The Melrose City Council met in a Regular Meeting on Thursday, February 18, 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, and Mark “Bunker” Hill, and Mayor Joe Finken, City Administrator Colleen Winter, and City Clerk Patti Haase. 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 submitted. 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.
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 January 21 Regular Meeting
b. list of bills in the amount of $115,928.26
c. list of investments for the month of January
d. Gambling Resolutions:
1) Resolution No. 2021-5, Resolution Approving Gambling License to the Church of St. Mary’s for an exemption from lawful gambling license to conduct a raffle on June 26, 2021 at the Sauk River Park located at 206 5th Avenue N in Melrose, MN.
2) Resolution No. 2021-6, Resolution Approving Gambling License to the Church of St. Mary’s for an exemption from lawful gambling license to hold a raffle on December 31, 2021 at St. Mary’s Church located at 755 Kraft Drive SE in Melrose, MN.
Ambulance Coordinator Jenn Tschida is requesting approval be given to the appointment of Nick Guzek to the Ambulance Department, contingent upon passing the pre-employment physical and drug test.
A motion was made by Mr. Hill, to approve the Consent Agenda items. The motion was seconded by Mr. Klasen with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Member Hill, Klasen, Travis Frieler, Justin Frieler, and Mayor Finken; AGAINST: None.
The Melrose City Council held a public hearing on Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. or as soon thereafter at the Melrose City Center 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.
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. Due to the state mandated notification period the public hearing was recessed to the April 15, 2021 Regular meeting at 6:00 p.m. or as soon thereafter.
The Melrose City Council then held a public hearing on Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. or soon thereafter, at the Melrose City Center. The City of Melrose is developing a Body Worn Camera (BWC) Program for its Police Department. Body Cameras are a portable recording system worn by a peace officer that has both video and audio recording capabilities. The City accepted written comments on the draft Portable Recording System Policy. Mayor Finken presented the Affidavit of Publication that was published.Officer McDonald provided an overview of the body camera and their capabilities. Officer McDonald also commented on specific occurrences when the cameras will be used. Being no further comment the Public Hearing was closed at 6:10 p.m.
The Melrose City Council next held a public hearing on Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. or as soon thereafter at the Melrose City Center to consider amending Chapter 32 of Melrose City Code, Section 32.33 and Section 32.34 (B) Providing for Members and Officers of the Melrose Area Development Authority. Mayor Finken presented the Affidavit of Publication that was published. City Attorney Dymoke reported that the Ordinance revision is to reflect the proposed changes to the MADA By-laws. Being no further comment the Public Hearing was closed at 6:13 p.m.
Ambulance Coordinator Jenn Tschida presented the 2020 Melrose Area Ambulance Department yearend report. The total runs for 2020 was 891 compared to 862 in 2019.
Fire Chief Tom Budde presented the 2020 Fire Department information Mr. Budde presented the 2020 Activity Reports as to the runs made during 2020. The fire department responded to 131 fire, medical, and rescue calls compared to 86 calls in 2019. There are currently 26 members. Chief Budde also presented the Expenditure & Revenue Reports for 2020 and 2019. The 2021 credit was $26,283.21 as presented at the February 20, 2020 meeting. The 2022 contract will not have a credit applied. Due to a large amount of expenses during 2020, the Fire Department will not be allocating the planned depreciation into the 2020 fire equipment set aside account. This will allow the Department to maintain the anticipated reserve for working capital without having to pass the shortage to the townships for 2022. This will be withheld from future year’s calculated credits to refund the equipment set aside. A balance of $236,968.38 is available for vehicle equipment replacement set-aside at year-end 2020. For 2021 and 2022 $40,000 is budgeted for Capital Outlay/Vehicles. There are protective gear/clothing/equipment set-aside funds of $111,048.52. For 2021 and 2022, $15,010 is budgeted for Capital Outlay/Equipment & Clothing. The proposed 2022 fire contract charges are based on the total budget amount of $181,653, less excess fund balance funds being applied. Annual anticipated revenues from fire charges are $17,000.
Officer Matt McDonald presented the Police Department’s January 2021 report. He noted there were 345 calls for service during that month, compared to 329 for January 2020. A total of 28 citations were written for the month of January. There were 87 verbal warnings and 13 written warnings. The year-to-date number of calls is 345 compared to 329 in 2020. For the month of January 2021, the Department received 23 agency assist calls.
City Attorney Scott Dymoke reported on projects he has been working on for the City:
• Bonner Nuisance – Scheduled hearing on abatement order with Court Administrator. Filed Notice of Lis Pendens and Notice of Motion with Court. Served Notice of Motion, Motion, and proposed order on Defendants. Filed proof of service and proposed order with court.
• MADA- Reviewed and revised proposed amendments to bylaws of MADA. Reviewed MADA enabling ordinance and prepared amendments to conform to proposed bylaws.
Community Development Director Atkinson provided an update. Ms. Atkinson reported that MADA met on February 11, 2020. MADA continues to look for ways to support and encourage local businesses. Other priorities include the downtown redevelopment site and looking for a way to create or promote additional housing within the City.
Mike Nielson with WSB & Associates provided an update on the various city projects:
Pavement Management: Requests for authorization to bid both the Chip Seal and Street Reconstruction project will be included on the February agenda.
WSB Project No. R-014036-000 – CR 65 Drainage Improvements -Contractor: Anderson Underground.
As discussed, we would like to review the performance of the pipe in its existing condition one more spring before we accept the pipe as is with a reduction in payment to the contractor.
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
Survey work has been completed on this project. The stormwater mapping has been completed and the model has been started. Alternatives will be discussed with staff as soon as the information is available.
WSB Project No. R-015500-000 Melrose Road, Dam, and Bridge –
Roadway: – Geometry finalized: 1st Street shifted approximately 30 feet north of the existing alignment. This is the farthest the roadway can be shifted due to the proximity of the bridge. The realigned roadway intersects 5th Ave at the southern approach panel of the bridge.
– The bridge has been widened by 4.75 feet to the west to accommodate sight lines from 1st Street. The west curb line north of the bridge tapers out at a 1:5 rate starting at the south end of the radius from the driveway just north of the bridge. This allows the longest driveway length to maintain a proper driveway grade.
– Curb bump outs at Main Street intersection have been removed.
– Ongoing coordination is taking place to accommodate the City water and power across the channel and bridge.
– Starting storm sewer design and catch basin spacing analysis for CSAH 13.
– Final roadway plans are progressing towards 60% design stage with anticipated submittal to the City and County on April 16, 2021.
– Scour analysis to be finalized within two weeks. – Used to determine bridge foundation elevation and type.
– AET has completed the bridge foundation boring. Foundation report to be completed in early March.
– Bridge aesthetics graphics will be submitted for City and County review the week of February 15, 2021. Previous bridge plan used for aesthetics template.
– Bridge preliminary plan expected deliverable following geotechnical report during the first week of March.
– Dam inspection report submitted 11/12/2020. No feedback received
Dam O&M manual –submitted 12/28/2020. No feedback received.
– Dam repair plans and cost estimates will track bridge plan submittals. Reevaluation of tree removals and agency coordination will be completed by the end of February.
– 2020 MnDOT specs will be coming out soon. It would be nice to get these prior to beginning final design.
Stream Analysis: – Small group meeting with DNR fisheries staff on portion of river realignment downstream of the bridge on 2/12 to discuss specific items they will need for review with the 60% submittal. Agency permit submittals will accompany the 60% plan submittal anticipated on April 16, 2021.
– Met with DNR floodplain staff late January to discuss project. We will be providing them the existing conditions modeling for preliminary review mid-February. They requested ongoing coordination since we have converted the existing 1D model to 2D and this is a new process for the DNR.
– Week of 2/15 we will be incorporating updates from DNR fisheries staff into the proposed grading plan and proposed conditions floodplain model
City Administrator Winter provided an update. Ms. Winter noted The Legislative Session of the State of Minnesota began on January 4, 2021. Representing the community of Melrose is Representative Paul Anderson (R) and Senator Torrey Westrom (R). While last year was a very big year for the City with the passage of the bonding bill and the funding that we received for the WWTF improvement project, there are some items that still warrant discussion and action this year.
Mayor Finken stated that the City of Melrose has developed a Body Worn Camera (BWC) Program for its Police Department. Body Cameras are a portable recording system worn by a peace officer that has both video and audio recording capabilities. A public hearing was held earlier this evening to receive input and comment on the draft policy. A motion was made by Mr. Travis Frieler to adopt the Body Worn Camera Policy. The motion was seconded by Mr. Hill with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Member: Travis Frieler, Hill, Klasen, Justin Frieler, and Mayor Finken; AGAINST: None
Mayor Finken noted that the Melrose Area Development Authority is proposing revisions to the MADA By-Laws regarding members and officers. City Attorney Dymoke has prepared the draft Ordinance No. 2-18-2021, An Ordinance Amending Melrose City Code Sections32.33 and 32.34(B) Providing for Members and Officers of the Melrose Area Development Authority. A Public Hearing was held earlier this evening to receive input and comments from the general public. Council Member Justin Frieler introduced Ordinance No. 2-18-2021, An Ordinance Amending Melrose City Code Sections 32.33 and 32.34(B) Providing for Members and Officers of the Melrose Area Development Authority. 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
Fire Chief Tom Budde presented the 2022 Fire Department Budget. The 2022 Expenditure Budget, as proposed, has remained flat with the approved 2021 Expenditure Budget. A motion was made by Mr. Travis Frieler to approve the 2022 Fire Department Budget. The motion was seconded by Mr. Klasen with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Member Travis Frieler, Klasen, Justin Frieler, and Mayor Finken AGAINST: None ABSTAIN: Council Member Hill due to a potential conflict of interest as an active member of the Fire Department.
Fire Chief Tom Budde is looking to replace the 1992 Ford Water Truck in 2022. Due to the 12-month lead time, he is requesting to seek bids. The estimated cost is $223,000 and was included int the 2021 budget at $250,000. A motion was made by Mr. Justin Frieler authorizing the Melrose Fire Department to seek bids for a new tanker truck. The motion was seconded by Mr. Klasen with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Member Justin Frieler, Klasen, Travis Frieler, and Mayor Finken; AGAINST: None ABSTAIN: Council Member Hill due to a potential conflict of interest as an active member of the Fire Department.
Mayor Finken noted that the plans, specifications and bid package for the 2021 Street Improvement Project are nearing completion and will be ready for placing the ad for bid. Due to the estimate of the project exceeding $175,000 a minimum of 3 weeks after the ad for bid is placed is required before the bid can be opened. A motion was made by Mr. Hill, authorizing WSB to place the 2021 Street Improvement Project ad for bid with a bid opening date of Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. The motion was seconded by Mr. Travis Frieler with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Member Hill, Travis Frieler, Klasen, Justin Frieler, and Mayor Finken; AGAINST: None.
Mayor Finken noted that the plans, specifications and bid package has been prepared for review for the 2021 Chip Seal project and WSB is requesting authorization to advertise for bids. A motion was made by Mr. Justin Frieler, authorizing WSB to place the 2021 Chip Seal Project ad for bid with a bid opening date of Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. The motion was seconded by Mr. Klasen with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Member Justin Frieler, Klasen, Travis Frieler, Hill, and Mayor Finken. AGAINST: None
Mayor Finken noted that Governor Walz has asked the legislature to approve a $35 million fund to assist local governments with unexpected and extraordinary public safety costs. The urgency around this is related to preparing for what might come with the trial of Derek Chauvin which starts in March. The fund could be used to aid the public safety response in any city in Minnesota, but it is anticipated that Minneapolis would be the first test case. In response to Governor Walz’s proposal, the Senate GOP drafted a bill that would put the onus on the local government receiving aid to reimburse those other local governments that send aid. The main element of the proposal would require that any unpaid aid would be deducted from the receiving city’s LGA. The position of the Coalition of Greater MN Cities and the League of MN Cities has always been that the State of Minnesota fund LGA and that it should not become a political policy issue. Council Member Klasen introduced Resolution No. 2021-7 Resolution on Paying LGA on Time and in Full. The motion was seconded by Mr. Hill with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Member Klasen, Hill, Justin Frieler, Travis Frieler, and Mayor Finken AGAINST: None
The City and MADA have been discussing the redevelopment of the Kraft Lot and 400 block for many years. In 2018 the legislature put in place legislation that would allow for sales tax exemptions and fire remediation for the two sites. The City also took action to put in place a TIF redevelopment district. All of these things were done to provide an economic incentive package for the development community. The legislation has expired and the City is working with Representative Anderson and Senator Westrom’s office to put in place renewal legislation as part of the ombudsman bill that would allow the sales tax exemption and fire remediation grants to remain in place until July 1, 2023. This is the second time that we are going to the legislature to request an extension. While there has been some interest in these sites from Developers in the past, it is imperative that if something is going to happen on the Kraft site/400 block it has to be in the next year. To that end Administrator Winter and Consultant Traci Ryan have had a meeting with a prominent developer in Stearns County. Inventures made a presentation to the MADA board at their regular meeting on February 11, 2021. The MADA board had a rigorous and very good discussion with Inventure and appreciated their business approach and strategy. MADA is also more open to what can happen in the 400/Kraft lot and is taking a very strategic approach to this potential development. Prior to COVID there had been some positive discussion with possible tenants but the piece that was missing was a developer. Part of Inventure’s strategy is to enter into a site control agreement with the City in order for them to be able to complete the due diligence necessary to understand the viability of the site and to secure a project. This site control agreement does not obligate the City to any project financing. MADA recommends that the City enter into a Letter of Intent to Develop Concept and Property of PID 66.37011.0200 with Inventure Properties. A motion was made by Mr. Justin Frieler approving entering into the Letter of Intent with Inventure Properties LLC. The motion was seconded by Mr. Klasen with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Member Justin Frieler, Klasen, Travis Frieler, Hill and Mayor Finken AGAINST: None
Mayor Finken stated that Administrator Winter is recommending approval of proceeding forth with requesting a legislative amendment to amend Section 1, MN statutes 2020, section 297A.71, subdivision 50. A motion was made by Mr. Hill approving proceeding forth with requesting a legislative amendment to amend Section 1 MN Statutes 2020, section 297A.71 subdivision 50. The motion was seconded by Mr. Justin Frieler with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Member Hill, Justin Frieler, Klasen, Travis Frieler, and Mayor Finken; AGAINST: None
At a Special City Council meeting on November 25, 2020 the Local Emergency Order was put back in place. Council has requested that this Order be brought back before the Council at their subsequent meetings for consideration. City Attorney Scott Dymoke stated that as drafted the emergency declaration expires on March 18, 2021. Therefore, if the Council does not take any action it will expire in 30 days. The Council by consensus will allow the emergency declaration to expire on March 18, 2021.
The following informational items were then reviewed: Utilities Commission’s January 11, 2021 Regular Meeting minutes
A motion was made by Mr. Travis Frieler to adjourn the meeting at 7:00 p.m. The motion was seconded by Mr. Justin Frieler with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Member Travis Frieler, Justin Frieler, Klasen, Hill, and Mayor Finken AGAINST: None
Patricia Haase, City Clerk