CITY COUNCIL MEETING
JANUARY 25, 2011, 12:00 NOON
Park Rapids Public Library-Lower Level
††††††††††† 1.† CALL TO ORDER: The January 25th, 2011 Regular Meeting of the Park Rapids City Council was called to order at 12:00 noon by Mayor Nancy Carroll, and everyone present recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
††††††††††† 2.† ROLL CALL: Present: Mayor Nancy Carroll, Councilmembers Patrick Mikesh, Rod Nordberg, Sue Tomte, and Paul Utke. Absent: None. Staff Present: Administrator Bill Smith, Public Works Superintendent Scott Burlingame, Treasurer Angela Brumbaugh, Planner Dan Walker, Police Chief Terry Eilers, Liquor Store Manager Scott Olson, and Clerk Margie Vik. Others Present: Ulteig Engineer Jon Olson, Gary Schwartz, John Miller, Glenys Hotzler, Vicki Manners, Jeff Naeve, Alan Zemek, Ernie Koskela, May Koskela, Dolan Bridgeman, Jeff May, Mike Vettel, Nels Peterson, H.P. Kueber, Dale Grover, Randy Schave, Jim Wallace, Jim Hallaway, Sharon Voyda, Scott Winter, Ellis Jones, Dick Rutherford, David Collins, and Anna Erickson from the Enterprise.
††††††††††† 3.† APPROVAL OF AGENDA: A motion was made by Tomte, seconded by Nordberg, and unanimously carried to approve the agenda with the following additions:
††††††††††† General Business:
11.10.† Main Avenue Project-Benches, Trash Cans, and Bike Racks.
11.11.† Resolution Approving the Employment Status and Acknowledging the Declaration of Park Rapids Police Officer Mitchell Nelson.
††††††††††† 4.† PUBLIC HEARING AT 12:00 NOON: Mayor Carroll stated we will first have a presentation by Engineer Jon Olson from Ulteig Engineers. Heíll explain the project and then the Council will have the opportunity to ask him questions. After that the public will be asked for their input. Names will be called according to the order that you signed in. Then the public hearing will be closed and the Council will decide how to proceed with the project. A motion was made by Utke, seconded by Tomte, and unanimously carried to open the public hearing for the Riverside Avenue Area Reconstruction Project at 12:03 p.m.
4.1.† Engineerís Presentation of Riverside Avenue Area Utility and Street Reconstruction Project: Jon Olson, from Ulteig Engineers, stated I will be presenting a lot of information regarding the project, such as the projectís development, the existing conditions, proposed improvements, estimated project costs, financing, and the proposed assessments for particular areas of the project. Then I will take comments and questions.
††††††††††† Olson stated the public hearing is a requirement of Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 429. That statute sets the procedures for applying assessments for an improvement projects for a municipality. It also gives us an opportunity to get the word out regarding what the project is, and what everyone should expect, and gives the Council the opportunity to hear citizenís questions or comments. The public hearing is a good tool.
††††††††††† Olson stated the city has a capital improvement plan that they update every year. The city has undertaken several projects over the past few years. Unfortunately, thereís still a great deal of demand and need within the city. Not only on aged infrastructure, which applies to this project, but also the future needs for expansion. The reason this project was scheduled with a 2011 designation is because of the sanitary sewer. Not only because of its condition, but also because of the vast service area. The mains in this project service a large portion of the city. There are a lot of streets impacted by this study. The project area encompasses Trunk Highway 71, running north and south, primarily south of Highway 34, west of the Fish Hook River, and north of Eighth Street, with the exception of Beach Road, north of Highway 34.
††††††††††† Olson stated the existing sanitary sewer within the area is vitrified clay tile pipe (VCP) construction. That material has an estimated life span of around fifty years. Weíre estimating these mains were installed in the 1920ís. Weíre approaching a ninety year life span on these mains. We are definitely below what we would anticipate for these mains. Half of these lines operate as the main sanitary sewer trunk line. These lines do require a fair amount of regular maintenance. Public works is out there fairly often. The most common maintenance activity is cleaning. The cleaning reports over the last several years are showing that conditions are worsening. The mains were last cleaned in 2010. Those reports indicated excessive root intrusion, debris, which included concrete from manholes and actual pipe material, which then lead to the soil intrusion which was encountered in many of those runs.
Olson stated following a cleaning the sanitary sewer should operate very well for several years. We did some visual inspections of all these manholes shortly after the cleaning took place. We discovered in approximately half of the manholes, we noticed flows that we donít want to see in our system. In that short amount of time after a cleaning, the lack of flow indicates something is going on in those mains downstream, such as pipe failure or blockage. Olson presented several photos of the existing conditions of the interior of several manholes in the project area. The existing sewer lines operate as a trunk line. It starts at Beach Road, north of Highway 34. It extends down Washington Avenue to Fifth Street East, then to Riverside Avenue, down Riverside and then over to one of the cityís lift stations. This trunk line receives and conveys flows from approximately 2/3rd of the cityís west side. Itís a very large portion of the city that is impacted by this project. Weíre estimating around 200,000 gallons per day of flow. Thatís half of the volume of one of our water towers.
Olson stated when we do a project of this nature, thereís usually one item that triggers us to look at it. In this case it was the sanitary sewer. But we look at all of the structure within the area. A good portion of the watermain is in fairly good condition. The watermain on Riverside Avenue and Fifth Street are PVC construction installed in 1977 and 1986. Those mains are within their useable lifespan. Washington Avenue, Third Street, and Forest Avenue are the original cast iron pipe installed in the 1950ís. If improvements are to proceed, we would recommend replacement in those areas.
Olson stated you can see the streets and sidewalks when youíre driving out there. Predominately theyíre in fair condition. The streets are useable. There are signs of deterioration here and there, but for the most part, everything is useable, especially the sidewalks. There was a sidewalk improvement project that went through here recently. They are in relatively good shape. Fifth Street was resurfaced in 1986. There are a few areas where thatís not the case. Weíve got a couple of areas of alligatoring bituminous and some potholes. The sidewalk on Third Street isnít really useable and some crumbling curb and gutter on Washington Avenue. When we encounter those situations within a design phase weíd certainly recommend those be replaced.
Olson stated we are recommending that all of the existing VCP sanitary sewer pipe be replaced with PVC mains. Along with the main replacement weíd replace the manholes. Most of them are brick construction which weíd replace with precast concrete. Weíd replace the service laterals from the main to the property line. Any of the pipe that is within the right of way we would replace. The areas with cast iron watermains would be replaced with PVC mains. With the main replacements, weíd also replace the hydrants, gate valves, any other fittings, as well as the service laterals.
Olson stated the existing storm sewer services the area properly. There are a few areas on Riverside Avenue that may need some additional attention as far as getting that water off of the street. So there would be some minimal storm sewer improvements. With any storm sewer improvements, itís becoming standard practice to treat the storm water with best management practices, such as with rain gardens or retention basins.
Olson stated regarding the proposed street and sidewalk improvements, weíd like to salvage the existing sidewalks or streets wherever possible. For the majority of the area we are proposing new urban section streets, with curb and gutter. Itís segmented here and there, but for the most part we are suggesting urban section streets throughout the project area. Olson presented pictures of the Southwest Area Project to illustrate how the finished product might look in the Riverside Area.
Olson stated the original estimate, as part of the CIP, was $2.6 million. With the construction numbers that weíre seeing today, we are expecting a fairly significant savings on the construction costs. Itís an opportune time to be building. Weíre estimating $400,000.00 less than our original estimate, for a total project cost of $2,202,200.00. It would be financed through local funds and special assessments. When we assess itís by specific items, like watermain or water service. Watermain, water service, sanitary sewer, sewer service, and storm sewers are assessed at 100% of the costs. Streets are assessed 60%, with 40% of the costs as city share. Sidewalks are assessed 50/50. Any time we get into the over sizing or trunk lines, those over sizing costs are 100% city share. Corner lots are treated a little differently. The water/sewer assessment only applies to the short side of the lot regardless of what side the improvement is on. So youíre only assessed on your shortest side of footage. The street and sidewalk, youíre assessed based on the short side plus 50% of the long side up to 150 feet and for everything beyond 150 feet. There is some benefit for living on a corner lot, but you do receive some benefit on the street and sidewalk.
Olson stated with the special assessment policy, we need to take that $2.2 million and divide it up by the actual improvements because the policy itemizes and treats each improvement differently and uniquely. Once the total project costs are broken down, then weíre able to apply the percentages from the policy. We break down how much is city share and how much the assessable amount is. These numbers are then used to determine our assessment rate. The rate is applied to your property based on linear foot. If you own fifty feet, you typically pay for fifty feet. The assessment rate for each improvement is the total amount divided by the total assessable units. When applying that to the assessable items, like water or sewermain, you get a rate.
Olson stated for this project rural street is $28.00 a linear foot, urban street $64.00 a linear foot, alley restoration $13.00 a linear foot, storm sewer $6,500.00 per acre, sanitary sewer $38.00 per linear foot, sewer service $1,300.00 each, watermain $34.00 per linear foot, water service $1,500.00 each, and sidewalk at $17.00 per linear foot.
Olson stated there are three portions of the project that everyone is going to fall into. For the Beach Road area the estimated assessment for a fifty foot lot is going to be $7,800.00. A 100 foot lot would be $12,800.00, and a 100 foot corner lot would be $14,800.00. The properties on Riverside Avenue would be assessed $7,500.00 for a 50 foot lot, $13,600.00 for a 100 foot lot, and $18,000.00 for a 100 foot corner lot. For the areas that would receive all of the improvements, the estimated assessment for properties along Washington Avenue, Forest Avenue, Third Street, Sixth Street, and Seventh Street a 50 foot lot would be $11,500.00, a 100 foot lot would be $20,200.00, and a 100 foot corner lot would be $25,900.00.
Olson stated there are two options for paying your assessment. One is to pay in full or in part to the city once the improvements are completed, prior to the end of 2011. The most common way that we see these financed is to simply allow it to go on your property tax. Itís typically financed for a period of fifteen years with around 6% interest rate. This year we saw slightly lower than 6%. Hopefully weíll see that same type of trend. It is the most common approach to go on the property tax and pay it over the course of time. It would first appear on the 2012 property tax rolls.
Olson stated we are holding the public hearing today. The design of the construction plans would happen in February and March. We have a couple of months of work to put the construction documents together. Once theyíre together, weíre able to send them out to contractors in April. Weíd receive the bids back and award the contract at the end of May. Construction would take place in the summer of 2011. Following the improvements the city would hold an assessment hearing in the fall of 2011. The assessments would first appear on the tax rolls in 2012.
Olson stated for a project of this nature, weíd go through the design documents weíd give the city the flexibility to bid it, the numbers can be viewed differently. They would have the ability to award certain portions, or all it, or they can pick and choose. When we receive the bids, weíll have some options as far as how they want to review and award the contract. Construction at this point is not 100%. It would be at the time the bids are received and the Council awards the project. All the costs presented today are estimated. The actual costs are determined following the improvement. We would be holding another meeting, following the improvements, to discuss the actual assessment amounts.
Carroll questioned if the Council had any comments or questions. They did not. A resident questioned if he could get the information printed out. Olson stated absolutely. It can be picked up at city hall.
4.2.† Public Comments: Carroll stated she would be calling individuals up to the microphone. If your comment has already been made, you can just state I agree with the previous speaker. She asked the crowd to be respectful of the speaker and to refrain from making personal attacks.
Gary Schwartz: How many properties are figured in on the project?
Carroll: Most of the questions will be for our engineer to respond to. Jon?
Olson: I donít know. As of now when we get involved with preparing the assessment roll we typically have a number on that. Margie may have a general idea based on the number of notices sent out. Do you know off hand approximately how many notices you sent out?
Vik: Maybe about 60 to 70 parcels.
Schwartz: I just counted on this map and I get about 160. My property would be involved on three sides.
Carroll: Oh, really.
Schwartz: Yes. There was one question you answered. Iíll be assessed only on the short side?
Olson: If youíre a corner lot.
Carroll: Thatís correct, and depending on the length of that one.
Schwartz: I have the alley, the side street, and the front, all three sides.
Olson: For your water and sewer, youíd be assessed on the short side only. If your long side abuts the improvement it would be actually your short side that is eligible for that assessment.
Schwartz: Okay. Now, what about trees and stuff, what would be involved with that? In the alley for example, thereís a fifteen foot easement through there.
Olson: Any time trees are within the right of way and they are in the way of the improvement, they would be removed. Certainly, trees, we know there is some sensitivity on that. If there is a way that we can work around it we would try to do so. But also, if the trees are removed we are trying to do a replacement, a one for one, if you will. Weíre trying to reforest every area that we do come through on.
Schwartz: In my alley there, thereís no way. Thereís big roots that are getting cut off to plow in the alley. Theyíre probably right in the alley. They were planted one hundred and fifty years ago.
Olson: Several, several years ago. Absolutely.
Schwartz: Whatís the possibility, whoís going to pay for the removal of that tree?
Olson: Anything removal related would be included in the project, therefore it would already be included in your assessment. You would not be receiving a separate cost above and beyond what youíre seeing in the assessment.
John Miller: To those people, Iím also known as Jack. Some people donít even know me as John. Jon, my main question to you now and to the Council here is with the tough economy weíre suffering right now, why now? This is a big project. And, people are having a hard time even paying for food. Why now?
Olson: From our point of view, what we do is recommend improvements based on city needs. We look at what we feel are needs and this project was identified. Also looking at the future needs. The city has a significant amount of needs on the table, and as far as why now, thatís a hard one for me to answer. I can simply recommend that they be replaced in accordance to the schedule as the condition, we do feel, warrants replacement.
Carroll: I think you know we had, these pipes are twice as old as we ever expected them, their lifespan has really expired.
Miller: Sometimes you have to delay.
Carroll: Yes, and I think we have for forty years.
Miller: Even our state with nearly a $6 billion deficit, theyíre cutting back. Maybe it would be a good idea to hold off for a while.
Carroll: Youíre right. Thank you.
Glenys Hotzler: I surely agree with Jack now on the cost, because thatís the one thing I came down here to talk about. The second thing I want to talk about, Iím in the old area. My house was built in the 1880ís and so itís plenty close to the street we have now. Okay, weíre going to put in a new street? Iíll have the street in my front lawn way up in my house.
Olson: The improvements would be within the right of way. If thereís close existing structures we would review that in the design phase and if thereís a reason to be narrowing certain improvements in certain locations weíd explore that. But typically when we go in with these improvements the added width we see is fairly minimal and not very noticeable for the most part. But if there is a sensitive issue we would certainly take that into consideration in the design phase.
Hotzler: And then Washington is being proposed to go all the way across the park now? The tennis park?
Olson: No, no, no, That was just, I should have explained that, Iím sorry. The improvements through Depot Park were just underground utility improvements. The park would remain as is. There would not be a through street, but there would be some underground improvements. Once the improvements are done the park would be restored and back to its current operation. No street.
Hotzler: There isnít going to be a street going all the way through?
Olson: No street through the park. No. The street would just be replaced where it is now.
Hotzler: Okay. Thank you.
Vicki Manners: Just here for information.
Jeff Naeve: One question I have is it possible to, I sort of agree with, I donít have curb and gutter on one side of my house. It would be nice to have.
Naeve: But if, I think weíre talking about sleeving the line?
Olson: The sanitary sewer?
Olson: I didnít touch on that. The next step in the process, if the plans and specs are authorized, what weíll do is try to send a camera down those mains, those images I showed you. If the televising reports come back indicating the conditions suitable, rehabilitating these lines, that would be something weíd explore. The reason weíd explore that option is we may be able to minimize the surface impact and there may be a cost savings.
Naeve: Thatís what I was getting at, that, and we minimize the surface impact we wonít have to necessarily do curb and gutter even through it would be a nice improvement. Maybe for some people, like theyíre saying, times are not exactly tremendous. We could do that, do the necessary fixes without having to do everybodyís curb and gutter and sidewalk, obviously where theyíre not needed youíre not going to do. Thatís just one question. Another one I have, if you guys go through with this, the service line from my house, I have two properties actually, and both of them, the service line needs to be replaced. So would it be possible, as a cost savings, would it be possible at the same time for me to get my service line to my house done, not by you, obviously I have to hire an independent contractor, at the same time?
Olson: We do see that. That takes place fairly regularly, depending on the contractor. Youíll get to know the individuals out there working in front of your place. You can a lot of times coordinate with them so that once they hit your property line, they continue on, and that would be a situation where they would bill you directly if you do take on work beyond the right of way.
Naeve: Okay. That would be a good thing for me. Another one is, I think it was approximately $750,000.00 the city is going to take on for that.
Naeve: I suppose that is going to go on our property taxes so weíre all going to get higher property taxes to boot, you know, plus weíre getting assessed. In my case itís going to be over $30,000.00. So, and then my taxes are going to go up to boot. I think we should just look at maybe possibly keeping the, doing the sewer that has to be done. Just doing what has to be done. Iím really not, I wouldnít even mind curb and gutter if, I might be in the minority. Thatís all I got. Thanks.
Alan Zemek: I have property on Beach Road in this project. Thereís no argument the economic conditions havenít been a lot of fun for the past couple of years. One of the opportunities that we have seen is the lowest construction bids weíve seen in a decade and the best or lowest interest rates on bonds that weíve seen in forty years. So my question is what determines that interest rate on the assessment? Is that actual a direct relationship to the bonds that are sold, or is that just a city policy?
Olson: There is a relationship. Typically the city does take the bond amount and add 2% to it for administration purposes, to administer that assessment through the life of the fifteen years. Itís typically, I believe our last one was 3.5%, and we assessed at 5.5%, 2% additional for administration purposes.
Zemek: Okay. Thatís about a 60% administration override on the cost of your money. That seems a little high. If there was an opportunity to maybe look at what are the administrative costs of the assessments over fifteen years, if that would help the property owners who are impacted, it might not be all that much, but we do have some property owners that are getting hit on all three sides. So, thatís just a question, I donít expect an answer.
Olson: Certainly thatís something to look at.
May Koskela: No.
Ernie Koskela: Are you going to keep the driveways open when you do this? Is the street going to be closed off all together?
Olson: I should have hit on that. Through these projects, obviously, thereís some service interruptions, but we try to minimize those. We try to get everybody to their house every night. Certainly during the day thereíll be some activities that minimize that access, but again, the contractors that we work with, typically do a very good job, and we require that they stay in contact with everybody. So if you have needs throughout the day we typically can accommodate those. But one time when access might be a little limited is when we put in the curb and gutter. Curb and gutter goes down and we have to let that cure for a few days before we can put vehicle traffic back over it. But for the most part weíll be able to get you pretty close to your house every night.
Koskela: So we donít have to park in the Burger King lot?
Olson: No. Weíll certainly make any provision we can to get you into your driveway.
Koskela: I appreciate that. Thatís all Iíve got.
Nordberg: I just wanted to say that the Southwest Project that you said was similar had pretty good response this last year. I think people were not that disappointed in access with the Southwest Project. I would drive over there now and then and see people could get in and out during the day, occasionally. It was a similar project.
Olson: Yes, absolutely, that is a veryÖ.
Koskela: Riverside is being used as a truck crossing and I donít like that. If they went slow enough it would be fine, but they have to go fifty miles an hour through there. I donít know if they want to avoid the traffic lights on 34 and 71 or what, but theyíre short cutting on Riverside.
Olson: Weíll certainly review existing traffic and if thereís something that can be incorporated into this design to help minimizeÖ.
Koskela: If they put no truck traffic it would help. I can see if they go to Burger King, but they donít have to go all the way to Eighth Street.
Dolan Bridgeman: My comment is the same as Jackís. Itís the timing of it. I donít know why itís being pushed through right now.
Jeff May: I just have a couple of questions. When it goes through the park, who pays for that?
Carroll: Thatís all the cityís share. Isnít it? Thatís all of us.
May: Okay. I would have to agree with Jack also. The timing is not good. I saw your write up in the paper. LGA, weíre going to get hit again here. Youíre guessing $158,000.00. Of course if you want to keep up with what you have going on here we have to pay that. With the Riverside Project going through then youíre going to also put Green Acres through this year?
Carroll: Not this year.
May: Green Acres is not going to be done this year? It was scheduled for this year.
Carroll: Itís coming soon.
Olson: Itís proposed for next year. I did put together a little exhibit. In 2012, Green Acres is proposed.
May: I just have to believe this is kind of bad timing. I really do. I know we probably need it. I think we can get by with it. I think weíve spent enough money here in town. I mean, for a while I think we really have to try and hold the line and help out the people of the town. Thatís just my personal opinion. Also, I live on Riverside. I donít think, yes we do have a problem with people driving too fast there. I think that can be taken care of with enforcement. I donít think we should put up any stop signs on Riverside Avenue because thatís the main thoroughfare for the fire department to get to the fire department without having to encounter any stop signs, street lights, or all that stuff. I donít think, Iíd love to see traffic slowed down, but I donít think we should put anything up there.
Mike Vettel: I donít have a house on Riverside, I have a storage building on Riverside. My situation is a little unique. One of my questions is, itís a large, wide, big, white building right next to the power station. I have spent over the years several thousand dollars on cement aprons and stuff in the front. Will all of that stuff get replaced if it gets torn up?
Olson: If we do need to remove, I donít know that area specifically, but I do want to say that sidewalk in front of your building is proposed to stay. Basically what we remove we will replace. If we do need to remove your aprons, hopefully we donít, we will put them back in to match pre-existing conditions.
Vettel: Then my situation again, Iíve got a big building and a second lot thatís really skinny and real long. So Iíve got a lot of linear, and nothing very buildable there. I do not use the water and the sewer because itís just a storage building. I donít use any of these services that youíre putting in and charging my property for. I still need to pay for all of this? Is there any provisions for something like that? I believe my property is close to two hundred feet long. Itís all straight and skinny and not very buildable. And also your storm sewer runs through my property and that makes certain parts unusable.
Carroll: So thereís an easement for the storm sewer going through?
Vettel: I have no idea. I donít bill anything for it. You might want to look at that. I guess my question is, Iím concerned about my stuff Iíve been doing there. Can I talk to anybody? How do I proceed with that?
Olson: Once we enter the design phase, absolutely, weíll be in communication. Our phone is always available and we like to hear any input or comments that you have.
Vettel: I can be there and try to tell them what I want?
Olson: Oh, absolutely. Weíll gladly meet with you whenever.
Vettel: The other comment I have is a financial comment. I was involved in something like this in a previous town I lived in. And as a result of a lawsuit there we found that the State of Minnesota says you canít raise assessments anymore than you raise the value of the properties. And so if youíre talking about raising assessments of $20,000.00 or $30,000.00, Iím not sure youíre going to have property values increasing thatís going to match that. It may not be legal for you. That might be something to think about.
Nels Peterson: Iíll pass.
H.P. Kueber: John or Jack said it all back here. The way I feel is that this is a really bad time to do this. I own rental houses in Park Rapids, one over on Forest Avenue. My renters are not rolling in dough. I know thatís going to be a big surprise. I just canít raise the rent. And what am I going to do? $20,000.00 some bucks? The other thing is that interest rate. If the city pays 3.85%, 6% seems a little high to me. Is there that much administration to it? 2%?
Carroll: Well I guess we need to look at those figures and see if itís justified.
Kueber: Well it could be. Thatís all I have. Everyone else has voiced my opinion.
Dale Grover: I have nothing.
Randy Schave: The alleyway, thatís a grass alleyway and it gets used very little. Will that stay a grass alleyway?
Olson: Absolutely. Youíre probably up towards Highway 34?
Schave: Between Second and Third.
Olson: Yes. Absolutely. Weíd go in and simply replace the sanitary sewer and replace the turf.
Schave: I agree with Jack and everybody else.
Jim Wallace: Iím just here Nancy.
Jim Hallaway: Iím new to the process, but a property owner none the less. You used the words design phase. Iím curious, is the design that you have now and the slides that we saw, is that a solid idea of whatís going to happen?
Olson: I should have explained that a little more thoroughly. We coin it preliminary stage, design phase, and construction. Weíre in the preliminary stages of the project right now. All the slides that Iíve shown we are fairly conceptual. Once the project does proceed from the preliminary to the design phase weíll go into depth as to the actual improvements in front of each particular location. But, theyíre very generalized, but very close for us to discuss the estimated assessments at this time.
Hallaway: Okay. And then when those designs are set, could property owners affected be mailed detailed picture copies of whatís going to happen?
Olson: I would see no reason why we couldnít communicate with you if you do have an interest and you want to touch base with us, rather than emailing full plans sets. They get to be lengthy documents. But if you have a particular parcel or two, I see no reason why we couldnít share those particular plan sheets with you. Again, just call us in the design phase I think would go a long ways.
Carroll: I guess one thing you can do pending the outcome of the todayís hearing is just be in contact with the city clerk and she would be able to get you the information.
Hallaway: Thank you. In lieu of the comment that made it sound like we get a double whammy, we get assessed and we get higher taxes. I guess I have a question. What does the city do to raise revenue to offset increase in property tax? Some big liquor sale? I would think if weíre going to get double hit, that some administration costs could be diverted to some type of way to increase revenue to offset the increase on the double hit. Just an observation. Otherwise Jackís right.
Sharon Voyda: I really donít want to make any comments at this time. Iím representing the HRA of Park Rapids. Jon, if you could just please call me.
Voyda: Iím aware of some of the issues by way of the use of a camera from our parking lot to the street. But then also Iím concerned about transport of individuals for emergencies, and then also the assessment, if any.
Olson: Okay. Iíd gladly meet with you.
Voyda: Thank you.
Carroll: Those are all the names that are on the list. Does anyone have an additional comment?
Jack Miller: Iíve got one more question for Jon. The one that goes, that was John Eix house in the alley, he told me quite a few years ago he fought to get the sewer in. That was installed in the mid 70ís as far as what John told me. Thatís not that old.
Carroll: Down where his house is in the southern end of the project.
Miller: It goes down that alley from Main Street. Itís not even an alley, itís a right of way.
Olson: Absolutely. We have to identify the existing conditions in that area a little more before we say for certain that needs to be replaced. If itís within the 1970ís thereís the possibility thatís in very good shape. Our records are unknown in that area. Itís more so than anything Iíve identified.
Miller: Thatís why I brought it up. I can understand in the 20ís and 30ís you might not have a lot of records. But going back to the 70ís itís probably well documented, and knowing John he would have made it known what took place. He was pretty good about documentation.
Carroll: Very thorough.
Olson: Weíll certainly verify that before we go in and get that replaced.
Carroll: Itís before your time Scott.
Scott Burlingame: Itís PVC. I know that.
Olson: It is?
Burlingame: Itís just a four inch line for those two houses.
Olson: If that is indeed the case weíll at least look at it as we move forward as to what we want to do with that main.
Nordberg: I wonder if Jon could speak to the schedule heís got or an exhibit, talking as we try to postpone things, weíve been requested to delay it. It fits into a pattern of planned capital improvements. I wonder if Jon could speak about the four years of plans that put us into a bind as far as postponing it say for a year, or two, or three.
Olson: Absolutely. I probably should have included this in the presentation. Iíve got a little exhibit here of the entire city. I know you canít see that from there, but basically our project is in the red in the center. The one weíre discussing today. The ones in the blue, Discovery Circle, thatís being annexed and we are required to extend utilities to that area next year. Weíve got a project that we need to do next year. Weíve got a watermain connection on the county road that we feel is a very high priority. Right now there is one connection between the west side of the river and the east side of the river so far as the watermain connection. We feel that is a dangerous situation. If that main were to go down we would be without water on the east side. We have the water tower which has storage of approximately one day. If that main were to go down underneath the river, weíd be in a tough situation. Thatís shown as a high priority for 2012 as well. Weíve discussed the trunk line in great length today. That trunk line extends all the way to the north end of the city. The entire area of that trunk line was about that similar age, 1920, 1930. We replaced a good portion of it in 2007. That was the back alley project you may have read about. That was a very challenging project. The reason that was jumped to the priority list was because it was so challenging. Right of way acquisions were needed. We got that segment completed. Weíre trying to work on this segment now and we have to continue northward with that trunk line updated to a safe construction. Those are our 2012 projects. 2013, is over in this Fifth Street and Fair Avenue area. Again the infrastructure in that area is the same age as weíre dealing with today. Just very old infrastructure. Fair Avenue itself is as far as traffic flow, there may be some issues there with actual street surface. Itís identified as a 2013 project. Then 2014, just on the east side of the river we have structure thatís old and proposed for replacement. We go through and update this map every year. Thereís several others that weíve identified, south of the blue area, again very old structure that weíve identified for a need for future plans. North of Fifth Street, again an area. The list goes on. So, these are all needs of old age infrastructure that we update on a regular basis, every year. And so when we start pushing projects back, we start pushing not just this, but the whole chain back. Did that summarize it?
Nordberg: Thank you. And the 2012 Discovery Circle is more or less a legal obligation to those homeowners in that annexation that we really canít delay the 2012 work.
Carroll: We have an orderly annexation agreement with Henrietta Township and we want to honor that contract.
Tomte: And then are we not also hearing that some people are all ready seeing sewer line failures on the Riverside Project? Havenít we had a couple of people have backups into their homes?
Carroll: Yes. We did have a letter earlier from a property owner that had two backups. Was that the service line or the main, do you know Jon?
Burlingame: Both. Several times a year. We rod that once or twice a year. We just cleaned it this year and weíll probably clean it again next year. We canít get at it.
Carroll: Thatís the risk we run for future incidents. Looking at those pipes, the slides of how itís not moving along. Itís scary.
Mikesh: A comment on Rodís, when we started putting the CIP together the city was sitting fine financially. Itís not sitting fine now. I agree with everyone here. Iím on the alleyway project, so Scott threw that in there to keep my vote out. Itís wrong timing to do this. People canít afford it. I just donít know how we can move forward. Is there a way we can find these problem areas and just hit, you know, instead of doing everything. Just go into the sewer where thereís a problem. Thereís technology out there to find them. Why canít we just hit that spot and try to get by. Iím thinking we just canít, if you assess me what youíre assessing, I didnít pay that hardly for my house.
Miller: Pat, you have a good idea. You can hit the troubled spots because of the times.
Nels Peterson: That brings up a very good point about that. I live in another portion of town. When it comes to the individual that suggested the betterment of properties. My property certainly doesnít adjoin that property but I certainly do have a benefit of that improvement. From what Iíve understood, youíve had sewer backups that have occurred in that area. Thatís a massive liability risk to the city. That in itself justifies the cost. Those are deadly risks and we donít need anything like that on our books. But I would like to say though, eventually here we need to draw the line in the sand and abolish the current assessment policy and go to a flat fee system where everybody in the city pays a fee. I have no idea what that fee would be. Iíve only documents or statements from other cities that have gone this way and theyíre looking at $100.00 to $400.00 per year to take care of these costs. Even if we have an annual fee of $500.00 itís manageable. But yet by going that direction that we determine that itís benefitting everybody then we have the strength in numbers that we so desperately need rather than whatís been going on in the last few years. Each individual neighborhood is impacted in a big way. Itís hard to justify those impacts when we all know full well that everybody in the city benefits from those improvements. I would suggest that, I think we need to move ahead full force with all the improvements right through the chain of command, and have our, pull it off. But at the same time the city assessment policy needs to be abolished and we need to move full force to a flat fee. We need to know those numbers, what would it cost, and move that way hard. So we can afford these and keep moving ahead and pull together in strength of numbers rather than individual property owners.
Carroll: I want to thank Nels for serving on the cityís policy review committee that we have. Weíre looking at that special assessment policy, trying to find out, do we have a way to do things different. How weíre approaching assessments, the way to go. Jon is also providing us with a lot of good information. Thanks Nels. Heís getting very, very involved in the assessment policy and obviously has a very strong opinion.
Peterson: Let me follow that up. I believe in the free enterprise. Iím an absolute libertarian, meaning less government.† And a flat fee system would simplify the whole process of these assessments. No longer would we have that higher cost of managing those we can reduce them. We can even come together in strength and numbers and force these debts down sooner or we can extend them out, but it needs to be put on everybodyís back. The other side of these assessments coming forward, the past is the past. How things were justified in the past for how it was assessed and what they were assessed, commercial versus private, that was then. Today is today. Our business growth is a fragile world. It always has been. From my perspective I believe us residents live in this town should be paying a bit more than the commercial properties because they are our livelihood. We never want to destroy the initiative somebody has to go into private business, nor do we want to destroy the private business. Weíre all obligated to those theories and we have to work together on them. One other comment that just came to mind, yes we are in different times today. The economy has shriveled. Construction numbers have come down, however, our budget on the city is weaker too because of it. I donít think whether you do the project today or five years from now, ten years from now, it makes no difference. Thereís no right time to do it. The bottom line is to focus as a group and lessen the impact on everybody. It would be much easier in the deferment process. Now, certain qualifications, if youíre retired or whatever, you can acquire a deferment to avoid the assessment until you die or your property is inherited or whatever. It would lessen the impact of that. We would have more coming from that. We would lessen the impact of the free rider system, which goes on in prevalence today. The free rider system is somebody coming in and using the services and not paying their fair share. A good example of that is letís say somebody came into Riverside Avenue twelve years ago and bought a house. And two years ago they sold it and they lived in the house for ten years. They just escaped all the costs of the infrastructure and the assessments, yet they used it. And thatís not fair, and I think if we have a flat fee, then everybody will pay that share and we can move ahead.
Carroll: Weíll go into more detail in our meeting. Thank you.
Peterson: The decision today has to be based on that, on moving in that direction.
Carroll: Thank you. Any other Councilmembers or staff comments?
Nordberg: If I could just respond to that. The fellow that lived there for years and didnít pay the assessment, in fact the bonds are paid over many years, so on his taxes for ten years he did have some of that fee.
Peterson: A portion.
Nordberg: The same thing applies to the double hit on this additional tax whenever it starts. Weíve paid off bonds that were taken on fifteen years ago, so there will be less payment on old bonds next year. So that this will be an addition for sure whenever it happens, but there are also drop offs from final payments that have been made.
Carroll: Right. And we wonít have the entire Main Avenue bond payment on next year, the following year. It will be for this year but not 2012. Thereís always bonds starting and ending, and adjustments. Itís very complicated.
Tomte: To address what Pat was talking about, are there options for just doing the sewer part and not addressing the other part?
Olson: Absolutely. Is there a method to reduce the project costs? Certainly, once we proceed into the design phase the first step is to try to get that camera down. If there are ways to minimize open excavation, if we can line those mains, weíll certainly make that recommendation to you once we move forward. If the pipe condition isnít sufficient for lining, the other options are typically much more expensive than excavation. Thereís pipe bursting, but those costs typically exceed those of the restoration costs. The first step within the process would be to identify the specifics on the mains. I do know on Main Avenue there were several areas that we were not able to get a camera down. It was just insufficient to get a camera down. And if that were the case, weíd certainly recommend open excavation.
Tomte: Would you go back to your calendar? So what youíre saying is this is the public hearing and then in the design we have an option, youíre going to give us segmented pieces?
Olson: How I would structure the construction plans for this project would be to somewhat segment it. My opinion, the trunk line is definitely a critical area. It would include that as one portion. Then segment the other two so that you have three perhaps individual projects within the project, to review when the bids come in. If the things donít come in favorably it would give you the opportunity to at least review them. February through March the development of the construction plans, the first thing I would like to do is to get some quotes from those individuals that do have the cameras to get down and during the February timeframe weíll identify those specific segments where we could perhaps line them or those specific segments where we do know that we need to open excavate.
Tomte: We could take the curb and gutter as one part and thenÖ
Olson: Yes, we could do that, absolutely. We could phase the street restoration by rural section, curb and gutter. One project that we did that on recently was Hollinger. We did an urban design and a rural design on that. We bid them both out. The urban came in higher than we were hoping, rural was constructed. So, those are all specifics once we get into the design phase as to how weíd want to structure the finished document, and certainly work with you on that if thereís ideas.
Carroll: Letís say the action today would be to go to that next stage, the design and construction. Youíre presenting all of the options, and perhaps the Council would say, okay, we need to stop. What happens to all those plans that you put together at that time?
Olson: The work that we do could be picked up at a later date. The survey should not change. There may be a driveway or two that changes. There may be some clean up. But preliminarily, the existing survey, the construction plans, would be usable at a later date.
Carroll: I guess thatís something for the Council to consider. Do we want to, because we know this is going to be needed some time, whether the timings right for this year, but do we want to take that next step and go to the design phase? Thatís why I was asking that Jon.
Carroll: The costs would be incurred.
Olson: The design costs would be incurred to go through the design process. However, those would be usable at any date in the future. There may be some minor specifications revisions. Those constantly change, but the overall cost to revise those would be very, very minimal at that time.
Carroll: I just had a thought, maybe Scott or Jon could answer this. What about back flow valves in this area. Are any of the houses using them to prevent backflow, a backup into their homes?
Burlingame: I donít know that thereís any in this area like there was in the Southwest Area. There might be a couple of homes that put them in themselves that I donít know about.
A motion was made by Utke, seconded by Mikesh, and unanimously carried to close the public hearing for the Riverside Avenue Area Reconstruction Project at 1:10 p.m.
5.† PUBLIC HEARING INFORMATION: Provided to the Council for informational purposes.
6.†† ADOPTION OF RESOLUTION:
6.1.† Resolution Ordering Improvement and Preparation of Plans for the Riverside Avenue Area Utility & Street Reconstruction Project in the City of Park Rapids: Utke stated the input Iíve received and we got more of it today, and looking at our expenses that are ahead of us, Iíd like to see this tabled. We have a bunch of stuff coming up. Itís a much needed project but I think weíre biting off a little more than we all can handle. Carroll questioned by tabling it, you would want what to happen next? Utke stated we know we need this project at some point. For this year, like the CIP, weíd have to bring it up and revisit it. How does it fit in our financial state for 2012, or 2013. Tomte questioned does it make sense to do the engineering part to get a firmer grasp of how bad it is? Because if itís imminently about to collapse, we want to know that and we would be wasting this time and not moving forward with that. If we see that if could go five years then we have more information and we can schedule it in. Right now he didnít tell us how bad it is other than its old. Utke stated these are the results so far and we have some points that we really canít get a look at no matter what we try until we dig it up. Unfortunately, no matter what we do we are throwing the dice so to speak. Do we cut if off now and not spend anymore this year and spend on the engineering when the time is right? My thoughts were to not go any further at this point and put it all on the table until we need to.
Carroll stated by tabling it is another way to deny the resolution. Utke answered right. Carroll stated Iím torn about taking that next step or not. I certainly heard everything people were saying today about the timing and the costs that we would all be sharing at one point or another. The engineering report says this is a bad area. We know how important it is to the entire system. Iím very concerned. Utke stated it shows itís old. History shows it could be a problem.
A motion was made by Utke, to deny the Resolution Ordering Improvement and Preparation of Plans for the Riverside Avenue Area Utility & Street Reconstruction Project in the City of Park Rapids.
The motion died for lack of a second.
A motion was made by Nordberg, seconded by Tomte, to approve the Resolution Ordering Improvement and Preparation of Plans for the Riverside Avenue Area Utility & Street Reconstruction Project in the City of Park Rapids.
Discussion: Tomte stated I think if we get the report, then we know where we are, then we can table it, move forward, or segment it. I think we donít know enough, and being the level of importance for that trunk line. It wasnít fun last spring to have all the people in here who had sewage in their homes. Thatís a much more dramatic impact because they kept coming back. Nordberg stated those people were angry. Carroll stated itís a horrible thing to have happen to your home. Tomte stated itís our responsibility to at least know where we are better than we do now, and to have more options.
The vote was called.
The following Councilmembers voted yes: Carroll, Nordberg, Tomte.
The following Councilmembers voted no: Utke.
The following Councilmember abstained: Mikesh.
The motion carried 3-1.
Further Discussion: Mikesh stated I have a conflict of interest because I live in the project area. Smith stated there was not a 4/5th majority vote on the motion to order a utility project paid for with special assessment. Weíll have to check with our attorneys to verify if this motion was valid. Carroll stated based on state statute for local improvements a 4/5th yes vote of all members of the Council is needed to order an improvement paid for with special assessments. We had a 3/5th yes, one no, and one abstention. We need to check into that before we know if we are acting properly or not. It needs to be investigated. Smith stated we want to verify does the statute only apply to the go forward with construction? Weíre not sure.
††††††††††† Carroll stated the next step in the process is to present the plans and specifications, if that vote was proper and we are moving forward to the design phase, then what about notifying the property owners again? Vik stated the next public hearing on this project would be for the assessment hearing after the construction is completed. This hearing was to receive public input. Carroll stated it will come up on our agenda again. It will be early April before weíll know anything. Olson stated once we get approval for the plans, it would be the end of March or the beginning of April. Nordberg stated it would be good to have another public option to listen to the discussion in March or April.
††††††††††† 7. †APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
††††††††††††††††††††††† 7.1. †City Council Regular Meeting Minutes-January 11, 2011: A motion was made by Mikesh, seconded by Nordberg, and unanimously carried to approve the January 11th, 2011, City Council Regular Meeting minutes as presented.
††††††††††† 8.† FINANCE:
††††††††††††††††††††††† 8.1. †Payables & Prepaids: A motion was made by Utke, seconded by Nordberg, and unanimously carried to approve the payables in the amount of $42,298.00, and the prepaids in the amount of $223,912.99, for a total of $266,210.99.
††††††††††† 9.† CONSENT AGENDA: A motion was made by Nordberg, seconded by Tomte, and unanimously carried to approve the following consent agenda items:
9.1.††††† Approve Plumberís Permits to Work in the City of Park Rapids in 2011 for Hass Geosystems Inc, Knapp Grover Inc, and Northland Plumbing.
9.2.††††† Approve Backhoe Operatorís License to Work in the City of Park Rapids in 2011 for Arvig Enterprises Inc, and LarMac LLC.
9.3.††††† Resolution #2011-22 Accepting the Resignation of Rapids Spirits Part Time Liquor Store Clerk Sarah Hanisch.
9.4.††††† Resolution #2011-23 Appointing Charles Roth to Serve on the Parks & Beautification Board for the City of Park Rapids.
9.5.††††† Resolution #2011-24 Appointing Mary Berdahl to Serve on the Library Board for the City of Park Rapids.
9.6.††††† Resolution #2011-25 Approve Minnesota Lawful Gambling LG220 Application for Exempt Permit for Tall Pine Toms National Wild Turkey Federation.
9.7.††††† Resolution #2011-26 Permitting the Destruction of Aged Documents as Determined by Adopted Minnesota General Records Retention Schedule.
9.8.††††† Approve Pay Request in the Amount of $6,015.50 to Ulteig Engineers for Professional Services on Various Projects in the City.
9.9.††††† Approve Pay Request in the Amount of $890.41 to TKDA for Professional Services for the 2010 Airport Capital Improvement Program.
9.10.†† Approve Pay Request in the Amount of $9,149.20 to Minnesota Public Facilities Authority for the Water Tower Loan Payment.
9.11.†† Approve Pay Request in the Amount of $2,000.00 to Straight River Township as per the 2010 Shared Road Maintenance Agreement.
9.12.†† Resolution #2011-27 Approving Return to Full Time Work for Rapids Spirits Liquor Store Clerk Linda DeBord.
END OF CONSENT AGENDA
††††††††††† 10.† COMMENTS FROM CITIZENS: There were no comments.
11.† GENERAL BUSINESS:
11.1.†† Armory Square Update: Alan Zemek, from Echopoint Redevelopment, stated heís been working on the redevelopment plan for the armory for about two and a half years. We did finish some storm water improvements last fall, some exterior landscaping, public infrastructure on the Park Avenue side of the street. The MN DOT requirements were done. That had to be replaced before the ground froze. Weíll be waiting to finish our exterior improvements on the Second Street side as the cityís project on the street progresses, in conjunction with them. That will connect all the infrastructure, the storm water, sewer lines, curb and gutter, sidewalks, along with the patio improvements. Right now weíre working on building new mechanical spaces inside. All of the demo and abatement is done. Weíre working on construction of the wheelchair lift shaft. Precision concrete cutting is not an easy way to get an elevator shaft in a reinforced concrete building. It wasnít designed for it. Weíre working on that and energy walls to get the basic code rated R-24 wall and R-38 ceiling. Weíre well into construction of phase one.
Zemek stated I thought we were about 99% complete on the developerís agreement that weíve been working on for awhile until your TIF consultant said weíre required to have another public hearing and basically a do over of what we did last August (2010). The timeline on this project, for me, was to always try to get it done in time for the Second Street opening, because that is what allowed us to piggyback on the state environmental abatement funds and other pieces of the financing that have come along. All of those predevelopment loans and costs Iíve basically taken the risk upon myself to get those repaid. We were hoping to get phase one substantially complete by June. With the do over on the public hearing, our grant reimbursements through the State of Minnesota for work in August have not come through yet. Weíre still sorting through what documentation they want above and beyond what weíve already submitted. Brumbaugh is working on that. We have funds coming through the Office of Energy Security that have been committed to us but those funds havenít shown up either. The private side of the project is moving ahead as fast as we can go, but the ability to complete and meet our time schedule and financial commitments, both to MMCDC, the Northwest Minnesota Foundation, and the City of Park Rapids EDA, really is now looking like itís contingent upon us to try to figure out how to entangle a ball of yarn here and get the rest of the paperwork done. Thatís where weíre at.
Zemek stated the developerís agreement has some dates for completion that Iím not comfortable with. One is Iím required to complete phase one by June 30th. But in the absence of the State of Minnesota accelerating their paperwork flow and funding the loans we have commitments for, and the City of Park Rapids conducting another public hearing, Iím not comfortable committing to that date because part of the financing for that construction is coming from those funds. Iíd feel much more comfortable extending that deadline to December 31st, 2011. Thatís the deadline for the state grant. We have to perform by that date or we lose the DEED money. I think that would be reasonable to give us a little more time there so we can get the paperwork caught up. Thereís also, through the course of defining our development plan, thereís many versions of how to tackle this thing to try to create different components and different ways to reduce the risk and exposure both for myself and the investors who are the city EDA, Northwest Minnesota Foundation, and MMCDC.
Zemek stated the phasing and component piece of it, the language in the document has some hard deadlines in it. The actual hard deadline is you have five years from the creation of the TIF District to do something or you lose it. We have some intermediate benchmarks in there that say weíll have one component done by 2012, another by 2013. Iíd feel more comfortable if that language were to include something like a ďbest effortĒ provision. If Iím not exactly done with something by exactly that date Iím not in a position that I get the whole TIF agreement yanked out from under me. Because the part of the reason that we were able to bring MMCDC to the table was the understanding that in the absence of commercial viability and the huge public redevelopment costs associated with that site that the TIF increment would be there to help cash flow and pay back those predevelopment loans. One way or another, those public predevelopment costs are going to be incurred even if you wanted to demolish the building. I think the end result is that we will achieve a better public purpose in the end by having that facility contribute to the vitality of downtown. Those are my specific comments on those two variants.
Zemek stated I have a comment about the actual maximum TIF amount. Somehow along the way it appears that we are doing a do over on the public hearing because the TIF plan that was adopted in August has an actual number in it. Iíve never seen that number. I donít know what it is. Itís not close enough to reality that we can rely on it for the purpose of complying with state statutes. Weíve gone through several different reiterations of TIF projections. There is the most optimistic projection to the least optimistic projection, and something in the middle of the road. In this document the city is only going to pay up to the increment that is actually generated. If itís less than the amount thatís just too bad for me. Youíre not obligated to pay above and beyond the actual increment. But if we set the increment at the absolute minimum we think weíre going to generate, then it doesnít really generate the full value of all the public cost of redevelopment. Iím held to the most pessimistic projection and thereís no cost to the city to at least use the middle of the road number. Then making the number consistent with the numbers in your document in the section where it identifies what the public redevelopment costs are. The TIF consultant would say the city canít agree to pay more TIF than is actually generated. Iím saying if thatís the case, then thatís no burden to the city to accept a little more optimistic projection. If it doesnít meet the more optimistic projection, the city isnít required to pay anything, in terms of offering the TIF increment benefit to the project.
Carroll questioned if Zemek had seen the draft developerís agreement. Zemek stated thatís the version Martha Ingram sent him. Carroll stated it talks about an aggregate of $134,346.00. Zemek stated that is the expected TIF generated on phase one. In section 3.5A, thereís a public predevelopment cost in there. The most optimistic projection is more than that, and the least is less than that. Iím suggesting that we stick with that number. Thereís the component for phase one which is the number you referred to. Then there are the subsequent estimates for the later components, the phases of the projects, and then thereís a not to exceed number. The not to exceed number is the one Iím talking about, the $420,000.00. The value of all the TIF notes applied to the project canít exceed that amount. Carroll stated the maximum reimbursed by the notes is $420,000.00. Zemek stated the TIF consultantís maximum number is $325,000.00. My understanding is the burden is on me to generate the TIF. If I donít generate it thereís no benefit. Itís not like youíre bonding or paying this. Thereís no cash crossing the table here.
Smith questioned does the eligible cost factor play into that? Zemek stated youíre going to have more public eligible costs than this would ever generate with TIF by the time youíre done with it. If you go by, and this is my understanding, the eligible costs are the conditions that caused the blight. Thatís the language from the statute. The condition that caused the blight is the fact that itís an uninsulated structure with an R value of one, with a heating plan thatís sixty years up out date and with asbestos and lead paint. I can pretty confidently say, addressing all of those costs, including the ADA accessibility and energy requirements, for that building that has been sitting there vacant for twenty years, is going to cost more than this is going to generate in future property taxes. Carroll stated your view of eligible costs is considerably higher.
Smith questioned have those predevelopment costs been provided? Zemek stated I believe so. Thatís where they got that number. Nordberg questioned is that the $420,000.00? Zemek stated accessibility issues include an elevator, $80,000.00 of retrofit. You wouldnít spend $80,000.00 for that if you started with an empty lot. The engineering estimate for asbestos and lead paint abatement is $145,000.00. Weíve spent every penny of that. Bringing the sewer and the infrastructure up to code to current MPCA standards was $75,000.00. Addressing all of the costs associated with MPCA concerns about the 6,000 gallon fuel tank that had been abandoned with fuel in it twenty years ago, which is illegal, thereís a process, and if you donít document it exactly right, then you inherit a liability problem. What should be $3,800.00 to dig a hole in the ground is now $10,000.00 because you have to have a scientist to watch the process. Carroll stated most of these costs were covered by grant money. Zemek stated some have been applied to grants. Basically, Iím on the hook for all of the predevelopment loans. If you take this to a bank, they would say no. Thereís no way to finance it. The alternative is you either address these public costs by remediating the building and redeveloping it or you address them and demolish the building and turn it into a parking lot. Thatís the $500,000.00 question, either way. You either end up with a $500,000.00 parking lot or you end up with $500,000.00 in public costs to rehabilitate the structure and put it back into some kind of use. Thereís no way the private sector, with the other vacant properties that are around, are ever going to spend that kind of money. Carroll stated thence the TIF designation and state participation. So there are some pieces of the developerís agreement that still need to be worked out.
Zemek stated my only concerns are the dates and the maximum amount of the benefit that might be available. Iíd really like to make the point that if I donít generate the TIF, Iím still responsible for repaying those predevelopment loans. If I donít do the project, thereís not TIF. Itís on me to turn this project into something. The motivation to get it done is fairly urgent. I really do want to get the first phase of this project done by June if I can.
Smith stated Zemek and I have talked about the phasing and the dates. I agreed with him. We can see if we can get those adjusted. The numbers, weíre trying to have a dialog with the advisor and legal consul. Theyíve recommended that we not approve the developerís agreement at this time, but approve it at the same time as the public hearing for the plan modifications. That gives us a couple of weeks to iron out these few numbers. Utke stated it gives us a few weeks but it doesnít hold up Zemek. Smith stated heís still at risk. Zemek stated if youíre willing to tell me in good faith that this is going to happen, then I can keep going. Iím really getting out on thin ice here assuming that money I spent six months ago is going to come back from the state. Loans that we signed three months ago that havenít been funded. Smith stated I asked our legal consul about this. There is some concern on my part about work already being done without all the documents in place. Legal consul advice on this was the city has repeatedly and consistently assured the developer that the city is behind the project. So with that history of assurances there should not be any problems if someone starts to challenge this assistance thatís being given to the developer in this case. Work can proceed. The red line now is donít finish the project within the next two weeks. Weíre in a good position. We have a couple of weeks to iron out the dates and the numbers. Zemek stated weíre 99% there. My ability to meet my financial commitments relies on the assurances. Iím relying on those assurances that we are going to get these things done. In the interests of moving the project forward and trying to stay on schedule to keep up with the Second Street construction, the project will be much more impactful if theyíre done at the same time. Iím going to keep going and take those assurances at face value.
Sharon Voyda questioned will the project include the senior center or not. Zemek stated the way I designed the project originally, Iíve left the door open for that. We approached them about it and weíve had a conversation about it. In the long term it makes sense to incorporate that building in the project. I think they wanted to see a little more performance on my part. They wanted to see something happen before they made a commitment to give up their space. I think theyíd like to get out from under it. I think theyíd rather be a service organization rather than owning a building. It is a component, itís in the development plan to bring their building into the project. They own it and they can say no if they donít like it. Weíre not going to force any of it, if they want to stay independent. Weíve designed it in, but theyíre not included at this time. Voyda questioned who is the appropriate contact? Nordberg stated Joe Stein is the president and Roy Swanson is the treasurer of the senior group.
Nordberg stated Iím curious about specific numbers and dates in here. What youíre asking for is the TIF be increased to more than what it is? You want 90% of what is collected? Zemek stated the city has the right to retain 10% for administration. Nordberg stated Iím looking for the number, the limitation, that you donít like. Zemek stated Iíd like to use $420,000.00 instead $325,000.00. There are two numbers buried in the document. One puts the maximum at $325,000.00. That number comes from the most conservative projection. The other number is $420,000.00. Iím saying the burden is on me to generate the TIF. If I create that much increment I should be able to use that to help repay the predevelopment loans. Nordberg stated I see no reason to not increase that. Zemek stated if I generate less TIF, then thatís all I get and Iím still on the hook for the rest of it.
Tomte questioned weíre not going to vote on this document today because itís incorrect. Carroll added and weíre advised to approve it at the March 8th public hearing. At that time weíll approve the TIF modifications and this contract, but not today.
Nordberg questioned in December the Council ratified the EDAís loan to Armory Square Management, which was independent of TIF. It was a revolving loan, which was contingent upon some other things. This is to Echopoint. Is that intentional? Zemek stated all of the development costs up to December, in order to get the loan and move the project forward were incurred by Echopoint. Echopoint is responsible for all of that indebtedness. In order to qualify for the financing, MMCDC told us to split off the Armory from every other project we were involved in. They donít want this comingled with anything else. As a creditor, from a lenders point of view, I donít get to walk away from those loans because I changed the ownership. The ownership went to Armory Square and thatís where it exists right now. Now itís an independent entity, but the indebtedness stays with Echopoint because they relied on my faith and credit to repay those loans. As far as theyíre concerned, they donít care who Armory Square is, theyíre going to be looking to me for repayment. As we go forward, because we recover the costs of these predevelopment loans and Armory Square stands on its own and hopefully in the next two or three years, we replace whatís here now with commercial financing. A new commercial debt would be incurred by Armory Square Management, and over time Echopointís involvement in it diminishes. But until those loans are paid off, Iím on the hook for it, regardless of whatever happens with Armory Square from here forward. Nordberg stated I just wanted to make clear that it was intentional. Zemek stated thereís also the EDA loan that it says Iím suppose to get that funded by June 30th. Part of that deadline is contingent upon the state reimbursing the grant funds because we were recycling that money back to the EDA and then to the project to take it beyond the remediation phase into phase one construction. Thatís one of those dates that, weíre behind by a few weeks, but Iím going to do everything I can to get the state to pay for grants.
Nordberg stated the document did a lot of search and replace. After having talked about the city, the city, then it says the authority. That was never defined. I think the authority should be changed to the city. Zemek stated that might be a wordsmithing error. Nordberg stated there are some grammatical problems that need to be corrected within the body of the document. I also confirmed that the 90% is what youíre expecting. Zemek stated the city retains 10% for administration.
Nordberg stated I realize this is boiler plate, but it says if thereís a failure on your part, the city has ten days to give written notice of failure. That seems like a very brief time to correct it. Zemek stated this document was crafted by the cityís attorney. That should be thirty or forty-five days. It should be whatever you want it to be. Nordberg stated it says city may terminate the agreement by ten days written notice if not met by the required completion of phase one, city may terminate agreement by ten daysí written notice. Zemek stated that was what was talked about, those intermediate completion dates. The language, in my opinion, should be the developer will make best efforts to complete by these dates. I donít think itís fair to lose four years of work on a technicality. Nordberg stated I donít think ten days is fair. I think you should ask and we should agree to more than ten days to correct a fault. Iíd suggest thirty days. Ten days is just very brief to correct a fault.
Carroll stated this is a work in progress. We have a plan to go forward. Weíre not going to authorize the execution of the contract at this date. We need to table it.
11.2.†† Resolution to Authorize Execution of Contract for Private Development with Echopoint Design and Development: See discussion in Item #11.1. A motion was made by Tomte, seconded by Utke, and unanimously carried to table the Resolution Authorizing Proper City Officials to Execute the Contract for Private Development by and between Echopoint Design and Development LLC and the City of Park Rapids, until March 8th, 2011.
11.3.†† Set Public Hearing Date for TIF #10 Modification: A motion was made by Utke, seconded by Nordberg, and unanimously carried to set the public hearing for the modification to Tax Increment Finance District No.10 for March 8th, 2011, at 12:00 noon, to be held in the Park Rapids Library Lower Level Meeting Room.
Administrator Bill Smith left the meeting.
11.4.†† Proposed Purchase of City Lot: Carroll stated information on the history of this lot and what it means to the city has been provided. The owner has submitted a counter offer. Weíve been negotiating to purchase this lot. Itís an empty lot over by Red Bridge Park. The city has offered to purchase that lot for $52,000.00 plus approximately $3,000.00 for closing costs. Nordberg stated the Park Board recommended several different sources for funding, their parkland dedication funds, some land acquisition funds, and liquor store reserves. Utke stated the Park Board has two funds, one for $10,000.00, the second for $5,000.00. The monies we received from selling a city lot, which was $26,000.00, and the $14,000.00 remaining would come from liquor store funds. Carroll stated we do have a funding mechanism.
A motion was made by Nordberg, seconded by Utke,† to purchase PID #32.41.00201, as known as N90 of Lot 1, and N90 of E60 Lot 2, Block 2, GH Riceís Addition.
Discussion: Mikesh stated I canít see how you can justify paying this much for that lot. For one day a week, two days a week? Youíre asking the liquor store to pay for it. The chamber is already moving out to the tractor club. We have the Fourth of July there, for twenty vehicles? Whoís going to maintain it? Our engineer says it will cost $80,000.00 to $100,000.00 for infrastructure improvements to do what needs to be done according to our city code. Everythingís getting cut. To spend money like this? I donít know what you guys are thinking here.
††††††††††† Walker stated I want to mention this is an integral part of three planning documents that we have, and also it just got included into the DNRís Heartland Trail Master Plan as an important piece. I think that to purchase the lot is one thing, but to be able to leverage money for other projects and to look at the long term aspects of it I think it may be a little bit high, but it isnít coming out of general fund money. The majority of the purchase is coming from parkland dedication money that is for acquisition and enhancements of our parks. Tomte stated I truly think that will be used a whole lot more given appropriate parking.
Mikesh stated who is going to pay for the infrastructure? Carroll stated Walker is on the right track here. Walker stated the planning has been done. Itís easier to justify getting legacy money thatís available, $4 million. We have access to federal funds. You can use that to pay for those improvements at 75 cents on the dollar.† Carroll stated it would be part of a regional trail system which gives us access to the legacy funds. In the past weíve had local trails. That is part of the larger picture and future development. Itís really a key piece. Walker stated I think so. Nordberg stated there is still the possibility we might get the governorís fishing opener. The kick off for the opener was to be at Red Bridge Park going up the river from the park. As we saw at the last Logging Days it was really crowded without this space. I donít know that theyíre going to be at the Antique Tractor Club forever. They might come back with Logging Days, or other events. Carroll stated itís an investment in the future use of that whole area. It gives us more potential for the little rock building there. Mikesh questioned which is being used for what now? Carroll stated nothing as far as I know.
Utke questioned youíre thinking a lot of these future improvements can come through some of these other channels? Walker stated that has been identified as an area where the commercial viability is virtually nil. For a usable park itís probably going to be the best and highest use of it. Itís not coming from general fund dollars. Weíre using park money to pay for parks, to leverage more outside money in the future, not coming from the city. The access to outside funding is increased. Thatís my planning perspective. Carroll stated Walker has talked to the state about the extension of the trail and the chamberís involvement.
Jeff May thanked Mikesh for having a level head and speaking up about stuff like this. For maybe two times a year, youíll spend $55,000.00, plus $100,000.00 in infrastructure, blacktop and curb and gutter. It doesnít make any sense. You could use that money elsewhere.
The vote was called.
The following Councilmembers voted yes: Carroll, Nordberg, Tomte, Utke.
The following Councilmember voted no: Mikesh.
The motion carried 4-1.
11.5.†† Schedule Meeting with Henrietta Township Officers: A motion was made by Tomte, seconded by Nordberg, and unanimously carried to authorize the Clerk to set up a Special Meeting with the Henrietta Township Officers to discuss the City/Township Orderly Annexation Meeting.
11.6.†† Second Reading of Ordinance Amending Cityís Purchasing Policy: Carroll stated the first reading was on January 11th, 2011. The second reading includes the items we discussed under Section 35.01, increasing the dollar limits for purchasing by department heads and the administrator.
†A.† Resolution Approving Ordinance No. 531 Amending the Park Rapids City Code of Ordinances; Chapter 35 Purchasing Policy; Section 35.01 Purchasing Agent Duties, Powers, and Dollars Limits; Section 35.02 Emergency Purchasing; Section 35.04 Purchases and Contracts from $2,500 to $10,000; Section 35.05 Purchases and Contracts from $10,000 to $50,000; Section 35.06 Purchases and Contracts of $50,000 or Greater; and Section 35.07 Guidelines: A motion was made by Mikesh, seconded by Nordberg, and unanimously carried to approve Resolution #2011-28 Approving Ordinance No. 531 Amending the Park Rapids City Code of Ordinances; Chapter 35 Purchasing Policy; Section 35.01 Purchasing Agent Duties, Powers, and Dollars Limits; Section 35.02 Emergency Purchasing; Section 35.04 Purchases and Contracts from $2,500 to $10,000; Section 35.05 Purchases and Contracts from $10,000 to $50,000; Section 35.06 Purchases and Contracts of $50,000 or Greater; and Section 35.07 Guidelines.
†B.† Ordinance Amending the Park Rapids City Code of Ordinances; Chapter 35 Purchasing Policy; Section 35.01 Purchasing Agent Duties, Powers, and Dollars Limits; Section 35.02 Emergency Purchasing; Section 35.04 Purchases and Contracts from $2,500 to $10,000; Section 35.05 Purchases and Contracts from $10,000 to $50,000; Section 35.06 Purchases and Contracts of $50,000 or Greater; and Section 35.07 Guidelines: David Collins questioned what the timeframe would be for holding an emergency meeting or making purchases under emergency situations. Carroll stated the Council can meet right away in an emergency situation. A motion was made by Nordberg, seconded by Utke, and unanimously carried to approve Ordinance No. 531 Amending the Park Rapids City Code of Ordinances; Chapter 35 Purchasing Policy; Section 35.01 Purchasing Agent Duties, Powers, and Dollars Limits; Section 35.02 Emergency Purchasing; Section 35.04 Purchases and Contracts from $2,500 to $10,000; Section 35.05 Purchases and Contracts from $10,000 to $50,000; Section 35.06 Purchases and Contracts of $50,000 or Greater; and Section 35.07 Guidelines.
11.7.† Approve Purchase of a 1995 Ford F350 from North Memorial Health Care for the Fire Department: Mikesh stated this is an old ambulance from North Memorial. They are donating part of it. Weíre picking up $1,500.00. It will replace our suburban, which we have called our rescue unit. It carries our cold weather wetsuits and the Jaws of Life. This new unit will allow us to carry more tanks and people. It will be put to good use. We donít know what weíre going to do with the suburban yet, whether it will be sold or given to the city to use, or possibly used to run back and forth to training. North Memorial promised us that when they had one available they would work out a deal for us. Nordberg questioned is parking an issue? Mikesh stated weíre hoping that the cityís cold storage building will hold the suburban until we decide whatís going to happen to it. Nordberg questioned the ambulance itself can go in the fire hall? Burlingame stated it will take the place of the suburban. Parking is an issue. We have to get the ambulance in to start working on it to get it ready for our use. A motion was made by Nordberg, seconded by Mikesh, and unanimously carried to approve the purchase of a 1995 Ford F350 from North Memorial Health Care for $1,500.00, for the Park Rapids Fire Department.
11.8.† Release of Judgment Lien Again Elk Valley: Jim Wallace, representing Citizenís National Bank, stated Iíve been in communication with Smith, and heís been in communication with your city attorney. The bank has a $350,000.00 mortgage against this twin home. The city has a $45,000.00 judgment lien behind Citizenís Bank mortgage. Elk Valley has agreed to deed the property back to the bank. The bank canít do that with the mortgage lien on the property because we would end up with the judgment lien also. Weíve started foreclosure. What would happen if the city doesnít release the judgment lien, we have to complete the foreclosure. Weíll have a sale, and if for example we bid $300,000.00 at that sale, the owners will then have six months after the sale to re-deed it and pay the bank off, which weíd love to have happen, but we donít expect it. Then the city after that have the right to pay the bank off to preserve its lien, which weíd love also if the city would pay the bank off and you can have the property. So practically speaking I doubt that the city is inclined to pay the bank off ahead of it, so that the lien would be eliminated. Elk Valley has agreed to deed the property back so the bank can then start immediately to sell the property on the market. What it does is saves the bank the costs of going through the foreclosure sale. It saves us six to eight months of time. We couldnít sell it until that redemption period runs out. You donít have to do this, but practically, it allows the bank to get the property back and resell it right away. Weíre asking if the city doesnít expect to pay the bank off for the amount it paid at the sale, to release the property. It doesnít release your judgment lien. You still can do whatever you want. It just releases this property so the bank can take it back.
Carroll questioned what do you mean the judgment lien is not released? Wallace stated the bank has the first mortgage at $350,000.00. The judgment lien sits behind that. Elk Valley is going to give us the property back, but weíll only take it back if the judgment is released. If we took a deed back with the judgment, it would be against the property and the bank would have to sell it with the lien on it. Thatís why weíre requesting that the property be released from the judgment lien. Carroll questioned so weíre just going to be out that money? Wallace answered correct. But youíd be out the money later anyway unless you pay us what we bid at the sale. If youíre inclined to say that you want to bid for the property and pay the bankís first mortgage off, then you would preserve your lien. The city could turn around and resell it and try to get the price of the mortgage, plus your $45,000.00 to try and get some money out of it, which is fine. The bank would be happy.
Carroll stated the city isnít in the housing business. Wallace stated you donít have to do it, but it would save the bank six to eight months of time. Nordberg questioned do you have a proposal as to how our lien could be saved without the foreclosure? Wallace stated no I donít. I havenít looked into it. All youíre doing is releasing this property so you canít make a claim against this property.
Carroll stated we have a recommendation from our attorney. He has advised we could release the judgment lien as a courtesy to the bank. Our future remedy may only be to try to collect some connection fees. Burlingame stated itís already connected. Nordberg questioned are they using the facilities? Mikesh stated half of it is occupied. Carroll stated the supplemental assessment procedures were not set up. The way this has been explained, the city is just out the money. Yet, Smith is recommending that we shouldnít release it, we should try to collect it. Wallace stated thatís your call. Itís up to you. Weíll just go ahead with the foreclosure and it will just delay us. Then youíll be faced with sending a check to Citizenís Bank as to what was bid in, say $300,000.00. If you donít, youíll lose your lien. Carroll stated then weíd lose it later down the road.
Utke stated in the end, we have the same because weíre not going to buy a house. It doesnít make sense to have anyone waste any more money on it. Carroll stated we should release it now.
Nordberg stated I donít think the land should be sold ultimately without some kind of escrow or reserve on it. Itís giving away the connection, actually itís been negotiated down to the balance of $44,000.00 from $67,000.00. Wallace stated itís not a good deal. The bank wishes we werenít in this position either, as does the city. The bank doesnít want the property. It just wants to be paid. Nordberg stated I think whoever the purchaser is, if they are going to use sewer and water, they are going to have to pay the city something. Everybody else has had assessments. We had a lot of discussion today about assessments that are coming up. These people are getting it for free. Wallace stated I canít disagree with you. Carroll stated at the very least we learned a lesson about extending water and sewer prior to annexation. This property is not in the city limits. Wallace stated the city and the bank wish we werenít there. But the new buyers arenít going to have any legal responsibility to pay anything.
Nordberg stated it seems like there must be some kind of attachment that could be put on the sale. Wallace stated you have a judgment lien on that property. That gives you the rights, Iím sure youíve been advised of what your rights are. It simply boils down to, the bank will go forward with this foreclosure sale. We will bid in $300,000.00. Six months thereafter, the city will have to decide, is the city going to pay the bank $300,000.00 plus interest or not. If not, then your lien drops off that property, then the bank will sell it without the lien. Thatís the issues with second position.
Carroll stated the only way to keep that lien in place is if we purchased the property. Wallace stated and then turn around and sell it for more than you paid the bank, plus the lien, and the extra costs that go with it.
A motion was made by Utke, seconded by Tomte, to authorize the release of the ďStipulation and Order for JudgmentĒ against Elk Valley Inc, Case No. 29-CV-08-1110.
The following Councilmembers voted yes: Carroll, Mikesh, Tomte, Utke.
The following Councilmembers voted no: Nordberg.
The motion carried 4 to 1.
11.9. †Resolution Approving City of Park Rapids Non-Union Employees Wage and Insurance Benefit Adjustment for the Year 2011: Carroll questioned in the preparation of 2011ís budget under that line item, did you budget for a 2.5% increase? Brumbaugh stated the 2011 budget includes a 2.5% increase for every employee. They were all budgeted for at the same level. Carroll questioned so this is not an addition to the budget. This is approving whatís already there. Brumbaugh answered right. Utke stated thereís a few things Iíd like to have seen done first before we address this. At todayís meeting, there were a few things that I wanted to dig into first. I want to keep it fair among all employees but there were a few things Iíd like to see addressed first. A motion was made by Utke, seconded by Mikesh, and unanimously carried to table the Resolution Approving City of Park Rapids Non-Union Employees Wage and Insurance Benefit Adjustment for the Year 2011, for further information, until February 8th, 2011.
11.10.† Main Avenue Project-Benches, Trash Cans, and Bike Racks: Ellis Jones, representing the Downtown Business Association, introduced Scott Winter with Midwest Playscapes/Sitescapes. Winter and his father John, are the representatives from Sitescapes.
Jones stated the recommendation from both the Downtown Business Association and the Downtown Revitalization Committee, is a selection of enhancements. Back in November of 2009 there was a meeting with Engineer Jon Olson. Olson provided a range of acceptable prices for the Main Avenue enhancements. Sitescape's bid falls within that range with a bid price of $41,601.60, plus freight and sales tax for a total of $45,915.21. This quote includes a 10% discount for being in the cooperative. Sitescapes has an extensive history of other projects all throughout the country. Weíre dealing with a reputable manufacturer. We have chosen the design called Tall Grass. We have received no negative reaction to this design, only positive input. The trash cans will be the same theme. All of the components will be in the color onyx. Weíre using sixty gallon trash cans now. The new ones will be the thirty-two gallon size with the plastic inserts. Inside that will be plastic bags. We have an option to customize the backs of the benches.
Scott Winter stated the entire back panel of the benches can be a custom designed panel that your group would approve. The arm rests will remain in the Tall Grass pattern. Sitescapes agreed to do all the design work for free of charge. Youíll pick out sixteen different themes. Theyíll design them, then send them back for final approval. The designs will be based on attractions here in the city and the area like biking, deer, eagles, fishing, loons, the Red Bridge, etc. The cost for this option to manufacture is $25.00 each, for a total of $400.00 for all sixteen benches.
Carroll questioned why are you offering this at such a low cost? Winter stated I talked to the owner of the company and explained what youíre trying to do with the Main Avenue enhancements. He wants new photos and new lines for his next yearís catalog. So heís willing to do the custom panels for the additional price for $25.00 over the cost of the Tall Grass pattern. Itís a lot more work for them, but they are offering this benefit to the city in exchange for being listed in the catalog. Theyíll come up with the design. I suggest having a group of two or three people approve the design to make the process go smoothly so we can meet the goal to be completed by Memorial Day.
Jones stated the committee would like to recommend this selection as presented. Carroll stated the installation will be completed by May 6th. She requested an explanation of the bidding process. Winter stated weíre the northern sales representative for Midwest Playscapes. For the past few years, Midwest Playscapes is the preferred vendor for the Minnesota Service Coop. Minnesota Service Coop, on the recreation end, bids on playground and park equipment with the State of Minnesota. Cities can skip the bidding process because the bidding has already been done. In exchange you get a 10% discount for buying through the service coop, then we pay an additional 2% to this regionís service coop. You are already part of the service coop. You can buy everything from printers to vehicles from them at a discounted price.
Mikesh stated I like what has been put together, but sixteen bike racks? Theyíre ugly. You have to have one of these on each corner? Do we need sixteen bike racks on Main Avenue? My other question is can we move them off of that center node? Put four of them, one per block, cut it in half. Burlingame stated in the past the bike racks used to be on the side streets close to the intersection. If we paint ďNo bikes, no roller bladesĒ on the sides where the nodes are now, obviously we donít want bikes on the sidewalks. You can put them back on the sides, but you want them to have access to Main. Carroll stated I agree we donít want people riding their bikes on the sidewalks. Itís not safe for the rider or the pedestrian. But putting them with the benches and the trash cans seems like a complete node. I have no idea what the future will bring. Theyíre extending the Heartland Trail all the way to Moorhead. We want all of those bikers to come downtown. Thereís a need. Utke stated the bike racks that are being proposed are just single loop, which means two bikes at the most. Groups would have to split up and go to various corners with their bikes. Weíre not putting eight or ten bikes in one location. Some other comments are the number of the bikes that we might see out there are extremely valuable. They want them in site. Theyíre not going to put them down the street or in an alley. Just food for thought. Weíre putting a bench, trash can, and bike rack. Theyíre not going to be in the foot traffic area.
Tomte questioned are these going to be up year round?† Burlingame stated they will be there permanently. Everything will be bolted down. Jones stated for the snow plowing, the position of the bike racks and trash cans shouldnít be in the way of the plow when it goes down the sidewalk. Burlingame stated we talked about a bench that would be heavy enough that couldnít be moved around. But these ones are lighter and so they need to be bolted down. You donít want to unbolt them every year. There would be holes in the concrete. If you bolt them down, they should be left in place.
Nordberg stated itís my understanding when the project was bid these were separated out from the rest of the bid because there was separate funding. These were partially funded by a grant. Utke stated no. Bike racks, benches, and trash cans are part of the project. They were separated out of the original bid. Olson stated thatís correct. Utke stated the inlays are being funded by donations and a little bit by the city. Carroll stated there has been no attempt to separate out the local funds from the grant. Nordberg stated I thought the enhancement part of it was one of the reasons for the grant. David Collins stated when we first started the project we promised to go out and find outside funding to help pay for the downtown portion of the enhancements, but itís still mingled with the other money. Carroll stated it was separated out from the street work. Olson stated the reason for that was we just couldnít come to a consensus on the exact design so we separated it out.
Dick Rutherford stated if it was federal funded grant money it would have to be bid according to the state, as long as itís not city it doesnít have to be according to the way the rules are now. Carroll stated we are following the state statutes for the purchase of them. Rutherford stated right but the way it was read yesterday if it was just grant money, it still has to be bid, if itís not grant money it can be used the other way, which this doesnít have to be bid.
Mikesh questioned weíre putting these on the sidewalks in the nodes. Theyíre going to ride up on the sidewalks to put them in the nodes. Carroll stated I think people will get off their bikes. Mikesh stated the code says no person shall ride a bicycle on sidewalks. Carroll stated they can walk them or ride them in the traffic lane. Jones stated weíre not asking to change city code for anything. People are not supposed to ride their bikes on the sidewalks. I believe they can ride down the street. Hopefully they wonít get hit, but thatís not the cityís problem. Weíre not trying to change any codes for the bike racks. Whatever rules or laws the city has are just as valid after bike racks are put there as they are today. Carroll stated it makes sense in such a busy area to not ride your bike on the sidewalk.
Collins stated our community is striving to become pedestrian and biker friendly around town. The city completed plans for all of their parks and some of that includes trails to pull all of that stuff together. The Heartland Trail is going to extend to Moorhead. Hopefully weíll have more bikers coming in from the west. We need to make the entire community biker friendly. That visibility and expensive bike issue is going to be an issue of having them convenient and frequent. Theyíre not expensive. As far as riding bikes on sidewalks, I donít think youíll want to change that ordinance in the future as a safety issue. Someone riding a bicycle down a sidewalk and someone opening a door from a business, your reaction time as not there when youíre riding a bike versus walking. Weíve seen a lot of bikers downtown and weíll continue to see more as time goes on. We want to encourage bikers.
Walker stated just because you came on a bike doesnít mean you donít have money. Weíve been talking a lot about promoting the Heartland Trail. Itís a huge economic boon. Look at Dorset, people are there to spend money. We should figure out how to get that here.
Utke questioned who is going to pick the scenes and when? Carroll stated it has been suggested that just a couple of people should do it. Collins stated start with the list once the city approves it. The Revitalization Committee can do it. It should be left to the discretion of the committee. If they canít find an acceptable design that works for a certain theme then they make the decision to drop that one. Tomte stated they can double up on an image if that works better. Jones stated itís a possibility that we can use eight designs instead of sixteen. Collins stated we donít want to slow down the committeeís work. They have a very short timeframe. The benches need to be in place by May 6th, 2011.
A motion was made by Utke, seconded by Tomte, and unanimously carried to approve the recommendation of the Revitalization Committee to accept the quote from Midwest Playscapes for benches, bike racks, and trash cans in the amount of $45,915.21, which includes tax and freight, and to authorize the Revitalization Committee to work with Sitescapes to select the custom designs for the sixteen benches.
11.11.† Resolution Approving the Employment Status and Acknowledging the Declaration of Park Rapids Police Officer Mitchell Nelson: Eilers stated Mitchell Nelson was on the eligibility list. He has been interviewed a couple of times by us. He will accept the position and is ready to go. A motion was made by Tomte, seconded by Mikesh, and unanimously carried to approve Resolution #2011-29 Approving the Employment Status and Acknowledging the Declaration of Park Rapids Police Officer Mitchell Nelson.
††††††††††† 12.† CITY ADMINISTRATOR UPDATE: There were no comments.
††††††††††† 13.† DEPARTMENT HEAD UPDATES: There were no comments.
14.† MINUTES/REPORTS/INFORMATION: There were no comments.
15.† COMMENTS FROM COUNCIL: Carroll questioned if we receive the bids for the granite inlays on the same day as our special meeting, January 31st, will we be ready to award the bid on the same day? Olson stated I generally like to have a day or two in between so thereís time to clarify any questions. But if the Council is comfortable with receiving the bids and going into a meeting, thatís fine too. Carroll stated the bids are due at noon, and the meetingís at noon so there would be no review at all. Have you been reviewing the bids as theyíve come in? Olson stated not to my knowledge. I havenít seen any bids come through. At least a couple of hours would be nice to clear up any discrepancies. A few days would be better. Collins stated Iíd encourage the Council to keep the date of the 31st for the meeting as you agreed to two weeks ago. Some of us have already done scheduling based upon that. Vik stated the meeting time and date has already been published based on the motion by the Council at their last meeting. The meeting announcement could be republished on Saturday the 29th.
A motion was made by Mikesh, seconded by Tomte, and unanimously carried to change the meeting time of the Special Meeting on January 31st, 2011, from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m.
††††††††††† Carroll stated Hubbard County Assessor Bob Hanson is asking if the city can hold the Board of Appeal and Equalization Meeting on April 19th, 2011. Vik stated we need to confirm that there will be a quorum present. The Council requested the meeting be scheduled for 2:00 p.m. and not 1:30 p.m. Vik stated she would request the time be changed.
††††††††††† Carroll reminded the Council that the Legislative Action Day will be on February 9th, 2011 in St. Paul. She stated she would be attending and has made an appointment to meet with Representative Hancock. Nordberg agreed to attend. Utke and Tomte were undecided.
††††††††††† Burlingame stated for the last three years the city has sponsored the kidís snowmobile race organized by Jeff Voigt. Iím asking if the Council is willing to do that again. He hasnít had time to come in here. Utke stated our sponsorship was the fact that you used city equipment and we supplied the water for the track. It wasnít money. Burlingame stated Dean Cumber shaped the track this fall so we wonít need a fraction of the water that we used last year. Every year we learn a little more. Carroll questioned can this be on a future agenda? Mikesh stated once you learn the dates you can come back. Burlingame stated I think itís the last part of February. We want to get started on it soon. Carroll stated we need to know for sure that they have liability insurance. Burlingame stated Iíll put it on the agenda for the next meeting.
††††††††††† Nordberg thanked Walker and Scott Olson for the year end reports that are included in the packet. Itís helpful. We talked about communications. I thought Walkerís report was good enough to excerpt for the newspaper. There is good information there, which the public should see. Walker stated Iíll be giving a more detailed report to the Planning Commission at the February meeting.
††††††††††† Nordberg stated we should thank the public works people for keeping the street clean under some trying conditions with all the snow that weíve been having. Burlingame stated we need some warm days to get the streets scraped down.
††††††††††† 16.† ADJOURNMENT:† A motion was made by Mikesh, seconded by Utke, and unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 2:50 p.m.
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Mayor Nancy J. Carroll
Margie M. Vik