MINUTES

REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING

CITY OF REDWOOD FALLS, MINNESOTA

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2021

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, December 7, 2021, at 5:00 p.m.

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

Also present were City Administrator Keith Muetzel, Finance Director Kari Klages, City Attorney Trenton Dammann, Public Works Project Coordinator Jim Doering, and AR/Customer Service Coordinator Amy Kerkhoff.

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 Arentson and seconded by Council Member Kerkhoff to approve the November 2, 2021, amended minutes as presented.  Motion passed by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Arentson to approve the November 16, 2021, minutes as presented.  Motion passed by unanimous vote.

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

2022 Business License Renewals

Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Human Resources Coordinator Sheila Stage was present to introduce the 2022 Pay Plans for Non-Union Employees, including the full-time, part-time, seasonal and independent contractors.

Ms. Stage stated that the step structure for non-union full-time employees for the 2022 grid reflects an overall increase of 3% to all grades and steps. 

Ms. Stage stated the 2022 pay plans for all part-time, including seasonal employees and all other than regular full-time employees, see a $0.25 increase.  The Fire Department will see a $1.00 hourly wage increase.  Part-time Liquor Store clerks will see an increase to the step pay plan by $0.50 for each step progression which will be received on the employee’s anniversary date.  The stipends for non-union employees that hold licenses for specific positions will see an increase of 3%.  

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Arentson to waive the reading of Resolution No. 61 of 2021 – A Resolution Setting and Adopting the 2022 Pay Plans and Pay Step Structure for Non-Union Employees.  Motion passed by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Kerkhoff and seconded by Council Member Smith to approve Resolution No. 61 of 2021 – A Resolution Setting and Adopting the 2022 Pay Plans and Pay Step Structure for Non-Union Employees and increase the Library Clerk wage by $2.00.  Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Director of Finance Kari Klages introduced the proposed 2022 Water, Sanitary Sewer and Storm Sewer Rates.

Ms. Klages stated DGR Engineering developed water rates to provide an increase of 6.5% per cubic foot sold and 10.5% per infrastructure base charge.  The sanitary sewer rates have been developed to provide an increase of 8.5% per cubic foot used and 8.5% per infrastructure base charge.  The storm sewer rates have been developed to provide an increase of 5% per infrastructure base charge.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Kerkhoff to waive the reading of Resolution No. 62 of 2021 – Resolution Adjusting Water, Sanitary Sewer and Storm Sewer Service Charges.  Motion passed by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Arentson and seconded by Council Member Smith to approve Resolution No. 62 of 2021 – Resolution Adjusting Water, Sanitary Sewer and Storm Sewer Service Charges.  Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Director of Finance Kari Klages introduced the proposed 2022 Electric Rates.

Ms. Klages stated DGR Engineering developed the electrical rates to provide an overall increase in revenues of 3%.

A motion was made by Council Member Arentson and seconded by Council Member Kerkhoff to waive the reading of Resolution No. 63 of 2021 – Resolution Establishing Rates for Municipal Electric Utilities.  Motion passed by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Arentson to approve Resolution No. 63 of 2021 – Resolution Establishing Rates for Municipal Electric Utilities.  Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Director of Finance Kari Klages introduced the Purchased Power Avoidance Cost Rates.

Ms. Klages stated the resolution would enact the electric utility purchased power avoidance cost rates as of January 1, 2022.  Solar customers that generate excess power will be reimbursed for that power at a specified rate.  The City of Redwood Falls will reimburse using the Annual All Hours Rate of $0.04284 per kilowatt-hour.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Kerkhoff to waive the reading of Resolution No. 64 of 2021 – Resolution Establishing Rates for Purchased Power Avoidance Cost.  Motion passed by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Kerkhoff and seconded by Council Member Arentson to approve Resolution No. 64 of 2021 – Resolution Establishing Rates for Purchased Power Avoidance Cost.  Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Director of Finance Kari Klages introduced accepting the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Allocation and Redistribution Funds.

Ms. Klages stated in March of 2021, Congress adopted the American Rescue Plan Act, which included $65 billion in recovery funds for cities across the country.  The original allocation for Minnesota cities was approximately $105.81 per capita and a total of $525,169.88 was allocated to the City of Redwood Falls.

Ms. Klages stated after the deadline to request ARPA funding in October of 2021, the remaining unclaimed funds were redistributed amongst eligible governments who previously requested ARPA funding. As a result, the redistribution amount came to approximately $3.47 per capita and the City received an additional $17,197.86.  The first half of the funding was received in 2021 and the second half will be received in 2022.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Kerkhoff to waive the reading of Resolution No. 65 of 2021 – A Resolution to Accept the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund and the Redistribution of Unrequested Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund Established Under the American Rescue Plan Act.  Motion passed by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Kerkhoff and seconded by Council Member Arentson to approve Resolution No. 65 of 2021 – A Resolution to Accept the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund and the Redistribution of Unrequested Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund Established Under the American Rescue Plan Act.  Motion passed by unanimous vote.

City Administrator Keith Muetzel introduced the Dissolution of the Redwood Area Hospital Auxiliary.

Mr. Muetzel stated per Carris Health – Redwood communications, the Hospital Auxiliary group has decided to dissolve because group members continue to dwindle along with fundraising opportunities.  The Auxiliary was established when the City owned the hospital. The City is being asked to acknowledge the dissolution by adopting a Joint Resolution.

A motion was made by Council Member Kerkhoff and seconded by Council Member Arentson to waive the reading of Resolution No. 66 of 2021 – Joint Resolution Approving the Dissolution of the Redwood Area Hospital Auxiliary.  Motion passed by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Arentson and seconded by Council Member Smith to approve Resolution No. 66 of 2021 – Joint Resolution Approving the Dissolution of the Redwood Area Hospital Auxiliary.  Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Director of Finance Kari Klages introduced the Recommitment of the Redwood Area Hospital Transfer Agreement Proceeds.

Ms. Klages stated in November of 2018, the City Council passed a resolution committing $5,000,000.00 retained from the Redwood Area Hospital Transfer Agreement to be used for future tax levy stabilization.  A committed fund balance can only be used for a specific purpose imposed by formal action of the government’s highest level of decision-making authority.  The committed amounts cannot be used for any other purpose unless the government removes or changes the specified use by taking the same action used to commit those amounts.

In May of 2020, The City Council approved a purchase agreement to acquire two parcels of land for $3,000,000.00.  The intended funding for this land purchase was a portion of the proceeds retained from the Hospital Transfer.  The purchase is an opportunity for investment in the growth and development of the community.  Due to the previous commitment to levy stabilization, other funds have been used to cover the land cost, resulting in deficit balances.  The resolution allows the City to formally recommit the $5,000,000.00 to economic development.  The retained funds will be used to purchase the land and future infrastructure cost of the Reflections Development Projects.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Kerkhoff to waive the reading of Resolution No. 67 of 2021 – Recommitment of Redwood Area Hospital Transfer Agreement Proceeds for Economic Development.  Motion passed by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Kerkhoff and seconded by Council Member Smith to approve Resolution No. 67 of 2021 – Recommitment of Redwood Area Hospital Transfer Agreement Proceeds for Economic Development.  Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Public Utilities Superintendent Chuck Heins was present to introduce authorization to purchase transformers.

            Mr. Heins stated on November 8, 2021, an email was sent requesting pricing on single-phase transformers that will be used for the ongoing overhead to underground conversion projects for 2022.  The City received four sets of pricing and delivery times from two different companies. As a result, pricing and lead times have increased between 300% to 400%.  Due to the increases, staff has reduced the quantities and recommends purchasing Irby Utilities Silicon transformers.

A motion was made by Council Member Kerkhoff and seconded by Council Member Smith to waive the reading of Resolution No. 68 of 2021 – Authorization to Execute Purchase of Transformers.  Motion passed by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Arentson and seconded by Council Member Smith to approve Resolution No. 68 of 2021 – Authorization to Execute Purchase of Transformers.  Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Council Member Kerkhoff inquired on the status of the Harazin home damaged by fire and the pending demolition.

City Administrator Muetzel followed up from the Council Work Session and provided the Council with a current copy of the City Charter along with a memo from former City Attorney Stephen Thies outlining a 2006 review of the charter that includes helpful information that is still relevant today.

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 Smith to adjourn the meeting at 5:47 p.m. Motion passed by unanimous vote.

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