Melrose City • April 15, 2021

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The Melrose City Council met in a Regular Meeting on Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. at the Melrose City Center pursuant to due notice being given thereof. Present were Council Members Tony Klasen, Justin Frieler, Travis Frieler, Mark “Bunker” Hill, and Mayor Joe Finken, City Administrator Colleen Winter, and City Clerk Patti Haase.
The Council then recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
A motion was made by Mr. Justin Frieler, seconded by Mr. Klasen and unanimously carried to approve the agenda as submitted
Mayor Finken then opened the floor to public comment. There were no comments.
The following items were considered for approval under the Consent Agenda
a. The minutes from the March 18 Regular Meeting, and the March 31, Special Meeting
b. List of bills in the amount of $ 397,056.61
c. List of investments for the month of March
d. Fire Department uncollectible accounts in the amount of $450.00 has been submitted to Revenue Recapture, collections or written off. A complete list of accounts is on file at the City Office
e. The Council to give consideration to approval of a Community Festival License – Public Property to the Melrose Area Chamber of Commerce. Approval is contingent upon state approval, and necessary liquor liability insurance documentation.
f. 1) Gambling Resolution No. 2021-15 Resolution Approving Gambling License to the Melrose Area Chamber of Commerce for an exemption from lawful gambling license to conduct a bingo, sell pull-tabs and hold a raffle on June 26, 2021 at the Sauk River Park located at 206 5th Avenue NE.
A motion was made by Mr. Hill, seconded by Mr. Travis Frieler and unanimously carried to approve the Consent Agenda items.
Mayor Finken presented a certificate of recognition and appreciation to retired Ambulance Department Members Randy Dufner and Brenda Wenker.
Police Chief Craig Maus presented the Police Department’s March report. He noted there were 376 calls for service during that month, compared to 278 for March 2020. A total of 36 citations were written for the month of March. There were 117 verbal warnings and 3 written warnings. The year-to-date number of calls is 1,009 compared to 895 in 2020. For the month of March 2021, the Department received 30 agency assist calls. Chief Maus stated that ATV and Golf Cart permits are renewable any time throughout the year and are valid until December 31, 2021.
City Attorney Scott Dymoke reported on projects he has been working on for the City:
• Bonner Nuisance – Reviewed files, statutes, ordinances, and regulations in preparation for motion hearing. Reviewed files in formation with city staff in preparation for motion hearing. Attended zoom motion hearing with city staff.
• Auditor’s Letter- Reviewed files and prepared opinion letter in support of 2021 Audit
Community Development Director Atkinson provided an update. Ms. Atkinson reported on the following Planning & Zoning projects.
• JTEK has requested a variance for the rear setback abutting the trail and the vacation of a public street and replacement with an easement.
• An ordinance change has been published that would allow consideration regarding modifying several sections of the zoning code related to lot coverage, setbacks, accessory structure requirements, some changes to how the ordinance is structured, and potentially modifying the exterior building material standards including adding exterior building material standards for the Public-Institutional Zoning District.
This is Ms. Atkinsons last City Council meeting. She thanked the Council for the opportunity to work for the City.
Mike Nielson with WSB & Associates provided an update on the various city projects:
Pavement Management: WSB Project No. R-017073 2021 Chip Seal Project Contracts have been returned to the city for signature.
WSB Project No. R-017370-000 -2021 Street Improvements – Bids were opened as planned and the Bid Tabulation and Letter of Recommendation will be included on the agenda council consideration.
WSB Project No. R-014036-000 – CR 65 Drainage Improvements -Contractor: Anderson Underground. Gary has made a final inspection and sees no issues with leaving the pipe as is. Mike Nielson will coordinate with staff a final offer to the contractor and present to the county for concurrence.
WSB Project No. R-015456-000 2020 Street Improvements including 5th Street N, 4th St. N & 3rd Ave N No change in status this month. Punch list items will be completed in the spring of 2021.
2nd Street S and 3rd Ave SE Flooding Issue -5th Avenue Storm Sewer System
The preliminary plan has been completed and have been reviewed with staff. The required ponding area is preferred to be in the NE quadrant of the intersection of Kraft Drive and 5th Avenue. More specific details regarding pond sizing and depth will be determined prior to speaking with the property owner.
Daylight Court Extension – Mike Nielson completed a cost estimate to extend sewer, water, storm sewer and street for the remaining 5 lots on the north end of the plat. At this time it appears there will be no action on this extension.
WSB Project No. R-015500-000 Melrose Road, Dam, and Bridge –
Roadway: – Continued coordination with the City and private utilities on the watermain and utility crossings.
– Final roadway plans and channel plans continue towards the 60% design stage with anticipated submittal April 23, 2021. 60% estimate will be included with this submittal.
Structures: -Bridge preliminary plans submitted on 3/22/2021.
– Draft Dam repair plans are expected to be submitted in mid-April.
– Awaiting release of 2020 MnDOT specs. These specs may be needed depending on their release date. If too late 2018 will be used.
– Channel and bridge construction staging will be included in the 60% roadway plans.
Stream Analysis: – In process incorporating updates from DNR fisheries staff into the proposed grading plan and proposed conditions floodplain model.
Submitted draft existing and proposed conditions hydraulic analysis to the DNR Floodplain group for review.
Permitting: – Anticipate starting April.
– Cultural Resources Study provided to USACE for their review prior to application submittal.
Grant: – Submitted the LCCMR Grant application on 4/2/2021
– Further discussions needed on potential grants from SRWD (smaller scale funding opportunity), coordination with SWCD in particular in relation to vegetation types and the campground, and pursuit of Lessard Sams grants.
City Administrator Winter provided an update. Ms. Winter noted that the legislature is back in session after the Easter break and budget negotiations have begun in earnest ahead of the May 17th deadline. The House and Senate versions of the bill are very far apart at this point so we will have to wait and see what happens. Senate is proposing a $51.9 billion budget with no tax increases; House version is $52.5 billion with tax increases. The American Rescue Plan will provide the State with $8 billion dollars and we are still waiting guidance on these funds.
The Melrose City Council reconvened the March 18, 2021 Public Hearing to consider a request to vacate a portion of 3rd Avenue W of HJ Haskamp’s Addition of Melrose between Lots 9-12 Block 6 and Lots 21-24 Block 7, which lines up with the South end of 5th Avenue West as platted in Tri-Quality Estates, according to the plat and survey thereof on the file and of record in the office of the Stearns County Recorder, Stearns County MN. Due to a state mandated 30 day notification period to the DNR the public hearing was recessed to be reconvened at the April 15, 2021 meeting. Mayor Finken presented the Affidavit of Publication that was published in the February 3, 2021 and February 10 edition of the Star Post. Community Development Director Lisa Atkinson noted that this request has been reviewed by the Planning and Zoning Commission as well as the Melrose Public Utilities Commission. The utilities will retain a 15-foot easement in the street right of way. Planning and Zoning and the Melrose Public Utilities Commission recommend approving the vacation request with the 15-foot utility easement. Ms. Atkinson reviewed the vacation request. Mayor Finken called for public comment. There being none a motion was made by Mr. Klasen, seconded by Mr. Justin Frieler and unanimously carried to close the public hearing at 6:31 p.m.
Mayor Finken stated that the City received a petition from the majority of property owners abutting the unimproved 3rd Ave NW, as platted in 1896 as H.J. Haskamp’s Addition to Melrose. This aligns with the south end of the current 5th Ave NW right of way. To staff’s knowledge, it has never been improved or utilized as a road but was part of the original street grid structure. Due to the layout of the area, the proximity of the river, and the lot configuration of the abutting parcels, there is no need for this road currently and no perceived need for this road in the future. The only lot with restricted access due to the vacation of the road is the portion of the Massmann property that is proposed to be combined with the Wensmann parcel. If and when the vacation is approved, the portion of Massmann land and the Wensmann lot are proposed to be combined. No other lots directly access or require access from the road proposed to be vacated. Following completion of the road vacation, after an appropriate application has been made and required documents have been submitted (subject to the review and approval of the City), the lots can be combined with an administrative lot line adjustment that would get recorded at Stearns County. To the north, 8th St. NW is a cul-de-sac providing access to six homes. The cul-de-sac is 372 +/- feet in length and has a 65-foot-wide access to the north that is only improved as a 10 foot paved trail at this point, but would allow sufficient emergency access if ever necessary. The application was received by the City Clerk on December 12, 2020. Notice of the hearing was published. It was mailed to all abutting property owners on February 3, 2021. There are no existing utilities within the area that is proposed to be vacated; however, a new 15 foot easement going north-south along the area where the road is being vacated is recommended by the City’s Electric Superintendent and has been agreed to by the Wensmanns. State statutes require DNR notification 60 days prior to approving any vacations near rivers or lakes. The DNR has been sent proper notification by mail. Staff has also attempted to contact the DNR by email and by phone.
Staff recommends approval of the resolution vacating the referenced portion of 3rd Ave NW (as platted, but lining up with 5th Ave. NW) subject to the establishment of a 15 foot easement extending from the north property line to the existing easement in the middle of the vacated 6th Street NW just south of the proposed vacation area.
Council Member Justin Frieler introduced Resolution 2021-14, A Resolution Vacation a Street, 3rd Avenue NW Located South of the Current 5th Avenue NW and 8th Street NW Upon Petition of a Majority of Abutting Landowners subject to the requirement that the attached 15-foot easement be dedicated. The motion was seconded by Mr. Hill with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Member Justin Frieler, Hill, Klasen, Travis Frieler, and Mayor Finken; AGAINST: None
A motion was made by Mr. Justin Frieler, seconded by Mr. Hill and unanimously carried authorizing the recording of Notice of Completion of Proceedings for vacating the street.
A motion was then made by Mr. Klasen, seconded by Mr. Travis Frieler and unanimously carried approving the dedication of a utility easement along the eastern 15 feet of the proposed street vacation connecting south beyond the vacation of 3rd Avenue NW to connect to an existing 10-foot permanent drainage and utility easement across that part of vacated Seventh Street North, originally dedicated as Second Street North in the plat of H.J. Haskamp’s Addition.
Mayor Finken stated that historically the City has hired a seasonal part-time worker to assist with the summer workload. Streets/Parks Supervisor Gary Middendorf is requesting approval to again hire a temporary summer/seasonal worker for on average 24 hours per week, or as needed to fill in for staff shortages, to assist with lawn and park maintenance, cleaning, etc. Sam Rieland who filled this position in summer 2020 is interested in filling this position for 2021. A motion was made by Mr. Klasen, seconded by Mr. Justin Frieler and unanimously carried approving the re-hire of Sam Rieland for the 2021 temporary summer/seasonal worker position.
Mayor Finken noted that Streets/Parks Supervisor Middendorf has obtained state contracting pricing for a 2021 Toro Groundmaster 4010. The lawn tractor was budgeted for replacement in 2019 for $75,000. The state contracting price for the Groundmaster 4010 is $73,910.47 including trade in. The commercial equipment comes with a two-year manufacturing warranty. A motion was made by Mr. Klasen, seconded by Mr. Justin Frieler and unanimously carried authorizing staff to purchase the Groundmaster 4010 for a cost of $73,910.47 including trade-in.
Mayor Finken stated that an administrative staff will be taking a 12 week leave this summer. Due to the staff being down two positions during this time, a request is made to hire a temporary front desk staff. This would start approximately May 17th and run through approximately September 3rd.A motion was made by Mr. Hill, seconded by Mr. Justin Frieler and unanimously carried concurring with the Melrose Public Utilities Commission approving the hiring of the temporary receptionist position.
Mayor Finken stated that Tessa Beuning, Finance Director and City Administrator Winter met with Jenn Tschida, Ambulance Coordinator about making changes to the Ambulance department. The proposed changes include expanding the leadership team to include a Coordinator, Assistant Coordinator- both positions already exist, and adding a Training Officer position and Secretary position. The Ambulance Coordinator is a paid Dept Head position that reports to the City Administrator. The Assistant Coordinator is a position that is appointed every two years by the Council. The additional positions of Training officer and Secretary would also be appointed by the Council. The Ambulance Dept is proposing the following salaries and rotating schedules:
Starting July 1st
-Asst Coordinator on a two yr appt and then 4 yrs. after that time – Change to $5,000/yr.
-Training Officer 4 yr. appt – $2,500/yr.
-Secretary 2 yr. term. appointed – $500/yr
-Increase Medical Director to $2,000/yr.
The Ambulance operates under as an Enterprise fund and is self-sustaining. Their budget could support the proposed salaries. The Adhoc Committee met and discussed these changes and is generally supportive of the changes.A motion was made by Mr. Justin Frieler seconded by Mr. Klasen and unanimously carried to approve the addition of two more appointed ambulance leadership positions – Training Officer and Secretary.
With the approval of the two additional leadership positions the Ambulance Department is proposing the following salaries starting July 1, 2021.
-Asst Coordinator on a two yr appt and then 4 yrs. after that time – Change to $5,000/yr.
-Training Officer 4 yr. appt – $2,500/yr.
-Secretary 2 yr. term. appointed – $500/yr
-Increase Medical Director to $2,000/yr.
The Ambulance operates under as an Enterprise fund and is self-sustaining. Their budget could support the proposed salaries. The Adhoc Committee met and discussed these changes and is generally supportive of the changes.A motion was made by Mr. Justin Frieler, seconded by Mr. Klasen and unanimously carried approving the wages as noted below for the ambulance positions.
-Asst Coordinator on a two yr appt and then 4 yrs. after that time -Change to $5,000/yr.
-Training Officer 4 yr. appt – $2,500/yr.
-Secretary 2 yr. term. appointed – $500/yr
-Increase Medical Director to $2,000/yr
Mayor Finken noted that bid opening for the 2021 Street Improvement Project took place on Wednesday April 7, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. Six bids were received. The bids were checked for mathematical accuracy and tabulated. Mark Lee Excavating Inc., Alexandria Minnesota was the low bidder with a total bid amount of $149,065.00. The Engineer’s Estimate for the project was $156,266.00 WSB is recommending awarding the contract to Mark Lee Excavating in the amount of $149,065.00. A motion was made by Mr. Hill seconded by Mr. Travis Frieler and unanimously carried awarding the bid for the 2021 Street Improvement Project to Mark Lee Excavating Inc., Alexandria Minnesota in the amount of $149,065.00.
City Administrator Winter stated that as more and more folks get vaccinated, we are seeing things open. However, we are also seeing COVID cases rise and so we will continue to remain diligent about masking, social distancing etc. We need to remain agile in how we address the pandemic and if there are any major changes, we as always will keep the Council updated.
The following informational items were then reviewed:
a. Utilities Commission’s March 8, 2021 Regular Meeting minutes.
b. 1st Quarter Ambulance Report
c. The Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting has been awarded to the City of Melrose by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada for its comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR). The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and is attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management. This is the 5th year that the City has received this award.
A motion was made by Mr. Klasen, seconded by Mr. Travis Frieler and unanimously carried that the meeting be adjourned at 6:50 p.m.
Patricia Haase, City Clerk

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