Minutes of the City Council Meeting of May 22, 2017

Date: 
May 22, 2017

 MINUTES OF THE CITY COUNCIL MEETING

MAY 22, 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 May 22, 2017.

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

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

Approval of Minutes – A motion was made by Parras, seconded by Carlin, to approve the minutes of the May 8, 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 May 8, 2017 regular City Council meeting is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Proceedings 19.

City Administrator Prafke reviewed the process the City Council follows for public hearings which includes a staff presentation, applicant presentation, and then comments from the public.

Public Hearing – Hospital Expansion Project USDA Grant Application –  Mayor Zieman opened the public hearing on the USDA grant application at 7:05 p.m.  Hospital CEO Rohrich provided a staff presentation on a grant application that will be submitted to USDA Rural Development Community Facilities Loan program for funding for a project to expand River's Edge Hospital and Clinic in 2018.  Rohrich indicated the expansion project was to meet the continually expanding service needs of the Hospital and allow for increased services in the future.  Rohrich also noted that the Hospital continues to look towards development of new partnerships with various doctor groups and to enhance security, flow and patient movement at the Hospital.  Rohrich also pointed out that the loan application for the $31,000,000 project would be submitted in late summer with a possible determination on funding in the fall.  Rohrich’s presentation also included information on the process for the selection of a Construction Manager for the project which the Hospital Commission was expected to recommend a firm for appointment by the City Council.  There being no further speakers, the hearing was declared closed at 7:08 p.m.

Public Hearing – Rezoning Request:  Outlot A, Hallett Pond Addition -  Mayor Zieman opened the public hearing on the request by Northern Con-Agg LLC to rezone Outlot A, Hallett Pond Addition from C-4 (Highway Service Commercial) to C-5 (Business/Professional Office) at 7:09 p.m.  Community Development Director Wille provided a presentation on the request for rezoning and explained the differences between C-4 and C-5 zoning designations.  Wille stated the previous rezoning request for the parcel, which had been denied by the City Council, was for R-3 (Multi-family), and pointed out that the C-5 zoning would allow for certain residential uses (multi-family general, multi-family limited and group residential) with a conditional use permit and that the conditional use permit, if one was approved, could be granted with conditions more restrictive than the City Code regulations.  Wille went on to describe the process for obtaining a conditional use permit and indicated that the property owner had not submitted any plans for development of any type of use at this time.

Councilmembers asked many questions related to the requested rezoning including the height of structures allowed to be built in C-5 zones; whether the value of the property changes with a change in zoning; and questioned what has changed with the request since the last time.

Wille pointed out that there were three options available to the City Council if the rezoning was approved and an application was made for a conditional use permit:  deny the conditional use permit; approve the conditional use permit without conditions; or approve the conditional use permit with conditions.

James Halbur, 1258 Baker’s Bay Road in Kasota, appeared on behalf of the applicant Northern Con-Agg LLC.  Halbur reported the property owners had owned the property for 30 years and began to market the property for sale in the mid-1990’s when it was zoned C-4.  Halbur stated the property was difficult to market for sale as C-4 Highway Service Commercial as it did not have any “highway” frontage along either Highway 169 or Old Minnesota Avenue.  Halbur indicated he had personally visited with owners of the properties around Outlot A and was told that the neighbors supported development of the property.  Halbur also cited various traffic counts in the area on Old Minnesota Avenue, Highway 169 and around the fairgrounds and expressed his belief that the property owners had been accommodating by allowing the City to use the property for staging after the 1998 tornado and the Polar Plunge event each year.

Stacy Yokiel, 912 North Fourth Street, expressed her opposition to the rezoning of the property which abutted her residential property.  Yokiel stated her belief that the property owner was looking for a “loophole” and she read from Planning Commission minutes that she felt indicated the property owner would still want the property developed as residential property and that the rumor in Saint Peter was that the property would be developed as low income property.  Yokiel also stated that it was “absurd” to consider sandwiching a housing development in the middle of businesses.  Yokiel also claimed that Halbur had not talked to her as a neighboring property owner.

Kip Lager, 44350 Canyon Man Lane, Saint Peter, stated his opposition to the rezoning and provided information on the City of Mankato’s process for rezoning which he felt was more transparent as it required the property owner to provide a site plan with a rezoning request.  Lager also listed off what he felt were the important findings of fact that the Council had not made related to the rezoning request and complained that the Council had failed to hold meetings with neighboring property owners or to have a public hearing at the Planning Commission prior to consideration of the request.  Finally, Lager stated that the realtor for the property had publically listed the site as the location of an apartment complex before any rezoning had been approved.

Ty Saiki, Madison Lake, who said he was the owner of property to the south of Outlot A, expressed opposition to the rezoning based on his opposition to having low income housing near his property.  Saiki also claimed that Halbur had not talked to him as a neighboring property owner.

Windy Block, 1019 Old Minnesota Avenue, spoke as the Fair Board President to object to the public hearing notice being sent to non-voting members of the Fair Board.  Block asked that if the rezoning was approved and the property was developed that an 8-10’ chain link fence be required between the Outlot and the Fairgrounds property.

There being no further speakers, the hearing was declared closed at 7:46 p.m.

Consent Agenda – In motion by Pfeifer, seconded by Carlin, Resolution No. 2017-71 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. 2017-71 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 21.

Ameresco Energy Savings Feasibility Analysis – City Administrator Prafke recommended approval of a resolution that would authorize the City Administrator to negotiate the scope, rates, and terms for acceptance of the energy savings recommendations that had been completed by Ameresco.  Prafke reminded the Council that the terms of the agreement with Ameresco stated that in order for the City to move forward with the project the emergency savings would need to be of sufficient amount to offset the City’s costs in implementing the changes and that if that occurred and the City failed to move forward, the City would be required to pay Ameresco $30,000.  Prafke noted that while no recommendation had been made by staff at this time, staff was leaning towards Option B of the recommendations which included LED street lights; ultraviolet disinfection at the wastewater treatment plant; and building lighting and building envelope changes in City buildings.

Councilmember Parras stated he felt the numbers weren’t panning out and at this time he wasn’t in favor of the projects.  Parras also questioned why the action was in front of the Council when the City Administrator already had the authority to do what the resolution was authorizing.  Prafke noted that Ameresco was asking for some assurances that the City was still moving in the right direction and they had asked for the Council action as an interim step. 

Councilmember Parras further indicated that his confidence in the project was shaken by having the request brought before the Council and questioned the estimated numbers being used in the recommendation.

Councilmember Carlin indicated that it was impossible to know actual numbers into the future and City Administrator Prafke replied that the project needs further analysis and discussion both by staff and the Council.

Councilmember Brand pointed out that some of the recommendations provided by Ameresco were for things the City might not have in five years (i.e. the current fire station), and if those projects weren’t in place, the City wouldn’t recoup the necessary energy savings.

In motion by Carlin, seconded by Grams, Resolution No. 2017-72 entitled “Resolution Authorizing City Administrator To Negotiate The Scope, Rates And Terms For Acceptance Of The Energy Savings Recommendation From Ameresco“ was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2017-72 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 21.

Residential Electric Utility Customer Solar Subscription Program –  City Administrator Prafke recommended authorization be provided for creation of a solar subscription program for City residential utility customers.  Prafke reviewed the conditions of the program which at this time would be limited to residential utility customers and/or renters with a separate electric meter through which the customer could purchase solar panels (full- or half-panels) that would generate up to 50% of the previous 12 months of the customer’s electric usage.  Prafke further reported the customer would receive a credit based on the rate currently charged to them for the length of the subscription purchased (5, 10, 20, or 25 years) and that should the customer wish, the solar subscription could be transferred or gifted to another City of Saint Peter utility customer.  Prafke pointed out that one of the goals of the solar project was to be “income expense neutral” for the Electric Fund and that staff would provide for promotion/marketing of the program prior to the July 10th start date.

Councilmembers Brand and Carlin expressed support for the project which would still allow customers to put up solar panels on their own homes.

City Administrator Prafke requested a change to the title of the program to reflect it was a “Residential ELECTRIC Utility Program”.

In motion by Brand, seconded by Parras, Resolution No. 2017-73 entitled “Resolution Authorizing Creation Of Residential Electric Utility Customer Solar Subscription Program“ was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2017-73 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 21.

2017 Equipment Certificate Bid Award – Finance Director O'Connell recommended award of the bid for $322,000 in equipment certificates to Hometown Bank (1.10%-2.15% interest cost over the five year life of the issuance) which was the lowest interest cost bid received.  O’Connell also requested transfer of the remaining funds in the 2013 and 2014 Equipment Certificate to the 2017 equipment certificate which reduced the 2017 issuance to the $322,000 amount.  In motion by Grams, seconded by Carlin, Resolution No. 2017-74 entitled “Resolution Awarding The Sale Of $322,000 General Obligation Equipment Certificates Of Indebtedness Of 2017; Fixing The Form And Specifications Thereof; And Providing For Their Payment“ was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2017-74 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 21.

In motion by Pfeifer, seconded by Brand, Resolution No. 2017-75 entitled “Resolution Authorizing The Transfer Of Fund Balances“ was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2017-75 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 21.

Rezoning Request:  Outlot A, Hallett Pond Addition – Community Development Director Wille addressed some of the statements made by the public during the public hearing including that there is no more “low income housing Section 8” and low income individuals are provided with vouchers that can be used at any rental property; that the City’s development process is not faulty or deficient and that site plans are required by developers when it is appropriate; and that the City can’t conditionally or partially rezone property.  Councilmember Pfeifer asked for a review of the conditional permit process and asked for information on the 17 criteria that must be met to issue a conditional use permit.  Wille provided the requested information and reminded the Council that each application for a conditional use permit must be reviewed on its’ own merits and that any condition placed on a conditional use permit must be the minimum necessary to alleviate any conflict. 

Mayor Zieman stated that North Third Street only has 4-5 houses on it and the rest of the property is commercial and zoned as commercial.  Zieman also pointed out that the City makes its’ own regulations and processes and it doesn’t matter what the City of Mankato process is.

Councilmember Parras noted that the City Council spends a lot of time in discussion to ensure that it is transparent in all Council actions.

Councilmember Kvamme expressed his belief that the process that is being followed for rezoning is established by the State of Minnesota and must be the rules the City operates under.  Kvamme reviewed his reasons for objecting to the rezoning request at the Planning Commission level.

In motion by Parras, seconded by Brand, Ordinance No. 32, Third Series entitled “An Ordinance Amending Saint Peter City Code Chapter 24, “Land Use Regulations And Zoning” And Section 24-6 “Official Map” To Rezone Certain Property As (C-5) Business/Professional Office And Adopting By Reference Saint Peter City Code Chapter 1 Section 1-6, Which, Among Other Things, Contain Penalty Provisions“ was introduced.  Upon roll call, Councilmembers Carlin, Grams, Parras and Brand voting aye; Councilmembers Kvamme, Pfeifer and Mayor Zieman voting nay, the Ordinance was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Ordinance No. 32, Third Series is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Ordinances 2.

Business License Application – City Administrator Prafke recommended approval of a Tree Worker license as nothing had been discovered in the background investigation to prohibit issuance of the license.  In motion by Kvamme, seconded by Carlin, Resolution No. 2017-76 entitled “Resolution Approving Business License Application“ was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2017-76 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 21.

City Assistant Request:  Ambassadors Bluesfest – City Administrator Prafke recommended approval of a request by the St. Peter Ambassadors for City assistance related to the June 10th Bluesfest event in Minnesota Square Park.  Prafke reviewed the request and the contingencies placed on the approval which was similar to the approval granted in previous years.  In motion by Kvamme, seconded by Pfeifer, Resolution No. 2017-77 entitled “Resolution Approving Request For City Assistance For Ambassadors Bluesfest“ was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2017-77 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 21.

Broadway Avenue Tower Repainting Project Engineering – Public Works Director Moulton requested Bolton and Menk, Inc. be retained to provide for construction inspection of the Broadway Avenue Water Tower Repainting Project at a not to exceed price of $25,000.  In motion by Grams, seconded by Brand, Resolution No. 2017-78 entitled “Resolution Authorizing Bolton and Menk, Inc. To Provide Inspection And Construction Services For The 2017 Broadway Water Tower Repainting Project“ was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2017-78 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 21.

Gardner Road LRIP Agreement – Public Works Director Moulton requested approval for execution of an agreement with the State of Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) for grant funds through the Local Road Improvement Program (LRIP) in the amount of $225,033.30 for improvements to Gardner Road.  Moulton reminded the Council the City was acting as the financial agent for the project as the grant application was initially submitted by Oshawa Township and that when the project is completed the City will take over ownership of the roadway and must maintain it for 37½ years.  In motion by Pfeifer, seconded by Carlin, Resolution No. 2017-79 entitled “Resolution Approving Execution Of Local Road Improvement Program (LRIP) Grant Agreement For Gardner Road SAP 165-592-001“ was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2017-79 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 21.

Drainage Easement Vacation:  Cubs Court – Public Works Director Moulton recommended the City vacate a drainage easement in the Cubs Court Subdivision as the City no longer had a need for the easement.  In motion by Kvamme, seconded by Carlin, Resolution No. 2017-80 entitled “Resolution Releasing 1972 Drainage Easement Over A Portion of Cub’s Court“ was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2017-80 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 21.

MnDOT Broadway Avenue Project Agreement – Public Works Director Moulton requested approval be provided for the Mayor and City Administrator to execute a cooperative agreement with the State of Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) for the project to improve Broadway Avenue from Highway 169 to the Highway 99 bridge.  Moulton indicated the project would be funded by a MnDOT Federal Grant, MnDOT, a City Federal grant, the City’s Municipal State Aid fund; and City utility funds.  Moulton also pointed out that the City must execute the agreement within thirty days of receiving bids on the project.  Moulton also noted that execution of the contract did not authorize the project and that award of the bid would come before the Council at the next meeting. 

Councilmember Brand expressed concerns with the project design and asked for changes related to sightlines and possible stacking of traffic to the east.  Moulton indicated the sightlines had been increased with the new design and the design was developed to channelize traffic.  City Administrator Prafke noted that the bridge improvements would allow for stacking of traffic to the east on the bridge. 

Councilmember Carlin indicated her belief that it was an overall good plan and would make that entrance into the community more attractive.

In motion by Carlin, seconded by Pfeifer, Resolution No. 2017-81 entitled “Resolution Authorizing Execution Of Cooperative Construction Agreement Between The State of Minnesota Department Of Transportation (MnDOT) And The City Of Saint Peter“ was introduced.  Upon roll call, with all in favor, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2017-81 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 21.

Refuse Hauling Contract Amendment – Finance Director O'Connell requested authorization for execution of an amendment to the refuse hauling contract with LJP Enterprises that would provide for weekly collection of recyclables (versus the current every other week) with no inflationary increase until March 1, 2019 in exchange for an almost five year extension of the current contract to June 30, 2023.  In motion by Carlin, seconded by Grams, Resolution No. 2017-82 entitled “Resolution Authorizing Execution Of Amendment To Refuse And Recycling Collection Contract With LJP Enterprises“ was introduced. 

Mayor Zieman objected to the contract extension citing a belief that the Council would be eliminating an open market bid that might be even more competitive by other haulers.

Councilmember Parras also objected to the contract extension and suggested that the City see if other haulers would be willing to bid under the same conditions.

Upon roll call, Councilmembers Carlin, Kvamme, Pfeifer, Grams, and Brand voting aye; Councilmember Parras and Mayor Zieman voting nay, the Resolution was declared passed and adopted.  A complete copy of Resolution No. 2017-82 is contained in the City Administrator’s book entitled Council Resolutions 21.

Reports

City Council Goal Session – City Administrator Prafke reminded the Council of the goal session scheduled for May 30, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. in the Governors' Room of the Community Center.

City Council/Hospital Committee of the Whole Meeting – Prafke also reminded the Council of the joint Committee of the Whole meeting with the Hospital Commission on May 23, 2017 at 3:30 at the Hospital.  Prafke indicated the meeting would include presentations by finalists for the Hospital Expansion Project Construction Manager position.

Curbside Appliance/Furniture Collection – City Administrator Prafke reminded the public of the deadline for signing up for the City’s curbside appliance and furniture collection program.

Street Work – City Administrator Prafke indicated several calls had come in to the City questioning the white lines spray painted on the roadways.  Prafke noted the lines were around areas that would have full-depth asphalt replacement prior to the seal coating project.

Pool Opening – City Administrator Prafke reported the City’s outdoor pool would open on Saturday, May 27th and admission on opening day was free.

Mayor Zieman encouraged residents to attend the Memorial Day service at Minnesota Square Park on Memorial Day.

There being no further business, a motion was made by Pfeifer, seconded by Parras, to adjourn.  With all in favor, the motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 9:29 p.m.