The Melrose City Council met in a Regular Meeting on Thursday, November 19, 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, Travis Frieler, 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 amended. The motion was seconded by Mr. Travis Frieler with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Member: Justin Frieler, Travis Frieler, Hill, Klasen, and Mayor Finken; AGAINST: None
The following items were considered for approval under the Consent Agenda
a. The minutes from the Council’s October 15 Special Meeting, October 15 Regular Meeting and the October 29 Special Meeting.
b. List of bills in the amount of $814,372.88
c. List of investments for the month of October
d. On 11/21/20 Matt Moorman will complete three years of service. Police Chief Craig Maus has conducted a review and it is favorable; therefore, recommends approval of a step increase from start step 3 to step 4.
e. Darrin Bettin has submitted his letter of resignation from the Police Reserve. The Council to accept Mr. Bettin’s resignation
f. 1) Resolution No. 2020-58 donation in the amount of $500 from Melrose VFW towards the Melrose Area Chamber of Commerce Holiday Kick-Off Fireworks
2) Resolution No. 2020-62 donation in the amount of $5,000 from the Melrose Lions towards the Melrose Fire Department for radios.
g. The City Council met in a special joint meeting on October 12, 2020 to discuss salary and benefit negotiations for the City Administrator. City Administrator Winter is proposed to increase to Step 5, effective December 17, 2020, as well as increase in vacation accrual from 120 hours to 160 hours per year
A motion was made by Mr. Hill to approve the Consent Agenda items. The motion was seconded by Mr. Travis Frieler with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Member: Hill, Travis Frieler, Justin Frieler, Klasen and Mayor Finken; AGAINST: None
Bryan Bauk CenterCare Melrose Administrator provided an update on the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact on the health care facility. To present the gravity of the situation. Mr. Bauk presented some of the latest covid statics and the increase in number of positive cases as well as an increase in hospitalization. About 30 percent of patients at St. Cloud Hospital are COVID-19 positive. Mr. Bauk stated that to manage the current surge, CentraCare has designated the Sauk Centre hospital to care exclusively for COVI-19 patients. Bryan Bauck, administrator of CentraCare-Melrose, said the changes will help CentraCare use its resources more efficiently, including staff and medical equipment. But he said it will have an impact on local communities.
Finance Director Tessa Beuning presented the General Fund Financial Third Quarter Report. Ms. Beuning stated that the General Fund revenue is at 68% and the expenditures are at 59%. Half of the property tax levy and local government aid has been received, with the second half coming in December. Building permit revenue is slightly low, at 64%. Interest revenue is much higher than originally anticipated and has exceeded the annual budgeted amount. Charges for administrative services are not recorded until year end, as well as approximately $23,000 received at year end from Stearns County for street maintenance. The 3rd quarter building inspector fees are paid in July, and the fire contract payment is made in December. Various transfers, to the MADA Fund, Bridge Fund, Tri-Cap and Fire Fund are made at year end.
MADA- Much of the revenue at this point is relating to interest income. The transfer from the General Fund will be made at year end. There have been minimal expenses as of 9/30/20.
Ambulance Dept- Ambulance Revenue is at 81% and the Expenditures are at 76%. The Ambulance Dept received a stimulus grant relating to Covid-19 costs. Administrative fee transfers to the General Fund are done at year end. Account maintenance was done on the old receivable accounts resulting in a higher write off expense. There were maintenance expenses for fresh air intakes during the first quarter.
Fire Dept-The Revenue for the Fire Dept is at 98%. 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 136% of the budget, due to the purchase of the Argo. Additionally, there were maintenance costs for the fire station. Vehicle expenses were higher than average also due to repairs needed on Engine #506. Legal expenses were high due to the grant writing fees for the 2019 FEMA grant application. Other expenses were low due to salaries and building rent not being paid until year end.
Special Revenue Funds-These funds include the Business Imp Loan Fund, Senior Activity Center, Tri Cap Bus and Yellow Bike Program. The revenues include interest earned, bus service revenues and miscellaneous contributions.
Capital Project Funds – These funds include the Capital Improvement Fund, TIF Accounts as well as the 5th Avenue 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. Work has been mostly completed on the 2020 Street Improvement projects, as well as maintenance work on the City Center skylight and HVAC system. The Street Department split the purchase of a new water truck with the Water Dept.
Debt Service Funds- Property tax revenues have not yet been received; however the principal payments and first half of the interest payments have been made. This is covered with the positive cash balances in the other governmental funds until the tax revenue is received throughout the year.
Police Chief Maus presented the Police Department’s October 2020 report. Chief Maus noted there were 338 calls for service during that month, compared to 313 calls for October 2019. A total of 29 citations were written for the month of October. There were 77 verbal warnings and 14 written warning. The year-to-date number of calls is 3,253 compared to 3,667 in 2019. For the month of October 2020, the Department received 38 agency assist calls. Chief Maus reminded residents that winter parking has gone into effect November 1 through April 1. Parking is prohibited in the Downtown Business District from 3:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. daily.
During the period from October 7, 2020 through November 12, 2020, the City Attorney has not given significant attention to any projects on behalf of the City of Melrose.
The Community Development report was presented. City Administrator Winter provided an update on the year to date building permits. Administrator Winter also reported on the Small Business Assistance Grant Program.
Mike Nielson with WSB & Associates provided an update on the various city projects.
Pavement Management: Pavement cores have been completed and Mr. Nielson has received a DRAFT report to review. We will review the proposed design and cost estimates with staff and will be presented at the December council meeting.
WSB Project No. R-014036-000 – CR 65 Drainage Improvements -Contractor: Anderson Underground. Molitor Excavating has dug up the pipe on the south side of the road and found that the sag extends under CR 65. We will be discussing options with the county to and the contractor. At this point the only solution(s) seems to be to either dig up the road or re-drill the crossing. I will be setting up a meeting with Gary Middendorf and the contractor to discuss our options.
WSB Project No. R-015456-000 2020 Street Improvements including 5th Street N, 4th St. N & 3rd Ave N Punch list items will be completed in the spring of 2021.
WSB Project No. R-015524-000 Casey’s South Site Inspection – This project has been completed!
2nd Street S and 3rd Ave SE Flooding Issue -5th Avenue Storm Sewer System: We have begun work on this project but have not progressed far enough to have alternatives to evaluate. We expect that by next month we can review at the staff level.
WSB Project No. R-015500-000 Melrose Road, Dam, and Bridge –
Roadway: Evaluating options to address sight distance issue at the intersection of 1st St and 5th Ave.
– Roadway alignment and profile to be finalized after verification of bridge low member elevation and depth.
Structures: – No update since 5/14/20 project update.
– Dam inspection on October 29, 2020
– Reviewed O&M manual on October 29, 2020
– Following up with DNR and finalizing water pool elevations.
– O&M and inspection report will be finalized upon receipt of this information.
– AET will be under contract within one week and expected to perform single structural boring in late November.
– Developed 2D proposed conditions bridge hydraulic model. QC-ing this week. Will use results to initiate discussions with DNR Floodplain group and for use in moving forward with bridge design.
– Had a discussion with COE related to permitting for a net loss in stream length using the debit calculator to understand repercussions. We currently have a 10-20 foot increase in functional foot length of the river with the proposed design. Given the small level of improvement and need for continued refinements to the design, we wanted to understand if a net loss is permissible.
They indicated that it is permissible and a final determination would be based upon ongoing coordination with them.
– Preliminary grading design complete for the area between the Dam and bridge.
City Administrator Winter provided an update on the Holiday Kick-Off. Due to COVID-19 the event has been scaled back. The Ferris-wheel and merry-go-round rides have been cancelled. The parade will be a drive-by parade. The fireworks will still be held, and retail businesses will be open. City Administrator Winter reminded residents to please shop local.
Mayor Finken stated that the Minnesota Legislature appropriated $3,500,000 to the Melrose Public Utilities Facilities Authority to the Melrose Wastewater Treatment Facility, with provisions for a grant to the city of Melrose to design, construct and equip improvements to the municipal wastewater treatment facility to expand the capacity of the facility and replace infrastructure and that have reached the end of their useful life. MPFA has sent notice that to receive this money, applications must submit required information before entering into a grant agreement
Council Member Hill introduced Resolution No. 2020-59, Resolution Supporting Application for Minnesota Public Facilities Authority Grant. The motion was seconded by Mr. Travis Frieler with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Members Hill, Travis Frieler, Justin Frieler, Klasen, and Mayor Finken; AGAINST: None
Mayor Finken noted that the Melrose Public Utilities Commission Authorized SEH Inc. to develop plans and specifications for the 2020 WWTF Improvements on May 8, 2019. The proposed improvements include expansions from 3.0 MGD to 3.5 MDG, new Preliminary Treatment Building, addition of new Final Clarified, and improvements to the final clarification process. The estimated construction cost is $10,350,000. Council Member Travis Frieler introduced Resolution No. 2020-60, Resolution Approving Plans and Specifications and Ordering Advertisement for Bids for the 2020 Melrose WWTF Improvements. The motion was seconded by Mr. Justin Frieler with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Members Travis Frieler, Justin Frieler, Hill, Klasen, and Mayor Finken; AGAINST: None
Mayor Finken noted that on Tuesday, Nov. 10th, Governor Walz held a press conference and issued new Executive Orders related to additional measures to combat coronavirus. Dr. George Morris head of Centracare and Dr. Marc Glorelick head of Children’s Minnesota also presented as part of the Press conference.
The questions for the Council are as follows:
– Do we want to implement an Emergency Resolution again giving the Mayor the power to make decisions on behalf of the City?
– Do we want to change how business is conducted at the City Center?
– Do we want to restrict the use of our meeting room space?
– What should be done with the Sr. Center?
The council by consensus directed city attorney Dymoke to prepare the emergency declaration resolution and schedule a special meeting for early to mid-next week. After further discussion the Council by consensus determined that the City Center is to remain open. Also by consensus the Council agreed that the Senior Center be closed however the meeting rooms remain available to essential groups ie, support group meetings, educational training to essential employees, etc.
Mayor Finken noted that as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, many local businesses have struggled with the economic impacts. Melrose Area Development Authority (MADA) has authorized to provide assistance grants to impacted businesses, in conjunction with the Stearns County grant program. MADA has awarded grants totaling $19,633.72 to two local businesses. The funding source for MADA is primarily from the General Fund budgeted operating transfers. Council Member Hill introduced Resolution No. 2020-61 Resolution Authorizing 2020 General Fund Transfer to the Melrose Area Development Authority (MADA) for Business Assistance Grants. The motion was seconded by Mr. Travis Frieler with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Members Hill, Travis Frieler, Justin Frieler, and Mayor Finken; AGAINST: Council Member Klasen
The following informational items were then reviewed:
a. Utilities Commission’s October 12, 2020 Regular Meeting Minutes.
A motion was made by Mr. Travis Frieler to adjourn the meeting at 7:15 p.m. The motion was seconded by Mr. Klasen with a roll call vote recorded as follows: FOR: Council Member: Travis Frieler, Klasen, Justin Frieler, Hill, and Mayor Finken; AGAINST: None
Patricia Haase, City Clerk