Minutes of the July 9, 2012 City Council Meeting

Date: 
July 9, 2012

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 9, 2012.

A quorum present, Mayor Strand called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.  The following members were present:  Councilmembers Carlin, Pfeifer, Kvamme, Eichmann, Zieman, Brand, and Mayor Strand.  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 Eichmann, seconded by Zieman, to approve the minutes of the June 25, 2012 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 25, 2012 regular City Council meeting is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Proceedings 18.

Public Hearing:  Assessment of Unpaid Utility Charges – Mayor Strand opened the public hearing on assessment of unpaid utility charges at 7:02 p.m.  Finance Director O'Connell reviewed the proposed assessments and asked for a correction to the resolution to lower the assessment amount for Kasota Properties to $1,124.99.  O’Connell indicated the unpaid charges were from a tenant and as such, the electric portion of the charges was not assessable to the property owner and the error was realized after receipt of a letter from the attorney for Kasota Properties objecting to the assessments. O’Connell indicated the assessments were for a one year period at 1.19% and would be payable on year 2013 taxes.  O’Connell also noted that the property owners had thirty (30) days to prepay the assessments without any interest accruing. There being no further speakers, the public hearing was declared closed at 7:04 p.m.

Public Hearing:  Assessment of Unpaid Miscellaneous Charges – Mayor Strand opened the public hearing on assessment of unpaid miscellaneous charges at 7:05 p.m.  Finance Director O'Connell reviewed the proposed assessments for unpaid snow and weed removal charges which would be assessed for one year at 1.19%.  There being no further speakers, the public hearing was declared closed at 7:06 p.m.

Public Hearing:  Assessment of Unpaid Water and Wastewater Project Charges – Mayor Strand opened the public hearing on assessment of unpaid charges for water and wastewater projects and some miscellaneous charges at 7:06 p.m.  Finance Director O'Connell reviewed the proposed assessments for unpaid water and wastewater project charges and miscellaneous project charges.  O’Connell reported that all but three of the affected property owners had agreed to the assessments by execution of a waiver of assessment form and she had received no written objections from the remaining property owners. O’Connell also indicated the terms of the assessments would vary and the interest rate would be 1.19%.  There being no further speakers, the public hearing was declared closed at 7:07 p.m.

Public Hearing:  Assessment of Unpaid Utility Charges against Green Valley LLP – Mayor Strand opened the public hearing on assessment of unpaid utility charges against Green Valley LLP at 7:07 p.m.  Finance Director O'Connell reviewed the proposed assessments, which was in the amount of $51,062.37, for unpaid utility charges by the owners of Green Valley Trailer Park.  O’Connell indicated a letter objecting to the assessments had been received from the Green Valley LLP attorney and the letter had been provided to the City Council.  Councilmember Zieman questioned whether staff had had any further contact with Green Valley officials.  City Administrator Prafke replied that he had met with the City’s Special Attorney and discussed Green Valley LLP’s request for mediation, but indicated that staff had no direct contact with the property owners for over eighteen (18) months.  There being no further speakers, the public hearing was declared closed at 7:09 p.m.

Consent Agenda – In motion by Pfeifer, seconded by Brand, Resolution No. 2012-94 entitled “Resolution Approving Consent Agenda“ was introduced.  Councilmember Carlin asked for additional information about the 2008 Charger vehicle that was being declared surplus.  City Administrator Prafke indicated the engine of the car needed replacement and with the high mileage on the chassis and transmission, staff felt it was not cost effective or financially responsible to put a new engine in the vehicle.  Staff also corrected the dates of the disbursement list to be for the period June 27, 2012 through July 4, 2012. Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted with the correction.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2012-94 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19.

Gault Street (Hallett’s) Detention Basin Final Acceptance –  Public Works Director Giesking recommended acceptance of the Gault Street (Hallett’s) Detention Basin project and asked for authorization to make final payment to Rehnelt Contracting in the amount of $37,244.74.  Giesking also noted that the project came in slightly under the bid amount.  Councilmember Eichmann pointed out for the public that the Hallett Detention Basin is not the same as Hallett’s Pond.  In motion by Zieman, seconded by Kvamme, Resolution No. 2012-95 entitled “Resolution Accepting Gault Street (Hallett’s) Detention Basin Project And Authorizing Final Payment To The Contractor“, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2012-95 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Transformer Project Final Acceptance –  Public Works Director Giesking reported the Sunrise Substation transformer had been installed and was online and working well.  Giesking asked that the transformer be accepted and staff be authorized to make the final payment to the vendor in the amount of $39,997.80.  Giesking indicated installation of the transformer meant there are four large transformers on the City’s electrical system which provides increased reliability for the system and additional flexibility in rerouting power in the event of an outage.  Giesking also noted that the forty plus year old transformer at the Front Street substation was being closely monitored by staff to ensure continued operation. In motion by Carlin, seconded by Brand, Resolution No. 2012-96 entitled “Resolution Accepting The Sunrise Substation Transformer Project And Authorizing Final Payment”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2012-96 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Revolving Loan Fund Request;  Inspire Bridal Boutique –  Community Development Director Wille presented the Economic Development Authority (EDA) recommendation for approval of a revolving loan in the amount of $37,800 to Julie Larson dba Inspire Bridal Boutique which will open at 204 South Minnesota Avenue.  Wille pointed out that Ms. Larson was also the owner of an event planning company called Unique Designs.  Wille indicated the terms of the loan included being amortized over a ten year period with a balloon payment due at five years; three percent (3%) interest rate and the loan being secured by UCC filings against the furniture, fixtures, equipment, machinery, inventory, and accounts receivable of Inspire Bridal Boutique and Unique Designs.  Wille reported the applicant had submitted a detailed business plan showing the cost of opening the business would be $78,663, that the applicant was providing $10,000 of the start-up costs; and Hometown Bank would provide a line of credit for the start-up costs.  Wille also noted that City revolving loans are not typically allowed as the primary lending agent for a project, however the City’s 48% financing of this project would be secured by a first position on the business.  Councilmember Zieman questioned why the proposed interest rate was 3% on this loan and reminded Councilmembers that earlier in the year another applicant was offered a 1% interest rate. Wille indicated the EDA policy was to start at 3% interest and only move up or down on the rate if there was reason to do so.  In motion by Kvamme, seconded by Carlin, Resolution No. 2012-97 entitled “Resolution Approving $37,800 Revolving Loan To Julie Larson To Partially Finance The Start-Up Of Inspire Bridal Boutique“, was introduced. A motion was made by Zieman to amend the resolution by lowering the interest rate to 1%.  The motion failed for lack of a second.

Councilmember Carlin expressed her belief that “no one size fits all” when revolving loan applications are being considered and asked Councilmember Zieman to refrain from referencing prior loan applications each time a new application is being considered.  Councilmember Zieman countered with his belief that the EDA should only recommend or deny a revolving loan application and it should be up to the City Council to establish the terms of the loan.   Upon roll call, Councilmembers Kvamme, Eichmann, Carlin, Brand, and Mayor Strand voting aye, Councilmembers Zieman and Pfeifer voting nay, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted. A complete copy of Resolution No. 2012-97 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19.   Councilmember Eichmann stated that the EDA does not operate like a bank and if it did, many applicants would be turned down.  Eichmann also stated that Councilmembers shouldn’t be voting “nay” on applications based on a political agenda. 

Assessment of Unpaid Utility Charges –  Finance Director O'Connell requested authorization to proceed with assessment of unpaid utility charges as shown on the proposed resolution and with the previously discussed reduction in the Kasota Properties assessment.  In motion by Brand, seconded by Carlin, Resolution No. 2012-98 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. 2012-98 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Assessment of Unpaid Miscellaneous Charges – Finance Director O'Connell requested authorization to proceed with assessment of unpaid miscellaneous charges for snow and weed removal.  O’Connell again stated the assessments were payable in one year at an interest rate of 1.19%.  Councilmembers questioned how the interest rate was determined.  O’Connell indicated the interest rate is established at one percent (1%) over the Treasury bill rate.   In motion by Pfeifer, seconded by Brand, Resolution No. 2012-99 entitled “Resolution Adopting Assessments Of Unpaid Miscellaneous Charges And Authorizing Write-Off Of Bad Debt Charges“, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2012-99 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Assessment of Unpaid Water, Wastewater, and Miscellaneous Charges –  Finance Director O'Connell requested authorization to proceed with assessment of unpaid water and wastewater improvement charges and miscellaneous charges in the total amount of $38,247.72.  O’Connell noted that a request had been made for deferent of $5,750 due to the property owner’s age.  O’Connell also pointed out that the assessments would be for varying terms as provided for in the City’s assessment policy.  In motion by Kvamme, seconded by Carlin, Resolution No. 2012-100 entitled “Resolution Adopting Water, Wastewater And Miscellaneous Improvement Assessments”, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2012-100 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Assessment of Unpaid Utility Charges For Green Valley LLP – Finance Director O'Connell requested authorization to proceed with assessment of unpaid utility charges for Green Valley LLP in the amount of $51,062.37.  O’Connell reported the assessment would be at 1.19% and would be for a term of one year.  O’Connell again pointed out that the property owner, through their attorney, had filed an objection to the assessments.  City Attorney Brandt, when questioned as to the basis for the objection, indicated Green Valley LLP could claim they had been overbilled for water that did not go through the sewer and had in the past claimed the City’s rate structure was incorrect.  City Administrator Prafke asked that the resolution be modified to include the amount of the assessment.  In motion by Pfeifer, seconded by Zieman, Resolution No. 2012-101 entitled “Resolution Adopting Assessment For Green Valley LLP’s Unpaid Charges Of Municipal Utilities“, was introduced with the inclusion of the amount of the assessment in the resolution.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2012-101 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Write-Off Of Unpaid Charges –  Finance Director O'Connell recommended writing-off $2,219.11 in bad debt for miscellaneous accounts receivables.  O’Connell indicated a number of the charges were for unpaid recreation program charges, non-sufficient funds charges, and one accident where a City light pole was damaged.  O’Connell pointed out that the action would remove the charges from the City’s books, but collection actions would continue against the debtors.  In motion by Carlin, seconded by Kvamme, Resolution No. 2012-102 entitled “Resolution Authorizing Write-Off Of Miscellaneous Accounts Receivables“, was introduced. Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2012-102 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Workshop Rules Adoption – City Administrator Prafke presented proposed rules for operation of Council workshops.  Prafke indicated public participation in workshops was infrequent and it was the Council’s wish to have rules for public participation in workshops in place should they choose to allow participation so that everyone was participating under the same regulations.  In motion by Eichmann, seconded by Brand, Resolution No. 2012-103 entitled “Resolution Modifying City Council Operational Rules“, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2012-103 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Unbudgeted Equipment Purchase –  City Administrator Prafke recommended approval for the proposed purchase of a replacement printer for the Building Department.  Prafke stressed that the purchase was unbudgeted and the printer had failed unexpectedly.  Prafke also noted the purchase in the amount of $1,869.87 from CDW Government would be funded by General Fund reserves. In motion by Pfeifer, seconded by Zieman, Resolution No. 2012-104 entitled “Resolution Authorizing Unbudgeted Printer Purchase For The Building Department“, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2012-104 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Minnesota Square Park Banner Policy – Community Development Director Wille presented a proposed policy for installation of banners in Minnesota Square Park which provided regulations for who could use the banner structure; limiting the banners to advertising for events in the park and preventing use of the banners to advertise off-premise events; establishing a fee for use of the banners; limiting the banner language and the size of the print; and other specifications for the banner materials and the rope used to attach the banner to the structure.  In motion by Carlin, seconded by Eichmann, Resolution No. 2012-105 entitled “Resolution Establishing A Policy To Regulate The Display Of Banners Within Minnesota Square Park“, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2012-105 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 events related to the Fourth of July.  Strand complimented the Chamber of Commerce and the St. Peter Ambassadors for their efforts on the holiday celebrations.

Mayor's Task Force Meeting Discussion – City Administrator Prafke indicated that the Mayor's Task Force continues to meet and the members were providing a lot of ideas which will be presented at their next meeting at the end of July.

City/County Meeting Schedule – City Administrator Prafke reminded Councilmembers of the next City/County meeting which will take place on July 11th at the Nicollet County Government Center.  Prafke also noted that recently appointed Interim County Administrator Bridgette Kennedy will participate in the meeting.

Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities Conference (COGMC) – City Administrator Prafke directed Councilmember attention to the notice provided to them regarding the COGMC summer conference.  Prafke asked those interested in attending to notify his office as soon as possible.

 

There being no further business, a motion was made by Pfeifer, seconded by Carlin, to adjourn the meeting.  With all in favor, the motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 7:55 p.m.