Minutes of the City Council Meeting November 13, 2012

Date: 
November 13, 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 November 13, 2012.

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

Approval of Minutes –   A motion was made by Carlin, seconded by Brand, to approve the minutes of the October 22, 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 October 22, 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 7:05 p.m.  City Administrator Prafke reviewed the rules and process to be followed for a public hearing.  Finance Director O'Connell provided a report on the proposed assessments for unpaid utility charges through May 15, 2012 and indicated the amount of the unpaid charges was equal to .141% of total utility sales.  O’Connell reported the assessments would be for a period of one year at 1.18% interest.  O’Connell also pointed out for the Council the two appeal letters that had been received from landlords LeAnn Mechler and Phil Johnson, copies of which had been provided to the City Council prior to the hearing.  There being no further speakers, the hearing was declared closed at 7:14 p.m.

2011 Human Rights Award Presentation – Human Rights Commission Chairperson Michelle Twait presented the 2011 Human Rights Award to Mrs. Sara McKay of the St. Peter Choral Society for her work to ensure the practice and performance locations for the group and the music they use are fully accessible to all individuals.

The meeting was recessed at 7:22 p.m. to allow time for photographs with the award winner.

The meeting resumed at 7:25 p.m.

Kip Lager, President of Lager’s Inc., addressed the Council to object to installation of sidewalks on the west side of Old Minnesota Avenue in front of the Lager’s dealership.  Lager indicated the sidewalks would take 10’ off of the business sales lot for the dealership and would eliminate parking spaces on Old Minnesota Avenue that they currently use to store cars that have been repaired and are waiting to be picked up by the customers.  Lager indicated construction of the sidewalks in front of his business would have a negative impact on the business and he asked the Council to instead direct pedestrians to use North Third Street.  Lager asked the Council to review the sidewalk plan for its negative impact on businesses and the cost of construction.  Lager further stated Lager’s had been “granted use of the right-of-way during their first day of business”. Mayor Strand thanked Mr. Lager for his comments and indicated the City Council would take his request under advisement.  City Administrator Prafke encouraged Mr. Lager to continue to attend the neighborhood meetings that would be scheduled as part of the development projects in that area of the community.

Steven Grams, 420 South Washington Avenue, complimented the City on its efforts to improve sidewalks so that disabled individuals can get anywhere in the City.  Mr. Grams indicated he is a member of a Governor’s Mobility Council and he believes Saint Peter’s sidewalk system ranks first in allowing for full mobility for those with physical impairments.

Consent Agenda – In motion by Pfeifer, seconded by Zieman, Resolution No. 2012-155 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. 2012-155 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19.

Acceptance Of Mayor’s Task Force Report –  City Administrator Prafke called upon Facilitator Peter Connor and Architect Eric Oleson to provide the final report of the Mayor’s Task Force on the Minnesota Square Park pavilion.  Mr. Connor provided a recap of the process followed by the Task Force which began on April 25, 2012 and included thirty-three (33) members.  Connor outlined the ground rules the group followed, the discussion about the current structure, a proposed future structure, the relationship of the facility to the community and the appearance of a new facility.  Connor indicated the group then began working with Architects from Oleson + Hobbie and Architect Eric Oleson had listened to the discussion and the comments from the group and developed a design that was adjusted until the final design was recommended as a consensus of the entire Task Force. 

Mr. Oleson compared statistics for the proposed building and the existing building which included 101’ in diameter versus 74’ for existing; 8,534 square feet covered roof versus 4,033 square feet covered; 48’ tall versus 38’ tall for the existing and the ability to seat 250 people in the proposed building.

Both Mr. Oleson and Mr. Connor thanked the Council for allowing them to be part of the Task Force discussion and recommendation.

Mr. Connor also recognized Task Force members Kris Higginbotham, Mary Ann Harty and Bob Lambert who were present in the audience.  Mayor Strand thanked Mr. Oleson and Mr. Connor and the members of the Task Force for their dedication to the project.

In motion by Eichmann, seconded by Carlin, Resolution No. 2012-156 entitled “Resolution Accepting Mayor’s Task Force On The Minnesota Square Park Pavilion Final Report“, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2012-156 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Assessment Of Unpaid Utility Charges –  Finance Director O'Connell recommended assessment of unpaid utility charges through May 15, 2012.  O’Connell made a correction to the resolution that would lower the amount of the assessed amounts to $14,852.93 by decreasing the assessment for Melissa and Steve Wasylik to $478.67 due to a bankruptcy.  Councilmember Eichmann questioned whether any other objections had been made to the proposed assessments.  O’Connell indicated that other than general questions from landlords, no additional objections had been filed.  Councilmembers noted how frequently the assessment process has been discussed by the Council in the past and suggested that a survey be done as to what process other cities use regarding unpaid utility charges and the deposits required of tenants.   Finance Director O'Connell also stated that the assessments would be for a one year period at 1.18% interest and the property owners could pay the full assessment without interest if it was paid by December 13, 2012.  In motion by Pfeifer, seconded by Eichmann, Resolution No. 2012-157 entitled “Resolution Adopting Assessment For Unpaid Charges For Municipal Utilities And The Writing Off Of Bad Debt Utility Charges“, was introduced with the modified assessment amounts.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2012-157 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19.  

Community Center Video Surveillance Project –  Recreation and Leisure Services Director Timmerman requested authorization to accept the lowest cost proposal from A+ Systems for replacement of the video surveillance system used at the Community Center>  Timmerman noted the existing system was inoperable and un-repairable and staff had contacted vendors to request proposals not only for a system at the Community Center, but for one that could be upgraded to include other areas of the community if needed in the future.  City Administrator Prafke reported the proposed system would include monitors at the Recreation and Leisure Services Department and the Police Department and the unbudgeted purchase would be funded by Community Center fund reserves ($17,281.61) and General Fund reserves ($9,732).  Councilmember Zieman asked if any positions would be eliminated if the system is purchased.  Timmerman responded in the negative.  In motion by Carlin, seconded by Brand, Resolution No. 2012-158 entitled “Resolution Approving Purchase Of Video Surveillance System For Community Center“, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2012-158 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

City Assistance Request:  Fish House Parade – City Administrator Prafke recommended approval of a request for City assistance for the third annual fish house parade on December 1st

Councilmember Carlin left the meeting at 8:17 p.m.

Prafke stated the parade route would be identical to that used for the St. Patrick’s Day parade and the “no parking” designations would only be put in place on the west side of the parade route from 2:00 p.m. until the parade ends which would minimize the impact on area businesses.  In motion by Zieman, seconded by Pfeifer, Resolution No. 2012-159 entitled “Resolution Approving Fish House Parade“, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2012-159 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Business License Application –  City Administrator Prafke recommended approval of an application for a tree worker’s license for Affordable Landscaping and Tree Care through April 30, 2013.  Prafke indicated the background investigation on the applicant had revealed nothing that would prohibit issuance of the license.  In motion by Eichmann, seconded by Kvamme, Resolution No. 2012-160 entitled “Resolution Approving New Business License Application“, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2012-160 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

Preliminary Engineering – Compost Site Project – City Administrator Prafke indicated Water Utilities Superintendent Moulton was present due to Public Works Director Giesking’s absent and would provide information on the proposed compost site project.  Moulton indicated the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency had given the City until June 2013 to stop using the old wastewater ponds as a composting site because the area was in the flood plain.  Moulton reported staff had reviewed various options for a new compost site and a public/private partnership on land near the City of Kasota seemed to be the best option as it would reduce the City’s capital costs and also allow for storage of other materials at the ten acre site.  Moulton further stated the site would be modified to include a stormwater treatment basin and would need fencing which was the basis for the recommendation to have Bolton and Menk, Inc. provide survey and preliminary design work at the site for a fee of $8,500.  The land could be leased for a minimal fee in exchange for the City composting materials from the owner’s property with possible start-up of the site in Spring, 2013.  Councilmember Kvamme asked about the location of the site and staff indicated it was off Highway 22 south and west of the existing asphalt plant.  In motion by Brand, seconded by Pfeifer, Resolution No. 2012-161 entitled “Resolution Retaining Engineers For Survey And Design Services To Develop A New Compost Site“, was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2012-161 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 19. 

 

Reports

Mayor’s Reports – Mayor Strand reported on his recent activities which included providing the welcome for a “Connecting Nicollet County” meeting; attending a Regional Treatment Center Liaison meeting; and attending a Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities LGA event in North Mankato.

Election Review – City Administrator Prafke directed Council attention to the Council packet memo providing a recap of the November 6th general election.  Prafke indicated the election went very well and the City had high voter turnout.

Snow Removal Policy – City Administrator Prafke noted the City’s snow removal policy had been included in the Council packet and was available for public viewing on the City’s website as part of the packet.  Prafke encouraged residents who wished to be provided notice of snow emergency declarations to sign up for the Nixle community notification system.  Prafke also encouraged all vehicle owners to move their vehicles from the roadway, whether a snow emergency  had been declared or not, to make the snow plowing process more efficient and effective.

Washington Avenue Link Project Open House – City Administrator Prafke reminded Councilmembers of the November 19th public open house/hearing on the Washington Avenue Link Project.  Prafke stated the open house would take place from 4-6 pm in the Senior Center with a short program/hearing at 5:30 p.m.

November 19th Workshop Schedule – City Administrator Prafke noted that the November 19th workshop would begin at 6:00 p.m. or shortly thereafter so that Councilmembers could attend the Washington Avenue Link Project open house.

Hurricane Sandy Relief Assistance – City Administrator Prafke reported that two of the City’s Linemen had joined with a convoy of other Linemen from several Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association member cities to help restore the electric system of the Long Island Power Authority in New York following Hurricane Sandy.  Prafke indicated the crews had been in New York for about two weeks.

Old Hospital Site/Park Row Crossing – City Administrator Prafke reported the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership (SWMHP) application for tax credit funding for the Park Row Crossing project had been approved.  Prafke indicated the competition for the tax credit funding was very stiff and the project being awarded was due in part to the strong support of the project by the City and SWMHP having successfully completed several other projects in Saint Peter.  Prafke reminded Councilmembers the project consists of two buildings of 20 units each with underground parking which will be located on the site of the former Community Hospital and nursing home.

 

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 8:36 p.m.