City Council Meeting – April 7, 2020

MINUTES
REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING
CITY OF REDWOOD FALLS, MINNESOTA
TUESDAY, APRIL 7, 2020

Pursuant to due call and notice thereof, a regular meeting of the Redwood Falls City Council was called to order by telephone and other electronic means on Tuesday, April 7, 2020, at 5:00 p.m.

Roll call indicated Mayor Tom Quackenbush and Council Members Matt Smith, Larry Arentson, Jim Sandgren, John T. Buckley, and Denise Kerkhoff were present constituting a quorum.

Also present were City Administrator Keith Muetzel, Director of Finance & Administrative Services Melissa Meyer, Public Works Project Coordinator Jim Doering, City Attorney Amy Busse, and Council Secretary Caitlin Kodet.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Buckley to approve the agenda. Motion passed by the following roll call vote.

AYE: Council Members Arentson, Sandgren, Smith, Buckley, and Kerkhoff
NO: None

A motion was made by Council Member Arentson and seconded by Council Member Sandgren to approve the March 17, 2020, minutes as presented. Motion passed by the following roll call vote.

AYE: Council Members Arentson, Sandgren, Smith, Buckley, and Kerkhoff
NO: None

Mayor Quackenbush opened a public hearing at 5:05 p.m. to discuss delinquent utility accounts.

Director of Finance & Administrative Services Meyer introduced Resolution No. 19 of 2020 – Resolution Adopting Assessments for Delinquent Accounts.

Ms. Meyer stated the proposed Resolution is to adopt assessments for delinquent utility accounts that are more than 30 days past due. Similar resolutions are brought to the City Council on a quarterly basis in order to improve the time between the delinquent billing and the ability to disclose the information to new property owners. The delinquent account resolutions will be presented each year at the first meeting in January, April, July, and October.

Ms. Meyer further explained the delinquent process. Delinquent letters are first mailed to the utility account holders. Delinquent letters are then mailed to the property owners if not collected from the account holders. Electricity consumed by a tenant is not assessable to the property. Any unpaid balance is then brought to the Council to be approved by resolution. Any pending assessments passed by resolution and still outstanding as of November 1st will be charged a $50.00 fee and are then transferred to Redwood County to be assessed on the tax rolls.

No one was present to voice any concerns.

Mayor Quackenbush closed the public hearing at 5:08 p.m.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Kerkhoff to waive the reading of Resolution No. 19 of 2020 – Resolution Adopting Assessments for Delinquent Accounts. Motion passed by the following roll call vote.

AYE: Council Members Arentson, Sandgren, Smith, Buckley, and Kerkhoff
NO: None

A motion was made by Council Member Arentson and seconded by Council Member Buckley to approve Resolution No. 19 of 2020 – Resolution Adopting Assessments for Delinquent Accounts. Motion passed by the following roll call vote.

AYE: Council Members Arentson, Sandgren, Smith, Buckley, and Kerkhoff
NO: None

City Administrator Muetzel introduced the Development of Electric Vehicle Charging Area at RACC
Parking Lot.

Mr. Muetzel stated on March 17, 2020, staff presented the Council with a conceptual plan for the development of an expanded parking area at the community center. The initial parking lot expansion plan showed the development of five new parking stalls on the north side of the parking lot. Three of the new stalls are designated as a charging area for electric vehicles while the other two stalls will be available for parked vehicles waiting to utilize the charging stations. The electric charging station equipment is being provided by the Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency.

Mr. Muetzel stated the feedback provided by the Council suggested the proposed parking addition was too small and a larger project should be considered to provide additional parking for RACC customers. Therefore, staff created a revised parking layout that allows for the development of 5 electric vehicle charging stalls and 20 additional parking stalls. Staff is requesting approval of the revised parking lot expansion plan. If approved, staff will work with contractors to obtain quotes for the development of the five original electric vehicle charging stalls and alternate pricing for the larger scope of work.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Kerkhoff to approve the Development of Electric Vehicle Charging Area at RACC Parking Lot. Motion passed by the following roll call vote.

AYE: Council Members Arentson, Sandgren, Smith, Buckley, and Kerkhoff
NO: None

Mayor Quackenbush read a Proclamation recognizing April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Mayor Quackenbush read a letter from Halley Morlock, Redwood County Program Coordinator at the New Horizons Crisis Center, explaining the importance of this proclamation. Ms. Morlock’s letter also expressed appreciation to Mayor Quackenbush and Council for continuing to work together towards the goal of ending sexual violence in our community.

Director of Finance & Administrative Services Meyer introduced Resolution No. 20 of 2020 – Authorizing the Issuance, Sale, and Delivery of a $780,000 General Obligation Capital Improvement Plan Refunding Note, Series 2020A.

Shannon Sweeney with David Drown and Associates was present to introduce the two available options for the refinancing of the 2013B General Obligation Capital Improvement Plan Bonds.

Mr. Sweeney stated approximately three weeks ago the City initiated a discussion regarding the refinance of the 2013B General Obligation Capital Improvement Plan Bonds. The bonds were issued to finance the public works facility constructed in 2013 and can presently be prepaid or refinanced. Staff explored two options for the refinance of the 2013B bonds which included a direct placement with the services of R.W. Baird acting as placement agent or the use of MN Rural Water’s Midi Loan Program.

Mr. Sweeney stated the Midi Loan Program ultimately produced the most savings through the refinance. At this time the program lender has committed to an interest rate of 1.9% which produces net present value savings (net of issuance costs) of $111,817 on the refinance of the principal balance of $755,000 over the same term (final payment in 2034) as the original issue. The City will also save an additional $450 per year by serving as its own paying agent on the new issue. The total project costs would be $780,000. As with the prior bonds, the City of Redwood Falls will be required to pledge tax levies for the repayment of this bond issue. Annual payments on the new bonds will average approximately $8,388 less than the payments being made on the old bonds. Additionally, the City will not be able to prepay the new bonds until 2/1/2026. Staff is recommending to award the sale to the program lender for MN Rural Water’s Midi Loan Program (First Independent Bank of Russel, MN) based on the proposed terms with a closing of May 11, 2020.

A motion was made by Council Member Kerkhoff and seconded by Council Member Smith to waive the reading of Resolution No. 20 of 2020 – Authorizing the Issuance, Sale, and Delivery of a $780,000 General Obligation Capital Improvement Plan Refunding Note, Series 2020A. Motion passed by the following roll call vote.

AYE: Council Members Arentson, Sandgren, Smith, Buckley, and Kerkhoff
NO: None

A motion was made by Council Member Sandgren and seconded by Council Member Kerkhoff to approve Resolution No. 20 of 2020 – Resolution Authorizing the Issuance, Sale, and Delivery of a $780,000 General Obligation Capital Improvement Plan Refunding Note, Series 2020A. Motion passed by the following roll call vote.

AYE: Council Members Arentson, Sandgren, Smith, Buckley, and Kerkhoff
NO: None

City Administrator Muetzel introduced the Authorization to Advertise for Bids for the Mainline Electric Circuit Project.

Mr. Muetzel stated Public Utilities staff recommends authorizing bid solicitation for the construction of the mainline circuit, which will consist of installation of underground distribution lines, conduit, power cable equipment box pads, and related devices. The new circuit will not only feed the new hospital complex, but it will also provide some redundancy and reliability for voltage support of two existing substations. This project was in the 2020 Capital Outlay – Enterprise Fund section of the budget.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Sand to approve the
Authorization to Advertise for Bids for the Mainline Electric Circuit Project. Motion passed by the following roll call vote.

AYE: Council Members Arentson, Sandgren, Smith, Buckley, and Kerkhoff
NO: None

City Administrator Muetzel introduced the Purchase and Installation of Overhead Doors for Street Maintenance Building.

Mr. Muetzel stated the 2020 Operating Budget includes $54,000 to convert the Street Department’s unheated cold storage building into a heated equipment storage building. The overall scope of work includes building insulation, heat, installing interior steel panels, and converting one large uninsulated overhead door to three smaller insulated overhead doors. Staff proposes to complete the interior finish work and to contract out the insulation, heat, and overhead door installation. Staff obtained quotes for the overhead door installation from Rohlik Construction in the amount of $22,812.95 and from Everstrong Construction/DoorMen in the amount of $32,584.00. Staff recommends accepting the quote from Rohlik Construction in the amount of $22,812.95 to furnish and install three overhead doors.

A motion was made by Council Member Buckley and seconded by Council Member Smith to approve the Purchase and Installation of Overhead Doors for Street Maintenance Building. Motion passed by the following roll call vote.

AYE: Council Members Arentson, Sandgren, Smith, Buckley, and Kerkhoff
NO: None

Director of Finance & Administrative Services Meyer introduced the Customer Service Specialist Position.

Ms. Meyer stated an employee resignation created a vacant Customer Service Specialist Position at City Hall. An interview committee consisting of Human Resources Coordinator Sheila Stage, Accounts Receivable/Customer Service Coordinator Amy Kerkhoff, and Director of Finance & Administrative Services Meyer. The committee interviewed five applicants from a pool of 24 applicants. The position has been offered to Katie Lueck with a six-month probationary period. At that time, Ms. Lueck will be eligible for a step increase, upon a satisfactory job performance evaluation.

A motion was made by Council Member Kerkhoff and seconded by Council Member Arentson to approve the offer for the Customer Service Specialist position to Katie Lueck. Motion passed by the following roll call vote.

AYE: Council Members Arentson, Sandgren, Smith, Buckley, and Kerkhoff
NO: None

City Administrator Muetzel gave an update regarding COVID-19. City staff is participating regularly in informational sessions with local, state, and federal organizations to stay up-to-date on available COVID-19 information. Staff is anticipating Governor Walz will extend Executive Order 20-20 to stay home.

Mr. Muetzel stated the biggest impact to employees has been to the Library staff since all library operations have ceased because they have been deemed to be non-critical. Parks & Recreation Department programs have also ceased and deemed non-critical, that includes all Community Center and recreation programs. All recreation programs are suspended until May 1. There has been no official closure for campgrounds but there is a Department of Health recommendation to not operate campgrounds. The campground is tentatively scheduled to open on May 1. City staff look for guidance in the next few days regarding an opening date. It is too early to make a decision regarding the pool opening. As of right now, the tentative opening date for the pool is June 5. A determination will need to made soon to address hiring and staffing.

Mr. Muetzel stated a frequently asked question has been in regards to public playgrounds. Executive Order 20-20 does not specifically close playgrounds but separate correspondence from the Governor does recommend playgrounds should not be used. The League of Minnesota Cities advised against fencing or restricting access due to liability concerns. City staff has communicated the recommendation through social media.

Mr. Muetzel stated the Police Department has adequate personal protective equipment (PPE). The City received a donation of PPE from Everstrong Construction that would be available for use by the Police and Fire Departments as well as other City departments, if needed.

Mr. Muetzel stated at the request of the Public Utilities Commission, the City will voluntarily discontinue electric disconnects for non-payment during this pandemic. This will essentially extend the Cold Weather Rule, which provides protection from disconnection as long as the customer maintains a payment arrangement with the utility provider. There is currently no Governor’s order to prevent electric disconnection but voluntarily over 100 utility companies in the state have adopted the policy.

Mr. Muetzel stated the teleworking measures were implemented at City Hall one week prior to the stay at home order and have been working well. City staff is prepared to extend the teleworking measure if required. It has been a little challenging but staff is still able to provide the services that are expected.

Mr. Muetzel stated Executive Order 20-20 does have provisions for local enforcement and is punishable up to a $1,000 fine. The Police Department has received guidance from the MN Department of Public Safety in regards to enforcing compliance in conjunction with criminal activity and not stopping individuals on the basis of the order alone. City Hall has received one complaint and a few other questions regarding non-essential activities but everything was able to be resolved.

Bills and Claims were presented to Council for informational purposes. No questions, comments or concerns were raised.

There being no further business, a motion was made by Council Member Buckley and seconded by Council Member Arentson to adjourn the meeting at 5:56 p.m. Motion passed by the following roll call vote.

AYE: Council Members Arentson, Sandgren, Smith, Buckley, and Kerkhoff
NO: None