City Council Meeting – June 15, 2021

MINUTES
REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING
CITY OF REDWOOD FALLS, MINNESOTA
TUESDAY, JUNE 15, 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, June 15, 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 Kerkhoff and seconded by Council Member Arentson to approve the agenda. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Buckley to approve the June 1, 2021, minutes as presented. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Arentson to approve the following items on the Consent Agenda.

1. KLGR Advertising Exchange
2. Celebrate Redwood Falls Summer Splash Parade Permit
3. Updated Bremer Wealth Organization Resolution

Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Mayor Quackenbush opened a public hearing at 5:02 p.m. to discuss the Tax Abatement Request for the Hospital Redevelopment Project.

Shannon Sweeney with David Drown and Associates was present to introduce Resolution No. 35 of 2021 – Resolution Approving Property Tax Abatement for Certain Property Located in the City of Redwood Falls.

Mr. Sweeney stated the Developer, Redwood Property Holdings, LLC, negotiated a purchase agreement with the City of Redwood Falls for the purchase of the former Redwood Area Hospital property. The proposed project would result in an investment of approximately $6.5 million to convert the vacant hospital facility into 57-units of market rate rental housing. The Developer had previously indicated that the provision of tax increment financing assistance was necessary for the project to proceed and is a condition within the purchase agreement for the facility. As it was eventually determined, the creation of a tax increment financing district was not going to produce a sufficient subsidy for project feasibility. The City decided to pursue the use of a similar tool, Tax Abatement of City and County taxes, which will provide sufficient subsidy and enable the developer to proceed with the project.

Mr. Sweeney stated providing additional services, market rate rental units, and increasing the local tax base are both findings that can be made under Minnesota Statute for the use of tax abatement, so it has been determined that the project is eligible for the use of that economic development tool. Redwood Property Holdings, LLC is requesting the abatement of City and County property taxes for the renovated facility for a

term of 18-years commencing in 2023 when the property will no longer be tax exempt. An 18-year duration is possible under Minnesota Statute as the School District has declined in writing to participate in the proposed tax abatement.

Mr. Sweeney further stated a public hearing has been scheduled for both the City Council and County Board meetings to be held on June 15, 2021 to receive public comment regarding the proposed tax abatement request. The draft documents of the proposed tax abatement resolution and Tax Abatement Agreement provide for an 18-year tax abatement in an annual amount not-to-exceed $58,246 in City property taxes or a total of $1,048,425 and in an annual amount not-to-exceed $25,086 in County property taxes or a total of $451,548.

David Schooff with Redwood Property Holdings, LLC was present. Mr. Schooff provided a draft site plan of the proposed development and gave a description of the proposed units and amenities.

Briana Mumme, Economic Development Coordinator with Redwood County was present. Ms. Mumme stated the County Board approved the Tax Abatement at the 4:00 p.m. public hearing.

No one from the public was present to comment on the proposed Tax Abatement.

Mayor Quackenbush closed the public hearing at 5:16 p.m.

Council Member Sandgren requested to amend Resolution No. 35 of 2021 to reflect the most current development agreement proposed by the Developer with 57-units instead of the 58-units stated in Resolution No. 35 of 2021.

A motion was made by Council Member Sandgren and seconded by Council Member Smith to waive the reading of Resolution No. 35 of 2021 – Approving Property Tax Abatement for Certain Property Located in the City of Redwood Falls as amended. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Sandgren and seconded by Council Member Arentson to approve Resolution No. 35 of 2021 – Approving Property Tax Abatement for Certain Property Located in the City of Redwood Falls as amended. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

City Administrator Muetzel introduced the Variance Request – 229 West Wyoming Street.

Robert & Joleen Hyde were present.

Mr. Muetzel stated the City received a request from Robert & Joleen Hyde for a variance from the height and open space requirements in order to install a 6’ wood privacy fence in the corner side yard of their property. The proposed fence would be located along the west property line, as allowed by City Ordinance, approximately 16’ from the curb. The owners have stated that the privacy fence is necessary to allow them some privacy since they do not have a rear yard due to the orientation of the property. The property is located between West Wyoming and West Chestnut, along South Ramsey St., which creates three “front” yards. By ordinance, fences allowed in the front yard or corner side yard may be no higher than 48” and shall be constructed with at least 75% open space.

Mr. Muetzel stated Planning Commission has reviewed the request and feels the property is unique because it does have the three front yards due to being bordered on three sides by streets, which constitutes a practical difficulty. This structure is in harmony with the neighborhood and does not alter the essential character. Due to these circumstances, Planning Commission recommends approval of the variance request.

No public comments were received at the hearing.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Kerkhoff to approve the Variance Request for 229 West Wyoming Street. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Parks & Recreation Director Ross Nachreiner was present to discuss the request for City assistance with
the annual Summer Splash event.

Mr. Nachreiner stated the Celebrate Redwood Falls board will be hosting the annual Summer Splash event Friday, June 25 and Saturday, June 26, 2021 at the Memorial Athletic Complex and other various locations throughout the City of Redwood Falls. The board is requesting approval of City assistance and waiver of rental fees for the activities on City property.

A motion was made by Council Member Buckley and seconded by Council Member Kerkhoff to approve the request for City assistance with the annual Summer Splash event. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Public Utilities Superintendent Chuck Heins was present to introduce the Advertisement for Bids – Electric Distribution Materials.

Mr. Heins stated City Staff is requesting to advertise for bids to purchase switchgear, 15 KV power cable (750 MCM and 1/0 Str.), transformer, secondary cable, and fiberglass box pad for transformers. The material will be for the installation of underground electrical being required for the Drew Street project. Bids will be opened on July 8, 2021 at 1:15 p.m. and then awarded at the following council meeting on July 20, 2021.

A motion was made by Council Member Sandgren and seconded by Council Member Arentson to approve the Advertisement for Bids – Electric Distribution Materials. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Public Works Project Coordinator Doering introduced Resolution No. 36 of 2021 – Resolution of Support of the State of Minnesota Capital Budget Request for the Redwood Falls Municipal Airport Runways 12/30 Reclamation, Lighting Rehab, and Storm Water Project.

Mr. Doering stated Resolution No. 36 is a resolution of support for the State of Minnesota Capital Budget request for $2,250,000.00 in 2022 general obligation bonds for the Redwood Falls Municipal Airport runways, lighting replacement, and storm water project. The request is for $2,250,000.00 to be used in conjunction with $3,338,000.00 in federal airport improvement plan (AIP) funding to complete the entire scope of the project of $5,588,000.00.

Mr. Doering stated the reconstruction and reclamation of runways 12/30 along with taxiway areas would increase operational safety, attract transient aircraft to the airfield and increased activity would improve fuel sales, hangar rentals and overall operations. The MMB application process requires a resolution of support to accompany the application submission. This is the same project submitted in 2019 for the 2020 bonding year. Presentations on the project were made to both the House and Senate Bonding Committees on their 2020 bonding tours and in committee at the Capitol. Unfortunately, due to recent events, the 2020 submission did not move forward. Since then, the FAA has committed to earmarking their funding portion of the project. Staff recommends approval of Resolution No. 36 in support of the reconstruction of the 12/30 runways and taxi lanes, replacement of runway lighting system, and installation of a storm water management system for recently completed and future projects outlined in the current airport layout plan (ALP).

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Buckley to waive the reading of Resolution No. 36 of 2021 – Resolution of Support of the State of Minnesota Capital Budget Request for the Redwood Falls Municipal Airport Runways 12/30 Reclamation, Lighting Rehab, and Storm Water Project. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Sandgren and seconded by Council Member Kerkhoff to approve Resolution No. 36 of 2021 – Resolution of Support of the State of Minnesota Capital Budget Request for the Redwood Falls Municipal Airport Runways 12/30 Reclamation, Lighting Rehab, and Storm Water Project. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

City Administrator Muetzel stated the City Council Work Session is June 29, 2021. The proposed agenda items include wastewater treatment and wastewater permit renewal. The Dog Park Committee will also be attending to discuss plans for a dog park in the City.

Mayor Quackenbush thanked Director of Finance & Administrative Services Melissa Meyer for more than 17 years of services to the City. Ms. Meyer’s retirement is effective June 25, 2021.

Director of Finance & Administrative Services Meyer thanked Mayor Quackenbush and Council, as well as City Staff for their hard work and positive attitudes.

City Administrator Muetzel stated the open house for Ms. Meyer’s retirement is in the Council Chambers on June 25, 2021 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

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 Kerkhoff and seconded by Council Member Buckley to adjourn the meeting at 5:42 p.m. Motion passed by unanimous vote.