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Goodview City Council Minutes (06/25/2008)

June 2, 2008

Mr. Paul Heimkes of the MN Department of Labor & Industry spoke to the Council about the City possibly adopting the State Building Code. He indicated both Winona County and the City of Houston are close to adopting the code for their respective communities, but even if Winona County adopted it, it wouldn't pertain to the City of Goodview because the City is its own entity. The code is an enforcement policy as a primary tool for proper construction, which puts all parties (contractors, architects, and engineers) on a level playing field to build to specified standards. This enforcement can also be a negative because some of those professionals see it as a headache with increased time and cost which is ultimately passed onto the final customer. A couple positives of adopting the code are it creates a level of public safety, and structures built following the code tend to maintain their construction value which translates into maintaining their tax value. Any permit fee schedule should be created by the City, although the League of MN Cities does have a sample schedule that is widely used by most municipalities in the metro area. The schedule should have a set minimum fee for certain smaller projects like decking, siding, and re-roofing. As the projects get bigger the City should set a sliding schedule for it fees. This is due mainly because the permit fee is a "fee for service condition", and if set properly, it should recoup all costs associated with inspection services. The fees should be commensurate to the services provided. Mr. Heimkes went on to say if the City decides to adopt the code, he recommends adopting it in the winter months (down time for building) with an enforcement date in the spring when the building season begins. The City then could use the time between these dates to inform the community and contractors, and work with any potential consultant on establishing a proper fee schedule and necessary paperwork. He also indicated the City can't adopt just a part of the code, as the whole code has to be adopted - it's all or nothing. Ultimately adopting the code is providing a public service and public safety. He reviewed for the Council the three different types of building inspector licenses his office issues. The first being the full-fledge Certified license, which allows the individual to inspect all projects. The second type is the Limited license. This license was created to help smaller communities who can't afford a certified inspector. This person is allowed to inspect and issue building permits for smaller projects; i.e., one or two family dwellings, smaller townhouses, and smaller commercial projects exempt from architect requirements. The individual first qualifies to complete a weeklong crash course, by having the proper experience in the construction field (or related field) to get into the class. At the conclusion of the week, the person needs to pass a test to become licensed. Normally a City will have a limited person, and contract with a certified inspector for the big projects. A person with this type of license is required to complete 18 credits of training every three years. This person would receive all updates and/or changes to the code from both the State and National federations. The final type of license issued by his department is an Accessibility license. A person with this license can only do accessibility inspections. Mr. Heimkes did point out any differences in code interpretation is left up to the City inspector, but his office does offer review and interpretation services to help settle any disputes over the code. His office also has staff people available to help the City once a decision is made to adopt the code. They will assist with interviews for consultant services, buying code books for the City, and the general correspondence to community members. Councilmember Bowman moved and Councilmember Ledebuhr seconded to table any further discussion to a meeting in July when all five Council members will be present. City Administrator Dan Matejka was asked if the City has received any comments about this topic, of which he said of the few professionals he has talked to, the clear majority said it is due. Mayor Weimerskirch indicated the City has discussed this idea off and on for over two years, but the flood was probably the catalyst that brought it back to the front burner. All voted aye, motion carried.

The Mayor informed the Council there was no extension filed by Mr. Hershberger for a conditional use permit for his property on Sixth Street, and this issue appears to be behind us. Councilmember Ledebuhr indicated he received a few complaints about paint fumes coming from the Erdman's Auto Repair property. The Fire Department indicated they will talk with Mr. Erdman about having the proper ventilation to perform such tasks. Councilmember Andring mentioned he received a few compliments on the Welcome letter sent out to the residents of the Saehler-Anderson and Connaughty-Gunderson sub-divisions. Councilmember Bowman asked when the parks were scheduled to get mowed, of which he was told the part-time summer help started today and mowing is at the top of the to-do list. Mayor Weimerskirch indicated he thought it was time for the City to start sending out weed notices where necessary. He also mentioned both Winona Chief of Police Pomeroy and Winona County Sheriff Brand have agreed to join the City in the review of applications for the vacant Chief of Police position. The Mayor also suggested it is time for the City to invite both Senator Murphy and Representative Drazkowski to a future City Council meeting to give an update on what happened during this past legislative session.

Councilmember Bowman brought the Council up-to-date on the Garvin Brook Watershed committee meeting he attended. He believes the committee is on track, and the City will need to stay involved. This can be done by getting on the legislative alert on the issue, and continue to help push the issue at both the State and Federal levels. He indicated this is a steering committee, or brainstorming committee. Their biggest task is to try to get all the agencies together to get something accomplished. The Council was told by the City Administrator the maps for the newly annexed sub-divisions are completed and have been distributed to the different departments. Concerning the utility project for those sub-divisions, the City is still hopeful yet to receive bids in June. The water test results of Lake Goodview and WinAg Pit have not yet been received, but the results will be communicated once received.

Councilmember Andring moved and Councilmember Bowman seconded to approve granting three or more dog permits for; Scott & Kelly Stalboerger, Jennifer Fruth, Brenda Volkman, Nancy Hammer, and Jeff & Beth Graves, all as presented. All voted aye, motion carried.

Councilmember Ledebuhr moved and Councilmember Andring seconded to approve granting mobile home permits for; Mr. & Mrs. Stan Ferguson, Wingfoot Commercial Tire Systems, Winona Excavating, Winona Aggregate, Winona Lighting Studios, and Borkowski Towing & Salvage, all as presented. All voted aye, motion carried.

The City Administrator reviewed the proposed change to Section 5.73 of Ordinance 8.42 dealing with fences. He indicated the main reasons for the change was for clarification, and to provide some sense of safety especially concerning vehicles backing out of driveways. Councilmember Ledebuhr questioned the requirements set forth, and suggested it be a recommendation to not have a fence higher than three feet on a case-by-case basis. Enforcement would be accomplished by not granting a permit to build the fence. Mr. Matejka expressed concern the ordinance should have criteria to enforce not just have it be a recommendation. Councilmember Bowman suggested the criteria for what the height a fence can be should start from the back of the curb, or edge of the road where curbing isn't present. He went on to recommend no fence be taller than three feet within 25 feet from the curb as suggested. He said this would bring uniformity to the ordinance and fences in general. It was concluded to send this revision back to the staff, and to have them come back on June 16 with another recommendation based on the suggestions brought forth.

Councilmember Ledebuhr moved and Councilmember Andring seconded to approve the liquor license for the Goodview Activity Group for Goodview Days. All voted aye, motion carried.

Councilmember Bowman moved and Councilmember Ledebuhr seconded approving Goodview Activity group lawful gambling at Park PavilionThe Resolution was declared adopted.

The City Administrator reviewed the possiblity of offering insurance benefits to part-time employees. Both Councilmembers Andring and Bowman said it is their belief an employee shouldn't have to work 40 hours a week to qualify for benefits, and pro-ration of benefits is a good option for employees. It was decided to have staff come back on June 16 with a proposed policy covering this topic with defined parameters, especially with a requirement an employee must work 52 weeks a year to qualify.

The letter to the MN Public Facilities Authority for placement on the 2009 Drinking Water Revolving Fund Intended Use Plan list was reviewed by the Council.

Under the Other category of the agenda, the concept of administrative fines was briefly discussed with Deputy Chief of Police Russell. Officer Russell described the concept behind the fines, and indicated both the cities of Winona and Stillwater have them. A couple of advantages of administrative fines are they don't go on the individual's driving record, and they reduce court costs. One of the major reasons for them is the fact the clear majority of the cost of a regular ticket goes to the State in the form of a surcharge, and very little actually stays with the administering agency. The Council asked City staff to research the topic more, and present back to Council at a later date.

 

 

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