City Council Meeting Minutes of November 24, 2014

Date: 
November 24, 2014

 

MINUTES OF THE CITY COUNCIL MEETING

NOVEMBER 24, 2014

 

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 November 24, 2014.

A quorum present, Mayor Strand called the meeting to order at 7:01 p.m.  The following members were present:  Councilmembers Zieman, Kvamme, Brand, Parras, Grams and Mayor Strand.  Absent was Councilmember Carlin.  The following officials were present: City Administrator Prafke, City Attorney Brandt, and City Engineers Domras and Loose.

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

Public Hearing:  Refunding Bonds – Ecumen Second Century Project  - Mayor Strand opened the public hearing on the proposed issuance of refunding bonds for the Ecumen Second Century Project at 7:04 p.m. 

Councilmember Carlin arrived at 7:05 p.m.

City Administrator Prafke reported that the request was for reissuance of refunding bonds for a series of housing units (including The Wilds of Sand Prairie in Saint Peter) operated by Ecumen Second Century for which the City was a host community. Prafke noted the reissuance was to take advantage of lower interest rates and there would be no cost to the City for the action and no legal or moral obligation for repayment of the bonds by the City.  There being no further speakers, the hearing was declared closed at 7:06 p.m.

Public Hearing: Assessment of Unpaid Utility Charges - Mayor Strand opened the public hearing on the proposed assessment of unpaid utility charges at 7:07 p.m.  Finance Director O'Connell reviewed the unpaid bills to be assessed which totaled $6,920.36 out of $17,971.36 in unpaid charges, and indicated the assessments would be for a one year period at 1.11% interest.  Chad Salwedel of 44180 Willow Road, addressed the Council to indicate he had been told by Finance staff that he would not be liable for the unpaid bills of his tenant and objected to his being assessed for those charges now.  City Administrator Prafke indicated that although mistakes might be made on occasion, the staff in the Finance Department has many years of experience with assessments and the correct information should have been relayed.  There being no further speakers, the hearing was declared closed at 7:12 p.m.

Public Hearing:  Assessment of Unpaid Miscellaneous Charges - Mayor Strand opened the public hearing on the proposed assessment of unpaid miscellaneous charges at 7:12 p.m.  Finance Director O'Connell reviewed the proposed assessments for unpaid Community Center rental fees, preschool express charges; lawn mowing and snow removal charges; nuisance cleanup; and two properties for which water and sewer improvements were made at the request of the property owner.  O’Connell noted the assessments would be at 1.11% interest and would range from 1-10 years in length as provided for in the assessment policy.  There being no further speakers, the hearing was declared closed at 7:15 p.m.

Approval of Minutes – A motion was made by Brand, seconded by Grams, to approve the minutes of the November 10, 2014 regular City Council meeting.  With all in favor, the motion carried and the minutes were approved.  A complete copy of the minutes of the November 10, 2014 regular City Council meeting is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Proceedings 19. 

Visitors- Pete Rheaume, 419 West Jefferson Avenue, addressed the Council to complain about City staff having their “hands tied” when dealing with the actions of some minority individuals he felt were being verbally abusive to Transit staff; minority children being disruptive at the library; and a situation where he felt his family had their privacy rights violated in the Hospital.  Rheaume questioned why the City “ties the hands of staff” in dealing with issues with minorities and expressed his belief that it wasn’t fair to him as a citizen to have to deal with minorities in those situations.  Rheaume also stated he felt a situation where a minority person entered the Hospital room occupied by his wife was a “human rights situation” and questioned why the Hospital Commission was allowed to turn down requests from staff for a security system.  Rheaume also stated his belief that there was “reverse discrimination” in St. Peter. 

Consent Agenda – In motion by Kvamme, seconded by Brand, Resolution No. 2014-166 entitled “Resolution Approving Consent Agenda“ was introduced.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2014-166 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 20.

Assessment of Unpaid Utility Charges – Finance Director O'Connell recommended approval of the assessment of unpaid utility charges in the amount of $6,929.36 at an interest rate of 1.11% for one year.  O’Connell also recommended writing off $11,042 as bad debt.  In motion by Kvamme, seconded by Zieman, Resolution No. 2014-167 entitled “Resolution Adopting Assessment For Unpaid Charges For Municipal Utilities And The Writing Off Of Bad Debt Utility Charges”, was introduced.  Councilmember Parras expressed concerns about the allegations that incorrect information had been provided to Mr. Salwedel by Finance Department staff.  City Administrator Prafke reiterated the staff in the Finance Department was well versed in the assessment process and if a mistake had been made and the property owner was given incorrect information, it would be unusual.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2014-167 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 20. 

Assessment of Unpaid Miscellaneous Charges – Finance Director O'Connell recommended approval of the assessment of unpaid miscellaneous charges at 1.11% interest for a period of 1-10 years as provided in the assessment policy.  O’Connell also recommended that $2,378.81 in bad debt be written off.  O’Connell also noted that even though some charges were being “written off”, the collection agency would continue to try and collect the debt.  In motion by Carlin, seconded by Grams, Resolution No. 2014-168 entitled “Resolution Adopting Assessments Of Unpaid Miscellaneous Charges And Write Off Of Uncollectible Charges”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2014-168 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 20. 

2013 North Third Street Improvement Project Final Acceptance – Water Utilities Superintendent Moulton requested final acceptance of the 2013 North Third Street Improvement Project and asked for approval of payment to the contractor in the final amount of $60,778.30.  Moulton noted the project included $34,819 in overruns due to topsoil needing to be hauled in, additional sod; additional bituminous needed to correct utility improvements, and tree removal.  Moulton also reported the final project cost was $906,576.17 and the project would be funded from the Tax Increment Financing district.  In motion by Grams, seconded by Carlin, Resolution No. 2014-169 entitled “Resolution Accepting 2013 North Third Street Project As Completed And Authorizing Final Payment To Douglas-Kerr”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2014-169 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 20. 

2014 Housing Study Update Acceptance – City Administrator Prafke recommended acceptance of the 2014 housing study update.  In motion by Zieman, seconded by Brand, Resolution No. 2014-170 entitled “Resolution Accepting The 2014 Saint Peter Housing Study Update”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2014-170 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 20. 

Housing/Health Care Revenue Refunding Bonds – City Administrator Prafke recommended the City provide host approval for the issuance of refunding bonds for the Ecumen-Second Century project.  Prafke noted that the City serves as a host community for the issuance because of The Wilds of Sand Prairie facility, but the City has no moral or legal obligation for repayment of the bonds. In motion by Kvamme, seconded by Brand, Resolution No. 2014-171 entitled “Resolution Giving Host Approval To The Issuance Of Housing And Health Care Revenue Refunding Bonds Under Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 462C, Sections 469.152 Through 469.1655 And Section 471.656 (Ecumen-Second Century And Owatonna Senior Living Project)”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2014-171 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 20. 

Old Minnesota/Union Project MSA Funding – Water Utilities Superintendent Moulton requested authorization for execution of a supplemental agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation to allow utilization for Municipal State Aid (MSA) funds for a portion of the Old Minnesota Avenue/West St. Julien project.  In motion by Kvamme, seconded by Zieman, Resolution No. 2014-172 entitled “Resolution Supporting Approval Of Supplemental Agreement With Minnesota Department Of Transportation (MnDOT) Project #14105586 Along Old Minnesota Avenue And West St. Julien”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2014-172 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 20. 

Vactor Truck Purchase – Water Utilities Superintendent Moulton requested approval for the purchase of a truck chassis and sewer cleaning unit for a total cost of $340,665.63.  Moulton provided information about the type of work the equipment is utilized for and staff’s review of available units.  Moulton recommended the two pieces be purchased under the state bid from Ness Truck and Equipment and MacQueen Equipment and indicated the vehicle will be assembled in Illinois.   In motion by Carlin, seconded by Grams, Resolution No. 2014-173 entitled “Resolution Authorizing Purchase Of Truck Chassis And Sewer Cleaning Unit To Replace Existing Vactor Truck”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2014-173 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 20. 

Polar Bear Plunge Request – City Administrator Prafke recommended approval of a request from Nicollet County Sheriff Lange to utilize Hallett’s Pond for the February 7, 2015 Special Olympics Polar Bear Plunge event.  Prafke noted the Special Olympics would provide a certificate of insurance in the amount of $1,500,000 for the event.  In motion by Carlin, seconded by Brand, Resolution No. 2014-174 entitled “Resolution Authorizing Use Of Hallett’s Pond For Polar Bear Plunge”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2014-174 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 20. 

2015 Municipal Fee Schedule – City Administrator Prafke recommended adoption of the 2015 fee schedule which would take effect on January 1, 2015 and which contained modifications to swimming pool fees, as well as language about transit fees, and Community Center room fees.  In motion by Kvamme, seconded by Zieman, Resolution No. 2014-175 entitled “Resolution Approving 2015 Municipal Fee Schedule”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2014-175 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 20. 

Unbudgeted Purchase:  Playground Equipment – Recreation and Leisure Services Department Director Timmerman presented a recommendation for the unbudgeted purchase of playground equipment for Ramsey Park to be installed in early spring.  Timmerman reported the park abuts the Minnesota Valley Education District building and staff worked with School District #508 officials to select equipment that is usable by children with cognitive, physical, social and psychological limitations.  Timmerman stated the $25,249 cost would be funded by City ($10,000) and School District ($12,000) funds and an $8,000 grant from the Carl and Verna Schmidt Foundation.  Timmerman also reported the ongoing maintenance costs would be shared with School District #508.  In motion by Kvamme, seconded by Grams, Resolution No. 2014-176 entitled “Resolution Approving Unbudgeted Purchase Of Playground Equipment For Ramsey Park”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2014-176 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 20. 

Reports

Mayor’s Report – Mayor Strand reported on his recent activities which include attending a Region Nine Development Commission board meeting; the fall conference for the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities; and a quarterly Regional Treatment Center liaison meeting.

City Office Closures – City Administrator Prafke reported all non-emergency City offices would be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday on November 27-28th and offices would be closed on December 2nd from noon-3:30 p.m. for staff training.

Councilmember Zieman questioned whether any applicants had taken advantage of the City’s program to fund a portion of licensing and inspection fees for new home based day cares.  Timmerman responded and indicated that 2-3 contacts have been made with individuals who are interested and the Recreation and Leisure Services Department and the School’s Community Education Office were developing a class on how to start a home based day care.

There being no further business, a motion was made by Brand, seconded by Parras, to adjourn.  With all in favor, the motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 8:41 p.m.