City Council Meeting Minutes - November 4 Finance Committee and November 12, 2013 Regular City Council Meeting

Date: 
November 12, 2013

MINUTES OF THE CITY COUNCIL MEETING

NOVEMBER 12, 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 November 12, 2013.

A quorum present, Mayor Strand called the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m.  The following members were present:  Councilmembers Zieman, Pfeifer, Kvamme, Eichmann, Brand, Carlin and Mayor Strand.  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 Pfeifer, seconded by Brand, to approve the agenda.  With all in favor, the motion carried. 

Public Hearing – Unpaid Utility Charges – Mayor Strand opened the public hearing on the proposed assessment of unpaid utility charges at 7:04 p.m.  City Administrator Prafke reviewed the rules and procedures the Council has adopted for public hearings.  Finance Director O'Connell reviewed the process that is used for assessment of unpaid utility charges and reminded the Council that electricity charges for renters are not assessable.  O’Connell also noted that certain charges (bankruptcies, death, under $10 total) would be written off for a total write-off of $13,941.15.  O’Connell stated $21,085.28 would be assessed for a one year period at 1.14% interest as provided for in the City’s assessment policy.  Roger Bakken, owner of Greenhill Cemetery, addressed the Council to object to the assessment of unpaid environmental services fees to his property.   Mr. Bakken expressed his belief that the charges, which were the same as that charged to a cemetery three times the size of Greenhill, were unfair as he doesn’t utilize any City services on the property.  Bakken indicated he would agree to pay $1.63 per month for environmental services because he wanted to “be a good neighbor”.  There being no further speakers, the hearing was declared closed at 7:11 p.m.

Public Hearing – Unpaid Miscellaneous Charges – Mayor Strand opened the public hearing on the proposed assessment of unpaid miscellaneous charges at 7:11 p.m.  Finance Director O'Connell reviewed the proposed assessments for unpaid weed and snow removal charges in the amount of $2,620.  O’Connell also noted that the proposed resolution included write-off of $5,781.64 in unpaid recreation programming fees and charges stemming from an accident with an uninsured motorist.  There being no further speakers, the hearing was declared closed at 7:13 p.m.

Public Hearing – Unpaid Water, Wastewater and Street Improvement Project Charges – Mayor Strand opened the public hearing on the proposed assessment of unpaid water, wastewater and street improvement project charges at 7:13 p.m.  City Administrator Prafke reported the proposed assessments were for repairs of private infrastructure like water and sewer service lines.  Finance Director O'Connell reported the proposed assessments, with one exception, had been agreed to by the property owners through execution of a waiver of assessment document and the charges totaled $81,907.08.  O’Connell also pointed out that the terms of the assessments varied as provided for in the City’s assessment policy and would be at 1.14% interest.  Councilmember Kvamme asked how the City had financed the work.  O’Connell indicated that the work had been funded by the Permanent Improvement Revolving (PIR) fund.  There being no further speakers, the hearing was declared closed at 7:17 p.m.

Approval of Minutes – A motion was made by Pfeifer, seconded by Zieman, to approve the minutes of the October 28, 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 October 28, 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 Eichmann, Resolution No. 2013-160 entitled “Resolution Approving Consent Agenda“ was introduced. Councilmember Kvamme questioned whether the employee appointment was a new position or a replacement.  City Administrator Prafke indicated the appointment was a replacement.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-160 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19.

Assessment of Unpaid Utility Charges – Finance Director O'Connell requested approval of the proposed assessment resolution for unpaid utility charges providing for write-off of certain charges and assessment of unpaid utilities in the amount of $21,085.28.  Councilmembers discussed the delinquent account of a local business and questioned why the account was allowed to grow to almost $8,000 without being disconnected.  City Administrator Prafke stated businesses are treated slightly different than residential customers and businesses are given more time to pay. O’Connell reported she had been working with the business owner for a year trying to work out a way for them to pay the delinquency, but had concluded that assessing the charges offered the best protection for the City to collect the unpaid amounts.  O’Connell also reported the business owner had been told they must keep the account current or they would be disconnected. 

Councilmember Kvamme questioned the appeal by the owner of Greenhill Cemetery and asked for clarification on the category used for the property for environmental services charges.  City Administrator Prafke indicated the cemetery was in the same classification as both the Catholic cemetery and industrial properties and the classifications were based on the amount of land involved.  Mayor Strand indicated the issue had been discussed by the Council during a workshop session after receipt of Mr. Bakken’s prior correspondence.  City Administrator Prafke also noted that he had personally visited with Mr. Bakken on three occasions to explain the charges.

In motion by Brand, seconded by Carlin, Resolution No. 2013-161 entitled “Resolution Adopting Assessment For Unpaid Charges For Municipal Utilities And The Writing Off Of Bad Debt Utility Charges”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-161 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Assessment of Unpaid Miscellaneous Charges –  Finance Director O'Connell recommended approval of the assessment of unpaid miscellaneous charges as outlined in the resolution in the amount of $2,620 to be assessed and $5,781.64 in accident costs and Recreation and Leisure Services Department fees being written off.  In motion by Zieman, seconded by Carlin, Resolution No. 2013-162 entitled “Resolution Adopting Assessment 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. 2013-162 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Assessment of Unpaid Water, Wastewater, and Miscellaneous Charges –  Finance Director O'Connell recommended approval of the assessment of unpaid charges for private infrastructure projects in the amount of $81,907.08.  City Administrator Prafke noted that the Public Works Department had worked hard to combine several of the smaller projects with a single contractor to make the projects less expensive for the property owners.  In motion by Eichmann, seconded by Brand, Resolution No. 2013-163 entitled “Resolution Adopting Water, Wastewater And Miscellaneous Improvement Assessments”, was introduced. Councilmember Zieman questioned if the interest rate was 1% over the Treasury Bond rate.  O’Connell responded that was the rate provided for in the City’s assessment policy.   Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-163 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Lambert Property Purchase Funding – City Administrator Prafke requested affirmation of the Council directed purchase of 75.06 acres of future park land from the Lambert Trust auction at the price of $8,300 per acre which was lower than the limit established by the City Council.  Prafke also requested approval for the proposed funding sources for the land purchase which he recommended be made from tornado and park land dedication funds as well as Nicollet Meadows Tax Increment Financing District funds in the total amount of $622,998.  Prafke indicated the goal of the land purchase was to use the acreage for public purposes as defined in the parks plan and he noted the park facilities may be developed as soon as 2014.   In motion by Pfeifer, seconded by Brand, Resolution No. 2013-164 entitled “Resolution Affirming Land Purchase And Identifying Funding Source”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-164 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Washington Avenue Link Improvement Project Right-Of-Way Purchase –  City Administrator Prafke recommended approval of the negotiated purchase of property from Summit Park MHC, LLC in the amount of $410,000 plus five mobile homes and an additional $5,000 as provided for in State Statute for appraisal costs to be used for Washington Avenue Link Improvement Project right-of-way.  Prafke noted the purchase had been negotiated by the City’s land acquisition agent (Wilson Development Services), a memorandum of agreement on the sale had been signed by Summit Park officials, the City Attorney would begin a “dismissal of eminent domain proceedings” action upon Council approval of the agreement, and the agreement also included temporary construction easements.  Councilmember Zieman questioned how the purchase would be funded.  Prafke indicated the project, including right-of-way purchase, was being funded by utility funds, federal funds and Municipal State Aid funds.  In motion by Zieman, seconded by Carlin, Resolution No. 2013-165 entitled “Resolution Approving Acquisition Of Washington Avenue Link Improvement Project Right-Of-Way Property”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-165 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Revolving Loan Fund Policy Modification – Community Development Director Wille presented the Economic Development Authority recommendation for changes to the revolving loan fund guidelines which include reduction in the maximum amortization term length, changes to the maximum terms for extension of balloon payments, a new requirement for all loan recipients to submit annual financial reports to the City, a requirement for requests to extend balloon payment dates to include correspondence from the primary project lender declining to extend additional credit and removing text from Sections 3.2 and 4.1.  In motion by Eichmann, seconded by Kvamme, Resolution No. 2013-166 entitled “Resolution Amending The Guidelines Related To The Administration Of The Established Revolving Loan Funds”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-166 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Highway 169/Old Minnesota Avenue MnDOT Letter Of Intent –  City Administrator Prafke recommended authorization be provided for execution of an agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) for the City and MnDOT to work cooperatively on contracting and bidding highway and street roadway work in 2014.  Prafke indicated the action was the first step in the joint project and would allow the projects to be less disruptive to the public and less costly.  In motion by Kvamme, seconded by Carlin, Resolution No. 2013-167 entitled “Resolution Authorizing Execution of Cooperative Agreement With Minnesota Department Of Transportation”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, Councilmembers Pfeifer, Zieman, Kvamme, Eichmann, Carlin and Mayor Strand voting aye, Councilmember Brand voting nay, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-167 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

2013 General Election Results Canvass –  City Administrator Prafke recommended acceptance of the returns from the November 5, 2013 general election.  In motion by Pfeifer, seconded by Eichmann, Resolution No. 2013-168 entitled “Resolution Canvassing 2013 Municipal Election Returns”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-168 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Reports

Mayor’s Report – Mayor Strand reported on his recent activities which included attending the City/County meeting on October 30th; the reception for the outgoing and incoming Hospital CEO’s; and Region Nine Development Commission meetings.  Strand also congratulated all of the successful candidates from the November 5th general election.

City/County Meeting Discussion –  City Administrator Prafke reported on discussion at the October 30th City/County meeting which included roads, development updates, discussion on a pilot stormwater and river improvement project, and the Welco West Subdivision property.

City/School District Meeting Discussion –  City Administrator Prafke reported on discussion at the November 1st City/School District meeting which included future land use planning.

Community Center Vacancy  - City Administrator Prafke reported the Center For Rural Policy Development would be vacating their space in the Community Center in January and staff would begin the process of filling the vacancy.  Prafke noted it was hoped to fill the spot without the use of a realtor.

ATP Grant ProjectPublic Works Director Giesking reported staff had completed further review of the criteria being used for the next round of Area Transportation Partnership (ATP) grant funds and the safety projects discussed by the Council at the last workshop would not qualify for funding so no further action would be taken.

Executive Session – Land Sale Negotiations and City Administrator Evaluation – City Administrator Prafke requested a closed session of the Council to discuss land sale negotiations and the annual City Administrator’s evaluation as allowed under State Statutes.  In motion by Kvamme, seconded by Brand, Resolution No. 2013-169 entitled “Resolution Calling For Executive Session”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-169 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

The City Council adjourned to closed session in the Nicollet Room of the Community Center at 8:16 p.m. to discuss land sale negotiations.  The closed session ended at 8:38 p.m.

The City Council adjourned to closed session in the Nicollet Room of the Community Center at 8:43 p.m. to discuss the City Administrator’s evaluation.  The closed session ended at 9:01 p.m.

There being no further business, a motion was made by Brand, seconded by Carlin, to adjourn.  With all in favor, the motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 9:01 p.m.

MINUTES OF THE FINANCE COMMITTEE MEETING

NOVEMBER 4, 2013

Pursuant to due call and notice thereof, a meeting of the City Council Finance Committee was conducted in the Library Meeting Room on November 4, 2013.

A quorum present, Mayor Strand called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m.  The following members were present:  Councilmembers Kvamme, Carlin and Mayor Strand.  The following officials were present: City Administrator Prafke, City Attorney Brandt, and Assistant City Attorneys Lucas and Menning.

2014-2015 Legal Services Contract – City Attorney Brandt reviewed the proposed contract for provision of legal services to the City for the years 2014-2015 which included a five dollar ($5.00) per hour wage increase.  Councilmembers had additional discussion regarding possible changes the City Attorney’s office could make to lower overhead costs for legal services for the City.

A motion was made by Carlin, seconded by Kvamme to recommend approval of the proposed contact to the City Council.  With all in favor, the motion carried.

There being no further business, a motion was made by Kvamme, seconded by Carlin, to adjourn.  With all in favor, the motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 5:07 p.m.