City Council Meeting – November 17, 2020

MINUTES
REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING
CITY OF REDWOOD FALLS, MINNESOTA
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2020

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, November 17, 2020, at 5:00 p.m.

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

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 Smith to approve the agenda. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Arentson to approve the October 20, 2020, minutes as presented. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Sandgren and seconded by Council Member Kerkhoff to approve the November 12, 2020, minutes as presented. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

City Administrator Muetzel introduced Resolution No. 55 of 2020 – Designation of Annual Polling Place.

Mr. Muetzel stated all cities and townships must pass a resolution each year establishing the polling places for any elections scheduled for the following year. An annual resolution is required even if the polling place does not change. Resolution No. 55 designates the 2021 polling place as the Redwood Area Community Center located at 901 East Cook Street, Redwood Falls.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Sandgren to waive the reading of Resolution No. 55 of 2020 – Designation of Annual Polling Place. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Arentson and seconded by Council Member Kerkhoff to approve Resolution No. 55 of 2020 – Designation of Annual Polling Place. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

City Administrator Muetzel introduced the Addition of BolaWrap 100 Use to the Redwood Falls Police Department (RFPD) Policy Manual.

Assistant Chief of Police Steve Schroeder was present to address Council.

Mr. Muetzel stated in July of 2020 Chief of Police Jason Cotner presented the topic of RFPD’s less-lethal force options to the Redwood Falls Police Commission. At that time, the only less-lethal option available to RFPD officers was the Tazer device and hands-on defensive tactics. After extensive research and debate on the issue, the Police Commission requested an in-person demonstration of a less-lethal device called BolaWrap 100.

Assistant Chief Schroeder stated the BolaWrap 100 discharges a Kevlar cord with hooks on each end that wrap subjects around the legs or lower torso which limits their movement and provides officers a brief window of time to take them into custody with limited resistance or the need for higher levels of force. The Tazer device has limited efficacy against subjects wearing heavy clothes where the BolaWrap 100, in some respects, is more effective since the hooks can attach to the subject more easily.

Assistant Chief Schroeder further stated RFPD utilized grant money to purchase three BolaWrap 100 devices which will be shared by all the officers and tested over the course of the next 12-18 months. After the evaluation period, a decision will be made whether each officer will be outfitted with their own BolaWrap 100 device or continue sharing the three existing devices between officers and shifts. In accordance with the BolaWrap 100 manufacturer recommendations and the training provided to RFPD staff, prior to implementation, it is recommended a policy be put in place which outlines the parameters for use of the device, management of the subject after deployment, and documentation after deployment. Staff recommends approval of the BolaWrap 100 policy as presented.

A motion was made by Council Member Sandgren and seconded by Council Member Smith to approve the Addition of BolaWrap 100 Use to the RFPD Policy Manual. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Public Utilities Superintendent Chuck Heins was present to introduce Resolution No. 56 of 2020 – Authorization to Execute DGR Engineering Task Order No. 12 Amendment to the Master Agreement for West Substation Feeders 1 & 2 Relocation Project.

Mr. Heins stated there are currently two electric feeders that come out of the west substation. These two feeders carry approximately 40% of the City’s load. They are on the same poles and run down the alley on the south side of River Street until they reach the Whittet Street alley. Then they are on the north side of River Street. They continue down through the river valley, crossing the Redwood River and back up the hillside at the main power plant. Once the power line leaves the north Ramsey Street and River Street intersection, we have little or no access to the poles. Two years ago, when the ice went out of the lake, large chunks of ice came very close to taking out several of the poles.

Mr. Heins stated staff is proposing to relocate these feeder circuits underground along West Bridge Street. The lines would come up the power plant road in conduits that were installed several years ago with this project in mind. Certain segments of the work are expected to be completed by City staff, including final hookups, cut-overs, and removal of the existing equipment. City staff would like to start on this project this year with the engineering portion. The estimate on the engineering only portion of the project will be $58,700. DGR is estimating the entire project to cost $544,000 including engineering.

A motion was made by Council Member Sandgren and seconded by Council Member Buckley to waive the reading of Resolution No. 56 of 2020 – Authorization to Execute DGR Engineering Task Order No. 12 Amendment to the Master Agreement in the amount of $58,700 for West Substation Feeders 1 & 2 Relocation Project. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Arentson and seconded by Council Member Kerkhoff to approve Resolution No. 56 of 2020 – Authorization to Execute DGR Engineering Task Order No. 12 Amendment to the Master Agreement in the amount of $58,700 for West Substation Feeders 1 & 2 Relocation Project. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Director of Finance and Administrative Services Melissa Meyer introduced Resolution No. 57 of 2020 – Resolution Enabling Water, Sanitary Sewer, and Storm Sewer Rates.

Ms. Meyer stated DGR Engineering has developed water rates to provide an increase of 5% per cubic foot sold and 5% per infrastructure base charge. The sanitary sewer rates have been developed to provide an increase of 4% per cubic foot used and 4% per infrastructure base charge. The storm sewer rates have been developed to provide an increase of 5% per infrastructure base charge.

Ms. Meyer stated that by being proactive in making marginal increases it allows for better future planning. It also prevents the need to assess property owners for large improvement projects.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Kerkhoff to waive the reading of Resolution No. 57 of 2020 – Resolution Enabling Water, Sanitary Sewer, and Storm Sewer Rates. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Arentson and seconded by Council Member Buckley to approve Resolution No. 57 of 2020 – Resolution Enabling Water, Sanitary Sewer, and Storm Sewer Rates. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Director of Finance and Administrative Services Melissa Meyer introduced Resolution No. 58 of 2020 – Enabling Electric Rates.

Public Utilities Superintendent Heins was present to address Council regarding the electric rates.

Mr. Heins stated DGR Engineering compiled results from a study done of the allocated cost of serving various classes of the Public Utilities’ retail customers. As a result of the study, the rates have been developed to provide an overall increase in revenues of 2%. The rate changes are recommended by the Public Utilities Commission.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Arentson to waive the reading of Resolution No. 58 of 2020 – Enabling Electric Rates. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Buckley and seconded by Council Member Kerkhoff to approve Resolution No. 58 of 2020 – Enabling Electric Rates. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Public Utilities Superintendent Chuck Heins introduced Resolution No. 59 of 2020 – Establishing Rates for Solar Purchased Power Avoidance Reimbursement.

Mr. Heins stated Resolution No. 59 would enact the electric utility purchased power avoidance cost rates as of Jan 1, 2021. Solar customers that generate excess power will be reimbursed for that power at a specified rate. Solar customers utilize a City-owned meter to determine the power usage, called net metering. The City of Redwood Falls will reimburse using the Annual All Hours Rate of $0.02486 per kilowatt-hour. Staff recommends approval.

A motion was made by Council Member Sandgren and seconded by Council Member Arentson to waive the reading of Resolution No. 59 of 2020 – Enabling Electric Rates. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Kerkhoff and seconded by Council Member Smith to approve Resolution No. 59 of 2020 – Enabling Electric Rates. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

City Administrator Muetzel introduced the Request for Unpaid Medical Leave.

Mr. Muetzel stated Katie Lueck, Customer Service Specialist, is requesting an unpaid medical leave in excess of 30 days. Per the City’s Personnel Policy, unprotected medical leave without pay for greater than 30 days requires City Council approval. Therefore, staff requests City Council approval to grant Ms. Lueck an unpaid medical leave for up to 90 days.

A motion was made by Council Member Sandgren and seconded by Council Member Smith to
approve the Request for Unpaid Medical Leave. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Public Works Project Coordinator Doering introduced the Final Pay Application No. 1 for the
2020 Seal Coat Improvement.

Mr. Doering stated staff is recommending for approval the final pay reimbursement No. 1 to Pearson Bros. Inc. in the amount of $124,243.54. This action will set the final acceptance date of November 17, 2020 and set the 2-year maintenance period until November 17, 2022.

A motion was made by Council Member Buckley and seconded by Council Member Arentson to approve the Final Pay Application No. 1 for the 2020 Seal Coat Improvement in the amount of $124,243.54. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Director of Finance & Administrative Services Meyer introduced the Request to Waive Sanitary Sewer Charges.

Ms. Meyer stated staff received a request from Mary Nachbauer, utility account holder at 840 East Second Street, to waive sanitary sewer charges in the amount of $1,063.66. Staff determined the excess water was due to a water leak that occurred in the crawl space under the home and did not enter the sanitary sewer system. Staff recommends waiving the sanitary sewer charge as is consistent with past practice due to the determination that the water did not enter the sanitary sewer system.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Kerkhoff to approve the Request to Waive Sanitary Sewer Charges. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Council Member Sandgren requested clarification on Council’s responsibilities regarding possible shutdowns due to the impending Governor’s Executive Order.

City Administrator Muetzel stated City staff intends to follow the requirements outlined in the Executive Order. Council would only need to act if a decision is made to operate outside the Executive Order. Parks & Rec staff are currently limiting youth and adult sports, not allowing reservations for family gatherings of 10 or more, and staff at the RACC have been sanitizing and will remain open if allowed. Staff has contacted rental reservations for Thanksgiving and those customers have canceled their reservations due to the 10 or less requirement.

City Administrator Muetzel gave an update regarding the land purchase for housing and industrial site development. The projected closing date was on or around November 1. The seller requested an extension on the closing of the portion of land for the industrial site. The purchase agreement is between Redwood Falls Industries and the seller. Redwood Falls Industries assigned their interest in the purchase agreement to the Port Authority. Redwood Falls Industries consented to the extension. The Port Authority has closed on the sale of land for the housing site and will close on the industrial piece after the 1st of the year.

City Administrator Muetzel stated the housing committee will be meeting on Thursday, November 19 to review a conceptual design for the housing site. Following the meeting, the Council will receive copies of the conceptual design. Additional engineering work will need to take place with Bolton & Menk, Inc. Staff is able to focus on developing the proposed housing site and the delay with the industrial site will not affect the other land.

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 Arentson to adjourn the meeting at 6:05 p.m. Motion passed by unanimous vote.