City Council Minutes of November 27, 2017

Date: 
November 27, 2017

MINUTES OF THE CITY COUNCIL MEETING

NOVEMBER 27, 2017

Pursuant to due call and notice thereof, a regular meeting of the City Council of the City of Saint Peter was conducted in the Governors' Room of the Community Center on November 27, 2017.

A quorum present, Mayor Zieman called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.  The following members were present:  Councilmembers Brand, Pfeifer, Kvamme, Grams, Parras, and Mayor Zieman.  Absent was Councilmember Carlin.  The following officials were present: City Administrator Prafke, City Attorney Brandt, and City Engineers Domras and Loose.

Approval of Agenda – A motion was made by Pfeifer, seconded by Parras, to approve the agenda.  With all in favor, the motion carried.

Approval of Minutes – A motion was made by Parras, seconded by Brand, to approve the minutes of the November 13, 2017 regular City Council meeting.  With all in favor, the motion carried and the minutes were approved.  A complete copy of the minutes of the November 13, 2017 regular City Council meeting is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Proceedings 19.

A motion was made by Kvamme, seconded by Grams, to approve the minutes of the November 20, 2017 Finance Committee meeting with the removal of the last partial sentence in paragraph three.  With all in favor, the motion carried and the minutes were approved as modified.  A complete copy of the minutes of the November 20, 2017 Finance Committee meeting is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Proceedings 19.

Public Hearing – Assessment of Unpaid Utility Charges- City Administrator Prafke provided a review of the City Council’s process for conducting public hearings.

Mayor Zieman opened the public hearing on assessment of unpaid utility charges at 7:04 p.m.  Finance Director O’Connell reviewed the proposed assessments which totaled $14,721.17 in unpaid utility charges; of which $7,030.53 would be assessed.  O’Connell noted the remaining charges would be written off as bad debts due to the charges being either electricity charges for renters which are not allowed to be assessed under State law; amounts under $10;  charges that have been discharged by bankruptcy proceedings; or the death of the account holder.  O’Connell also pointed out that the amounts will be assessed over a term of one (1) year at a rate of 2.42% as provided by the City’s assessment policy.  Councilmember Kvamme noted that the amount to be written off was only $7,000 and City Administrator Prafke indicated it was a very small amount of the $15,000,000 budget.   There being no further speakers, the hearing was declared closed at 7:07 p.m.

Mayor Zieman opened the public hearing on assessment of miscellaneous charges at 7:08 p.m.  Finance Director O'Connell stated the majority of the miscellaneous charges were for sidewalk and curb and gutter repairs that had been completed with agreement of the property owners who had signed waivers of assessments for the charges.  O’Connell also indicated that $660 of the charges were for unpaid lawn mowing charges and that all the charges would be assessed under the terms outlined by the City’s assessment policy and an interest rate that was 1% above the treasury bond level.  O’Connell also noted that collection of the assessments would begin in 2018 but property owners were able to pay the full amount without interest within 30 days of the Council action.

Councilmember Grams questioned why the names of the individuals who had signed waivers for the work were being made public when the charges weren’t actually “unpaid”.  O’Connell stated the assessment roll was public and City Administrator Prafke indicated he could do further research on the matter if the Council wished.  Councilmember Kvamme noted that as the City had paid for the work initially, the amount due would in fact be a loan of public money, which like EDA loans, would then become public record.

Joshua Moody, 317 West Locust Street, addressed the Council to question why he was being required to pay for curb and gutter replacement in front of his home, the costs for which were included on the assessment roll.  Moody stated City staff had told him replacement of the concrete was required, but he had since learned it was not a requirement and no one else on his block had been forced replace their curb and gutter.  City Administrator Prafke indicated he would check into the situation and get back to Moody at a later time, but stated that the repairs might have been necessitated due to water flow issues. 

There being no further speakers, the hearing was declared closed at 7:15 p.m.

Consent Agenda – In motion by Grams, seconded by Brand, Resolution No. 2017-182 entitled “Resolution Approving Consent Agenda“ was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2017-182 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 21.

Unpaid Utility Charge Assessment Process – Finance Director O'Connell recommended approval be provided for assessment of unpaid utility charges.  In motion by Kvamme, seconded by Parras, Resolution No. 2017-183 entitled “Resolution Adopting Assessment For Unpaid Charges For Municipal Utilities And The Writing Off Of Bad Debt Utility Charges“ was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2017-183 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 21.

Unpaid Miscellaneous Charge Assessment Process – Finance Director O'Connell recommended approval be provided for assessment of miscellaneous charges.  In motion by Kvamme, seconded by Brand, Resolution No. 2017-184 entitled “Resolution Adopting Assessments Of Unpaid Miscellaneous Charges“ was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2017-184 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 21.

Winter “No Maintenance” Trail Designations – Public Works Director Moulton requested re-authorization to designate certain trails and sidewalks in the community as “no maintenance” during winter months for the next two winters.  Moulton noted the City would work with School District #508 staff to maintain certain trails and sidewalks in and around Community Spirit Park which appear at this time to be used frequently.  Moulton also pointed out that the sidewalk through the middle of Gorman Park had been removed from the previous years’ no maintenance list as staff had determined a large number of individuals were using the sidewalk even when it wasn’t being maintained.  Councilmember Parras expressed his hope that staff would also continue to evaluate the new areas in Community Spirit Park for possible changes in the maintenance designation for that area based on actual use.  In motion by Grams, seconded by Brand, Resolution No. 2017-185 entitled “Resolution Establishing “No Winter Maintenance” Trails And Sidewalks For The Winters Of 2017-2018 And 2018-2019“ was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2017-185 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 21.

LRIP Application/Sponsor/Fiscal Agent – City Administrator Prafke recommended the City act as sponsor and fiscal agent on behalf of Oshawa and Traverse Townships for a grant application through the State of Minnesota Local Road Improvement Program. Prafke noted that if grant funds were awarded they would be used for a project to improve Township Road #361 which is located directly west of the new high school.  Prafke indicated both Townships had provided resolutions supporting the City to act on their behalf and the City was submitting the application on behalf of the Townships who were eligible for more funding than the City would be.  City Engineer Domras indicated the application would be in the amount of $1,400,000 of the estimated $1,600,000 project cost.  Councilmember Parras questioned if there would be sidewalk or trails along the roadway.  Domras indicated the plan was for a trail on the east side to tie into the trail to the north.  Councilmember Kvamme questioned who would make up the difference if, like the Gardner Road project, the funding for Township #361 ran short.  City Administrator Prafke pointed out that School District #508 would share in the cost for the drainage necessary for the project and would need to make up any remaining shortfall.  Public Works Director Moulton clarified that the Gardner Road project was not underfunded as Municipal State Aid funding was used as well as additional grant funding.  Domras also noted that a large portion of the 80’ right-of-way for the project was already owned by the City and/or School District #508 as part of the Magner Farm Subdivision plat.  Mayor Zieman questioned whether the road improvement would include curb and gutter installation the entire length.  Domras indicated it would.

In motion by Brand, seconded by Parras, Resolution No. 2017-186 entitled “Resolution Approving City Serving As Sponsor And Fiscal Agent For Submission Of A Grant Application For Funding Through The Local Road Improvement Program (LRIP)“ was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2017-186 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 21.

Legal Services Contract 2018-2019 – City Administrator Prafke recommended approval be provided for execution of a 2018-2019 legal services contract with Brandt Law Office that was similar to the previous contract with the exception of a $5 per hour increase for the attorney charges in each year of the contract.  Prafke noted that the Finance Committee had met to review the proposed contract and was recommending approval.  In motion by Kvamme, seconded by Brand, Resolution No. 2017-187 entitled “Resolution Approving Execution Of 2018-2019 Legal Services Contract“ was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2017-187 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 21.

Reports

Mayor’s Report – Mayor Zieman asked if anyone had heard when the Highway 99 bridge would reopen.  City Administrator Prafke indicated no official word had been received yet, but staff would distribute the information as soon as it was received.

Free Corridor Route Rides – City Administrator Prafke reported on the free rides being offered by Minnesota River Valley Transit on the “corridor” route between Le Sueur, Saint Peter and Mankato during specific days in December.  Prafke encouraged anyone who might be interested in using the service to utilize the free rides.

Councilmember Brand reported on discussion at the fall Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities meeting which include child care, bonding, water and wastewater issues and local government aid.

 here being no further business, a motion was made by Pfeifer, seconded by Brand, to adjourn.  With all in favor, the motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 7:48 p.m.