City Council Minutes of March 14, 2016

Date: 
March 14, 2016

MINUTES OF THE CITY COUNCIL MEETING

MARCH 14, 2016

 

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 March 14, 2016.

A quorum present, Mayor Zieman called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.  The following members were present:  Councilmembers Parras, Kvamme, Brand, Grams, and Mayor Zieman.  Absent were Councilmembers Carlin and Pfeifer.  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 Brand, seconded by Parras, to approve the agenda.  With all in favor, the motion carried. 

Approval of Minutes – A motion was made by Kvamme, seconded by Parras, to approve the minutes of the February 22, 2016 regular City Council meeting.   With all in favor, the motion carried and the minutes were approved.  A complete copy of the minutes of the February 22, 2016 regular City Council meeting is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Proceedings 19.

A motion was made by Grams, seconded by Parras, to approve the minutes of the February 29, 2016 special City Council meeting.   With all in favor, the motion carried and the minutes were approved.  A complete copy of the minutes of the February 29, 2016 special City Council meeting is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Proceedings 19.

Consent Agenda – In motion by Parras, seconded by Grams, Resolution No. 2016-46 entitled, “Resolution Approving Consent Agenda“ was introduced.  With all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2016-46 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 21.

Councilmember Kvamme questioned whether the City has water meter issues similar to a recent story in a metro paper where cities discover meters have failed and resulted in hundreds of thousands of gallons of water lost and never billed for.  City Administrator Prafke indicated that the City recently audited customer water meters and while some similar issues were found (where the remote reader didn’t match the interior meter), staff was working with the customer to make arrangements for payment of back charges.  Prafke also noted there were very few instances where the inside meters fail and there  are policies in place to deal with those issues.

Verizon Small Cell lease at River's Edge Hospital and Clinic –  City Administrator Prafke recommended approval of request by Verizon Wireless to expand their lease to have a small cell antenna on a pole at River's Edge Hospital and Clinic.  Prafke noted the lease revenue would increase to $1,500 per year and recommended approval. In motion by Kvamme, seconded by Parras, Resolution No. 2016-47 entitled “Resolution Approving Modification To Lease Agreement With Alltel Communications LLC (Dba Verizon Wireless) For Cell Antenna On City Owned Property At River's Edge Hospital And Clinic”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2016-47 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 21. 

Fire Department Bylaws Modification – City Administrator Prafke provided a recommendation for two changes to the Fire Department bylaws which included a modification to language about receipt of benefits and a second change regarding use of alcohol.  Prafke pointed out that a previous change to the bylaws included modifications to indicate “annual” payment of benefits and that change was omitted in the final version of the document.  Prafke recommended the change be made at this time.

On the alcohol issue Prafke reported that after discussion with the Board of Fire Officers, he was recommending the bylaws be modified to require that Firefighters who have consumed alcohol or drugs within eight hours of a fire call not be allowed to respond to the call.  Prafke noted the 8 hours was based on FAA regulations and is the same as the rules for airline pilots.  Prafke also pointed out the League of Minnesota Cities draft regulations included recommendations for either 8 or 4 hour limitations and stated that making the modification would provide clear direction for all Firefighters and for the Board of Fire Officers in dealing with the members as well as providing for maximum safety for both the members of the Department and the community. 

Mayor Zieman questioned what the benefit would be from a change to the alcohol policy and pointed out that current regulations require Firefighters to self-police and not respond to calls if they are drunk.  Zieman also questioned why the Firefighters were being treated differently than Public Works employees.

Councilmember Parras questioned the language in the current policy which uses the phrase “under the influence” which requires the Firefighters to self-police.

Councilmember Brand recommended starting a campaign and/or training program to educate Firefighters to not drink and stated statistics showed that Firefighters tend to have twice the national average of binge drinking.

Councilmember Kvamme expressed reservations about allowing self-policing and pointed out that many people drive drunk even though they know it is against the law.

Firefighter Ed Johnson, 529 North Fifth Street, expressed his concern that the members of the Department did not have a chance to vote on the proposed change and stated his belief that not being able to drink for eight hours before responding to a call is a “little extreme”.

Retired Fire Chief Windy Block, 1019 Old Minnesota Avenue, indicated that in his 35 years on the department only one alcohol related incident occurred and expressed his belief that Firefighters are intelligent enough to self-discipline and not respond if they have been drinking.  Block also suggested that those who do are subject to peer pressure from the other members to solve the problem.

A motion was made by Brand, seconded by Parras to table action on the proposed bylaws change until the Council could have further discussion on the alcohol issue at a workshop session.  With Councilmembers Brand and Parras and Mayor Zieman voting aye, the motion carried.  (Councilmembers Grams and Kvamme did not cast votes.)    

2016 Water Fund Budget –  Finance Director O'Connell requested approval of the 2016 Water Fund budget in the total amount of $3,973,819.  O’Connell noted the proposed budget was similar to 2015 and would include use of $414,000 from reserves with no rate change recommended.  O’Connell noted the projected ending fund balance would be $432,032. In motion by Brand, seconded by Parras, Resolution No. 2016-48 entitled “Resolution Approving 2016 Water Fund Budget”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2016-48 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 21. 

Reports

“Women’s History Month” Proclamation – Mayor Zieman proclaimed March, 2016 as “Women’s History Month” in the community.

“Vietnam Veteran’s Day” Proclamation – Mayor Zieman proclaimed March 29, 2016 as “Vietnam Veteran’s Day”.

Mayor’s Report – Mayor Zieman reported he and Councilmember Brand would be attending the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities Legislative Action Day on March 16th and he would be in the St. Patrick’s Day parade.  Zieman also noted he would be in Petatlan Mexico during the next Council meeting and Mayor pro tem Parras would chair the meeting.

APPA Legislative Rally Report – Councilmember Parras reported on the American Public Power Association Legislative Rally he attended in Washington D.C. with Public Works Director Moulton.  Parras noted discussion with local legislators included discussion on the unintended consequences of legislative policies, a push for transportation issues and transportation funding including Highway 14 and Highway 169.

National League of Cities Conference Report – City Administrator Prafke reported on the National League of Cities congressional conference he attended in Washington D.C. which included training on budgeting, policy development and business practices as part of NLC University.

Goal Session Discussion Report – City Administrator Prafke directed Councilmembers attention to the report included in the Council packet on discussion at the last goal session.  Prafke also noted an omission from the report regarding the cost and funding sources for development of the new park.

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 8:15 p.m.