May 7, 2007
Councilmember Bowman moved and Councilmember Brinkman seconded to approve the Consent Agenda as presented. The agenda included the minutes of the April 16, 2007 regular meeting, the April 16, 2007 Board of Review Continuation meeting, and the April 23, 2007 special meeting of the Goodview City Council. All voted aye, and the motion carried.
Councilmember Bowman mentioned he received a call from Councilmember Andring concerning the issue of the Police Reserves notifying residents of non-compliant house numbering. Councilmember Bowman indicated it would have been nice for the residents to be aware this was going to take place ahead of time to maybe decrease the number of warning letters distributed. Also, if the Council would have known this was going to take place they could have fielded questions from residents more appropriately. Chief of Police LaVern Hauschildt gave examples of how important it is to have proper house numbers in case of emergencies. The Mayor told the Council he thought this was a good use of the Reserve Officers. Councilmember Brinkman expressed that he thought it was a good sequence of events. On another issue Councilmember Bowman pointed out he thought putting water softeners in every house in the City would help the radium issue in the City's drinking water. This was per a test study done on the City's water supply. Greg Volkart, Director of Public Works, informed the Council the City suggested this to the State Department of Health last year, and they rejected the idea based on the fact there would be no guarantees all the water would go through the softener and that the softeners would be properly maintained. He said the City estimated it would cost less than $1,000,000 to put a water softener in every household within the City with a contract with a local vendor to maintain them. The Federal EPA establishes the rules that the State Department of Health administers.
The City Administrator, Dan Matejka, informed the Council there might be some Federal help when it comes to financing for the City's radium removal project. He indicated the City has had discussions in the last week with Senator Norm Coleman's Washington, D.C. office on the likelihood of the project being included in a bill from the Senate's Environment and Public Works committee. The bill involves the Army Corp of Engineers and the potential appropriation requested at $3,000,000. The Mayor pointed out that although nothing is a given until actually signed into law, it at least appears the City is finally getting the support it has been asking for since the beginning of this whole project.
Administrative Reports: The City Administrator explained the item of the 50% sales tax exemption language in the Tax Omnibus bill at the State legislator. He did indicate the Tax bill probably would be vetoed by the Governor as it stands, but hopefully the City's portion would survive the new language after the veto.
Greg Volkart informed the Council he would not be at th
Assessment hearing on May 14 due to a family commitment. Also the City will be placing ads for the sale of three vehicles in the local newspaper. The new Police building is proceeding along, and the City plans to seal the roof in the next few weeks. Councilmember Brinkman asked if there were any updates concerning the railroad crossings within the City. Mr. Volkart indicated at this time there was nothing new to present as it is up to Congress to determine funding, but we do anticipate a report from the State DOT soon. Councilmember Ledebuhr inquired if all crossings are required to have the islands or just a few as Winona doesn't have them at every crossing. Once again Mr. Volkart informed the Council the islands are mandatory at all crossings to have a whistle-free zone through out Goodview. The Council was informed the City Engineer will be present for the Assessment hearing on May 14 to answer any project questions.
The Chief of Police reviewed his report and gave the Council a quick update on the Rocky Roppe situation. He indicated Mr. Roppe has a court appearance scheduled for Friday, May 11, 2007, at 10:00 a.m. for violating the restraining order against him, and for the citations served upon him to date. He informed the Council he had a conversation with Rocky's caseworker, and hopes the caseworker can help guide Rocky to understand the situation. The Mayor indicated the case deserves sensitivity for all those involved. The Mayor questioned the Chief if other law enforcement agencies assist the City when needed since we seem to assist them a lot. The Chief said it was definitely a two-way street when it comes to assisting other agencies.
City Administrator Matejka reviewed the handout on the Fire Safety Program the City has, and informed the Council this was just informational and no formal action is required. It is so noted the Council reviewed the program.
Both the City Administrator and Director of Public Works reviewed the request from the Habitat for Humanity to vacate two feet of a Utility easement in Sunny Acres. They also indicated there were no concerns on part of the City with granting such a request. Councilmember Brinkman moved and Councilmember Bowman seconded to approve the request to vacate two feet of a Utility easement in Sunny Acres for Habitat for Humanity. All voted aye, motion carried.
Dan Matejka explained the reasoning behind Resolution No. 0755. Councilmember Brinkman asked what the final cost-sharing percentages were between the City and the Project, and was informed by Mr. Matejka the numbers were 41.49% and 58.51% respectively. Councilmember Bowman moved and Councilmember Ledebuhr seconded that RESOLUTION NO. 0755, A RESOLUTION DECLARING COST TO BE ASSESSED AND ORDERING PREPARATION OF PROPOSED ASSESSMENTS FOR 2007 UTILITY AND STREET IMPROVEMENT PROJECT FOR WOODHAVEN I ESTATES, be adopted. All voted aye with Councilmember Brinkman abstaining. The Resolution was declared adopted.
The City Administrator informed the Council of the lack of clarity with Ordinance No. 75, and said the City needs to fine-tune the ordinance to meet today's world. He mentioned he has already received two inquires about the ordinance from residents of Woodhaven I Estates. Councilmember Bowman agrees on setting criteria as far as income is concerned, but would prefer it to be in percentage form and not dollar form. He also believes a place to start would be either the current poverty level or ability to pay level. Mayor Weimerskirch said it was the intent in 1995 when Ordinance No. 75 was originally passed to use the poverty level, because the Council didn't want to impose a major hardship for anyone to pay. The Council directed administration to come back to Council with recommendations for a revised Ordinance No. 75 based on investigation and legal review.
The Mayor outlined the procedures that will be followed for the Assessment hearing on Monday, May 14, 2007. These steps basically are; call to order, open the floor for public comments, close the public meeting, followed by either a vote or a call to suspend the meeting until a future date. City Administrator Matejka informed the Council both the City Engineer and City Attorney will be at the meeting. Councilmember Ledebuhr asked how the financing/bonding costs of the project are handled. Mr. Matejka explained those costs were split proportionally based on the cost-sharing of the project, which is how it is addressed in the Assessment Policy the Council approved on December 4, 2006. Woodhaven resident Arlan Runningen questioned assessing part of these costs onto the residents, along with charging the residents an additional percentage point in interest over the rate the City is borrowing at for administration costs. Mr. Runningen claimed this was all new details the residents were not aware of. Mr. Matejka informed all in attendance the City had been communicating that figures being talked about did not include finance costs, but would include them in the end. Mr. Runningen asked if he could receive copies of assessment rolls and financing for past projects. Both the Mayor and City Administrator said the City will review past projects, and get copies to Mr. Runningen. Councilmember Brinkman asked the Council if they would be willing to review these past projects on the 14th of May. He also did say, based on the current Assessment Policy, the cost-sharing of the bonding costs is accurate. Councilmember Bowman clarified that these costs were never part of the discussion between the City and the residents on potential cost-sharing scenarios, but if the bonding agency (Ehlers & Associates) recommends the extra one percent on the interest - then he is comfortable with that. The Mayor pointed out when a project is put forward; the final numbers communicated to the public include all figures that make up the total costs. Councilmember Brinkman indicated he has heard many questions concerning locations of the stubs for the different services, and can I (the resident) get it where I would like it. Greg Volkart said those are questions the City Engineer could answer the night of the meeting.
One item not on the agenda was a request from Mr. Denny Ellefson to vacate a drainage easement in Brom Woods in order for him to adjust the size and direction of two existing lots, both of which would still meet the City's minimum square footage requirement. Greg Volkart presented a plot plan of the existing easement, and told the Council the City didn't initially require it as it was a requirement from the MPCA. He said it is more a settlement basin than a drainage easement, and that the City doesn't want to be involved in the responsibility of the maintenance of it. Mayor Weimerskirch informed the Council he had visited with Mr. Ellefson on Friday, May 4, at the site and thought it to be of good business sense. Councilmember Ledebuhr inquired if vacating this area would cause any problems with drainage in the future. Mr. Volkart didn't believe there would be any issues. Councilmember Brinkman asked for Mr. Ellefson to re-draw the plot plan showing the change, and to bring it back to the next Council meeting. After Mr. Ellefson expressed his desire to have an answer as quickly as possible, the Mayor suggested the Council could call for a special meeting to act on the Ellefson request quickly. City Administrator Dan Matejka suggested each Councilmember contact Mr. Ellefson independently to review the request and visit the site before the special meeting. Councilmember Bowman moved and Councilmember Ledebuhr seconded to call for a special meeting on Wednesday, May 9, 2007, at 4:00 p.m. to act on the request from Mr. Denny Ellefson to vacate an easement in Brom Woods. All voted aye, motion carried.
Adjournment 6:25 p.m.