Steve Hacken, Winona County Assessor, along with Assistant County Assessor Pat Walters, and County Appraiser Dave Kohner were all present. Mayor Weimerskirch said the purpose of the meeting was to provide answers to any questions concerning property valuations. If the citizen is still not satisfied it must be taken to the County-wide meeting in June. No concerns came through the U.S. mail. Ms. Walters indicated she has worked individually with a few residents and with United Building Center, and all parties seem to be on the same page. Dwight Lange of 3918 West Sixth Street was present with three concerns: the valuation on his property went up $7,700 from last year, and he hasn't done anything with the property; his property is split between residential and commercial, when no other property is; he is questioning the formula the Assessor's office uses to determine what proportion of the property is commercial and what is residential. Hacken said his office hired both an independent resident fee appraiser and a building inspector from Pine Island to look at Lange's property. Walters told the Council her office did a very extensive project last summer to gather all the information possible on split assessment parcels from all municipalities in Winona County. She estimated there were approximately 200 split parcels in the County, ranging from beauty shops to sign companies. Lange reviewed the listing of the properties he was compared to, and none of them except one in Goodview were even close in his mind for comparison purposes. Lange also suggests the Assessor's office has no system in place to catch all businesses which work out of the homes. He expressed his belief his valuation should be the $237,000 from last year less the $15,000 of estimated repairs still needing to be done, or about a 10% reduction from the 2009 valuation of $245,100. Lange also said he feels he started out at a much higher valuation than other newly constructed homes. He indicated he has some spreadsheets showing the discrepancies he has pointed out. The Mayor asked Mr. Lange to leave them for the City to make copies, and for the Council to use in their considerations of this matter. Mr. Don Peterson of Mississippi Welders Supply and MWSC Properties was present to discuss a number of different parcels. He and the County staff worked through some of his questions. The Mayor questioned the County staff how properties which went through the flood in August could see an increase in valuation amounts. It was pointed out in some instances the houses were not completed (i.e.; finished basements) before the flood and now were. The County Assessor noted that each of the flooded properties is identified on their system as such, and his office has seen three sales so far of flooded properties and each sale was for more than the valuation the County had on it. He said if this trend reversed itself, his office could easily make adjustments. His office worked very closely with both Fillmore and Houston Counties so all jurisdictions treated flooded properties the same way. They also talked with officials from Polk County on how they handled their flood situation from a few years ago, and they tried to use their methods as a model. Hacken went on to say many of the valuations changed by less than $1,000, which in their view is really no change. Rollingstone Township (including the Saehler-Anderson and Connaughty-Gunderson sub-divisions) and the City of Rollingstone have already completed their Board of Appeal meetings, and no appeals were brought forward. Walters stated that according to her department records all of Goodview properties increased about $100,000 in total. Mr. Hacken also reminded the Council the State of Minnesota abated all second-half property taxes for 2007. Brinkman stated this was flood relief, not property tax assessment relief. He went on to say he believes this whole situation is beyond just taxes, and that the resident has been taken out of the equation and it has been de-humanized. The County Assessor agreed, but clarified that is how they are suppose to do their job - don't personalize the situation. He also pointed out there wasn't a single parcel that saw an increase of more than one-percent.
Brinkman asked if the County could provide information on all flooded properties (including Sunny Acres, Cedar Bay, and Hub Mill) in Goodview showing the valuations before the flood and then after.
Deb Stove of the Winona County Humane Society gave the Council an update on the Trap, Neuter, and Release program run by Camp Companion which took care of the feral cat issue at the Erdman residence, releasing them back to a farm in Lewiston, at no cost to the City. Tim Boyd of 3965 West Sixth spoke very highly of the program. Boyd's population has decreased about one-third in two years.
Winona County Commissioner Dwayne Voegeli updated council on the Garvin Brook watershed, whose responsibility it is, and how anything that should get done gets paid for. The costs involved with this project are a major obstacle in its completion. Voegeli believes it is the County's responsibility, but the City totally agrees they will need to be a very important player in the watershed discussions due to the pending annexation of the Connaughty-Gunderson sub-division. Voegeli also pointed out the watershed is its own separate taxing authority, so there are a number of jurisdictions who want Goodview to be become a member of the watershed due to the City's large tax base. As to a central campus concept for the County Government Center, the $52 million price tag in the newspaper included a new jail. He believes the fix, which probably isn't right to the whole situation, will probably be the cheapest and politically easiest.
Assistant Fire Chief Todd Ives said his department applied for a FEMA grant to replace air packs and oxygen bottles in the total amount of $150,620 to try to become compatible with the City of Winona Fire Department. Greg Volkart, Director of Public Works the whistle-free railroad crossing zones money at the federal level is there, but everything is put on hold until the sale between CP and DM & E is final. Council reviewed the 2007 budget updateand reviewed the 2008 year-to-date budget update. The Mayor reviewed the process for the re-evaluation of job points for all full-time City positions. Bowman said this process should be re-done at least every three years, with the Councilmembers reviewing the department heads, and the department heads reviewing their staff. Brinkman moved and Ledebuhr seconded to approve the REVISED version of the job point re-evaluation as presented.
RESOLUTION NO. 0786, A RESOLUTION APPROVING AN EXEMPTION FROM LAWFUL GAMBLING LICENSE FOR WINONA COUNTY DUCKS UNLIMITED COMMITTEE, was adopted.
Dan Matejka presendted a denial letter from the Department of Homeland Security for the grant the City applied for in December, 2007. Utility extensions to the Saehler-Anderson and Connaughty-Gunderson sub-divisions is about done.
City of Goodview
April 2, 2008
Mayor Weimerskirch thanked the township residents for attending the meeting and gave a summarization of the activities and negotiations that have taken place thus far in the possible annexation of Saehler/Anderson and Gunderson/Connaughty subdivisions.
The tax abatement involved approximately $283,000 with a gradual increase to the full taxation amounts for Goodview in the year 2014 and spread over six years. Upon review by both City legal counsel and the League of Minnesota Cities, it was found that the full Goodview taxation had to be implemented as soon as all services were available to the annexed areas. It was also noted that the two tier taxation, one for the 85 affected flood residents and another tier for the unaffected residents is not permitted. City tax rates must be completely in effect one year after all services are available. This would bring the implementation tax year to 2012 and the tax abatement would go from $283,000 to approximately $309,000. The Winona County Soil &Water Conservation District has, through the state, monies available to affected flood residents for the capping of their well systems. The cash share basis is usually a sixty-five, thirty-five split, but well capping for affected flood residents may be available at 100%. The contact person for well capping is Brein Neldner at 1-507-523-2717 for further information.
Greg Volkart, Director of Public Utilities stated that currently Blumentritt Land Surveying is in the Saehler/Anderson & Gunderson/Connaughty subdivisions, putting together all the necessary information needed for the bidding process on the water, sewer and street construction if the annexation process proceeds.
There will be crews working in each area at the same time. The target date for construction to begin would be in July.
If the bids would come in lower than expected, there would then be a possibility of including curb and gutter in the areas. The bidding process will be in early June with construction beginning in early July. Streets would not be paved this year and would remain as gravel until the spring of 2009 due to the lateness of the construction starting dates.
If the annexation is approved, the information will be sent immediately to the Minnesota Municipal Adjustment Board for approval and should take place within 30 days once the resolution is received at the State level.
This would be the opportune time to make arrangements, at the owner's expense, to have either their driveways or aprons resurfaced. In past construction projects, the residents were contacted by the contractors regarding the paving of either the resident's driveways or apron areas.
Volkart suggested contacting a licensed plumber to discuss the best location for the placement of the water and sewer line. He also recommended having this decision in place before the construction of the water and sewer is placed at the owner's property.
The owner is responsible for arranging the hookup to the City's water and sewer. He suggested placing a stake in the area for the hook-up.
A sewage lift station is planned, and the City engineer is in the process of the design and location of the station.
If the annexation process passes and residents have come into the City of Goodview the City will be working to further solve the flooding problems. Current studies are in process and will continue until measures are done to solve the problems of flooding if possible. If annexed, the City will be working with the Watershed Project, DNR and Army Corps to look into the prevention of this type of recurrence.
The lake at LaCanne Park contamination was cleared by the end of October, 2007. Fish are safe and contain less mercury than found in the Mississippi River.
The lake will once again be tested in the spring for any contamination.
All of the playground equipment has been completely sanitized, all wood chips have been removed and replaced with new and the pavilion area also cleaned. Currently the beach area is the process of being redone. Kimo's and Cardinal Plumbing are state certified septic inspectors. Testing is required once every three years. A listing of additional licensed septic inspectors available at the County office. If residents will no longer be using their septic systems, the County has a form that needs to be filled out by the residents stating the discontinuation of their septic systems.
Mayor Weimerskirch stated that if the State Code is adopted, it will be mandatory for the City to acquire a building inspector. The City has received presentations from both the City of Winona and a private company. Flood residents currently in the rebuilding process will not be affected by increased costs or inspections.
Mayor Weimerskirch called for a vote on RESOLUTION NO. 0785, A JOINT RESOLUTION OF THE CITY OF GOODVIEW AND THE TOWNSHIP OF ROLLINGSTONE AS TO THE ORDERLY ANNEXATION OF PROPERTY. Councilmember Bowman moved and Councilmember Andring seconded that the resolution be adopted. All voted aye. The Mayor then called for a vote on the Agreement between the City of Goodview and the Township of Rollingstone for the annexation of certain properties located in the Township. All voted aye. None voted no. The agreement was declared adopted.