City Council Meeting – June 2, 2020

MINUTES
REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING
CITY OF REDWOOD FALLS, MINNESOTA
TUESDAY, JUNE 2, 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, June 2, 2020, at 5:00 p.m.

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

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

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

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

A motion was made by Council Member Buckley and seconded by Council Member Smith to approve the May 19, 2020, minutes as presented. Motion passed by the following roll call vote.

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

A motion was made by Council Member Kerkhoff and seconded by Council Member Smith to approve the May 26, 2020, minutes as presented. Motion passed by the following roll call vote.

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

City Administrator Muetzel gave an update regarding the Temporary Outdoor Patio Seating.

Mr. Muetzel stated since Council approved the amendments to the zoning ordinance to expand outdoor seating areas the City has received three applications for temporary outdoor patio seating. The three establishments that were approved and are authorized to proceed with the outdoor seating areas are Duffy’s, Plaza Garibaldi, and Barney’s Burger & Brew. Council also approved renting picnic tables and barricades at a reduced rate to businesses for outdoor seating. The City received one request for two picnic tables from Subway.

Mr. Muetzel stated at the May 26, 2020 Council meeting, Council approved reducing the picnic table charge from $10.00 per day to $35.00 per month and $10.00 per month for four barricades. Council did not amend the delivery charge of $50.00 for five or fewer tables and $100 for more than five tables.

Council Member Smith suggested to waive the rental and delivery fees on picnic tables and barricades and require a $100.00 damage deposit per rental request regardless of the number of tables and barricades for 90-days.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Kerkhoff to waive the rental and delivery fees on picnic tables and barricades and require a $100.00 damage deposit per rental request regardless of the number of tables and barricades for 90-days. Motion passed by the following roll call vote.

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

Police Chief Jason Cotner was present to introduce the Police Officer Response Time.

Chief Cotner stated for several years Redwood Falls Police Department (RFPD) has seen a steady decline in the number of applicants for officer positions. This trend is not unique to RFPD or other departments in Minnesota. However, the decline in applicants has forced changes in how the department is promoted, advertising for open positions, and recruitment efforts.

Chief Cotner stated currently, RFPD officers must live within six minutes of the Law Enforcement Center to respond for emergencies. Under normal driving conditions, the six-minute response time would not allow an officer to live in certain areas within the city limits of Redwood Falls. The six-minute response time, at one time, mirrored the Redwood Falls Fire Department response time, however, their response times have been increased in recent years.

Chief Cotner stated, unlike the fire department, RFPD is manned 24 hours per day. There is always at least one officer on duty to respond to calls for service. The need to call in off-duty officers to respond to an emergency is infrequent. The six-minute response time imposes a very restrictive geographical area for officers to live and, although not quantified, has likely deterred some candidates from applying for officer positions at RFPD.

Chief Cotner stated on May 13, 2020, the Redwood Falls Police Commission discussed this issue and approved a motion to increase RFPD response time to the Law Enforcement Center to 20 minutes. The 20-minute response time mirrors other City Departments. Staff recommends Council approve the increase in response time to 20 minutes.

A motion was made by Council Member Buckley and seconded by Council Member Smith to approve the Police Officer Response Time increase to 20 minutes. Motion passed by the following roll call vote.

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

Public Works Project Coordinator Jim Doering introduced Resolution No. 28 of 2020 – Memorandum of Agreement with Redwood-Cottonwood River Control Area.

Mr. Doering stated Redwood-Cottonwood Rivers Control Area (RCRCA) is requesting local assistance with Project Initiation, Construction/Dredging, and Post Dredging activities to promote the success of the project. Staff has been assisting RCRCA with the bonding initiatives and securing funding for the project itself. The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) outlines areas where local coordination is needed and gives staff the latitude to assist with those roles. Staff recommends the approval of the MOA.

A motion was made by Council Member Kerkhoff and seconded by Council Member Buckley to waive the reading of Resolution No. 28 of 2020 – Memorandum of Agreement with Redwood-Cottonwood River Control Area. Motion passed by the following roll call vote.

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

A motion was made by Council Member Kerkhoff and seconded by Council Member Buckley to approve Resolution No. 28 of 2020 – Memorandum of Agreement with Redwood-Cottonwood River Control Area. Motion passed by the following roll call vote.

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

City Administrator Muetzel gave an update on the City Attorney Hiring Process.

Mr. Muetzel stated Council was going to receive an update on the hiring process. However, an offer was made to a candidate and an agreement was reached after the Council packet was sent. An offer of employment was made to Trenton Dammann and he has accepted pending Council approval.

Mr. Muetzel stated the City received seven applications for the position. Staff interviewed four candidates. Interviews were conducted by a panel consisting of City Administrator Keith Muetzel, Director of Finance & Administrative Services Missi Meyer, Public Works Project Coordinator Jim Doering, Police Chief Jason Cotner, Building Official Tim Hanna, and HR Coordinator Sheila Stage. Staff recommends Council approve Trenton Dammann for employment with the City of Redwood Falls.

Council Member Arentson joined the meeting at 5:30 p.m.

A motion was made by Council Member Kerkhoff and seconded by Council Member Buckley to approve the City Attorney Position – Authorization to Hire Trenton Dammann. Motion passed by the following roll call vote.

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

City Administrator Muetzel gave an update on the Normandale Mobile Home Park Redevelopment. The State of Minnesota has awarded the City grant funds to assist with the development of workforce housing. The plans for redevelopment include bringing in 30 new modular units that will be available to rent. Mayor Quackenbush, Building Official Tim Hanna, Public Work Project Coordinator Jim Doering, and City Administrator Muetzel met with the lead developer and owner Brian Ertel. Mr. Ertel has added some additional business partners and ISG Engineering Consultants to assist with the project and finalize the planning. The City is working with the State of Minnesota to finalize the grant agreements and construction is planning to start in the spring of 2021.

City Administrator Muetzel gave an update on the Small Cities Grant Development Program seeking funds to rehabilitate single-family residential homes as well as downtown commercial buildings. The MN Department of Employment and Economic Development originally estimated the award would be announced in May. However, the process appears to have been delayed, most likely due to COVID-19, an announcement is expected soon.

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 Smith and seconded by Council Member Buckley to adjourn the meeting at 5:44 p.m. Motion passed by the following roll call vote.

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