REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING
CITY OF REDWOOD FALLS, MINNESOTA
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2019
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 5, 2019, 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 Kerkhoff to approve the agenda. Motion passed by unanimous vote.
A motion was made by Council Member Arentson and seconded by Council Member Buckley to approve the October 15, 2019, minutes as presented. Motion passed by unanimous vote.
Public Works Project Coordinator Doering introduced Ordinance No. 66, Fourth Series – An Ordinance Replacing §3.50 Discharge of Prohibited Clear Water Drainage. The proposed Ordinance was introduced at the October 15, 2019, Council meeting.
Chris Larson, P.E. of ISG, was present to give a detailed overview of the proposed Inflow & Infiltration Reduction Program.
Mr. Larson stated the rainfall events over the last five years exhibited unprecedented intensities and rainfall amounts. These events led to subsequent sanitary sewer system inundation and exacerbated a need to reduce the amount of “Inflow and Infiltration” (I&I) entering the sanitary sewer system. The City maintains a 39-mile wastewater collection system that collects and conveys wastewater to the City’s Wastewater Treatment Facility. Wastewater from individual properties is conveyed to the City system via private service lines. In addition to wastewater, clear and clean water can also enter sanitary systems, known as I&I. Sanitary sewer systems are designed to handle some fluctuations but they are not designed to handle extreme fluctuations caused by I&I.
Mr. Larson stated the City just received a Notice of Violation from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) on October 24, 2019, reinforcing the need for I&I reduction. The Notice of Violation (“NOV”) stated the City had six (6) unauthorized bypasses (due to surcharged collection system) and 18 alleged effluent limit violations (wastewater that was only partially treated needed to be released from wastewater treatment facility due to system reaching capacity) between March 1, 2018 and August 31, 2019. The City initiated the I&I Reduction Program in early 2019 prior to receiving the NOV. The corrective action required by the MPCA states, “Within 60 days after receipt of this NOV, submit a plan detailing how the Regulated Party intends to prevent unauthorized releases of wastewater in the future, including any planned collection system work or other clear water I&I elimination. Additionally, the plan should include an evaluation of the I&I contributions from individual service laterals. If necessary, establish a plan to inspect individual services laterals and develop an ordinance requiring property owners to replace or repair damaged or non-conforming service laterals”.
Mr. Larson further stated the I&I Reduction Program outlined by Ordinance No. 66 will enable ISG and Staff to conduct smoke testing, followed by house-by-house inspections and a follow-up process for
remediation if needed repairs are found during the inspection. As presented, the initial inspections will take place over the course of a 3-year time period with upfront educational programming before each phase of the inspections. There will be an open house for property owners located in the first inspection zone tentatively scheduled for December 5, 2019 but all citizens are welcome to attend. The new Ordinance will also require an inspection if the property is offered for sale or conveyance by deed or contract for deed, unless the City has verification that the property was already inspected and found to be in compliance within the last ten (10) years.
City Attorney Busse stated since the Ordinance was first introduced on October 15, 2019, an appeal process was added to the Ordinance, allowing a property owner to appeal any administrative determination to the Council which further protects the property owners due process rights.
Mr. Doering stated the updates to the Ordinance allow the property owner to hire a licensed plumber to perform the inspection at their cost if they do not want City staff to perform the inspection which would be free of cost. If during the inspection there are deficiencies found that need to be corrected, the property owner would be solely responsible to make the repairs however the City is also planning to offer a financing package of up to $5,000.00 at 3% interest with payments assessed to the property over ten (10) years. If the property owner is found to be in violation of the Ordinance, then the property owner would be subject to a monthly surcharge, currently proposed as $100.00 per month. The monthly surcharge would be imposed for failure to schedule an inspection, failure to allow the inspection to occur, failure to conduct the needed corrections and/or set up a reinspection within the given timeframe, and for illegally connecting to the system after being found compliant. Any unpaid surcharges would be assessed to the property.
Council Member Sandgren addressed the need for policies and guidelines to be developed to assist property owners in meeting the required deadlines outlined by the Ordinance.
Mr. Doering stated the City is developing internal policies to address the compliance deadlines. The City will take into consideration weather conditions and the availability of contractors to perform the work while addressing required repairs with property owners. Mr. Doering also stated that the City is more than willing to work with property owners with respect to the entire inspection process but that would require the property owner to keep the City informed as to their specific issue and their efforts to comply with the Ordinance.
Mr. Larson stated in addition to scheduling an inspection online, property owners will be able to call ISG’s office to schedule an inspection appointment.
Approximately 25 residents were present to address the Council and staff with questions and concerns regarding Ordinance No. 66, Fourth Series.
Residents’ concerns include smoke testing, potential costs to the property owners for required repairs, requiring the camera inspection for property owners that do not have a sump pump and the overall effectiveness of the I&I Reduction Program as a long-term fix to the sanitary sewer system.
Mr. Larson stated smoke testing is done by City staff from the street. Residents are not required to be home for the smoke testing and there is no cost to the property owner. Mr. Larson also stated disconnecting illegally connected sump pumps from the sanitary sewer system is the most cost-effective method of reducing I&I.
Mayor Quackenbush stated the City will be hosting public open houses to educate the residents.
Council Member Buckley stated the smoke tests will most likely reveal deficiencies in the public system as well as the private systems that will require repairs.
Council Member Smith asked if the proposed Ordinance could be changed if needed after the public open houses. City Attorney Busse stated the proposed Ordinance could be amended in the future if so required.
Director of Finance & Administrative Services Meyer stated the City needs to show the MPCA that the City is actively working to address the issues. Enacting the I&I Reduction Program through Ordinance No. 66 will show that the City is trying to do everything we can.
Mr. Doering stated in addition to the I&I Reduction Program, the City will be simultaneously doing a comprehensive sanitary and storm water system review with Bolton & Menk to identity problem areas. Mr. Doering stated the City has to try to do everything we can to get the capacity back into our sanitary sewer system to avoid having to do a large-scale construction project. However, as the City grows and expands, we will have to invest in a sanitary system upgrade. The comprehensive plan will help direct us over the next 10-20 years and dictate future construction plans.
A motion was made by Council Member Buckley and seconded by Council Member Arentson to approve Ordinance No. 66, Fourth Series – An Ordinance Replacing §3.50 Discharge of Prohibited Clear Water Drainage. Motion passed by the following roll call vote.
AYE: Council Members Arentson, Sandgren, Buckley, and Kerkhoff
NO: Council Member Smith
A motion was made by Council Member Kerkhoff and seconded by Council Member Sandgren to approve Ordinance No. 66, Fourth Series Summary for Publication. Motion passed by unanimous vote.
A motion was made by Council Member Arentson and seconded by Council Member Buckley to approve the monthly surcharge at $100.00 for property owners who are found to be in violation of the Ordinance. Motion passed by unanimous vote.
A motion was made by Council Member Buckley and seconded by Council Member Kerkhoff to approve a financing package of up to $5,000.00 at 3% interest with payments assessed to the property over 10 years. Motion passed by unanimous vote.
City Attorney Busse presented Resolution No. 38 of 2019 – Approval of the Purchase Agreement for 508 Veda Drive.
Ms. Busse stated on or about October 18th and October 21st respectively, Ms. Theis presented two offers for the home located at 508 Veda Drive. The current listing price is $174,900.00 however given the consistent remarks from those who viewed the property that the radiant heat would most likely need to be replaced, appliances would need to be purchased, and the basement would need to be repaired, Ms. Theis advised the City to expect offers that take into consideration all the work that’s required for the home. The offers were presented to the “Veda Drive Housing Committee” which includes Council Member Larry Arentson, Director of Finance & Administrative Services Missi Meyer, Project Coordinator Jim Doering, and City Attorney Amy Busse. Council Member Jim Sandgren abstained from the matter as he knew both potential buyers either personally or professionally.
Ms. Busse stated after review of the offers and discussions, the Committee is recommending Council enter into the purchase agreement submitted by Katelyn Torgerson with a purchase price of $150,000.00 and an anticipated closing date of November 22, 2019. The offer made by Ms. Torgerson is not contingent on an inspection nor the sale and closing on any other property.
A motion was made by Council Member Arentson and seconded by Council Member Smith to waive the reading of Resolution No. 38 of 2019 – Purchase Agreement for 508 Veda Drive. Motion passed by unanimous vote.
A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Kerkhoff to approve Resolution No. 38 of 2019 – Purchase Agreement for 508 Veda Drive. Motion passed by unanimous vote.
Public Utilities Superintendent Chuck Heins was present to introduce Change Order #2 for South Substation Switchgear.
Mr. Heins stated during the commissioning of the engine control it was found that several controls needed to be replaced. This was an unforeseen expense and in the interest of time and getting the engine back in service the repairs were made. The total cost for Change Order No. 2 for the South Substation Switchgear Replacement Project is $12,280.00. The new contract total with Harold K. Scholz for the entire project is $605,830.00. The City’s power agency, Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (SMMPA), will cover part of the change order costs in the amount of $2,980.00 in addition to a portion of the total repair costs in the amount of $72,000.00, totaling $74,980.00 being reimbursed by SMMPA.
A motion was made by Council Member Sandgren and seconded by Council Member Arentson to approve the Change Order #2 for South Substation Switchgear. Motion passed by unanimous vote.
Library Director Teri Smith was present to introduce the Library Clerk Position – Authorization to Hire.
Ms. Smith stated after a recent voluntary resignation from a Full-time Library Clerk team member on October 6, 2019, the interview team consisting of Teri Smith, Sheila Stage, and Pam Prouty met and reviewed applications from the recent internal posting, and interviewed candidates. Paige Ebner has been a part-time employee at the Library for over three years. Staff requests Council’s approval to hire Paige Ebner as the Full-time Library Clerk. This change will be effective on 11/6/2019 and will include a 6-month probationary period.
A motion was made by Council Member Kerkhoff and seconded by Council Member Buckley to approve the employment offer of the Full-Time Library Clerk position to Paige Ebner. Motion passed by unanimous vote.
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 Smith and seconded by Council Member Arentson to adjourn the meeting at 7:38 p.m. Motion passed by unanimous vote.