The Melrose City Council met in a Regular Meeting on Thursday, August 17, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. at the Melrose City Center pursuant to due notice being given thereof. Present were Council Members Tony Klasen, Dick Christenson, Josh Thieschafer, Mayor Joe Finken, City Administrator Michael Brethorst, and City Clerk Patti Haase. Council Member Justin Frieler was absent. Mayor Finken presided thereat.
The Council then recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
A motion was made by Mr. Klasen, seconded by Mr. Thieschafer and unanimously carried to approve the agenda as amended.
Steve Borgerding, Historical Society Board Member, thanked the Council for the previous lease, with hope they would approve another 20-year lease. He talked about the maintenance and upgrades the Society has made to the building over the years as well as future plans.
Approval of the following:
A. The minutes from the Council’s July 20 Regular Meeting.
B. List of bills in the amount of $517,569.40.
C. List of investments for the month of July.
D. Donation Resolutions:
1) Resolution No. 2017-51, various sponsors and contributors towards the City of Melrose Parks and Recreations Capital Fund from the Golf Scramble Fund Raising Event.
2)Resolution No. 2017-53, donation in the amount of $500 from the Melrose VFW Post 7050 towards the Tri-Cap bus service.
E. Gambling Resolution:
1)Resolution No. 2017-52, Resolution Approving Gambling License to St. Mary’s Church for an exemption from lawful gambling license to conduct a bingo on October 22, 2017, St. Mary’s School at 302 5th Ave SE , Melrose.
F. Fire Department uncollectible accounts in the amount of $845 has been submitted to Revenue Recapture, collections, or written off. A complete list of accounts is on file at the City Office. There was a total of $125 collected from account holders during the second quarter
G. Ambulance Department uncollectible accounts in the amount of $3,360.50 has been submitted to Revenue Recapture, collections, or written off. A complete list of accounts is on file at the City Office. There was also a total of $65.67 collected from account holders during the second quarter.
H. The Council to give consideration to approval of a Community Festival License – Public Property to The Dam, Inc. for the Fall Classic Festival, September 7-9, 2017. (September 7 from 8 to 10:00 p.m.; September 8 from 6:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.; September 9 from 12:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.) The event will be held outdoors in the City Center parking lot. This event must comply with City Code Chapter 113.23 (D) which deals with Community Festivals – Public Property. Police Chief Maus and City Administrator Brethorst have reviewed the Community Festival License Application and recommend approving the application.
I. Streets/Parks Supervisor Gary Middendorf completed his two years of service as the Streets/Parks Supervisor on August 28. City Administrator Brethorst has conducted Mr. Middendorf’s review and it is favorable, therefore, recommends he receive a step increase from Step 6 to Step 7.
The Council to take action approving Mr. Middendorf’s step increase. A motion was made by Mr. Christenson, seconded by Mr. Klasen and unanimously carried to approve the Consent Agenda items.
Police Chief Maus presented the Police Department’s July report. He noted there were 299 calls for service during that month, compared to 318 for July 2016. The year-to-date number of calls is 1959 compared to 2,332 in 2016. A total of 13 citations were written for the month of July. For the month of July, the Department also received 18 agency assist calls. Night to Unite was held on Tuesday, August 2. Chief Maus also reminded residents that school will soon be in session and asked that residents watch for school bus crossing and school bus stop arms. State legislators approved increasing the violation fee from $300 to $500. On average, the Police Department issues eight to 10 school bus stop arm violations a year.
Community Development Director Mike Creelman provided an update on the 400 Block. The Council will hold a Special Joint Meeting with the Melrose Area Development Authority on Tuesday, August 22 at 6:00 p.m. to develop a strategic plan for the Kraft lot and 400 Block. The property owner is finalizing quotes to bring the property into compliance.
City Attorney Scott Dymoke reported on projects he has been working on for the City:
• Community Development, Jennie-O Turkey Store (JOTS) Project: Reviewed terms of the Pre-development and Development Agreements regarding the Letter of Credit posted by JOTS. Advised City staff that JOTS could withdraw the Letter of Credit according to the terms of the agreements.
• Melrose Area Historical Society (MAHS) Lease Renewal: Reviewed terms of the existing lease agreement with MAHS and prepared a new agreement extending lease terms.
Finance Director Tessa Beuning presented the General Fund Financial Second Quarter Report. The General Fund Revenues are at 27% and the expenditures are at 44%. Revenues are low because approximately 30% of the first half of Property Tax Revenue is not received until July. Also, the first half of LGA is not received until July. The Property Tax & LGA together make up 72% of the Revenue Budget.
Mayor Finken noted that the City has been awarded a $1,000,000 grant to support the water, sewer and electric upgrades for the Jennie-O Turkey Store Project. In accordance to the grant award, State prevailing wage must be paid by all persons performing construction work depending on work performed according to State prevailing wage. The Utilities Commission and the City Council have both stated in the original grant agreement, that they will follow all rules and regulations within the agreement. In accordance with this, Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) have been written to reflect the prevailing wage pay schedules. The Utilities Commission has already consented to the MOU with Union and the Council is asked to concur with the MOU as outlined.
A motion was made by Mr. Christenson, seconded by Mr. Klasen and unanimously carried approving the Memo of Understanding of the Electric and Street/Parks Departments.
Mayor Finken stated that the City Attorney and Community Development Director Creelman have been putting together an ordinance that would define Portable Storage Units and ways to enforce said ordinance. The ordinance is meant to limit the amount of time a storage unit can be placed on a property and where it can be placed. The ordinance was brought to the Planning and Zoning Commission for discussion and the Commission recommends to the Council that the ordinance be approved.
Council Member Klasen questioned the penalties and found them to be somewhat excessive. Council Member Thieschafer commented on the time limitation of 90 days with an extension of up to an additional 90 days. Mr. Thieschafer stated the permitting period would not be sufficient for construction projects such as the JOTS and CentraCare.
After further discussion, the Council, by consensus, requested staff take under advisement and bring back before the Council at the September regular meeting.
As Ordinance No. 8-17-2017 was not acted upon, adoption of the Official Title and Summary was not brought before the Council.
Mayor Finken noted that the City contracted with Astech for the 2017 Seal Coat Project. Work has been completed and inspected. A review has been completed by WSB and they recommend payment.
A motion was made by Mr. Klasen, seconded by Mr. Thieschafer and unanimously carried authorizing payment of Pay Voucher No. 1 in the amount of $68,151.70. This is the final payment as the project is closed out.
City staff have been communicating with the property owner as well as working with State staff to understand the process for demolition reimbursement of the 400 Block. To this point, the property owner has provided City and State staff with demolition insurance paper work and clean up invoices. State staff is ready to disperse demolition reimbursement funds to the property owner once they are given authorization from the City. A motion was made by Mr. Thieschafer, seconded by Mr. Klasen and unanimously carried authorizing staff to obtain the funds from the State. The Council will discuss releasing the funds at its August 22 Special Joint Meeting with the Melrose Area Development Authority.
Mike Nielson with WSB provided the results from the hydraulic bridge analysis. WSB has completed the preliminary hydraulic and stream relocation study for shifting the bridge approximately 120 feet to the north along with realignment of the Sauk River to allow for a natural embankment to be constructed to replace the deteriorating Kraft retaining walls and to allow 1st Street NE to be shifted to the north. The bridge changes requested include removing the sidewalk underpass on the north side, which would allow lowering the profile back closer to the original grades and narrowing the bridge sidewalks to six feet in width on each side. The ability to remove the underpass would allow the bridge to be shortened to around 125 to 130 feet, thereby providing the opportunity to remove the pier in the river for further costs savings and improving the construct ability of the bridge. As part of the stream and bridge hydraulics analysis, the City compared hydraulics between the existing bridge conditions with the currently bridge design and the option to relocate the bridge and realign the river to better understand the hydraulic impacts to the river. The analysis indicates that by shifting the bridge, the City can improve the river hydraulics and shorten the bridge while still staying within the acceptable standards allowed for river impacts. The river velocities and 100-year flood elevations would basically remain unchanged for the relocated bridge option. The current bridge design due to the river alignment would actually increase the flood stage elevation above the current elevations. It is important to note that if the relocated bridge option becomes the approved option for the bridge replacement, an extensive environmental review and FEMA flood map amendment would be required to change the river channel.
Mr. Nielson stated that the construction costs savings recognized by relocating the bridge and downsizing the project would be similar to the engineering effort required to work through the permitting and environmental process and redesigning the project. As presented, the City believes the proposed project will be equal within estimating standards. The Council directed City Engineer Mike Nielson to meet with the Stearns County Engineer to determine if there are any flaws to the plan and to review the cost sharing agreement.
Mayor Finken noted that the City has entered a 20-year lease with the Melrose Area Historical Society. The lease will expire December 2018. The cost for the lease is zero dollars. The agreement states the Historical Society will cover all expenses and maintenance for the facility and grounds. The Deed states that the building must be used as a historical society building or a municipal building. If it were to sit vacant for one calendar year, the building would revert to St. Mary’s. The Historical Society would like to extend the lease for an additional 20-year period to renew upon expiration of the existing agreement. The new term would expire December 31, 2038. The agreements states that a six-month notice can be given by either party to terminate the agreement. The agreement and all other terms would remain the same with the only exception of increase insurance amounts to reflect current Insurance standards. Gary Walz, a member of the St. Mary’s Church Building Committee, speaking on behalf of the Committee, asked the Council to delay their decision on the lease until the Committee can meet with City staff and Historical Society members to review options for building a new church. Mr. Walz stated that the Committee realizes that the museum is a critical part of the community; however, they are asking that this be tabled to give the Committee a chance to meet with City staff and the Historical Society and to explain what may be in their plans. Council Member Klasen stated that although Mr. Walz has brought this to the attention of the Council, the Historical Society is looking for assurance that they will have a place for the next 20 years. Mayor Finken concurred. After further discussion, a motion was made by Council Member Klasen to approve the 20-year lease extension with the Historical Society. The motion was seconded by Mayor Finken with a roll call vote recorded as follows: For: Council Member Klasen and Mayor Finken; Against: Council Members Thieschafer and Christenson; Absent: Council Member Frieler. Motion failed.
The following informational items were reviewed:
A. The minutes from the Utilities Commission’s July 10 Regular Meeting and the July 19 Special Meeting.
B. Police Officer Jamie Green has submitted his letter of resignation.
C. Charter Communications correspondence.
D. Due to health and life safety concerns, City staff have begun considering innovative designs and layouts of the front desk at the City Center. Director Creelman has started to explore options to the layout of the front desk area in coordination with the administrative assistants who primarily occupy that location. It is becoming more and more common to modify work areas to separate staff from the public.
E. On October 20, 2016, the Council took action hiring Central Minnesota Housing Partnership, Inc. (CMHP) for grant writing services. These services will be used to prepare and submit preliminary and final Small Cities Development Program (SCDP) Grant applications. The services cost $1,250 for the preliminary application and $1,250 for the final grant application, totaling $2,500. City staff is ready to begin working on this grant application with CMHP as early September 1.
The main reason for participating in the SCDP was to help with recovery from the 400 Block fire and to continue assistance to downtown businesses. This program will also provide funding for housing rehabilitation to a designated area of homes within the City, to further improve the housing stock in Melrose.
A motion was made by Mr. Klasen, seconded by Mr. Thieschafer and unanimously carried that the meeting be adjourned at 7:05 p.m.
Patricia Haase, City Clerk