February 25, 2008
Consent Agenda: Councilmember Andring moved and Councilmember Ledebuhr seconded to approve the Consent Agenda as presented. The agenda included the minutes of the February 4, 2008 meeting, the minutes of the special meeting of February 13, 2008, and the February, 2008 claims reviewed by Mayor Weimerskirch and Councilmember Ledebuhr. All voted aye, motion carried.
Twenty-three residents were in attendance at the meeting to voice their concerns pertaining to water and sewer hookup in the potential annexation area, alley vacation, or the Hershberger Logging conditional use request.
The Mayor stated that there were multiple items on the agenda for the Council meeting beginning with the Community Comment/Input time agenda addition. It was recommended to look into the limitation of community input time, and although always welcomed, there was a need to put into a place a policy to maintain control of the Council meetings. This was in direct response to the Kirkwood, Missouri tragedy. Darlene Luedtke was in attendance to present her concerns regarding the possible conditional use for the Hershberger Logging Company located at 4645 6th St. She will not be at the scheduled meeting on March 3, 2008. The Mayor stated that the Council is unable to comment on the issues she was presenting due to the actual hearing scheduled for March 3, 2008. It was with this understanding that Mrs. Luedtke presented her information to the Council. She stated that she and Don Dittrich, who was also in attendance and one of the affected residents, contacted the residents within 500 feet of the conditional use property on a petition against the request fifty-five signatures were obtained. Mrs. Luedtke then presented to the Council folders containing information pertaining to the conditional use issues including pictures, a letter and copies of the signed petition, the original which is in the possession of the Administrator. Don Dittrich, who will be unable to attend the March 3 meeting but is also affected by the conditional use, questioned item number one on the proposed restrictions - machinery operation and the days and times of operations, and if the weekends would be included in that operation. Neighbors were concerned with noise issues on the weekends when time is spent outside. Mr. Dittrich also questioned item number three - machinery serviced inside the building and if the doors would be opened or closed during that time which would also be a noise level issue. Mrs. Luedtke then questioned item number four regarding equipment washing and whose responsibility it would be for ground clean up. She was concerned with all of the proposed restrictions and how enforcement would be handled. As there were no further comments, Mayor Weimerskirch thanked Mrs. Luedtke for her input and stated that the public hearing is scheduled for Monday, March 3, 2008.
The Mayor closed the regular meeting and opened the public hearing for the request for the vacation of a section of the dedicated public alleyway located between 41st & 43rd Avenues north of Ninth Street. Dan Tropple, Norv and Judy Lockwood, Linda Larson and Bob & Sherry Richardson, residents in the area of the alleyway were in attendance.
Bob Richardson then spoke stating he initially requested the vacation. He stated that he would like to clarify his position on the letter sent to the Council. His property located at Lot 1, Block 3 has the alleyway running along the rear of his property along with the 20 foot easement. The alleyway discussion was with the maintenance of the alley. He then informed the council that he and Norv and Judy Lockwood do the majority of the maintenance, which is also used as access to their garages. He clarified that he would like an easement if the properties affected had garages that faced the back alleyway. The 20' easement abuts up to Dan Tropple's property but contains mostly sod and grass. Currently there is a large pile of snow located in the area of Mr. Richardson's property that is making it nearly impossible for him to gain access to a semi parked on his property. Judy Lockwood requested that the alley remain open as this is their only access to bringing their vehicles in and out. Mr. Richardson has stated that he has contacted a snow removal contractor to remove the snow but he will only do so at the time of the next snowfall. Dan Tropple requested keeping the alley open. As a representative also of the Goodview Fire Department he emphasized that keeping the alleyway open would give the fire trucks better access in case of a fire emergency. Linda Larson also requested to keep the alleyway open and that the residents currently are maintaining the alley. There is an issue with a resident plowing the snow directly into the alleyway, which she believes is illegal and should be ticketed for. The snow then blocks access for the other residents. The alley is currently not maintained by the City. It was asked if the City could maintain the alleyway. Director of Public Utilities, Greg Volkart stated that the Council has been approached previously about maintaining the alleyways but council policy is that the City does not maintain alleys. It is a narrow pathway and the snow, if plowed by the City, would possibly end up against the residents' garages. The Mayor said the offending neighbor should be contacted and informed of snow removal policies. The City will initially remove the snow as requested then follow up on plowing of the snow in the future. Councilmember Bowman inquired as to how many alleys are located in Goodview with the response being two. After further discussion, Councilmember Bowman suggested revisiting the property in the spring before any decision would be made on the vacation request. Councilmember Ledebuhr requested that all property lines be located before the issue was reevaluated in the spring. Councilmember Bowman moved and Councilmember Ledebuhr seconded that Resolution NO. 0779 A RESOLUTION PROVIDING FOR THE VACATION OF A PORTION OF THE ALLEYWAY LOCATED BETWEEN 41ST & 43RD AVENUE JUST NORTH OF 9TH STREET IN THE CITY OF GOODVIEW BE DENIED. All voted aye. The motion was carried.
Mayor Weimerskirch then introduced Jay Kruger of Construction Management Services. Mr. Kruger gave a presentation relative to the potential of the City outsourcing building inspector services. The Mayor gave a brief summarization of the procedures used at the City level regarding building permits. The Mayor stated that the City had adopted the State code at one time. The plumbing and electrical codes are currently followed. The construction companies follow procedures on those two issues. The Mayor noted that in actual construction of houses that the City has followed the State code. If a property owner is in the process of building a house he may need to contact someone like Mr. Kruger to come down and inspect a premise to see if the actual building contractor is following building procedures. This became a problem with some of the homes in the flood areas and construction issues with the homes not being up to code. If an inspector had been involved at the initial construction stage, some of the problems would have been avoided. This type of inspector would then work with the City in protecting the interests of the citizens and their construction issues would be up to code. Mr. Kruger asked if the City had adopted the State code and if building permits were being issued, upon which the Mayor replied that the City was. Mr. Kruger stated that the City would be liable for those building permits and any issues that may be involved. If the State code was not adopted he suggested a revision of the wording on the current city permits to relieve the City of any liability. Mr. Kruger stated that this is not a catchall for every type of construction. Currently his company does inspections for 37 different counties, townships and cities. Mr. Kruger stated his inspections would be dealing with would be new construction, remodels and additions and many other building projects. It would put all contractors on an even playing field in regard to code compliance on their projects. The Mayor then asked Mr. Kruger on the type procedures that would be used in issuing a building permit using his company. He stated that they are very flexible in meetings with prospective residents planning to do construction before issuing a permit to make sure all plans are compliant and can thus help in the processing of the permit. He also requested that the City check zoning and building requirement ordinances before sending permits to Mr. Kruger. Once in order, the permit would be sent to Mr. Kruger and the plans reviewed and the City would then be notified that the permit is in compliance and that construction can begin. Councilmember Andring questioned how fees would be charged. He was informed that a sample fee schedule was included with the Council packet as examples of how fees would be calculated. Normally fees are based on the estimated value of a resident's home. He said the fees set up by the City would be to pay for the inspection services. He recommended that a fee schedule be set up and be adopted by the City council and have it in place if and when Mr. Kruger and his company services would be used. Once a permit is approved, one copy would be with the CMS Company, one to the City and one to the resident. Councilmember Bowman inquired as to when fees would be paid and Mr. Kruger suggested that they should be paid at the time of the building permit application. In some building instances a verbal approval can be done. The Mayor then inquired if there is any record of the City adopting State Code. Currently the Administrator is looking into the actual record of this. Councilmember Bowman did not believe the City adopted the code as he believes the City followed Winona County. When they did not adopt the code, the City rescinded their adoption of the code. Mr. Kruger also stated that prior to incorporating a building inspector that previous building permits would be grandfathered in. Mayor Weimerskirch thanked Mr. Kruger for his informational presentation on building inspections and their requirements.
The Mayor then began discussion regarding the potential City contribution to hookup charges for the Saehler/Anderson and Gunderson /Connaughty subdivisions affected by the flood. He then introduced Greg Kuehntopp Township Board Chairman who was in attendance at the meeting representing the proposed annexation area. Greg Kuehntopp gave the results of the ballots taken at the February 13, 2008 meeting as seventy three to seventy four percent in favor of annexation. There were approximately 34 residents not in attendance, but once the township made contact, the annexation approval percentage increased to between eighty and ninety percent. A strip of twelve properties located on the south side of Hwy 23 will not be included as the majority of the residents there were not in favor of the annexation. The option will be available to annex in at a later date without issue from Rollingstone Township. The Mayor then explained that the annexation negotiations are in process. Tax proposals are now being done which will possibly be a five-year plan. It will be a gradual process to bring the City's tax rate to the newly annexed subdivisions. Currently City tax rates will not be collected from the newly annexed areas until 2010. The full Goodview tax rates will be collected in 2011. The Mayor then stated that Bruce Speltz is the representative for Rollingstone Township and Greg Volkart and Dan Matejka are representing the City in annexation negotiations. The Mayor then began the discussion of the approximate costs for hookup to City water and sewer. A 100-foot hookup would be approximately $50 per foot or an approximate cost of $4000 - $5000. Some estimated distances are between 100 to 200 feet. The Mayor acknowledged that the City could possibly pay an amount of $1000 per affected flood property owner. Township Board Chairman Greg Kuehntopp said approximately 103 homes are to be annexed in. Greg Volkart stated that he felt that there were approximately 85 homes affected by the flood. The Mayor stated that the $1000 offered to each flood affected resident would remain until such time that the resident chose to proceed with hookup. The Mayor then again reiterated that the $3.8 million dollar grant is an opportunity not to be passed up. Councilmember Ledebuhr questioned the possibility of the unaffected residents swaying those affected by the flood at the Special Rollingstone Township meeting to be held on March 5, into a reversal of the annexation. Greg Kuehntopp stated he felt very confident that this would not happen, He said that he believed the residents in attendance at the February 13, 2008 meeting spoke as to what they wanted. Councilmember Ledebuhr inquired that once an amount is voted on is it permanent, which the Mayor stated it would be. Councilmember Bowman was concerned with where the amounts would be taken from in the City's budget to cover these hookup expenses. He stated that there would not be any sizable amount of tax money coming in from the newly annexed areas until 2010 or 2011. Along with hookup charges, maintenance expenses will be needed in the newly annexed areas. Discussion was then opened up to affected residents. Kevin Kronebusch, an affected flood resident believes that it is the City's responsibility to pay completely for the hookup charges for each affected flood resident. He noted that when the initial FEMA grant became available, that the City at that time was willing to pay 35% of the remaining 25% not covered by the FEMA grant. Mr. Kronebusch stated his property has lost value; expenses have been tremendous and felt that the hookup fees would be an additional monetary hardship. The Mayor stated that in the previous FEMA grant the owners would be assessed and the City would pay 35% percent of the 25% remaining, which would have been $310,000. Mr. Kronebusch commented that flood victims were partially responsible for the grant money being allocated to the City. Mr. Kronebusch argued that in the previous grant the City was prepared to contribute more than $310,000 to the cost of extending utility services. He stated that amount should be applied to the hookup fees. Councilman Bowman stated that the City was not sitting on the money. The City is giving up a large amount of tax money for approximately three years. The City would be forfeiting more than $170,000 in property taxes in the first few years, along with the expenses incurred for maintaining the new annexed areas. Resident Craig Smith also confirmed the opinion of Mr. Kronebusch. Resident Dave McConville was appreciative of all that has been done in establishing the annexation process and suggested to possibly pay the entire hookup charges not out of pocket but with a bonding issue through the City. Mayor Weimerskirch acknowledged that could be a possibility along with the study of other funds to pay for the hookups. Councilmember Ledebuhr then requested clarification on the $3.8 million received. If the bid were under estimation would the remaining amount that was not used be processed for the hookup charges? Greg Volkart stated that any leftover monies would be returned to the State and that the hookup amounts cannot be included in the grant monies. Greg Volkart noted that the bid estimates would need to come in at approximately $3,000,000, as there is a 15% fee for engineering included in the grant total. Councilmember Brinkman, who initially was against any funding for hookup charges but acknowledged he, could see how this expense could affect the homeowners. He suggested assessing the residents for the fees but that is not something that can be done legally in City finances. He feels that he would support whatever was fair for all involved. Councilmember Andring questioned if $1000 is enough or would an increased amount be an investment for the City's future. Councilmember Ledebuhr stressed that currently the City has no concrete amount for bids and currently only has an engineering estimate. The Mayor stated that there would not be a formalized bid until the annexation was complete and plans and specs were prepared and bids were received. Resident Dave McConville said that he believes that once bids are received, that from the City's previous record on constructions costs he believes costs would be close to exact. Once those costs were established then hookup amounts could be calculated. Carol Olson then thanked the City for all of their care and concern during the flood. Greg Gibbs of the Gunderson subdivision had hookup concerns and said that the properties were not designed for city water and sewer. He had concerns with the direction of the hookups and if there would be issues with some of the resident's driveways. He stated that his cost could be in the area of $10,000. The Mayor said that septic and well replacements costs could be as much as $20,000 and felt that $10,000 was a reasonable amount. Greg Gibbs was also concerned with the valuation of his home and at the rate his property would be assessed and the affect on his taxes. The Mayor stated that it would be advisable for Mr. Gibbs to attend the Board of Review for the Township in April or if the annexation is complete, he would be able to attend the City of Goodview Board of Review in April where he would be able to present his case on the justification for the recalculation of the value of his home. Tim Scharmer asked if there would be a benefit to contractually bid for hookup installations rather than have individual installations. The Mayor stated that this has not been done in the past but the City staff could certainly look into it. Mary Jo Murray acknowledged that she hopes that it would be a possibility. Tim Scharmer asked if homes were located next to each other would there be a possibility of just placing one trench along the property line but have the hookups going separately to each property. Greg Volkart, Director of Public Utilities said there is a possibility of it being done. Mr. Scharmer also questioned where the location of the piping would be placed. Greg Volkart stated that the homeowners would need to meet with their plumbers to decide on a location and that would be where piping would then be placed. The piping is installed at a minimum of 8 -10 feet down in order to service basement areas. Councilmember Brinkman asked if the status of the annexation agreement was firm, wherein the Mayor stated that the agreement is currently a tentative annexation agreement with finalization being completed hopefully by mid March. He said that the City would address all concerns for both the City and annexed areas. Councilman Bowman expressed concern for the availability of City funds for the hookups. Financial issues are on going and being studied by the City Administrator with assistance from the Mayor. The Mayor said that the City is committed to assisting the residents in hookup costs and believes that a solid amount needs to be put in place for the residents. Councilmember Brinkman questioned the addition of curb and gutter. The Mayor said it could be bid an option and would be taken out of the project. Greg Volkart stated that curb and gutter was not included in the original estimates for the project. The Mayor asked for any more comments and then thanked all of the residents for attending the meeting and thanked them for their input.
The Mayor then talked of the Legislative Day meeting attended by him and the City
Administrator. LGA monies were discussed along with state transportation issues. Both the Administrator and Mayor were able to discuss issues pertinent to the City of Goodview with many lawmakers at the meeting.
The Mayor then asked if the Councilmembers had any other concerns. Councilmember Ledebuhr asked about the necessity of a building inspector. Mayor stated that there will be further discussion on the subject. Director of Public Utilities, Greg Volkart said that he felt that the City had at one time adopted the State code but then it was rescinded at the same time as the County. The Mayor asked if there were a possibility of one of the current maintenance employees being trained as a building inspector. Greg Volkart stated that no present employees were interested or had the time to be an inspector. Councilmember Bowman noted that if a current employee trained as a building inspector that it would necessitate an additional employee. Greg stated that Jay Kruger of Construction Management Services is already trained and there would not be any out of pocket additional costs. Councilmember Bowman asked if there was an ordinance on keeping fire hydrants free of snow for access for the fire department. Greg Volkart acknowledged that the City is looking into this. Councilmember Brinkman attended the February 11 meeting of Winona Unified. The purpose of the meeting is to bring an awareness of biases and prejudices to the City and bring solutions to these issues. The meeting was very informative. The City of Winona has already passed a proclamation and designated a Winona Unified week. Councilmember Brinkman suggested that the City should also participate and offer the City as a meeting place. Mayor stated this was an excellent idea and made a Mayoral appointment to have Councilmember Brinkman be the appointee for the establishment of a Goodview Unified task force.
Police Chief Hauschildt was in attendance and presented to the Council information on a flood meeting he attended. Also in attendance at the flood meeting were the County Administrator and Winona County Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Bilder. Review was made at the meeting on flood issues and how emergency situations were handled. Comments received from affected residents were both favorable and unfavorable. Police Chief Hauschildt discussed some of the issues with Garvinbrook and Bear Creeks and the debris build up that caused a large amount of the flooding. He said that there are solar powered, radio controlled gauges, at a reasonable cost, available that would monitor the water levels in the creeks. This would be used to have a notification to residents for increasing water levels and an earlier time frame for evacuation. Councilmember Bowman asked if this could be included with the Corp of Engineers and thus not have a cost for the City. This will be studied further.
Councilman Brinkman moved and Councilman Bowman seconded to adjourn.
Adjournment at 7:40 p.m.