104 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Transit System Route Project – Finance Director O'Connell requested approval for implementation of a deviated route system for the City’s Transit service.  O’Connell indicated the route system would be in addition to the current dial-a-ride system and would begin on August 1st with two loops (north and south) being put in place.  O’Connell pointed out that the routes were based on a study of transit ridership that was done in 2012 which identified the most used drop-off points.  O’Connell also reported the current fares would remain in place for the loop system, but fares for the dial-a-ride would be doubled and staff will develop a public information campaign to educate the public about the route system and fare change.  Councilmember Brand pointed out that in some locations the distance from residential areas to a stop on the route was lengthy and questioned whether modifications could be made to the route.  O’Connell responded by indicating staff will monitor usage on a regular basis and make changes to the route as needed.

In motion by Pfeifer, seconded by Brand, Resolution No. 2013-105 entitled “Resolution Approving Implementation Of A Transit Route”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-105 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19.  City Administrator Prafke introduced the City’s new Transit Coordinator Wayne Albers.

Business License Application – City Administrator Prafke recommended approval of a six month peddler license for Pro-Tech Exteriors.  Prafke indicated nothing had been found in the background investigation that would prohibit issuance of the license.  In motion by Kvamme, seconded by Carlin, Resolution No. 2013-106 entitled “Resolution Approving New Business License Application”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-106 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Reports

Mayor’s Reports – Mayor Strand reported on his recent activities which included meeting with representatives of Gaylord’s business community regarding a highway project that will disrupt access to their businesses; participating in the interviews of the Hospital CEO candidates; attending the annual Fire Department dance; and attending the Fourth of July activities.

City/School/Gustavus Committee Meeting Schedule – City Administrator Prafke reported the next City/School/Gustavus committee meeting is scheduled for July 10th at 6:30 p.m., but cautioned Councilmembers to keep an eye on their e-mails because the meeting may be cancelled.

City/School District Committee Meeting Schedule – City Administrator Prafke reminded Councilmembers of the upcoming City/School committee meeting which will take place on July 11th beginning at 12:00 noon at City Hall.

Joint City Council/School Board Meeting Schedule – City Administrator Prafke also reminded the Council of the joint City Council/School Board meeting which is scheduled for Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. in the Governors’ Room.

Pool Painting Project Update – Public Works Director Giesking reported the pool painting project, which was approved by the Council in 2012, had been completed and the contractor used 100 less gallons of paint than was projected for a savings of $5,000 on the project.  Giesking also noted that using the epoxy paint and the sphagnum moss had significantly reduced the amount of chemicals needed for the pool operation.

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 8:21 p.m.