City Council Meeting MInutes - October 28, 2013

Date: 
October 28, 2013

MINUTES OF THE CITY COUNCIL MEETING

OCTOBER 28, 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 October 28, 2013.

A quorum present, Mayor Strand called the meeting to order at 7:01 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 – Mayor Strand indicated Item C “Revolving Loan Guideline Modifications’ would be removed from the agenda and discussed at the new regular meeting.  A motion was made by Pfeifer, seconded by Brand, to approve the modified agenda.  With all in favor, the motion carried. 

Public Hearing – Zoning Code Amendment:  Birthing Center Use Classification – Mayor Strand opened the public hearing on a request to modify the City Code to include “birthing centers” as a conditional use in certain zoning districts at 7:02 p.m.  City Administrator Prafke reviewed the rules and procedures the Council has adopted for public hearings.  Community Development Director Wille provided an overview of the request by the Planning and Zoning Commission to modify the City Code to include birthing centers as conditional uses in certain zones.  Wille noted the request was precipitated by a meeting he had with midwife Erica Urban who wished to open a birthing center in Saint Peter.  Wille stated birthing centers were licensed and inspected by the State of Minnesota, each application for a center would be reviewed based on its’ individual merits for 17 standards that must be met for a conditional use application, and a public hearing would be held with notice provided to all property owners within 350’ before an application is approved.  There being no further speakers, the hearing was declared closed at 7:07 p.m.

Approval of Minutes – A motion was made by Carlin, seconded by Eichmann, to approve the minutes of the October 14, 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 14, 2013 regular City Council meeting is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Proceedings 18. 

Visitors- Mayor Strand welcomed new Hospital CEO George Rohrich to Saint Peter.  Mr. Rohrich addressed the Council and indicated his excitement at being in Saint Peter.  Rohrich indicated the budget process for the Hospital had begun and he would return in January to provide a report on the budget to the Council.  Mr. Rohrich also invited the City Council and the general public to a reception to be held at the Hospital on October 31st from 4-6 p.m. to thank outgoing CEO Colleen Spike for her service to the community.

Consent Agenda – In motion by Pfeifer, seconded by Carlin, Resolution No. 2013-152 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. 2013-152 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19.

G.O. Municipal State Aid Bond Sale – Shannon Sweeney of David Drown Associates presented his recommendation to award sale of a $4,720,000 in General Obligation Municipal State Aid bonds to Robert W. Baird and Company, Inc.  Sweeney reported the three bids received, ranging from Baird’s net interest rate of 2.6290% to 2.663%, were below his projected interest rate of 3.17%.  Sweeney reported the Standard and Poor’s rating that was obtained prior to the bond sale resulted in an upgrade in the City’s bond rating to AA-(SPUR)/Stable and that, along with an improving economy, likely resulted in the better interest rates on the issuance.  Sweeney reported the bonds, with a term of 14 years,  would be used to finance a portion of the Washington Avenue Link Improvement Project, the roundabout at St. Julien/Old Minnesota Avenue, and intersection improvements at Union Street and Old Minnesota Avenue.  City Administrator Prafke reported the bonds would be repaid using 85% of the City’s MSA allotment each year and issuance of the bonds at this time would allow the City to work jointly with MnDOT and bid the City’s project with the MnDOT project which should result in lower bids.  Prafke also stated the project would involve doing 10-14 years of road work at once which staff felt justified using the MSA funds over a 14 year period.

In motion by Kvamme, seconded by Zieman, Resolution No. 2013-153 entitled “Resolution Accepting Proposal On The Competitive Negotiated Sale Of $4,720,000 General Obligation Municipal State Aid Bonds, Series 2013C, Providing For Their Issuance, And Levying A Tax For The Payment Thereof”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, Councilmembers Zieman, Pfeifer, Kvamme, Carlin, Eichmann and Mayor Strand voting aye, Councilmember Brand voting nay, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-153 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Zoning Code Amendment:  Birthing Center Use Classification – Community Development Director Wille presented the Planning and Zoning Commission’s recommendation to approve a modification to the City Code to add “birthing center” as a conditional use classification in certain residential, residential/professional, and commercial zones.  Councilmember Zieman, who is also a member of the Planning Commission, stated the Commission was very confident in Ms. Urban and her level of experience and that her birthing center should be unnoticeable to the community.  Wille cautioned that the action before the Council was simply to modify the Code to include birthing centers as a conditional use and any prospective business owner would still need to go through the conditional use permit process.  Councilmembers Brand and Carlin expressed their belief that birthing centers were a new and welcome opportunity for the community.  In motion by Carlin, seconded by Brand, Ordinance No. 13, Third Series entitled “An Ordinance Amending Saint Peter City Code Chapter 24 ‘Land Use Regulations And Zoning’ By The Creation Of A ‘Birthing Center’ Use Classification And Allowing The Conditional Use Within R-2, R-3, RP-1, C-3, C-4 And C-5 Zoning Districts And Adopting By Reference Saint Peter City Code Chapter 1 Section 1-6, Which, Among Other Things, Contain Penalty Provisions”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Ordinance was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Ordinance No. 13, Third Series is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Ordinances 2. 

“Gus Bus” Contract Approval – Finance Director O'Connell requested authorization for the Mayor and City Administrator to execute a contract with Gustavus Adolphus College for provision of transit services to Gustavus students on Friday and Saturday evenings during the school year for the next two years.  O’Connell indicated the “Gus Bus” service had been in place for a number of years and was working well with enough increased ridership that two buses are now used each night with 400-800 riders each night.  O’Connell also reported the hourly charge for each bus had been increased to $37.50 per hour.  In motion by Pfeifer, seconded by Carlin, Resolution No. 2013-154 entitled “Resolution Approving Transportation Contract With Gustavus Adolphus College”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-154 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Public Hearing Rule Changes – City Administrator Prafke presented a resolution that provided for changes to the public hearing process as requested by the Council.  Prafke noted the changes included eliminating the order of speakers during a hearing, providing the Mayor with the discretion to allow extended time for a speaker; and specifying that the hearing will be declared closed by the Mayor.  Prafke also noted that the rules will apply to every advisory board or commission of the City.  In motion by Zieman, seconded by Eichmann, Resolution No. 2013-155 entitled “Resolution Adopting Modifications To Public Hearing Policy For City Council And City Council Advisory Boards And Commissions”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-155 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Roundabout Concept Approval – Public Works Director Giesking and City Engineer Domras presented their request for approval of a concept plan for a roundabout at the intersection of Old Minnesota Avenue and St. Julien Street.  Giesking stated the roundabout was being recommended with a goal of addressing future congestion at the intersection; reducing MnDOT’s concerns about “stacking” of traffic on St. Julien Street trying to access Highway 169; and reducing the impact on businesses in the area.  Giesking noted the roundabout will have three corners with turn lanes; semi-trucks will be able to drive up onto rounded curbs to make it through the roundabout; and raised medians will be installed to help direct traffic.  Giesking also pointed out that sidewalks will be installed and the City will need to purchase land from adjoining property owners for right-of-way as well as obtain construction easements and an easement for a future trail around Hallett’s Pond.  Engineer Domras indicated the inner circle of the roundabout had a diameter of 95’ and the outer circle was 130’ in diameter and the inside of the roundabout would be landscaped to eliminate vehicles from driving right through the center.

City Administrator Prafke indicated that funding would be available to assist businesses impacted by the construction in a program that was similar to that provided to downtown business owners during the Highway 169 median project. 

Councilmember Brand expressed his opposition to the roundabout project and suggested that since MnDOT is causing the problems with their Highway 169 work, the State should assist with funding for the City’s project.  Brand also suggested that the proposed project be delayed until growth in the area necessitated the project or when repairs were needed to the intersection.  Brand stated he “wasn’t comfortable spending $1,100,000 on the assumption of significant growth in the future.”  Public Works Director Giesking indicated MnDOT was funding a share of the costs for work on City roadways (one-half of the 100 block of St. Julien Street and a portion of the costs at the Union Street intersection) and that a concrete intersection would be installed to minimize repair costs in the future.

Councilmember Brand suggested that installation of a traffic light at the Old Minnesota Avenue/St. Julien intersection was a cheaper alternative to direct traffic.  Engineer Domras responded that the initial traffic study included review of both the roundabout and stoplight alternatives, however once the median is installed on St. Julien street, a stoplight would not be acceptable because U-turns would not be allowed.

In motion by Pfeifer, seconded by Eichmann, Resolution No. 2013-156 entitled “Resolution Approving Concepts Plan For A Roundabout Located At The Intersection Of Old Minnesota Avenue And Saint Julien Street And Authorizing Preparation Of Final Plans, Specifications, And Contract Documents”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, Councilmembers Zieman, Pfeifer, Kvamme, Carlin, Eichmann and Mayor Strand voting aye, Councilmember Brand voting nay, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted. A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-156 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Unbudgeted Purchase:  Evacuator –Public Works Director Giesking requested authorization to purchase a replacement vacuum excavator system from the State bid process through DitchWitch in the amount of $32,817 including trade-in of the existing Vermeer excavator.  Giesking indicated the existing equipment exceeded safe noise levels even with ear plugs and ear muffs being worn and the existing equipment has smaller hoses that are easily plugged, short hoses that require the trailer to be within two feet (2’) of a structure, and has reduced pressure levels.  Giesking noted that purchase of the new equipment would allow the City’s crews to work in a safer environment and be further away from structures during the excavation.  City Administrator Prafke noted the existing equipment would be declared as surplus property to facilitate trade-in and the purchase was considered “unbudgeted” because the City did not have an approved electric budget in place.  In motion by Eichmann, seconded by Brand, Resolution No. 2013-157 entitled “Resolution Authorizing Unbudgeted Purchase Of Vacuum Excavator Trailer And Surplus Declaration Of Existing Equipment”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-157 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Municipal State Aid Roadway Designation – Public Works Director Giesking and City Engineer Domras recommended modifications to the City’s Municipal State Aid (MSA) plan to delete two blocks of Myrtle Street (between South Front Street and South Third Street) and to add one block of Walnut Street between South Third Street and South Minnesota Avenue and one block of South Third Street between Myrtle Street and Walnut Street.  Giesking noted that the formula for receiving Municipal State Aid funds will be changing and in the future will be based on the volume of traffic on the roadways.  Giesking and Domras suggested the changes to maximize the City’s MSA funding by deleting the roadways with minimal traffic and replacing as much as possible with heavily travelled streets.  Councilmember Kvamme questioned whether MSA regulations allow angle parking.  Domras reviewed the parking regulations for MSA roadways.  In motion by Carlin, seconded by Pfeifer, Resolution No. 2013-158 entitled “Resolution Designating Certain Roadways As Municipal State Aid Streets And Removing Certain Roadways From the City’s Municipal State Aid Plan”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2013-158 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 business after hours at the Benedictine Living Community and participating in the City Council candidate forum.  Strand encouraged everyone to vote on November 5th and commented on the Halloween Fun Run conducted by the City’s Recreation and Leisure Services Department

City/County Meeting Schedule –  City Administrator Prafke reminded Councilmembers of the City/County meeting scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on October 30th at the Nicollet County Government Center.

Hospital CEO Reception –  City Administrator Prafke encouraged the public to attend the reception for the Hospital CEO’s on October 31st from 4-6 p.m. at the Hospital.

Finance Committee Meeting –  City Administrator Prafke noted the Finance Committee will be meeting before the workshop on November 4th to review the proposed legal services contract with Brandt Law Office.

Election Day –  City Administrator Prafke reminded everyone that polls are open from 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. on November 5th.

Executive Session – Union Negotiations – City Administrator Prafke requested a closed session of the Council to discuss union negotiations with the Streets, Parks, and Utilities Unions and property acquisition negotiations related to the Washington Avenue Link Improvement Project.  In motion by Pfeifer, seconded by Eichmann, Resolution No. 2013-159 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. 2013-159 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

The City Council adjourned to closed session in the Traverse des Sioux room of the Community Center at 8:12 p.m. to discuss the Streets Union negotiations.  The closed session ended at 8:17 p.m.

The City Council adjourned to closed session in the Traverse des Sioux room of the Community Center at 8:18 p.m. to discuss the Parks Union negotiations.  The closed session ended at 8:23 p.m.

The Council began the closed session to discuss Utilities union negotiations at 8:23 p.m.  The Council returned to open session at 8:27 p.m.

The City Council adjourned to closed session in the Traverse des Sioux room of the Community Center at 8:27 p.m. to discuss the property acquisition negotiations related to the Washington Avenue Link Improvement Project.  The closed session ended at 8:35 p.m.

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 8:38 p.m.