City Council Meeting – February 16, 2021

MINUTES
REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING
CITY OF REDWOOD FALLS, MINNESOTA
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2021

Pursuant to due call and notice thereof, a regular meeting of the Redwood Falls City Council was called to order in the Municipal Chambers on Tuesday, February 16, 2021, at 5:00 p.m.

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

Also present were City Administrator Keith Muetzel, City Attorney Trenton Dammann, Public Works Project Coordinator Jim Doering, and Council Secretary Caitlin Kodet. Director of Finance & Administrative Services Melissa Meyer was present via electronic means.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Arentson to approve the agenda. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Sandgren and seconded by Council Member Buckley to approve the February 2, 2021, minutes as presented. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Mayor Quackenbush opened a public hearing at 5:02 p.m. to discuss the Drew Street Reconstruction Project Funding.

Director of Finance & Administrative Services Meyer introduced Resolution No. 12 of 2021 – Resolution Adopting a Street Reconstruction Plan and Approving the Issuance of General Obligation Street Reconstruction Bonds.

Shannon Sweeney with David Drown and Associates was present via electronic means.

Mr. Sweeney stated while discussing financing alternatives with staff for the Drew Street Reconstruction Project the use of street reconstruction financing authority granted under Minnesota Statutes was recommended as a means of funding the street reconstruction components of the proposed project. That authority has procedural requirements that must be undertaken prior to the issuance of bonds for eligible street reconstruction activities.

Mr. Sweeney stated prior to the issuance of street reconstruction bonds, Minnesota Statutes require the adoption of a street reconstruction plan following a public hearing on this matter. The Street Reconstruction Plan must include estimates for projects to be funded with General Obligation Street Reconstruction Bonds for a five-year period. The plan must be approved by a two-thirds majority of the City Council members present when the plan is adopted. The bonds are subject to referendum voter approval only if a petition requesting a vote signed by five percent of the votes cast in the last municipal general election is filed with the City Clerk within 30 days of the public hearing (reverse referendum). If a petition is not received within 30 days of the public hearing, City Council can initiate the process to issue bonds to finance street reconstruction activities. The statute is specific in indicating that these bonds can only be issued for the reconstruction of existing improvements, including necessary safety improvements, and they do not allow for enhancements such as new curb and gutter where it did not previously exist.

Mr. Sweeney further stated street reconstruction bonds are also subject to the statutory debt limit which is 3% of the estimated market value of taxable property in the municipality. As the City has approximately $6,835,388 in remaining capacity under the statutory debt limit there is ample capacity to accommodate the project as proposed. The 5-year Street Reconstruction Plan, as required by statute provides for the implementation of just the Drew Street Project at a cost of approximately $1,605,000 for just the street reconstruction components, which are proposed to be funded by General Obligation Street Reconstruction Bonds. While the adoption of the plan does not obligate the City to issue bonds it does provide the authority for funding street reconstruction activities up to the amount identified within the plan as an alternative to the implementation of special assessments or the use of tax abatement bonds.

No one was present to voice any concerns.

Mayor Quackenbush closed the public hearing at 5:14 p.m.

A motion was made by Council Member Kerkhoff and seconded by Council Member Buckley to waive the reading of Resolution No. 12 of 2021 – Resolution Adopting a Street Reconstruction Plan and Approving the Issuance of General Obligation Street Reconstruction Bonds. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Arentson to approve Resolution No. 12 of 2021 – Resolution Adopting a Street Reconstruction Plan and Approving the Issuance of General Obligation Street Reconstruction Bonds. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Zoning Administrator Tim Hanna was present to introduce the Conditional Use Permit Request for Residential Solar Photovoltaic System – 602 N. Swain St.

Danielle DeMarre with All Energy Solar and homeowner David Danielson were present.

Mr. Hanna stated the City received a request for a Conditional Use Permit from All Energy Solar to install a flush mounted rooftop solar PV system greater than 120 sq. ft. on the property described as 602 N. Swain St., parcel #88-775-0020 owned by David & Adrienne Danielson. Solar energy systems are permitted in all zoning districts. A maximum of 120 square feet of solar panels are permitted on a property. A system over 120 square feet in size, as proposed by the applicant, may be permitted by conditional use. The applicant is requesting to install a total of 456 square feet of solar panels.

That applicant states the proposed system size and the number of panels is required to offset their electrical load. The applicant’s request does seem reasonable and based on these statements, the Planning Commission is recommending approval of the Conditional Use Permit with the following conditions:

1. The applicant obtains a building permit for the installation of the roof mounted system as required by City Ordinance.
2. If this is a grid intertie system, then an interconnection agreement must be obtained prior to installation of the system.
3. The system shall not create a glare that unreasonably interferes with the use and enjoyment of an adjacent property by any person of normal sensitivity, or otherwise as to create a public nuisance.

Ms. DeMarre addressed a concern from Council regarding any glare produced from the solar panels. Ms. DeMarre stated All Energy Solar is not concerned about any potential glare from the panels because the panels are designed to collect the sun not reflect it.

No public comments were received.

A motion was made by Council Member Kerkhoff and seconded by Council Member Smith to approve the Conditional Use Permit Request for Residential Solar Photovoltaic System – 602 N. Swain St. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Zoning Administrator Tim Hanna was present to introduce the Variance Request for Residential Solar Photovoltaic System – 602 N. Swain St.

Danielle DeMarre with All Energy Solar and homeowner David Danielson were present.

Mr. Hanna stated based on the approval of the Conditional Use Permit, the City also received a request for a Variance from All Energy Solar to reduce the rooftop mounted solar system panel setback on the roof line from 1’ to 6” on the property described as 602 N. Swain St., parcel #88-775-0020 owned by David & Adrienne Danielson. The applicant states there are two factors that play a role in the unique circumstances requiring the requested system design and variance.

1. The first is the tree coverage on the property. The property contains mature trees on the sides and rear of the home. The design of the solar energy system must consider the amount of shade that the trees provide, and thus locate the most appropriate roof planes that have the least amount of shade. The proposed design will allow the solar energy system the most access to sunlight without having to remove trees. Without the variance the applicant will need to remove large, mature trees to meet the sunlight needs for the system and potentially alter the character of the neighborhood.

2. The second factor is the design of the roof. The roof contains many hips, creating triangular shaped roof planes. The limited size of each roof plane along with the triangular shape, require the layout of the solar panels to be arranged in the most accommodating way. As a result, the panels extend beyond the exterior wall on all roof planes where solar is proposed. The proposed solar plan also reduces the roof line setback to 6” on the front facing roof lines.

Mr. Hanna stated both of these factors restrict access to sunlight for the property. Due to these circumstances, the Planning Commission recommends approval of the variance request.

No public comments were received.

A motion was made by Council Member Sandgren and seconded by Council Member Buckley to approve the Variance Request to reduce the rooftop mounted solar system panel setback on the roof line from 1’ to 6” for Residential Solar Photovoltaic System at 602 N. Swain St. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Director of Finance & Administrative Services Meyer introduced Resolution No. 9 of 2021 – Authorization to Execute Purchase of Software and Service from Thriveon.

Ms. Meyer stated currently the data for documents and email is housed on the antiquated servers and storage devices that were discussed at the January 19, 2021 meeting. Since the time of that meeting, one of the servers went out of service, although IT was able to recover it, its remaining life is unknown. Staff has been working with IT for over a year to plan for this transition.

Ms. Meyer stated the City’s current annual cost to house the data locally is $39,200. This solution was common for business and governmental entities at the time that it was put in place, but results in a $196,000 investment over a 5-year period. Staff is requesting to execute an agreement with Thriveon to implement Microsoft’s Modern Workplace Solution. Implementing this solution results in a $130,000 decrease in costs over a 5-year period. This model also improves the ability to access files outside of City Hall which allows staff a better mechanism for collaborating and serving residents. Security for this solution includes 2-factor authentication, a recommended security practice. This upgrade is budgeted in the 2021 Budget, including the annual subscription cost of $13,000.

Ms. Meyer further stated staff is also requesting approval to dispose of the retired network equipment as it relates to this implementation.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Buckley to waive the reading of Resolution No. 9 of 2021 – Authorization to Execute Purchase of Software and Service from Thriveon. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Arentson and seconded by Council Member Kerkhoff to approve Resolution No. 9 of 2021 – Authorization to Execute Purchase of Software and Service from Thriveon. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Buckley and seconded by Council Member Arentson to approve the disposal of the retired equipment. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Public Works Project Coordinator Doering introduced Resolution No. 10 of 2021 – Authorization to Execute Transfer and Repayment Agreement of Federal Entitlement Funds.

Mr. Doering stated the Redwood Falls Airport Commission held an emergency meeting on February 11, 2021 and moved to recommend Resolution No. 10 of 2021 to Council to approve the request to FAA and the subsequent transfer and repayment agreement. This agreement will allow the transfer of airport entitlement dollars in the amount of $75,000.00 from the City of Pipestone to the Redwood Municipal Airport, which will be repaid with City of Redwood Falls entitlement funds by May 15, 2022.

Mr. Doering stated the Redwood Municipal Airport is eligible for FAA 90/10 grant funding utilizing entitlement funds to cover the 90% federal portion to install a wheelchair lift. Currently, with the recent repayment of entitlement funds to Fillmore County borrowed for the 7-Bay Hangar Project, Redwood Falls has an approximate $10,000.00 in entitlement balance. With the transfer from Pipestone, the project can move forward in March of 2021 rather than waiting another year.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Sandgren to waive the reading of Resolution No. 10 of 2021 – Authorization to Execute Transfer and Repayment Agreement of Federal Entitlement Funds. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Kerkhoff and seconded by Council Member Buckley to approve Resolution No. 10 of 2021 – Authorization to Execute Transfer and Repayment Agreement of Federal Entitlement Funds. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Public Works Project Coordinator Doering introduced Resolution No. 11 of 2021 – Authorization to Execute Task Order No. 2021-3 for Engineering and Planning Services for the 2021 Airport ADA Lift Project.

Mr. Doering stated the Redwood Falls Airport Commission held an emergency meeting on February 11, 2021 and moved to recommend Resolution No. 11 of 2021 to Council to approve Task Order No. 2021-3 with Bolton and Menk for engineering services up to and not to exceed $6,000.00 and submission of the Airport Lift grant request to FAA.

Mr. Doering stated the Redwood Municipal Airport is eligible for FAA 90/10 grant funding utilizing entitlement funds to cover the 90% federal portion to install a wheelchair lift. Bolton and Menk, with Task Order 2021-3, will provide the professional services listed in the Project Scope which includes grant application preparation and submission.

A motion was made by Council Member Buckley and seconded by Council Member Kerkhoff to waive the reading of Resolution No. 11 of 2021 – Authorization to Execute Task Order No. 2021-3 for Engineering and Planning Services for the 2021 Airport ADA Lift Project. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Arentson and seconded by Council Member Smith to approve Resolution No. 11 of 2021 – Authorization to Execute Task Order No. 2021-3 for Engineering and Planning Services for the 2021 Airport ADA Lift Project. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Public Works Project Coordinator Doering introduced the Airport ADA Lift Quote Adjustments.

Mr. Doering stated the Redwood Falls Airport Commission held an emergency meeting on February 11, 2021 and moved to recommend the quote adjustments required to meet the prevailing wage requirements with the new grant submission to FAA. Airport Commission and Staff do not believe the exercise of trying to obtain additional quotes would garner more competitive numbers or more qualified installers than the ones currently approved. Council approved the original quotes on February 18, 2020 with Resolution No. 10 of 2020. The quote from Premier Lift increased by $780.00 and the quotes from Everstrong increased by $2,935.00 for a total of $3,715.00.

Mr. Doering stated upon approval, the grant application for FAA 90/10 grant funding utilizing entitlement funds to cover the 90% federal portion to install a wheelchair lift will be submitted. The new estimated cost of the project will be $80,211.00. With the grant submission, FAA will provide 90% of the cost, totaling $72,189.90 in federal entitlement funds and the local Airport share will be 10% or $8,021.10.

A motion was made by Council Member Sandgren and seconded by Council Member Buckley to approve the Airport ADA Lift Quote Adjustments. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

City Administrator Muetzel introduced the VantagePoint Marketing Proposal.

Mr. Muetzel stated at the February 9, 2021, City Council work session, VantagePoint Marketing Consultants presented a proposal to provide marketing services for the new housing development and industrial park projects. The proposal outlines a three-year approach to marketing the two development sites. While Council Members expressed support for the marketing activities, there wasn’t a clear consensus on when to begin the marketing process. Some Council Members believe we should start this process immediately, while others expressed it may be too soon as the projects are still in the design phase.

Mr. Muetzel stated in an effort to address the timing concern, VantagePoint is proposing to amend the proposal to allocate 14 months to Phase 1 activities as opposed to the original time allocation of 12 months. Phases 2 and 3 remain unchanged with a 12-month allocation to each phase. The proposed compensation for each phase remains the same at $49,500 for 14-months in Phase 1, $39,500 for 12-months in Phase 2, and $39,500 for 12-months in Phase 3. VantagePoint Marketing is hopeful the additional time allocation to Phase 1 will alleviate any concerns about beginning this process sooner rather than later. The proposal provides specific details on the marketing strategy and deliverables. VantagePoint Marketing will be providing Staff and Council regular updates throughout the process.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Kerkhoff to approve the VantagePoint Marketing Proposal with an immediate start date. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Public Works Project Coordinator Doering stated he has received several reports of private water services freezing due to the extreme cold. Staff was also just notified of a water main break on Industrial Drive. The extent of the repair is unknown at this time.

Public Works Project Coordinator Doering stated the Lake Redwood bid opening has been held and the apparent low bid of $4.6 million is from Brennan Industries. The original engineer’s estimate was $7 million. Prior to approval and award, the winning bid is being reviewed by the engineers for accuracy. The Lake Redwood Project is anticipated to start in March with plans to be actively dredging by June 1, 2021 and a project completion date in July 2022.

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 Sandgren and seconded by Council Member Buckley to adjourn the meeting at 6:12 p.m. Motion passed by unanimous vote.