City Council Meeting – May 5, 2020

MINUTES
REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING
CITY OF REDWOOD FALLS, MINNESOTA
TUESDAY, MAY 5, 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, May 5, 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 Kerkhoff and seconded by Council Member Sandgren to
approve the April 21, 2020, minutes as presented. Motion passed by the following roll call vote.

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

Parks & Rec Director Ross Nachreiner was present to discuss the current status of 2020 Park and
Recreation Programs, Aquatic Center, and Campground Operations.

Mr. Nachreiner stated with the continued uncertainty around the opening of recreational facilities including the RACC, Aquatic Center, and Ramsey Campground, staff compiled some financial information to make the best decisions possible for the City of Redwood Falls if restrictions are lifted or softened in any way. During the summer season, the pool and campground are facilities that are typically in high demand. In 2019, the campground (tenting and site rental) had a total revenue around $48,974. The largest campground expense is the park ranger at $5,917.01 ($15.25hr). Utilities are very difficult to separate out from total park & rec expenses. Staff still needs to mow and maintain the area even if there is not a camping season.

Mr. Nachreiner stated all current reservations in May are for rentals over the weekends. The weekends of May 8-10 & May 15-17, there are 9 sites rented out each weekend. On Memorial weekend all 31 sites are booked and the following weekend (May 29-31) there are 19 sites reserved. Due to a slower start to rentals in May, the park ranger would not typically start employment until Memorial weekend (May 21). Site reservations are $24.00/day. If staff decides to keep the campground closed through the month of May, we would set our campground revenue budget back $4,500-$5,000 while incurring very little expenses. This also includes lost reservations from the weekend of May 1-3.

Mr. Nachreiner stated the Aquatic Center in 2019 had $158,881.76 in revenue and $200,302.20 in expenses. The pool is always very hard to predict as the weather plays a large factor in the revenues. Of those revenues, swim pool concessions were $28,105, swimming lessons accounted for $26,030.50, and swim pool fees (all passes & rentals) were about $101,000. Some of the larger expense line items include, staffing $100,000, supplies $12,000, concessions $23,500 (product & staffing), and utilities $24,500. For the 2020 pool season, staff projected $151,000 in revenues and $238,000 in expenses.

Mr. Nachreiner further stated regulations will play a huge role in making the decision to open for the 2020 season. If staff can open as scheduled, staff recommend keeping the rates as is. If staff has to delay the opening date, we will need to adjust the pass rate. Currently, family passes are $160.00 and individual passes are $85.00. Other unknowns include being able to offer a concession stand and swim lessons to the public. The American Red Cross (the Association used for staff and lesson certifications), has initiated some guidelines to allow the pool to be open with limitations. They include having a family member with their child during swim lessons (Tots- Level 3), lowering the class roster limit for lessons, and decreasing the total pool capacity. A major concern about not having a season is that all the managers and lifeguards are Red Cross Certified. If they are not able to work this season, staff is concerned we will not be able to retain them for the following seasons. Staff recommends delaying the Aquatic Center opening until June 15th pending any guidance from the Governor.

Parks & Rec Director Nachreiner introduced the Safe Routes to Parks Grant Application for Bike Racks in Ramsey Park.

Mr. Nachreiner stated after participating in the Bikeable Community Workshop last summer, staff recognized the need for bike racks within Ramsey Park. Bike riding is not allowed on the trails within Ramsey Park. We would like to encourage citizens to bike to Ramsey Park and then have a safe place to park and lock their bikes up. One bike rack would be installed at the west entrance to the park near Zeb Gray while the other bike rack would be installed near the zoo.

Mr. Nachreiner stated staff is recommending the Council consider the approval of a grant application to the Safe Routes to Park Grant offered through the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) for the purchase of two bike racks to be installed near each entrance to Ramsey Park. The SHIP Mini Grant will cover the purchase of the bike racks, which is approximately $600.00. The grant will not cover the cost of shipping (approximately $225.00) which would come out of the Park and Rec Department Budget.

A motion was made by Council Member Kerkhoff and seconded by Council Member Smith to approve the Safe Routes to Parks Grant Application for Bike Racks in Ramsey Park. Motion passed by the following roll call vote.

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

Public Utilities Superintendent Chuck Heins was present to introduce Resolution No. 25 of 2020 – Authorization to Execute Mainline Circuit Development DGR Project #421119 with Castrejon Incorporated.

Mr. Heins stated the mainline circuit development project is being completed in large part to provide power to the new hospital currently being built on the southeast corner of town, but it will also enhance reliability of providing power to the existing sections of the City. Two bids for the project were received,
opened and publicly read on Tuesday, April 28, 2020 at 1:15 p.m. Both bidders, AEI Construction and Castrejon, Inc., are very qualified to complete this project. DGR gave a budget estimate of $530,000 which was in the 2020 capital budget. When the two bids were opened, they differed by only $25.72. DGR reviewed the bids for completeness and mathematical errors. DGR recommends the bid be awarded to Castrejon Incorporated of Blaine, Minnesota in the amount of $513,516.50.

A motion was made by Council Member Sandgren and seconded by Council Member Arentson to waive the reading of Resolution No. 25 of 2020 – Authorization to Execute Mainline Circuit Development DGR Project #421119 with Castrejon Incorporated. 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 Smith and seconded by Council Member Buckley to approve Resolution No. 25 of 2020 – Authorization to Execute Mainline Circuit Development DGR Project #421119 with Castrejon Incorporated. Motion passed by the following roll call vote.

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

Public Works Project Coordinator Jim Doering introduced Resolution No. 26 of 2020 – Authorization to Execute Bid for Professional Services to Provide Connected Sanitary Service and Sump Pump Inspections.

Mr. Doering stated Resolution No. 26 authorizes the approval of a per-unit bid of services from B&N Plumbing-N-Heating of Redwood Falls, MN, to provide sump pump inspections and televise-inspect the approximate 2,200 private sanitary sewer connections for the City of Redwood Falls over the course of five years. B&N submitted the lowest per-unit bid of the two responding bidders on April 22, 2020, at 3:00 p.m. Both bids were from local competent contractors, B&N Plumbing-N-Heating and MJ Mechanical LLC. Staff recommends the award for services to B&N.

Mr. Doering stated during the inspection period any identified non-conforming systems will need to be upgraded by the property owner to an approved design and function in conformance with the Inflow & Infiltration Ordinance’s outlined specifications and procedures. Conforming systems will help reduce sanitary sewer surcharges during intense rainfall events that will protect both City infrastructure and private property.

Nate Wanzek, Owner of B&N Plumbing-N-Heating was present to answer any questions from Council. Mr. Wanzek stated he would be going through additional training to be certified to complete all the necessary inspections. As a company, B&N would also be hiring additional staff to meet the demand and staff would be properly background checked.

A motion was made by Council Member Buckley and seconded by Council Member Kerkhoff to waive the reading of Resolution No. 26 of 2020 – Authorization to Execute Bid for Professional Services to Provide Connected Sanitary Service and Sump Pump Inspections. 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 Smith to approve Resolution No. 26 of 2020 – Authorization to Execute Bid for Professional Services to Provide Connected Sanitary Service and Sump Pump Inspections. 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 the City Attorney Hiring Process.

Mr. Muetzel gave his well wishes to City Attorney Busse as her last day of employment with the City is Thursday, May 7. The application period closed on Tuesday, May 5 at 3:00 p.m. The City received seven applications for the position. Staff will be reviewing and scoring the applications to determine the applicants that will be interviewed. Interviews will be tentatively scheduled for the week of May 18th depending upon the availability of the candidates. If a finalist is determined, reference and background checks will be completed and staff will present a candidate to Council on June 2.

Mr. Muetzel explained the benefits of having an attorney on staff as opposed to contracting the work. With 12 different City departments operating, the City Attorney is an integral member of the management team. Council and staff agree it is important to have a City Attorney available for timely responses and focused solely on City business. The City could pay a higher rate to contract legal services and risk receiving a lower level of services without having a City Attorney on staff. The City Attorney position is highly valued.

City Administrator Muetzel introduced the Land Acquisition for Future Housing and Industrial Development Sites.

Council Member Kerkhoff stated she would abstain from the discussion and subsequent vote due to a conflict of interest. Council Member Kerkhoff stated she is related to the selling landowners.

Mr. Muetzel stated on February 5, 2019, the Council took formal action to direct Mayor Quackenbush and Council Members Smith and Kerkhoff to organize a housing committee. The following individuals were identified as housing committee participants; Tom Quackenbush, Mayor; Matt Smith, City Council Member; Denise Kerkhoff, City Council Member; Scott Kodet, Banker; Brent Prouty, Realtor; Briana Mumme, Redwood County Economic Development; Keith Muetzel, City Administrator; Jim Doering, Public Works Project Coordinator; and Tim Hanna, Building Official.

Mr. Muetzel stated in March of 2019, the Housing Committee held a work session with the ISG consulting group. ISG staff recently completed an update to the Comprehensive Plan for the City so they were already familiar with the Redwood Falls community. The work session focused on reviewing the Comprehensive Plan and analyzing community housing data obtained from the Comprehensive Plan and other sources. The lack of available building lots for single and multi-family housing construction was identified by the Housing Committee as a primary barrier to new construction. The Housing Committee began to identify parcels of land that are adjacent to city limits that would be suitable for housing development.

Mr. Muetzel stated staff also inquired with Redwood Industries to determine if they would be interested in pursuing a housing development. Redwood Industries concluded they could not serve as a primary developer but they are willing to partner on a development project. While it is unclear what the partnership might look like, Redwood Industries began to contact landowners to discuss a possible land purchase for a housing development project. Redwood Industries identified a landowner that is interested in selling two parcels for development purposes. The first parcel, consisting of 208 acres, is ideal for the development of a large housing subdivision. The second parcel, consisting of 116 acres, is suitable for industrial expansion. The 208-acre housing site is located on the south side of County Road 24 just to the southeast of the new hospital site. The 116-acre industrial site is located in the northeast corner of the County Road 24 and County Road 1 intersection. It is the property owner’s desire to sell both parcels to one party.

Mr. Muetzel further stated the Housing Committee did not initially seek to identify property for an industrial expansion area but the proposed industrial site also fits well with the Economic Development chapter of the Comprehensive Plan. The primary economic development goal of the Comprehensive Plan is to develop a strong and diversified economy by retaining and attracting businesses. The Comprehensive Plan specifically recommends identifying a location and completing the development of a new industrial park to support efforts to attract and retain businesses that offer good jobs.

Mr. Muetzel stated Redwood Industries developed a tentative purchase agreement to acquire the two parcels for $3,000,000. Redwood Industries is not able to serve as the primary developer. However, as an alternative, Redwood Industries is proposing to assign the purchase agreement to the Redwood Falls Port Authority. The purchase agreement includes contingencies for wetlands, soil suitability, infrastructure serviceability, archaeological issues, and other items that may interfere with development activities.

Mr. Muetzel stated the Comprehensive Plan outlines goals and strategies for housing and economic development. The proposed purchase agreement assignment to the Port Authority is an appropriate next step in pursuing future housing and economic development strategies. Funding for the land purchase will come from a portion of the proceeds retained from the Hospital transfer to Carris Health. The Council previously designated those funds to be used for capital projects that would be an investment in the growth and development of the community. Staff and the Housing Committee firmly believe that approval of the assignment of the purchase agreement to the Redwood Falls Port Authority presents the ideal opportunity to utilize the funds for their intended purpose, which in turn will benefit the community as a whole for many years to come.

A motion was made by Council Member Buckley and seconded by Council Member Arentson to approve the Land Acquisition for Future Housing and Industrial Development Sites. Motion passed by the following roll call vote.

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

City Administrator Muetzel gave an update regarding the installation of a Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) Pedestrian Crosswalk System at MN Hwy 19 and Lincoln Street. There was a delay earlier this spring because the proposed location of the crosswalk sign was outside MnDOT’s right-of-way and located behind the sidewalk on private property. An easement was secured with the property owner to allow the sign installation on private property and the easement has been recorded. The application and final engineering submittals have been submitted to MnDOT and waiting on approval before the installation can happen. City staff is ready to purchase the equipment and install once we receive approval from MnDOT.

City Administrator reminded Council the scheduled City Council Meeting for May 19th, 2020 will be by telephone or other electronic means.

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 Sandgren to adjourn the meeting at 6:29 p.m. Motion passed by the following roll call vote.

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