City Council Meeting – September 1, 2020

MINUTES
REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING
CITY OF REDWOOD FALLS, MINNESOTA
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 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, September 1, 2020, at 5:00 p.m.

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

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

City Administrator Muetzel stated Agenda Item 9J – Police Officer Hiring Update (verbal) would include a Police Officer Employment Offer.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Arentson to approve the agenda with the Police Officer Employment Offer addition to Agenda Item 9J. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Arentson and seconded by Council Member Buckley to approve the August 18, 2020, minutes as presented. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

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

1. Approve AWAIR Program Annual Update

Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Miranda Wendlandt, CPA and CFE with CliftonLarsonAllen was present to give an overview of the 2019 audit results for the City of Redwood Falls. Ms. Wendlandt stated this was a clean audit with no compliance or internal control findings.

City Administrator Muetzel requested Ms. Wendlandt verify the City of Redwood Falls’ population total used to depict the Net Property Tax Levy per Capita. Mr. Muetzel stated the total population for the City is typically estimated at 5,200 instead of the total population of 6,400 used in the audit results calculation. The lower population total would result in a higher per capita rate for 2019.

A motion was made by Council Member Buckley and seconded by Council Member Kerkhoff to accept the 2019 City Audit results and reports, as submitted with verification on the population, reported for the Net Property Tax Levy per Capita. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

City Administrator Muetzel introduced Resolution No. 37 of 2020 – 2020 Election CARES Act Grant
Funds.

Mr. Muetzel stated Redwood County will be receiving a Cares Act Grant from the Secretary of State’s Office for election related expenses due to COVID. The amount to be received is $31,316.28 with $20,436.40 going back to the municipalities and $10,879.88 staying with the County. The money was allocated based on a per capita formula set by the Secretary of State’s Office. The City of Redwood Falls was eligible to receive up to $2,615.76 to be spent on allowable election expenses with a 20% local match. Staff recommends the City decline the grant because the City has additional CARES Act funding available for COVID related expenses that do not require a match.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Arentson to waive the reading of Resolution No. 37 of 2020 – 2020 Election CARES Act Grant Funds. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Kerkhoff and seconded by Council Member Buckley to approve Resolution No. 37 of 2020 – 2020 Election CARES Act Grant Funds. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Public Works Project Coordinator Doering introduced Resolution No. 38 of 2020 – Proposal for Wastewater Treatment Facility Plan Amendment.

Mr. Doering stated Resolution No. 38 authorizes Work Order No. 2020-5 with Bolton and Menk, Inc. (BMI) to provide a listed scope of services for conducting a Wastewater Treatment Facility Plan Amendment. The project scope includes meeting Point Source Reduction Grant (PSIG) requirements to cover up to 80% in construction costs and position the City for any other available stimulus grants. The intention of the project is to refurbish the aeration system of the existing ponds and add clarifiers. The project would also incorporate the currently added alum and rare earth chemical treatments to meet Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) imposed phosphorus limits.

Mr. Doering stated the City is currently meeting wastewater effluent parameters, a 12-month rolling phosphorus limit, by adding the rare earth and alum chemical treatments to precipitate phosphorus out of the effluent stream. By refurbishing the aeration systems and adding the clarifiers, the City will also be able to meet the Lake Pepin and newly imposed River Eutrophication limits alone without purchasing phosphorus credits. The City is currently purchasing credits from the City of New Ulm to meet Lake Pepin load limits at $36,000 per year.

Mr. Doering stated the estimated project cost to refurbish the ponds and add the clarifiers will cost $6,500,000. These updates will help meet both Lake Pepin and River Eutrophication phosphorus limits and is an interim cost-saving implementation measure over a projected twelve-year time period. These measures will enhance a future mechanical facility and could extend the time before a full mechanical plant is needed. A new mechanical facility would be required if a future nitrogen limit is added by the MPCA. The projected cost of the new facility is estimated at more than $20,000,000.

A motion was made by Council Member Buckley and seconded by Council Member Kerkhoff to waive the reading of Resolution No. 38 of 2020 – Proposal for Wastewater Treatment Facility Plan Amendment. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Arentson and seconded by Council Member Smith to approve Resolution No. 38 of 2020 – Proposal for Wastewater Treatment Facility Plan Amendment. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Parks & Rec Director Ross Nachreiner was present to introduce the Installation Agreement with
LiveBarn at the Community Center Ice Arena.

Mr. Nachreiner stated Parks & Rec staff has been looking into live stream options for the arena. Staff feels that live streaming events may be the way most spectators watch many sporting events for the next year and potentially going forward. LiveBarn will install and supply all necessary equipment needed to live stream events. The only expense the City may see is if an additional outlet for the equipment needs to be installed. In return, subscribers will pay to watch events held in the arena. The facility host (RACC) will then receive 30% of the revenue generated from the memberships while LiveBarn retains 70%.

Mr. Nachreiner stated the RACC staff will monitor all the events and will be able to choose which events are live streamed to subscribers. RACC staff will promote LiveBarn to increase our subscriber membership. LiveBarn’s subscriber rates include a monthly rate of $16.95, a yearly rate of $14.95 per month, a premium monthly rate of $26.95, and a premium yearly rate of $22.95 per month. The premium subscription rate allows for a few more features. Parks and Rec staff is recommending to approve the venue agreement with LiveBarn.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Kerkhoff to approve the Installation Agreement with LiveBarn at the Community Center Ice Arena. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Parks & Rec Director Nachreiner gave a year-end update on the 2020 Redwood Falls Aquatic Center.

Mr. Nachreiner stated the 2020 Redwood Falls Aquatic Center (RFAC) pool season ended on August 20, 2020 after a 53-day season. The RFAC was able to be open every day of the season and did not have to close an entire day due to weather. The RFAC had about 12,300 people visit the facility for a daily average of about 253. With all things considered, staff had a great year at the pool. A few staff members were able to take more hours than originally expected and managers were able to limit overtime to less than 10 hours. Patrons did not have any issues abiding by the new policies. Revenue and expenses have not been finalized at this time.

Mr. Nachreiner thanked pool staff and managers for all their hard work over the season.

City Administrator Muetzel introduced the Consideration of Electrical Line Worker Employment Offer.

Mr. Muetzel stated the Public Utilities department had one vacancy due to a recent resignation. An interview team consisting of Jason Halvorson, Keith Muetzel, Sheila Stage and Chuck Heins interviewed six candidates from a pool of 21 applicants. The interview team offered the available position to Trent Skjefte and he has accepted the offer and terms of employment. Mr. Skjefte’s terms of employment include a one-year probationary period. At the end of the probationary period, Mr. Skjefte will be eligible for a step increase upon a satisfactory job performance evaluation.

A motion was made by Council Member Buckley and seconded by Council Member Arentson to approve the Electrical Line Worker Employment Offer to Trent Skjefte. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

City Administrator Muetzel introduced the proposal for a City Hall Air Exchanger.

Mr. Muetzel stated the COVID-19 pandemic has encouraged municipalities to exam air quality within public buildings. One approach to lowering indoor air pollutants or contaminants, including any viruses, is to increase building ventilation and the amount of air coming from outdoors. The City Hall heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system is composed of three electric furnaces and three air conditioners. There is no air exchanger or fresh air intake into the building. The system simply recirculates existing air within the building and there is no air filtration/purification system. Therefore, any contaminants in the air are recirculated throughout the building.

Mr. Muetzel stated MJ Mechanical provided a quote in the amount of $46,185.00 to upgrade the HVAC system with three natural gas furnaces and three air conditioners. The proposed system upgrades include the addition of electric air cleaners, steam humidifiers, ultraviolet germicidal lamps, and an air exchanger. The upgrade will introduce fresh air into the building and adds an air filtration/purification system. The proposed improvements will significantly improve the building’s air quality.

Mr. Muetzel further stated the City received CARES funding in the amount of $395,000 to be used on COVID related expenses, not already included in the current year’s budget. The funds must be spent by November 15. Staff is proposing to utilize CARES Funds to cover the cost of the proposed improvements.

A motion was made by Council Member Kerkhoff and seconded by Council Member Arentson to approve the proposal to install an air exchanger at City Hall in the amount of $46,185.00. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

City Administrator Muetzel introduced the proposal for a Fire Hall Air Exchanger.

Mr. Muetzel stated the COVID-19 pandemic has encouraged municipalities to exam air quality within public buildings. One approach to lowering indoor air pollutants or contaminants, including any viruses, is to increase building ventilation and the amount of air coming from outdoors. The Fire Hall is served by two HVAC systems with one system serving the office/training area and a second system serving the truck bay. The HVAC system for the office/training area is composed of two electric furnaces and two air conditioners. There is no air exchanger or fresh air intake into the building and there is no air filtration/purification system. The system simply recirculates existing air within the office/training area.

Mr. Muetzel stated the HVAC system for the truck bay consists of electric in-floor heat. In 2020, $11,000 was budgeted to convert the electric floor heat system to a natural gas overhead radiant heat system. MJ Mechanical provided a quote in the amount of $45,082.00 to upgrade the office/training area HVAC system with two natural gas furnaces and two air conditioners. The proposed system upgrade includes the addition of electric air cleaners, ultraviolet germicidal lamps, and an air exchanger. The upgrade will introduce fresh air into the building and adds an air filtration/purification system.

Mr. Muetzel further stated the City received CARES funding in the amount of $395,000 to be used on COVID related expenses, not already included in the current year’s budget. The funds must be spent by November 15. Staff is proposing to utilize CARES Funds in the amount of $31,902 to cover the cost of the proposed improvements. Included within the quote for $45,082.00 from MJ Mechanical is $13,180 to convert the garage heat from electric floor heat to natural gas radiant heat, which was included in the 2020 budget and therefore not eligible for the CARES funding. Klabunde Electric has also provided a quote for the required electrical work in the amount of $8,063.10 for a new electric panel to serve the office/training area HVAC system. Staff also proposes to include this cost as a CARES expense.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Buckley to approve the proposal to install an air exchanger at the Fire Hall in the amount of $45,082.00. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Public Works Project Coordinator Doering introduced the Final Pay Application No. 5 for the 2019 Courthouse Square Improvements.

Mr. Doering stated the final contract price totals $1,055,279.15. The Council’s authorization to make the final payment shall initiate the beginning of the two-year maintenance period. Upon approval, the final acceptance date will be September 1, 2022. Staff is recommending for approval the Final Pay Application No. 5 (2019 Courthouse Square Improvements) S.A.P. 207-594-001 for $60,542.03.

A motion was made by Council Member Kerkhoff and seconded by Council Member Arentson to approve the Final Pay Application No. 5 for the 2019 Courthouse Square Improvements in the amount of $60,542.03. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

City Administrator Muetzel introduced the Police Officer Employment Offer.

Mr. Muetzel stated in the 2020 budget the City Council approved the addition of a 12th officer to the RFPD roster. Since the beginning of 2020, there have been 2 vacancies created by officers leaving the department so the hiring of the 12th officer could not be completed until existing staff positions were filled. By August all existing staff positions had been filled and the process for hiring the 12th officer could begin. RFPD received 21 applications for the officer position and on August 12th a written test was held at the Redwood Area Community Center. 14 candidates took the test and all 14 passed. Due to the high number of candidates passing the test the candidates were broken down into separate pools based on their cumulative scores on their application and written test.

Mr. Muetzel stated on August 28, 2020 the top three candidates were interviewed by a panel made up of City Administrator Keith Muetzel, HR Coordinator Sheila Stage, City Attorney Trenton Dammann, City Council Member Matt Smith, Chief of Police Jason Cotner, and Asst. Chief of Police Steve Schroeder. At the conclusion of the interviews, Brady Stough was found to be the most qualified candidate. A conditional job offer was given to Mr. Stough and he accepted. The conditional job offer was made contingent upon the following factors: No disqualifying information found during the background check; Psychological testing which finds him suitable for patrol work; Physical examination which finds no disqualifying medical conditions; and approval by Council. Staff recommends Council approve Brady Stough for employment with the Redwood Falls Police Department contingent upon successful completion of the background check, psychological testing, and physical examination.

A motion was made by Council Member Kerkhoff and seconded by Council Member Buckley to approve the Police Officer Employment Offer to Brady Stough. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

City Administrator Muetzel stated the Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) Pedestrian Crosswalk System at MN Hwy 19 and Lincoln Street crosswalk has been installed and is fully operational.

City Administrator Muetzel stated the Budget Committee will be meeting on Thursday, September 3. By law, the preliminary levy needs to be completed and approved by September 30. The preliminary levy will be presented to Council on September 15 at the regularly scheduled Council Meeting.

City Administrator Muetzel stated the next Housing Committee Meeting will be Thursday, October 1 regarding the land purchase for residential and commercial development. Bolton & Menk has partnered with an architectural firm to assist in developing a plan for both business and residential sites. The scheduled closing on the land is anticipated to be November 1, 2020.

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 Arentson and seconded by Council Member Smith to adjourn the meeting at 6:25 p.m. Motion passed by unanimous vote.