Melrose City May 16, 2019

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The Melrose City Council met in a Regular Meeting on Thursday, May 16, 2019 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, Mark Hill, Travis Frieler, and Mayor Joe Finken, Acting City Administrator/Finance Director Tessa Beuning, and City Clerk Patti Haase. Mayor Finken presided thereat.
Also in attendance were American Government students from the Melrose Area Public High School. The Council then recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
A motion was made by Mr. Travis Frieler, seconded by Mr. Justin Frieler 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 Council’s April 9 Special Joint Meeting with MADA, the April 11 Special Joint Meeting with the Public Utilities Commission (Audit Review), the April 11 Regular Meeting, the April 18 Special Joint Meeting with the Public Utilities Commission, the April 18 Special Meeting, the April 23 Local Board of Appeal and Equalization Meeting, and the April 23 Special Meeting.
b. List of bills in the amount of $599,025.26.
c. List of investments for the month of April.
d. Donation Resolutions:
1) Resolution No. 2019-26, donation in the amount of $50 from Craig Lambrecht towards the Melrose Ambulance Department.
2) Resolution No. 2019-27, donation in the amount of $500 from the Melrose Lions towards the Riverfest Celebration.
3) Resolution No .2019-32, donation of an antique fire truck from John Albritton, previously owned by the City of Melrose Fire Department.
4) Resolution No. 2019-33, donation of antique fire truck equipment from Craig Reinke.
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 Appreciation to the volunteers of the Foster Grandparent Program.
Mayor Finken presented a Certificate to Callie Schafer – 2019 Minnesota State High School State Speech Champion – Storytelling.
Mayor Finken presented a Certificate to members of the Class A Speech Team Champions.
Mayor Finken presented a Certificate of Appreciation to retired EMT Lori Jackels for her 36 years of service on the Melrose Ambulance Department.
Police Chief Craig Maus presented the Police Department’s April report. He noted there were 384 calls for service during the month, compared to 441 for April 2018. A total of 41 citations were written for the month of April. The year-to-date number of calls is 1,535 compared to 1,528 in 2018. For the month of April 2019, the Department received 29 agency assist calls. He stated that the Police Department has begun the annual Spring Nuisance Code Inspection. He reported that nuisance citations are down this year by approximately 100. He also reminded residents that animal licensing will be issued from May 1-31 at the Melrose City Center for residents who own a dog or cat. He also reminded residents that the City-Wide Clean-Up will be held on Saturday, May 18.
It was entered into the minutes that during the period from April 3, 2019 through May 8, 2019, City Attorney Dymoke had not given significant attention to any projects on behalf of the City of Melrose.
Finance Director Tessa Beuning presented the General Fund Financial First Quarter Report. Director Beuning noted that the General Fund revenue is at 6% and the expenditures are at 17%. Revenues are low because the first half of property tax revenue is not received until June. Also, the first half of LGA is not received until July. Property tax and LGA together make up 67% of the revenue budget. The revenue for the MADA fund is slightly higher due to the petrofund fuel reimbursement from the State of Minnesota. Capital Project Funds: These funds include the Capital Improvement Fund, TIF accounts as well as the 5th Avenue NE Bridge Improvement Fund. The TIF property tax payments have not been received yet this year. City staff will be reviewing the cash flow needs closely to work to ladder our investments to be able to capture a higher interest yield. Debt Service Funds: The property tax revenues have not yet been received; however, the principal payments and first half of the interest payments have been made
Community Development Director Atkinson provided an update on current projects, most of which will be addressed later this evening. Ms. Atkinson noted that the Church of St. Mary’s has begun the Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) process for the historic church structure. This is required before the building can be demolished.
The City Council held a Public Hearing on to hear all persons present upon a petition of a majority of property owners for the vacation of the following: That portion of the 4th Avenue SW located south of 3rd St SW and north of Kraft Drive, originally platted as part of Hilt and Borget’s Addition to Melrose, between Blocks 3 and 4 according to the recorded survey and plat as is on file in the office of the Stearns County Recorder. Potentially reserving however, utility and drainage easements in the areas to be vacated. The purpose of the requested vacation is to accommodate Melrose Truck Repair who anticipate acquiring some of the abutting land. Acting City Administrator Beuning presented the Affidavit of Publication of the Hearing Notice .Community Development Director Atkinson provided a brief overview on the street vacation request.
There being no further comments, the Public Hearing was closed at 6:34 p.m.
Mayor Finken stated that the City has received a petition from the majority of property owners abutting 4th Avenue SW, located south of 3rd St SW and north of Kraft Drive. The road is oriented north-south and is located west of the current Melrose Truck Repair and east of the Rose Park Mobile Home Park. 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 and the lot configuration of the abutting parcels, there is no need for this road currently and virtually not perceived need for this road in the future. The application was received by the City Clerk on April 10, 2019. Notice of the hearing was published. It was mailed to all abutting property owners on April 19, 2019. There are no existing utilities within the area that is proposed to be vacated. Further, the attached resolution reserves all easements and access to all easements. Staff recommends approval of the resolution vacating the referenced portion of 4th Avenue SW.
Council Member Hill introduced Resolution No. 2019-28, A Resolution Vacating A Street, 4th Avenue SW Located South of 3rd Street SW and North of Kraft Drive Upon Petition of a Majority of Abutting Landowners. The motion was seconded by Mr. Travis Frieler with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Members Hill, Travis Frieler, Klasen, Justin Frieler, and Mayor Finken, AGAINST: None
Mayor Finken noted that the Planning and Zoning Commission held a public hearing on April 29, 2019 regarding the rezoning of parcel numbers 66.36943.0000 (Mayers); 66.36943.0020 (Norris); and 66.36941.0000 (Norris). The Norris parcels are currently home of Melrose Truck Repair, located at 305 3rd Ave SW. The Mayers lot was a former residential lot, located next to Rose Park. The Mayers lot is anticipated to be purchased by Norris. The zoning is currently R-1 (Mayers) and C-2 (Norris parcels). The Comprehensive Plan guides the Current Land use as partly MH, Mobile Home for the Mayers lot and Light Industrial for the Norris lots. The Future Land Use Designation in the Comprehensive Plan is Manufactured Home Park for the Mayers lot and General Commercial for the Norris lots. Melrose Truck Repair has existed in its current location for many years, near residential, without many, if any complaints. They are currently zoned C-2, although the use is probably more consistent with I-2 zoning. Since they are looking to acquire an additional parcel that requires rezoning, it is appropriate to review the zoning on all of the current and proposed Norris parcels at this time. The Commission recommended the land be rezoned to I-2, Light Industrial, be guided (Current Land Use) as Light Industrial and (Future Land Use) as Industrial. It was noted that a Future Land Use designation of Light Industrial would be preferred if and when that Future Land Use Designation is created as part of a major future Comprehensive Plan update. If approved, the truck repair use becomes a permitted use in the I-2, Light Industrial zoning district.
Council Member Klasen introduced Resolution No. 2019-29, Resolution Approving Comprehensive Plan Amendment for Mayers / Norris / Melrose Truck Repair (Case No. Comp-4-2019-501). The motion was seconded by Justin Frieler with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Members Klasen, Justin Frieler, Hill, Travis Frieler, and Mayor Finken. AGAINST: None
A motion was made by Mr. Hill, seconded by Mr. Travis Frieler and unanimously carried adopting Ordinance No. 05-16-2019-1, An Ordinance Amending City of Melrose Zoning Ordinance No. 1989-1-A, As Amended, and Adopted By Reference as Chapter 153 of the City of Melrose Code of Ordinances to Rezone Parcel Nos. 66.36943.0000; 66.36943.0020; and 66.36941.0000 Owned By Ervin H. Mayers Revocable Trust And Carl Steven Norris and Danelle Norris from its Zoning of R-1, Single Family Residential and C-2, Commercial Highway to I-2, Light Industrial.
Mayor Finken noted that the Planning and Zoning Commission held a public hearing on April 29, 2019 regarding the rezoning of Lot 1, Block 2, Church of St. Mary, which includes St. Mary’s School, cemetery and the new church site. It includes all land owned by the church east of 5th Ave SE. The zoning is currently R-1 (Residential) which allows daycares with up to 12 people and churches as a Conditional Use. The zoning is proposed to be P (Public) which allows churches, schools and similar uses, including daycare facilities at a school. With the modification of the preschool from half day to all day including childcare, it requires state approval as a daycare, and subsequent City consistency with zoning. The request includes all church owned land east of 5th Avenue SE. As a side note, regardless of the daycare change, the City encourages land use, zoning and guiding to match, and this is one of three sets of land within Melrose currently being considered for modifications like this to increase consistency. Prior to approving the rezoning, the Comprehensive Plan should be amended as a small portion of land is guided C-2 as it was previously owned by Stearns Electric or Patton-Schad. Other than this area and some former right-of-way areas, the land owned by the Church is primarily already guided as Public.
Council Member Travis Frieler introduced Resolution No. 2019-30, Resolution Approving Comprehensive Plan Amendment for Church of St. Mary (Case No. Comp-4-2019-502). The motion was seconded by Mr. Klasen with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Members Travis Frieler, Klasen, Justin Frieler, Hill, and Mayor Finken, AGAINST: None
Council Member Justin Frieler introduced Ordinance No. 05-16-2019-2, An Ordinance Amending City of Melrose Zoning Ordinance No. 1989-1-A, As Amended, and Adopted by Reference as Chapter 153 of the City of Melrose Code of Ordinances to Rezone Parcel No. 66.36646.0101 Owned by Church of St. Mary from its Zoning of R-1, Residential and C-2, Commercial to P, Public. The motion was seconded by Mr. Hill with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Members Justin Frieler, Hill, Klasen, Travis Frieler, and Mayor Finken, AGAINST: None
Mayor Finken stated that the Planning and Zoning Commission also held a public hearing on April 29, 2019 regarding the rezoning of parcel 66.36483.0005, with the address 207 5th St NE, generally located west of 4th Ave NE and north of 5th St NE including all land owned by St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, including the church and pastor’s residence. The zoning is currently R-1 (Residential) and the Comprehensive Plan guides the land as Public. With the review of other land guided Public in the community, an effort was made to encourage land, and in particular church land, which is guided as Public to be zoned Public. The City encourages land use, zoning and guiding to match, and this is one of three sets of land within Melrose currently being considered for modifications like this to increase consistency. The City indicated their willingness to initiate the request to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, which the church found generally acceptable. If approved, the status of the church changes from a Conditional Use in R-1 to a Permitted Use in Public. No Comprehensive Plan amendment is required since the land is already entirely guided as Public.
Council Member Klasen introduced Ordinance No. 05-16-2019-3, An Ordinance Amending City of Melrose Zoning Ordinance No. 1989-1-A, as Amended, and Adopted by Reference as Chapter 153 of the City of Melrose Code of Ordinances to Rezone Parcel No. 66.36483.0005 Owned by St. Paul’s Lutheran Church from its Zoning of R-1, Residential to P, Public. The motion was seconded by Mr. Hill with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Members Klasen, Hill, Justin Frieler, Travis Frieler, and Mayor Finken, AGAINST: None
Mayor Finken noted that the Planning and Zoning Commission held a public hearing on April 29, 2019 regarding the rezoning of Dufner Mini Storage/Melrose Storage Center including parcel numbers 66.36455.0010 and 66.36455.0030. The parcels currently have mini-storage buildings on them. It includes 1010 5th Ave NE (Parcel number 66.36455.0010) and the parcel immediately to the east (Parcel number 66.36455.0030). The lot sizes are 2 +/- acres (western lot) and 3 +/- acres (eastern lot) for a total of 5 +/- acres. The zoning is currently RMH, Mobile Home Subdivision and the Comprehensive Plan guides the Current Land Use as partly Mobile Home (western lot) and is unspecified for the eastern lot. The Future Land Use Designation in the Comprehensive Plan is General Commercial for both lots. The RMH, Mobile Home Subdivision zoning district no longer exists and the land needs to be rezoned to a suitable existing zoning district. The City encourages land use, zoning and guiding to match, and this is one of three sets of land within Melrose currently being considered for modifications like this to increase consistency. The City indicated their willingness to initiate the request to rezone the mini storage lots, which the property owners found generally acceptable. The Commission recommended the land be rezoned to I-2, Light Industrial, and be guided (Current Land Use) as Light Industrial and (Future Land Use) as Industrial. It was noted that a Future Land Use designation of Light Industrial would be preferred if and when that Future Land Use Designation is created as part of a major future Comprehensive Plan update. If approved, the mini storage use becomes a permitted use in the I-2, Light Industrial zoning district.
Council Member Hill introduced Resolution No. 2019-31, Resolution Approving Comprehensive Plan Amendment for Dufner Mini Storage lots (Case No. Comp-4-2019-503). The motion was seconded by Mr. Travis Frieler with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Members Hill, Travis Frieler, Klasen, Justin Frieler, and Mayor Finken, AGAINST: None
Council Member Travis Frieler introduced Ordinance No. 05-16-2019-4, An Ordinance Amending City of Melrose Zoning Ordinance No. 1989-1-A, as Amended and Adopted by Reference as Chapter 153 of the City of Melrose Code of Ordinances to Rezone Parcel Nos. 66.36455.0010 and 66.36455.0030 Owned by Allan J. Dufner Revocable Trust from its Zoning of RMH, Mobile Home Subdivision to I-2, Light Industrial. The motion was seconded by Mr. Klasen with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Members Travis Frieler, Klasen, Hill, Travis Frieler, and Mayor Finken, AGAINST: None
Mayor Finken stated that the Planning and Zoning Commission held a public hearing on February 25, 2019 to consider adding an Outdoor Seating Ordinance to the City’s code that would allow an annual permit to be issued administratively to allow seating on sidewalks and public rights-of-way or easements, primarily in the downtown area. A minimum of four feet in clear walkable sidewalk must be maintained. Other criteria are outlined in the ordinance. Included in the other criteria is language allowing the City to prohibit outdoor seating on public sidewalks during public events, especially if it might pose a safety hazard due to increased pedestrian traffic, which was recommended by the Planning and Zoning Commission. After the Commission meeting, staff added some language, reviewed by the City Attorney, allowing immediate resolution of any significant safety concerns, regardless of whether there is a breach in any agreement or conditions. The ordinance also outlines the process of allowing the concerns to be rectified and the permit to be re-utilized following correction of the immediate safety concerns. The Commission recommends approval of the ordinance, which has been reviewed by City staff and the City Attorney. Ms. Atkinson stated that a permit fee needs to be established. Ms. Atkinson recommends at $15 fee. Also does the Council wish allow businesses that are not restaurant to set out benches. Mayor Finken inquired if there would be any liability on the City in case a storm would carry the furniture and cause damage. Ms. Atkinson stated that the property owner would be required to carry insurance.
Mr. Klasen felt the ordinance as written was onerous.
Mr. Justin Frieler thought charging a $15 permit fee might discourage people from applying. He thought it would not need to be permitted.
Mr. Klasen stated he would like to see the ordinance revised to a one-page ordinance and no permitting fee. Mr. Hill agreed not to charge a permitting fee; however, he suggested that the property owner should be required to sign for a copy of the ordinance so as to be aware of the requirements. Mr. Travis Frieler agreed and would like to see it open to any business, not just those serving food. A revised draft will be brought back to the Council at the June Regular Meeting.
Mayor Finken stated that the City has received complaints regarding business traffic in and around the parking and delivery areas along Turkey Lane. The topic had been previously addressed at the March 21, 2018 Council meeting and staff had sent out notices that parking was available to downtown businesses in the Arvig parking lot. It has now been requested of the Council to discuss making a no parking zone, limiting to one-hour parking, or limiting the parking during business hours. The Council discussed having no parking at various locations on the south side of Turkey Lane. Chief Maus was concerned as to how the ordinance would be written if the entire side of the street was not restricted. By consensus, the Council directed staff to investigate how an ordinance could be written or possible options to restrict parking on a portion of Turkey Lane.
Mayor Finken noted that the Council, at its March 21 meeting, discussed parking along 2nd Avenue SE. Council Member Klasen noted that parked vehicles are encroaching the street. Staff was directed to work with the County in regard to prohibiting parking. The County said that the City needs to take action and submit it to the County for approval. Mr. Klasen stated that since 2nd Avenue SE now has stripping out to the interstate on the shoulder, if the cars are encroaching into the street it would be grounds for towing; therefore, perhaps prohibited parking would no longer be needed.
Chief Maus stated that in an average snow year it may not be an issue; however, with winters that have above average snowfall, it would be difficult to enforce with just the stripping. Chief Maus stated that the County is requesting the City submit a resolution requesting prohibited parking. A motion as made by Mr. Klasen, seconded by Mr. Justin Frieler directing staff to prepare a resolution prohibiting parking on 2nd Avenue SE between Main Street East and 4th Street SE from November 1 to April 1.
Mayor Finken stated that the Council, at its May 9 Special Joint Meeting with the Utilities Commission, offered the position of City Administrator to Colleen Winter. Consultant Gary Weiers negotiated the hiring terms. A motion was made by Mr. Hill, seconded by Mr. Travis Frieler and unanimously carried approving the hiring of Ms. Winter at the negotiated terms as presented.
Mayor Finken noted that the 2003 Ambulance is scheduled to be replaced in 2020, per the City’s Five-Year Capital Improvement Plan, and had been budgeted at $180,000. Ambulance Coordinator Jenn Tschida provided an update on the replacement cost and to seek approval to go out for bids. A motion was made by Mr. Hill, seconded by Mr. Travis Frieler and unanimously carried authorizing Ambulance Coordinator to seek a bid for a new ambulance with the power lift cots.
Mayor Finken noted that the power cots in the 2014 ambulance are damaged and in need of repair. Ambulance Coordinator Tschida is requesting to replace the current cots for power load cots, which would reduce the strain on the EMTs. Ms. Tschida presented an update on costs associated with repairing/replacing the damaged cots, compared to upgrading to the power load cots.
A motion was made by Mr. Klasen, seconded by Mr. Justin Frieler and unanimously carried replacing the current cots with power load cots.
Mayor Finken stated that the Council and Utilities Commission approved the HVAC project, along with the deduct for the Daikin units at their April meetings. Staff was informed that there was a delay for the Daikin units and were presented the option of ordering York equipment to keep the project on time. The York equipment is not as efficient as the Daikin units, and it’s estimated that it would take 30% more in energy consumption. Staff has directed SEH and Mission Mechanical to continue with the Daikin units, even if it extends the project time.
City Engineer Mike Nielson provided an update on the 2019 Street Improvement Project. Mr. Nielson stated that additional sidewalk has been added to the project on 3rd Avenue at approximately $6,600. Staff at Arvig Communications also contacted Mr. Nielson regarding cementing the boulevard area along Turkey Lane. The current plan shows the boulevard along Turkey Lane to have sod placed between the curb and gutter and the sidewalk. Arvig staff has requested that this area be paved with concreted to reduce the maintenance, with the understanding that Arvig would be responsible for the difference in cost between placing sod and concrete. The cost is estimated at $2,831. Mr. Nielson also stated that sidewalk project out to Jennie-O-Turkey Store is anticipated to begin June 1, 2019. Mr. Nielson also stated that staff would need to present at the June 5, 2019 LCCMR Board Meeting.
Mayor Finken stated that the Parks and Recreation Board, at its April 25 meeting, took action recommending the Council approve the Country Club Trail project to Meadowlark Park. The project was budgeted for up to $25,000. Streets/Parks Supervisor noted that the cost of the project had come in at approximately $20,000. Mr. Klasen inquired as to the possibility of completing the loop at Meadowlark Park along with the Country Club Trail project. Many residents in that area use the current trail for walking and biking; however, since is the loop is not completed, they have to turn around. It is just a short distance to complete the trail. Mr. Middendorf stated that he did have cost estimates to complete the loop. To lay 450 feet, eight feet wide of bituminous at three inches thick would cost approximately $6,440 and an additional $7,200 for the dirt work. Mr. Middendorf stated that if staff were to do the dirt work, it would cost approximately $2,000 for a total cost of approximately $8,500.Mr. Klasen will speak to residents in the area to see if there is an interest in helping fund the completion of the loop. This will then be brought back to the Council. Mr. Hill noted the Country Club Trail project was estimated at $25,000 and the cost came in at under $20,000 leaving $5,000 in the budget which would leave a difference of approximately $3,500. A motion was made by Mr. Klasen, seconded by Mr. Justin Frieler and unanimously carried approving the Country Club Trail and the Meadowlark Loop at a cost of $25,000.
Mayor Finken noted that 5th Street North is in need of significant repairs. Streets/Parks Supervisor Middendorf is recommending moving this improvement project to 2020, rather than waiting until after the bridge is completed, as previously decided. Mr. Nielson has provided a memo prepared in 2017 for Council review. Mr. Nielson stated that if the Council is interested in moving the project forward, he recommends televising of the sanitary sewer prior to beginning the design work. The Council, by consensus, was interested in moving the project to 2020.
Mayor Finken stated that during Community Development Director Atkinson’s family medical leave, staff is proposing to hire Jane Brown, with Brown and Associates. The Planning and Zoning Commission, at its April 29, 2019 meeting, approved the recommendation. A motion was made by Mr. Hill, seconded by Mr. Klasen and unanimously carried to approve entering into the proposed contract with Brown and Associates.
The City is still utilizing the original phone system and equipment that was installed when the building was constructed. In 2016, the City and Utility had a combined $37,500 in the capital plan to upgrade the phone system, but it was not done at that time. The phones are starting to fail now and are becoming unreliable. The upgraded phone system includes an internet upgrade and will utilize the data network and network PoE switches that have recently been upgraded. Arvig, the City’s phone and IT provider, has provided two quotes to upgrade the system:
• Purchase Option: The first option is an upfront cost of $9,071.50 and the new monthly services would be $2,760 per month, which is a savings of approximately $200/month. This is a five-year contract with a one-year warranty on the phones.
• Lease Option: The second option is a managed system and leased option, which has an upfront cost of $1,200 and the new monthly phone services would be $2,994 per month, which is consistent with our current charges. Arvig will maintain the phones and provide the labor during the contract.
The Utilities Commission, at its May 13 meeting, approved the leasing option.
After further discussion, Mr. Klasen stated that perhaps the City do a one-year lease thus allowing time to research other options.
Mr. Klasen would like to further research what is being proposed.
A motion was made by Mr. Klasen, seconded by Travis Frieler and unanimously carried to table action on upgrading the phone and internet service.
Mayor Finken stated that Part-time Streets/Parks Maintenance Worker Allen Wolbeck has submitted his notice of retirement with the City of Melrose, effective June 14, 2019. This role also performs work for the Utility Departments. Streets/Parks Supervisor Middendorf has reviewed the position and is requesting to fill this position, which is a 0.75 FTE (1,600 hours budgeted).
The Utilities Commission will take action at its May 13, 2019 meeting.
A motion was made by Mr. Hill, seconded by Mr. Justin Frieler and unanimously carried approving to backfill the position and post for the Streets/Parks Maintenance Worker position.
The following informational items were reviewed:
The minutes from the Commission’s April 8 Regular Meeting, the April 11 Special Joint Meeting with the Council – Audit Meeting, the April 18 Special Joint Meeting with the Council, and the April 23 Special Meeting.
State Farm Grant correspondence.
The following are schools and/or conferences where registrations were made:
Microsoft Excel Basics – August 12. Attending: Office Assistant II Sharon Blaskowski
The Minnesota Department of Revenue Correspondence on the Volunteer Tax Preparation Program.
A motion was made by Mr. Klasen, seconded by Mr. Justin Frieler and unanimously carried that the meeting be adjourned at 7:45 p.m.
Patricia Haase, City Clerk

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