The Melrose City Council met in a Regular Meeting on Thursday, August 20, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. via global/GoToMeeting pursuant to due notice being given thereof. Present were Council Members Tony Klasen, Justin Frieler, Mark Hill, and Mayor Joe Finken, City Administrator Colleen Winter, and City Clerk Patti Haase. Council Member Travis Frieler was absent. Mayor Finken presided thereat. The Council then recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
A motion was made by Mr. Justin Frieler to approve the agenda as amended. The motion was seconded by Mr. Hill with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Member: Justin Frieler, Hill, Klasen, and Mayor Finken; AGAINST: None; ABSENT: Council Member Travis Frieler
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 Council’s July 16 Regular Meeting
b. List of bills in the amount of $707,482.71
c. List of investments for the month of July
d. Ambulance Department uncollectible accounts in the amount to $13,166 has been submitted to Revenue Recapture, collections or written off. There was a total of $8,299.73 collected form account holders in the second quarter. A complete list of accounts is on file at the City Office.
e. Fire Department uncollectible accounts in the amount of $1,050 has been submitted to Revenue Recapture, collections, or written off. A complete list of accounts is on file at the City Office.
f. Pay application No. 7 from Mission Mechanical. This pay app covers the period of April and May of 2020. SEH has reviewed the pay application and is recommending approval. This cost will be shared 50/50 with the Public Utilities.
g. On 9/12/20 Allyssa Engfer will complete one year of service. Police Chief Craig Maus has conducted a review and it is favorable; therefore, recommends approval of a step increase from start step to step 1.
h. The Council to give consideration to Pay Voucher No. 2 from Mark Lee Excavating for the 2020 Street Improvement 5th Street Project. The total on Pay Voucher No. 2 is $316,523.93 less retainage of $15,826.19 for an amount due of $300,697.74. Pay Voucher #2 has been reviewed by WSB Engineering and is hereby recommending approval.
A motion was made by Mr. Hill, to approve the Consent Agenda items. The motion was seconded by Mr. Justin Frieler with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Member: Hill, Justin Frieler, Klasen and Mayor Finken; AGAINST: None; ABSENT: Council Member Travis Frieler
The Melrose City Council held a Public Hearing to abate nuisances pursuant to Melrose City Code Section 93.21 on the following properties:
• 72 Rose Park SW, Melrose, Minnesota, and
Attorney Scott Dymoke provided an overview of the nuisance violation and the process of abating the nuisance. There being no further comment, the Public Hearing was closed at 6:06 p.m.
Police Chief Maus presented the Police Department’s July 2020 report. Chief Maus noted there were 278 calls for service during that month, compared to 346 calls for July 2019. A total of 29 citations were written for the month of July. There were 50 verbal warnings and 1 written warning. The year-to-date number of calls is 2,046 compared to 2,666 in 2019. For the month of July 2020, the Department received 29 agency assist calls. Chief Maus stated that school begins Monday, August 31 so please drive carefully and watch for children.
City Attorney Scott Dymoke reported on projects he has been working on for the City:
• Nuisance Abatements: Reviewed nuisance reports prepared by Chief Maus. Identified interested parties and prepared service list. Prepared Notice of Hearing and forwarded to city staff with instructions for posting and service on interested parties. Prepared drafts of proposed orders directing abatement of the nuisances.
• Rose Park/Bonner: Reviewed city staff reports concerning manufactured home placed in Rose Park in violation of state law and city ordinances. Prepared draft of initial draft to abate nuisance and forwarded to city staff for review and comment.
• COVID Waiver: Received and reviewed proposed COVID liability waiver from city staff. Prepared revisions to waiver and forwarded to city staff with recommendations for incorporation into city facilities rental agreements.
Finance Director Tessa Beuning presented the General Fund Financial Second Quarter Report. Ms. Beuning stated that the General Fund revenue is at 36% and the expenditures are at 43%. A portion of the first half property tax settlement is received in July. However, the property tax collections have come in at over 50% of the levy. This is attributed to payment of taxes in full, as well as payments on delinquent taxes. Local government aid is not received until July, which brings down the revenues collected as a percentage of the budget. Property Tax & LGA together make up 75% of the revenue budget. Building permit revenue is slightly low, at 27%. Interest revenue is much higher than originally anticipated and has exceeded the annual budgeted amount. Ms. Beuning noted that the revenue for the MADA fund low due to the transfers from the General Fund and TIF funds have not yet been made. There have been minimal expenses as of 6/30/20. Ms. Beuning report that the Ambulance Revenue is at 54% and the Expenditures are at 51%. Both the revenue and expenditures are on track. Administrative fee transfers to the General Fund are done at year end. There were maintenance expenses for fresh air intakes during the first quarter. Fire Dept. The Revenue for the Fire Dept is at 27%. Although 90% of the budgeted revenue comes from Fire Contract charges from the townships and the City’s contribution, and is not collected until December, the department received a large amount of donations early in the year. The donations were for the new Argo unit from the Fire Relief Association. The Fire Dept. has adequate reserve funds to meet operational costs until contract revenue is received. The expenditures are at 63% of the budget, due to the purchase of the Argo. Additionally, there were maintenance costs for the fire station.
Community Development Director Atkinson provided an update on the year to date building permits. Ms. Atkinson provided an update on upcoming projects.
Mike Nielson with WSB & Associates provided an update on the various city projects.
Pavement Management Gary Middendorf and I have looked at number of different streets that will require some attention. I will be meeting with Gary and Colleen in the coming week to review the pavement management program recommendations. The next step would be to complete the pavement coring’s and prepare an estimate of cost to see where this project may fit into the Capital Improvement Program.
WSB Project No. R-014036-000 – CR 65 Drainage Improvements -Contractor: Anderson Underground.
No changes from last report. I contacted Molitor again and he still has not confirmed his schedule for this work.
WSB Project No. R-015456-000 2020 Street Improvements including 5th Street N, 4th St. N & 3rd Ave N
To date Mark Lee Excavating has completed paving the base course and raised the gate valves and manholes. The final wear course is scheduled for completion the week of August 20 -21st and will have it competed before school starts. The 2nd Pay Request for the project will included on the agenda in the amount of $300,697.74 for a total paid to date amount of $363,926.05. The project is 85.7% complete.
WSB Project No. R-015524-000 Casey’s South Site Inspection
We are moving forward with the work to eliminate the standing water at the intersection of Country Club Drive and CSAH 13. The pavement was removed, and subgrade was cut to the elevation necessary to make it drain properly. The paving should be done on either Thursday the 13th or Friday the 14th.
Multi Family Site Evaluation: No work has been done on this since our last update at your request.
WSB Project No. R-015500-000 Melrose Road, Dam, and Bridge –
– Received comments from the DNR on the existing conditions SQT calculator on 8/7/2020.
– We are preparing a response to comments and clarifications based on those comments.
– The next steps will be to incorporate the DNR comments and recommendations into the SQT calculator and proceed with proposed conditions
Structures: No update since 5/14/20 project update.
– Submitted draft O&M to City on 3/16/2020.
– A conversation is needed between WSB and City to complete information in the document regarding the City’s protocols that will be included in the document. This conversation should occur before mid-September.
– Need approval of the stream alignment and typical section prior to moving forward with detailed design.
City Administrator Winter noted that The AdHoc committee has met with both LELS and AFSCME and tentatively agreed to a one-year contract. We are currently waiting on health insurance information and hope to bring the final contracts back to the City Council for approval in September or October. City Council ElectionsCouncil Member Justin Frieler and Council Member Tony Klasen both have City Council terms that will expire on December 31, 2020 leaving two seats up for election in November. Both Council Member Frieler and Council Member Klasen have filed for election, along with Joelene Wieling.
Mayor Finken stated that earlier this evening a Public Hearing was held to abate nuisances pursuant to Melrose City Code Section 93.21 on the property located at 72 Rose Park Melrose MN. City Attorney Dymoke stated that if the Council wishes to move forward with the abatement of the nuisance conditions for the above listed properties the Council will need to take action adopting the resolutions. In so doing, the property owner has 30 days in which to come into compliance with the applicable City codes and regulations. A motion for summary enforcement of the order will be made to the Stearns County District Court unless correction action is taken, or unless an answer is filed within the time specified in Minn. Stat. §463.18 which is 20 days. If the City must take action to enforce this order, all enforcement costs will be specially assessed against the property and collected in accordance with Minn. Stat. §463.22, §463.21 and §463.161.Council Member Justin Frieler introduced Resolution No. 2020-37, Resolution Ordering the Abatement of Nuisance Conditions Located at 72 Rose Park Melrose MN. The motion was seconded by Mr. Hill with a roll a call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Member: Justin Frieler, Hill, Klasen, and Mayor Finken; AGAINST: None; ABSENT: Council Member Travis Frieler
Mayor Finken stated that Munson Feed Company, Inc requested a variance to build a second grain storage bin on their lot on the west side of 3rd Ave. NW. The structure is proposed to be up to 85 feet high, the same height and otherwise similar to the existing bin, but with a slightly smaller diameter on the same lot but slightly northwest of the existing grain bin. The proposed structure is not to exceed 48 feet diameter, the existing structure has a 60 foot diameter. The Planning and Zoning Commission is recommending Council approval with conditions as stated in Resolution No. 2020-39, Resolution Approving Case No. Var-7-2020-104 Application for a Variance from The Maximum Height Requirements in the I, Industrial Zoning District. Council Member Hill introduced Resolution No. 2020-39, Resolution Approving Case No. VAR-7-2020-104 Application for a Variance from The Maximum Height Requirements in the I, Industrial Zoning District. The motion was seconded by Mr. Justin Frieler with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Member: Hill, Justin Frieler, Klasen, and Mayor Finken; AGAINST: None; ABSENT: Council Member Travis Frieler
Fire Chief Budde noted that the Melrose Fire Department in 2012, and the City of Melrose, as the guarantor for the Melrose Fire Department Retirement Program, entered into an agreement with PERA to manage the retirement program and funds for the Department. At that time, there was a five-year lock at the $1,500 benefit level per firefighter. The program is funded by three primary areas: Fire State Aid, Investment Income and Municipal Contribution (if required). The City of Melrose has agreed to make an annual contribution of $8,200. As per the PERA bylaws, there is a five-year vesting into the program where no changes to the benefit level can occur. In 2017, the Melrose City Council approved an increase from $1,500 to $1,900. During 2018, The Council approved the increase in benefit to $2,200 per year. During 2019, the Council approved the increase in benefit to $2,300 per year. A review has been conducted again in 2020 by PERA Volunteer Firefighter Retirement Plan, and reviewed by the Fire Chief, Finance Director, and City Administrator for contribution levels of $2,400, $2,500, $2,600, and $2,700. The funding ratios for those benefit levels would be 113%, 110%, 107% and 104%, respectively. Based on this review, the fund would support all four options without a required contribution by th City. It is the Fire Chief’s recommendation to support a $300 increase to $2,600. Council Member Justin Frieler introduced Resolution No. 2020-40 A Resolution Option to Increase the Benefit Level for Firefighters Who Are Vested in the Voluntary Statewide Volunteer Firefighter (SVF) Retirement Plan. The motion was seconded by Mr. Klasen with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Members Justin Frieler, and Klasen; AGAINST: None; ABSTAIN: Council Member Hill and Mayor Finken due to conflict of interest; ABSENT: Council Member Travis Frieler
Due to Council Member Hill and Mayor Finken’s abstention the motion failed.
A motion was then made by Mr. Justin Frieler to rescind his motion and have this item brought back at the September meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Klasen with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Member: Hill, Justin Frieler, Klasen, and Mayor Finken; AGAINST: None; ABSENT: Council Member Travis Frieler
Mayor Finken stated that Police Chief Craig Maus is recommending the hire of Reece Riegel as a part-time police officer. Pay would be at start on the pay scale which is $24.63 per hour. A motion was made by Mr. Justin Frieler approving the hire of Mr. Riegel as a part-time police officer at the start step on the wage scale, contingent on a successful psychological exam and pre-employment physical. The motion was seconded by Mr. Hill with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Member: Justin Frieler, Hill, Klasen, and Mayor Finken; AGAINST: None; ABSENT: Council Member Travis Frieler
Mayor Finken noted that an ordinance amendment was published to allow consideration of amendments to Chapters 500, 600, 700 and 1500 of the Zoning Code, initially heard on June 29, 2020 and continued to the July 27, 2020 Planning Commission meeting. The Planning Commission, on July 27, 2020 recommended changes to the accessory structure ordinance and changes to the surfacing requirements. The other sections are not proposed to change at this time. Here is a summary of the proposed changes.
1. Access ways. The surfacing change pertains to “access ways” and whether the space between a gravel alley and a concrete slab used as a back yard residential parking space is required to be gravel or paved. The Commission reviewed the proposed change but found that since the Zoning Ordinance does not limit impervious surface coverage of drive areas for residential lots, this could inadvertently allow large expanses of gravel driveways on residential lots, which is not the intent but could be an unintended result. In reviewing the initial request, the Planning Commission did find that it would be appropriate to allow gravel “access ways” between sheds/garages when connecting in the most direct route available to a gravel alley. In summary, the Commission wanted to allow some greater flexibility on surfacing off of alleys but found that the lack of an impervious surface coverage requirement applying to gravel and or paving in residential zoning districts require this condition to be limited to just access ways between garages and gravel alleys.
2. Accessory Structures. Accessory structures, by State Statute, do not require a permit if they are under 200 sq. ft., unless the City wants to be more restrictive. The Planning Commission found this to be an appropriate size and recommends following State Statutes. They elected to leave the other sections of the ordinance as is, except for clarifying language regarding small accessory structure kits and also clarifying the language regarding the roof line (pitch…) not needing to match the house for structures under 240 sq. ft. Although there are several categories that sheds fall into based on size and other factors, but the handout quickly helps residents navigate the applicable rules and criteria based on the size of shed they are considering. The revised handout is attached for your reference. Council Member Klasen introduced Ordinance No 8-20-2020 An Ordinance Amending Sections 500 Parking, Loading and Storage Regulations and 600 General Regulations of Zoning Ordinance No. 1989-1-A as Amended, Adopted by Reference as Chapter 153 of the Melrose City Code. The motion was seconded by Mr. Hill with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Members Klasen, Hill, Justin Frieler, and Mayor Finken; AGAINST: None; ABSENT: Council Member Travis Frieler
Mayor Finken stated that because the state is in the midst of a bond sale that requires a pause on any changes to its fiscal situation this “blackout” period made it impossible for the Legislature to pass a bonding bill during the one-day special session that occurred on August 12, 2020. The legislature has failed repeatedly to pass a bonding bill despite reaching agreement on the size and major components of a bill. The Coalition of Greater MN Cities and many others around the state continue to push hard for the Legislature to adopt a bonding bill in September. As part of that push CMGC is requesting that cities pass a resolution that supports the passage of a bonding bill. Staff recommends the adoption of said resolution. A motion was made by Mr. Hill adopting Resolution No. 2020-41 Bonding Resolution. The motion was seconded by Mr. Justin Frieler with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Members Hill, Justin Frieler, Klasen, and Mayor Finken; AGAINST: None; ABSENT: Council Member Travis Frieler
Mayor Finken noted that the City of Melrose has contracted with Stearns County Attorney’s Office for criminal prosecution since 2015. The contract is set to expire December 31, 2020. The county proposes to continue contracting with the City for another two years at a flat rate of $13,500 per year for calendar year starting on January 1, 20121 and 2022. A motion was made by Mr. Justin Frieler to approve the two-year contract with the Stearns County Attorney’s office for Criminal Prosecution. The motion was seconded by Mr. Klasen with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Members Justin Frieler, Klasen, Hill and Mayor Finken; AGAINST: None; ABSENT: Council Member Travis Frieler
Mayor Finken stated that a two-part local grant program was launched on August 6, 2020, with applications due on August 28, 2020. The first part is for $7,500 grants, which are applied for on the Stearns County website, and covers specific COVID-19 related expenses. The second part requires a supplemental application to be submitted directly to the City and includes some additional eligible expense categories. It doesn’t have specific number limits but will only be funded with what remains from the initial approximately $300,0000 grant fund pool, after covering the $7,500 maximum grants. MADA, at its August 13, 2020 meeting, recommended the City proceed with the grant application process. Further, they recommended the decision-making regarding grant awards would be made by a subcommittee consisting of MADA members Jerome Duevel, Julie Baum and Colleen Winter. A motion was made by Mr. Justin Frieler authorizing proceeding with the grant program and appointing the proposed 3 member MADA subcommittee to make appropriate grant decisions. The motion was seconded by Mr. Hill with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Member: Justin Frieler, Hill, Klasen, and Mayor Finken; AGAINST: None; ABSENT: Council Member Travis Frieler
Mayor Finken stated that the Parks and Recreation Board at its August 18 meeting toured the City parks and trails. The Rieland Pond trail is in need of repair. Since there are two paving companies currently working on road construction projects in the City , the Park Board is requesting the Council give consideration to make the improvements to the trail. A motion was made by Mr. Justin Frieler authorizing staff to obtain bids and complete the Rieland Pond Trail Improvement and allowing Streets/Parks Supervisor Middendorf to make the judgement call on cost. The motion was seconded by Mr. Hill with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Member: Hill, Justin Frieler, Klasen, and Mayor Finken; AGAINST: None; ABSENT: Council Member Travis Frieler
In 2008, the City issued revenue notes for the acquisition and rehabilitation of a 25-unit senior living rental facility known as Oak Ridge Manor Apartments located at 20 9th Avenue NE. The Borrower, Oak Ridge Manor Apartments of Melrose Limited Partnership, has requested and Bremer Bank has agreed to lower the interest rate on the note. In order to accomplish this, the City must authorize the execution of an amendment to the note. Resolution No. 2013-34, Resolution Authorizing Execution of Amendment No. 1 to Multi-family Rental Housing Development Revenue Note, Series 2008a (Oak Ridge Manor Apartments Project) authorizes City officials to execute the amendment on behalf of the Borrower. Other than the change in the interest rate, all other terms of the Note and the other terms of the 2008 issue remain the same. This reduction in the interest rate is considered a refunding, so the City will have to sign an additional certificate and an IRS Form 8038. A motion was made by Mr. Klasen adopting Resolution No. 2020-42 Resolution Authorizing Execution of Amendment No. 2 to Multi-Family Rental Housing Development Revenue Note, Series 2008A (Oak Ridge Manor Apartments Project), and authorizing staff to execute additional documents prepared by Taft Law. The motion was seconded by Mr. Justin Frieler with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Members Justin Frieler, Klasen, Hill and Mayor FinkenL AGAINST: None; ABSENT: Council Member Travis Frieler
Mayor Finken stated that staff has been working with City Attorney Scott Dymoke on the manufactured home located in Rose Park that is in violation of Melrose City Code. A letter will be sent to the owner of the Manufactured Home Park.
Mayor Finken noted Shaggy’s Towing has applied for a permanent structure and removal of the temporary structure is a condition of issuance of Certificate of Occupancy. This matter is tentatively being deemed complete at this time, assuming the construction of the shed and removal of the temporary structure continue to progress as planned.
Mayor Finken stated that Arce Auto has placed crushed asphalt in their auto sales area. They appear to no longer be parking vehicles on the grass. They do not seem to yet have plants in the landscape planters. As a side note, Arce Auto inadvertently located their proposed shed framing in the existing Casey’s sign easement on the Arce Auto property. The building inspector noted their concerns and staff worked with the two businesses to resolve the issue. Casey’s has agreed to amend the easement to allow the shed in that location with the acknowledgement that if the shed is accidentally damaged due to Casey’s sign or work related to the sign, it would be Arce Auto’s responsibility to repair the shed at Arce Auto’s own cost. Joe Arceneau has agreed to these terms. This matter is being deemed substantially complete.
Mayor Finken noted that staff has been working on finding alternatives for the keeping of impounded dogs and have not come up with any viable solutions yet. Staff was hoping to still work something out with MVA and rent their facility. City Administrator Winter has also spoken to the Alexandria Humane Society and they are willing to work with us, however staff has concerns about the distance. At this point the City has not been able to find someone to foster the at large dog. The Council directed staff to continue to look at alternatives and to do a public outreach for potential volunteers. Council Member Klasen left at 7:15 p.m.
Mayor Finken stated that the Administration staff has reviewed software options to convert to a more paperless environment. Currently, the City/Utility utilizes Open Text (Alchemy) as a record retention/file storage option. More commonly, files are maintained on our network folder and in paper format in our vault.Laserfiche is a very common software used among local governments, as well is a preferred vendor with our accounting and billing software (Civic Systems). This system would integrate with Civic and would allow staff to tie documents to our financial and HR data records.
Documents are scanned and stored as readable formats with individual fields able to be searched. This would be able to be utilized as our record retention system to ensure proper record keeping with Minnesota State Statutes, as well as to monitor and notify staff on approaching timelines (such as contract renewals). The 2020 capital plan had budgeted for this with $14,700.
The initial set up costs would be:Installation and Configuration $1,850; Clerk/Admin Module $5,500; AP Checks $2,220; One Desk Scanner $950; Large Network Scanner $5,000; Total* $15,520
* As of the time of the agenda preparation, the quote had not been received for the HR module, or the AP workflow. Staff would like to add the HR module with the initial setup which is estimated to be $2,000-$3,000.A motion was made by Mr. Hill concurring with the Public Utilities Commission authorizing the use of Lasherfiche for our file storage, retention, and workflow software. The motion was seconded by Mr. Justin Frieler with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Member: Hill, Justin Frieler, and Mayor Finken; AGAINST: None; ABSENT: Council Member Travis Frieler, and Klasen
The following informational items were reviewed
The minutes from the Utilities Commission’s July 20, 2020 Regular Meeting.
The following are schools and/or conferences where registrations were made:
Business Retention and Recovery: Every Wednesday starting 8/19 through 11/25. Attending: Community Development Director Lisa Atkinson
A motion was made by Mr. Justin Frieler to adjourn the meeting at 7:20 p.m. The motion was seconded by Mr. Hill with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Member: Justin Frieler, Hill, and Mayor Finken; AGAINST: None; ABSENT: Council Member: Travis Frieler, and Klasen
Patricia Haase, City Clerk