City Council Meeting – Tuesday, September 4, 2018

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 4, 2018, at 5:00 p.m.

Roll call indicated Mayor Corey Theis and Council Members Paul DeBlieck, Larry Arentson, Jim Sandgren and John T. Buckley were present constituting a quorum.   Council Member Matt Smith was absent.

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 Amy Kerkhoff.

A motion was made by Council Member Arentson and seconded by Council Member Sandgren approving the agenda as presented.  Motion was carried by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Buckley and seconded by Council Member Arentson approving the August 21, 2018, minutes as presented.  Motion was carried by unanimous vote.

Mayor Corey Theis administered the Oath of Office to Officer Andrew Mathwig.

Public Utilities Superintendent Chuck Heins presented Change Order No. 1 for the South Substation Switchgear Replacement Project.  Mr.  Heins stated modifications added after the design phase of the project brings the new contract total with Harold K. Scholz to $593,550.00 from the original contract price of $580,750.00.

A motion was made by Council Member Sandgren and seconded by Council Member DeBlieck approving Change Order No. 1 for the South Substation Switchgear Replacement Project in the amount of $12,800.00.  Motion was carried by unanimous vote.

Zoning Administrator Tim Hanna was present to discuss the proposed Residential Demolition Assistance Program.

Mr. Hanna stated staff has seen an increase in homes that have been abandoned or fallen into disrepair in the community.  These properties become a nuisance for the neighborhood from a blighting factor and lead to several hours of staff time for code enforcement and building code violations.  The proposed assistance program would help property owners to remove these structures before they become an issue and allow the property to be put to better use.

Mr. Hanna stated staff is proposing a grant for 50% of the demolition cost, with a maximum grant amount of $5,000.00, for the demolition and restoration of the lot.  Approval of this grant would be contingent upon the applicant meeting program requirements.  The funding source for this program is $32,000.00 from a previous Minnesota Investment Fund Grant.  Once the funds are fully dispersed, the City Council will need to determine if funding for the assistance program will continue.

A motion was made by Council Member Sandgren and seconded by Council Member DeBlieck approving the Residential Demolition Assistance Program, and authorizing staff to approve program applications.  Motion was carried by unanimous vote.

Resolution No. 44 of 2018 – Resolution Approving Grant Acceptance for AIP Grant Number 3-27-0083-017-2018 to Construct a 7 Unit Hangar Building was presented by Public Works Project Coordinator Jim Doering.

Mr. Doering stated the resolution authorizes the execution of the FAA Grant AIP No. 3-27-0083-017-2018 for the construction phase of the 7-unit hangar building.  The grant agreement allows for reimbursement to the City with FAA funds for 90% of the direct costs for the project up to $1,239,401.00.  The local share of 5% or $68,856.01 will be matched with 5% from MnDOT to meet the 10% requirement.  The anticipated total cost for the construction phase is $1,377,122.22.

A motion was made by Council Member Buckley and seconded by Council Member Sandgren to waive the reading of Resolution No. 44 of 2018 – Resolution Approving Grant Acceptance for AIP Grant Number 3-27-0083-017-2018 to Construct a 7 Unit Hangar Building.  Motion was carried by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Arentson and seconded by Council Member DeBlieck approving Resolution No. 44 of 2018 – Resolution Approving Grant Acceptance for AIP Grant Number 3-27-0083-017-2018 to Construct a 7 Unit Hangar Building.  Motion was carried by unanimous vote.

Resolution No. 45 of 2018 – Resolution Setting Fee Schedule for 2019 was presented by Director of Finance & Administrative Services Melissa Meyer.

Ms. Meyer stated staff reviewed the proposed fee schedule.  Proposed changes are indicated in red.  The fees in blue are set or limited by State Statute.  Staff is recommending approval of the proposed 2019 Fee Schedule.

A motion was made by Council Member Buckley and seconded by Council Member Sandgren to waive the reading of Resolution No. 45 of 2018 – Resolution Setting Fee Schedule for 2019.  Motion was carried by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Buckley and seconded by Council Member DeBlieck approving Resolution No. 45 of 2018 – Resolution Setting Fee Schedule for 2019.  Motion was passed by the following roll call vote.

AYE:               Council Members Arentson, Sandgren, and Buckley

NO:                 Council Member DeBlieck

ABSENT:       Council Member Smith

Director of Finance & Administrative Services Melissa Meyer gave an overview of the preliminary levy and budgets for 2019.

Ms. Meyer stated State law requires local units of government to establish the preliminary levy for the coming tax year and certify those to the County Auditor by September 30, 2018, with the exception of the Port Authority which must be certified by September 15, 2018, and to set the dates for the discussion and adoption of the final levy and budgets.

Ms. Meyer stated additional budget development will occur until December to enable the Budget Committee to make a recommendation to the City Council for the final levy and budgets.  The date when the final levy and budget will be presented has been set for December 18, 2018, at 6:00 p.m. in the Municipal Building City Council Chambers.

A motion was made by Council Member Buckley and seconded by Council Member Arentson to waive the reading of Resolution No. 46 of 2018 – Resolution Setting Proposed Certified Levy Ad Valorem Taxes for the Year 2019.  Motion was carried by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Buckley and seconded by Council Member Arentson approving Resolution No. 46 of 2018 – Resolution Setting Proposed Certified Levy Ad Valorem Taxes for the Year 2019.  Motion was carried by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Arentson and seconded by Council Member Buckley to waive the reading of Resolution No. 47 of 2018 – Resolution Approving 2019 Preliminary Budgets.  Motion was carried by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Buckley and seconded by Council Member Arentson approving Resolution No. 47 of 2018 – Resolution Approving 2019 Preliminary Budgets.  Motion was carried by unanimous vote.

Police Chief Jason Cotner discussed the hiring of the Police Officer position.

Chief Cotner stated on August 10, 2018, Officer Isaac Froehlic resigned from the Police Department.  Officer Froehlic’s exit left the Police Department short one officer.  Two candidates were on the eligibility list which was generated during the May, 2018 hiring process.  An invitation to attend the second interview was given to both candidates with one candidate accepting the invitation.  The interview team consisting of City Administrator Keith Muetzel, Police Chief Jason Cotner, Assistant Chief Steve Schroeder, and Police Commissioner Michael Mohr interviewed Jonathan Mertens on August 22, 2018.  The position was offered to Mr. Mertens and he has accepted the City’s offer and terms of employment.

A motion was made by Council Member DeBlieck and seconded by Council Member Sandgren approving the interview team’s recommendation to offer the Police Officer position to Jonathan Mertens contingent upon successful completion of the required testing and background check.  Motion was carried by unanimous vote.

Public Works Project Coordinator Jim Doering discussed the stormwater pond maintenance quote.

Mr. Doering stated staff is recommending approval of the quote to clean-out the storm water pond by Johnson Park for up to $20,000.00 from Schmidt Construction.  The storm water pond behind Johnson Park field treats stormwater from Beachwood Drive, Driftwood Drive, Edgewood Drive, Firewood Drive, North Dekalb Street and a portion of the fairgrounds.  The sediment needs to be removed from the stormwater pond.  The three inlets and single outlet of the pond are difficult to maintain due to the inundation of cattail mats and sediment.  The 1.25-acre pond is designed with a maximum depth of three feet.

Mr. Doering stated the cost for the sediment removal and site restoration would be appropriated from the Storm Water Fund.  The project was approved by the City Council for the 2017 budget but was carried over to the 2018 budget.  Staff recommends approval of the project to restore lost hydraulic and stormwater treatment capacity.  The contractor presented was the low quote in 2017 and is able to start the project immediately.

A motion was made by Council Member DeBlieck and seconded by Council Member Buckley approving the quote to clean-out the stormwater pond by Johnson Park for up to $20,000.00 from Schmidt Construction.  Motion was carried by unanimous vote.

Resolution No. 48 of 2018 – A Resolution Approving the Information Technology Services Agreement with Thriveon was presented by Director of Finance & Administrative Services Melissa Meyer.

Ms. Meyer stated the City and Hospital have shared services in the areas of finance, information technology, and housekeeping.  Due to the transfer agreement with Carris Health, effective January 1, 2019, staff has been analyzing alternate solutions to provide these services.  A committee consisting of Public Utilities Superintendent Chuck Heins, Public Works Project Coordinator Jim Doering, and Director of Finance & Administrative Services Melissa Meyer interviewed Thriveon on several occasions and compared their outsourced solutions to maintaining an in-house IT solution.  The City is currently contracted with the Hospital to pay 60% of one full-time employee to provide IT support at a cost of $76,200.00 in 2018.  The goal of that arrangement was to have access to additional network support in the department when necessary.

Ms. Meyer stated Thriveon offers a comprehensive solution to plan, support and secure network infrastructure, hardware and software.  Thriveon’s solution provides 24/7/365 remote support and on-site support when applicable.  The cost of the support is $93,972.00 for the first 12 months, assuming hardware counts and data remain the same.  The cost to employ one full-time employee with benefits is $127,000.00 for 2019.  The Thriveon agreement has a 2.5% annual increase built-in.  Additional support costs are expected to be lower over time because some of the current software costs are included in the support agreement.  The City has an obligation to fulfill the support contract with the Hospital for the balance of 2018, but it is imperative to begin this new arrangement in order to transition by January, and it will be beneficial to have a cross-over period.  The cost to begin this service with Thriveon for September through December of 2018 is $31,124.00.

A motion was made by Council Member Sandgren and seconded by Council Member Buckley to waive the reading of Resolution No. 48 of 2018 – A Resolution Approving the Information Technology Services Agreement with Thriveon.  Motion was carried by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Arentson and seconded by Council Member DeBlieck approving Resolution No. 48 of 2018 – A Resolution Approving the Information Technology Services Agreement with Thriveon.  Motion was carried by unanimous vote.

City Administrator Keith Muetzel discussed a bill that was introduced in the last legislative session to allow wine, beer, and spirits to be sold in grocery and convenience stores.  The bill is expected to be introduced again in 2019.  In preparation, the Minnesota Municipal Beverage Association has asked its members to pass a resolution in opposition to the initiative.  If the City Council is interested in passing a resolution, it can be added to the next City Council agenda.

City Administrator Keith Muetzel stated that Nuvera Communications has been having issues broadcasting the public access channels for the past six weeks due to problems with the DVD playback machine.  The estimate to replace the playback system is $10,000.00.  Staff has been having conversations with Nuvera to discuss a solution since the City is obligated to have a public access channel.  Currently, the City has an agreement with Redwood Area School District #2897 to broadcast public access channels with Nuvera and Mediacom.

By consensus, the City Council instructed staff to research options to upgrade or replace the DVD playback machine.

Bills and Claims were presented to the Council for informational purposes.  No questions, comments or concerns were raised.

There being no further business, a motion was made by Council Member DeBlieck and seconded by Council Member Arentson to adjourn the meeting at 6:18 p.m.  Motion was carried by unanimous vote.