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City Council


City Council Meeting Minutes

January 26, 2015

1.    Roll Call

Mayor Roe called the meeting to order at approximately 6:00 p.m. Voting and Seating Order: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe. City Manager Patrick Trudgeon and City Attorney Mark Gaughan were also present.

 

2.       Pledge of Allegiance

 

3.       Approve Agenda

Councilmember McGehee requested removal of Items 7.b and 7.j; and Councilmember Laliberte requested removal of Item 7.f from the Consent Agenda for separate consideration.

 

Etten moved, McGehee seconded approval of the agenda as amended.

 

                                                Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe. 

Nays: None.

 

4.       Public Comment

Mayor Roe called for public comment by members of the audience on any non-agenda items.  No one appeared to speak. 

 

5.       Council Communications, Reports, and Announcements

Mayor Roe announced several free upcoming self-sufficiency workshops sponsored by Keystone Community Services scheduled at the Ramsey County Library - Roseville Branch; with additional information available at ehayne@keystoneservices.or or by calling Eric Jayne at 651/797-7009.

 

Mayor Roe announced vacancies on several Citizen Advisory Commissions, with the application deadline on March 2, interviews scheduled on March 9, and appointments for terms beginning April 1, scheduled March 23, 2015.  Applications and additional information are available on the City's website under the "commissions" tab.

 

Mayor Roe invited the public to attend the Villa Park building preview scheduled for January 28, 2015 from 6:30 ? 8:00 p.m. with light refreshments.

 

Mayor Roe announced the 19th annual Roseville Home and Garden Fair, hosted by the Roseville Housing & Redevelopment Authority, scheduled for February 21, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Fairview Community Center, with numerous exhibitors, sponsors and workshops scheduled.  Additional information available on the City?s Website under the "HRA" tab, or by calling 651/792-7028,

 

Mayor Roe invited residents to participate in another brush and buckthorn stacking at Harriet Alexander Nature Center on February 21, 2015 starting at 10:00 a.m.; with additional information available on the City's website or by calling Volunteer Coordinator Kelly O'Brien at 651/792-7028.

 

Mayor Roe announced scholarship opportunities available through the North Suburban Cable Commission for residents of the nine member communities with students interested in communication, journalism or similar studies.  Additional information, with a deadline of April 10, 2015 for scholarship applications, is available at ctvnorthsuburbs.org/scholarships or by calling 651/792-7515.

 

Mayor Roe announced the upcoming 2nd annual Ramsey County Library Friends "Great Gatsby Gala" fundraiser on February 7, 2015; with all profits going toward acquisition of materials and community programs.  Additional information is available at rclfriends.org or by calling 651/792-7001.

 

Councilmember Laliberte, as Liaison to the Ramsey County League of Local Governments, briefly reported on their most recent meeting and upcoming meeting topics for 2015, noting that the City of Roseville would be hosting the March 2015 meeting.  Councilmember Laliberte provided a copy of the "2015 Ramsey County State Legislative Platform" to City Manager Trudgeon for dissemination.

 

6.         Recognitions, Donations and Communications

 

a.            Proclaim Black History Month

Mayor Roe read a proclamation declaring February of 2015 as Black History Month in Roseville, inviting a renewed commitment in the community to ensure racial equality, understanding and justice.

 

Laliberte moved, Etten seconded, declaring February of 2015 as Black History Month in Roseville.

 

                                                Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe. 

Nays: None.

 

7.       Approve Minutes

Comments and corrections to draft minutes had been submitted by the City Council prior to tonight's meeting and those revisions were incorporated into the draft presented in the Council packet.

 

a.            Approve Minutes of January 12, 2015 Meeting

Willmus moved, McGehee seconded, approval of the January 12, 2015 meeting minutes as presented.

 

                                                Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, McGehee, and Roe. 

Nays: None.

Abstentions: Etten.

Motion carried.

 

8.       Approve Consent Agenda

There were no additional changes to the Consent Agenda than those previously noted.  At the request of Mayor Roe, City Manager Patrick Trudgeon briefly reviewed those items being considered under the Consent Agenda; and as detailed in specific Requests for Council Action (RCA) and related attachments, dated January 26, 2015.

 

a.            Approve Business and Other Licenses and Permits

Etten moved, McGehee seconded, approval/renewal of business and other licenses and permits for terms as noted.

 

                                                Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe. 

Nays: None.

 

c       Award Contracts for Irrigation Replacements and Upgrades

Etten moved, McGehee seconded, authorizing the Mayor and City Manager to enter into a contract with Mickman Brothers for irrigation replacements and upgrades as outlined for a cost of $215,815, pending final review and approval of documents by the City Attorney.

 

                                                Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe. 

Nays: None.

 

d.            Approve 2014 Pay Equity Report

Etten moved, McGehee seconded, approval of the 2014 Pay Equity Report (Attachment A) for submission to maintain compliance with the Local Government Pay Equity Act.

                                                Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe. 

Nays: None.

 

e.            Award Contract for Operation of a Clean-Up Day

For the listening audience, Councilmember Laliberte noted the 2015 clean-up date is April 25, 2015.

 

Mayor Roe noted the rates this year were the same if not somewhat lower than last year.

 

Etten moved, McGehee seconded, award of the 2015 - 2017 Clean-Up Day Contract to Lightning Disposal, Incorporated.

 

                                                Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe. 

Nays: None.

 

g.            Reject Bids for City Tagline Consultant

Etten moved, McGehee seconded, to reject all proposals stemming from the Request for Qualifications for "Creation of Identity Tagline and Style Guide."

 

                                                Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe. 

Nays: None.

 

h.            Approve General Purchases Over $5,000

Etten moved, McGehee seconded, approval of general purchases and contracts for services, and where applicable, trade-in/sale of surplus equipment.

 

                                                Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe. 

Nays: None.

 

i.             Approve Payments

Etten moved, McGehee seconded, approval of the following claims and payments as presented and detailed in the RCA dated January 26, 2015 and attached check register.

 

ACH Payments

$1,737,303.52

76287 - 76432

801,683.88

TOTAL

$2,538,987.40

 

                                                Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe. 

Nays: None.

 

9.            Consider Items Removed from Consent

 

b.            Authorize Agreement for Park Building Custodial Services

At the request of Mayor Roe, City Manager Patrick Trudgeon briefly reviewed this item as detailed in the RCA and related attachments dated January 26, 2015.

 

Councilmember McGehee advised her colleagues that she had spoken to City Manager Trudgeon earlier requesting a report back in six months on the actual costs for electric and gas utilities in each building, as part of 2016 budget information, since it appeared that cleaning services may run higher than anticipated, in addition to the additional costs for utilities at these facilities.

 

Councilmember Laliberte asked how cleaning was currently being done at the arboretum support building; and how that cost compared to being folded into using this firm for custodial services.

 

City Manager Trudgeon stated that a third party was also currently performing those tasks; and this amount took into consideration rolling those costs for existing structures in.

 

At the request of Mayor Roe, Parks & Recreation Director Lonnie Brokke concurred, noting that several years ago, dollars had been identified for cleaning those existing buildings, estimated at approximately $5,000, but was now being included in this broader program.

 

When staff returns with their six month report on utility costs, Councilmember Willmus also asked for a revenue report for that same time period.

 

Councilmember McGehee concurred, asking that staff track buildings separately, especially as more facilities (e.g. gymnasiums and the OVAL) were brought in.

 

Mr. Brokke responded that it was staff?s intent to track each facility separately.

 

City Manager Trudgeon advised, as noted by Mayor Roe, that cleaning at the OVAL was included in the existing contract for cleaning services at the City Hall campus.

 

McGehee moved, Etten seconded, authorizing the Mayor and City Manager to enter into an agreement with Cleaning Authority for custodial services at Autumn Grove Park, Lexington Park, Oasis Park, Rosebrook Park, Sandcastle Park and Villa Park Buildings, and the Muriel Sahlin Arboretum support building for an amount of $46,040.70, payable from the 2015 Parks and Recreation Budget.

 

                                                Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe. 

Nays: None.

 

f.             Approve Human Rights Commission (HRC) Civility Training Request

At the request of Mayor Roe, City Manager Patrick Trudgeon briefly reviewed this item as detailed in the RCA and related attachments dated January 26, 2015.  Mr. Trudgeon noted that representatives of the HRC present tonight to respond to any questions of the City Council for this requested $2,000 amount to be taken from the Communications Fund.

 

Councilmember Laliberte thanked the Ramsey County Library for committing to $1,000 and providing space for this proposed training.  Since the specific request by the HRA was for $2,000, Councilmember Laliberte questioned if that was sufficient if the maximum number of participants expected were attending.  Since the HRC was one of the few community advisory commissions with a budget, Councilmember Laliberte asked if they typically expended their entire annual budget.

 

City Manager Trudgeon responded that the HRC typically expends their entire budget, with the major expense being for the annual Essay Contest.

 

Councilmember Laliberte questioned recent discussions of the HRC related to gift cards.

 

HRC Staff Liaison Kari Collins

Ms. Collins advised that there was approximately $200 remaining in last year's budget, and the budget was used for receptions or seminars held throughout the year, for essay monetary awards, the Rosefest Parade, Naturalization Ceremony, and other events, it was also used for the annual $100 membership fee for the National Human Rights League.  Ms. Collins noted that funds were not carried over from one year to the next to provide a buffer, and therefore, the HRC had discussed purchase of a gift card with remaining funds for availability to offset costs of future expenses.

 

Councilmember McGehee expressed her support for this training, based on her understanding that the $2000 was needed to secure the event; and that other donations may be received that could reduce the expense, but the HRC would be unable to proceed until this amount had been reserved.

 

McGehee moved, Laliberte seconded, approval of an increase in the Human Rights Commission 2015 budget to host civility training in 2015 to be funded from the Communications Fund.

 

Friendly Amendment

Since the HRC budget was funded through the General Fund, Mayor Roe offered a friendly amendment to the motion that General Fund monies be used versus Communication Fund monies; stating his concern in continuing to dip into the Communications Fund too often.

 

Makers of the motion agreed to the friendly amendment.

 

                                    Roll Call (As Amended)

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe. 

Nays: None.

 

j.        Approve Resolution Awarding Bid for 2015 Meter Replacement Project

At the request of Mayor Roe, City Manager Patrick Trudgeon briefly reviewed this item as detailed in the RCA and related attachments dated January 26, 2015; with inspections for compliance for inflow and infiltration (I/I) included as part of those meter replacements as detailed.

 

Councilmember McGehee thanked staff for bringing this forward and spoke in support of this requested motion, based on her support of the I/I issue and many homeowners not being aware that their sump pump is connected to the sanitary sewer system, or clearly understand I/I issues and the additional costs to the City. 

 

Mayor Roe noted that this could also provide an opportunity to educate the public on the costs to the City, and ultimately utility rates for customers, for the unnecessary costs to process water going into the sanitary sewer system that didn?t need treatment; along with the penalties incurred by the City due to that excess flow.

 

Councilmember Laliberte requested clarification from staff on whether the sump pump inspections would be at those residential locations undergoing meter replacements or at other locations.

 

At the request of Mayor Roe, Public Works Director Duane Schwartz advised that it would be the same homes scheduled for meter change-outs.  Mr. Schwartz noted that the proposed contract was for 5,000 meter change-outs and I/I inspections; with City staff scheduled to do another 1,000 beyond those.  Mr. Schwartz advised that this would cover 6,000 of the 9,000 total meters; and provide sufficient data for the City Council to discuss how big the I/I problem is specific to noncompliant sump pump connections and how to issue corrective measures based on that data.

 

Councilmember Laliberte questioned the intended communication to residents found with incorrect connections and repercussions if not corrected.

 

Mr. Schwartz reviewed the proposed process to provide notice to homeowners about the meter replacement and inspections to schedule an appointment, and with that same communication provide information on I/I and reasons for inspections and disconnections.  Mr. Schwartz advised that staff would also reiterate efforts to the broader community beyond those scheduled for meter replacement.

 

McGehee moved, Etten seconded, adoption of Resolution No. 11206 (Attachment A) entitled, "Resolution Awarding Bids for 2015 Meter Replacement Project" to Ferguson Waterworks in an amount not to exceed $266,500; and including sump pump inspections.

                                                Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe. 

Nays: None.

 

10.         General Ordinances for Adoption

 

11.         Presentations

 

12.         Public Hearings

 

a.            Public Hearing to Consider the Transfer of an On-Sale 3./2% Malt Liquor License to Pleasant Valley Sunrise Group, LLC (Aurelio?s Pizza)

At the request of Mayor Roe, Finance Director Chris Miller briefly reviewed the purpose of this public hearing prompted by a change in ownership and legal requirements to transfer existing liquor licenses as applicable.  Mr. Miller advised that applications had been received and reviewed by staff and found to meet requirements, pending final background checks.

 

No representatives of the applicant came forward to speak.

 

Mayor Roe opened and closed the public hearing at 6:43 p.m., with no one appearing for or against.

 

b.            Public Hearing to Consider the Approval of an On-Sale Wine License for Pleasant Valley Sunrise Group, LLC (Aurelio?s Pizza) located at 2827 Hamline Avenue

At the request of Mayor Roe, Finance Director Chris Miller briefly reviewed the purpose of this public hearing, noting that this application was for a new license for the new owners.

 

Mayor Roe opened the public hearing at 6:44 p.m., with no one appearing for or against.

 

14        Business Items (Action Items)

 

a.            Approve/Deny the Transfer of an On-Sale 3./2% Malt Liquor License to Pleasant Valley Sunrise Group, LLC (Aurelio?s Pizza)

Etten moved, McGehee seconded, approved the transfer of the On-Sale 3.2% Malt Liquor license from Aurelio?s Pizza to Pleasant Valley Sunrise Group, LLC; pending completion of successful background checks.

 

At the request of Councilmember Willmus, Finance Director Miller advised that the new owner and applicant had been advised of the City?s mandatory alcohol server training, as it was part of the normal process.

 

                                                Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe. 

Nays: None.

 

b.            Approve/Deny an On-Sale Wine License for Pleasant Valley Sunrise Group, LLC (Aurelio's Pizza) located at 2827 Hamline Avenue

Etten moved, McGehee seconded, approved a new On-Sale Wine license for Pleasant Valley Sunrise Group, LLC at 2827 Hamline Avenue; pending completion of successful background checks.

 

                                                Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe. 

Nays: None.

Recess

Mayor Roe recessed the meeting at approximately 6:47 p.m., and reconvened at approximately 7:51 p.m.

 

14          Business/Action Items

 

d.    Request by JAVA Properties for Approval of a Preliminary Plat at 2700 Cleveland Avenue

City Planner Thomas Paschke briefly summarized this request as detailed in the RCA dated January 26, 2015.  Mr. Paschke noted this was a two-step process, with some issues still pending and in process (e.g. access points) and were therefore included as conditions for approval as that documentation is completed and submitted by the developer and reviewed by staff and other agencies.

 

The developer representatives had yet to arrive.

 

Councilmember Etten noted that, while extensive discussion had been held on access points, the decision was still pending and included combining access points for this development as well as for the proposed hotels north of this site, and specifically regarding right in, right out turns. 

 

Mr. Paschke responded to concerns regarding what Ramsey County would support, and potential impacts to the developer or if the developer could decide to pull out.

 

Community Development Director Paul Bilotta advised that, obviously, a developer wanted as much access as possible, especially for retail customers; however, he anticipated that Ramsey County was unlikely to approve any access on Cleveland.  Mr. Bilotta noted that the traffic study indicated more access was needed at the end of development in this area; and in his discussions with Ramsey County earlier today, they were considering the access points available to the site via cross-easements from three other streets.  Mr. Bilotta stated that his understanding was that the developer had closed on the property, and at this point he anticipated no crises, with further adjustments always taking place between preliminary and final plat approvals.

 

Councilmember Etten opined that if access was added now (e.g. right turn lane northbound), the developer would be obligated to pay for that infrastructure versus if Ramsey County chose to wait, which would negate developer involvement and cause the County and City to be responsible for those costs.

 

Mayor Roe questioned why the configuration of a right in, no right out was chosen for access to Twin Lakes Parkway; and questioned if that could be changed if a Cleveland access point was allowed.

 

Mr. Paschke noted that this became problematic for larger vehicles (e.g. trucks) with right-out crossing lanes of traffic and creating conflicts and more accidents as they attempted to get into the proper traffic lane on Cleveland Avenue to access I-35W or to facilitate another turn action.  Mr. Paschke opined that a right in would be best as recommended by the City's Engineer, with the traffic study supporting a right-in, but not a right-out.

 

Mayor Roe agreed that it made sense from a safety standpoint, especially when considering that access was available off Mount Ridge Road.

 

Mr. Paschke concurred, noting that access was also available on Iona Lane.

 

Mayor Roe suggested that the City may wish to participate in signage to route traffic throughout the Twin Lakes area, or to provide wayfinding signage as part of the developers? signage. 

 

Mr. Bilotta advised that a master signage plan from both developers has been strongly encouraged by staff, but he did not anticipate that Mount Ridge Road would ever become that heavily traveled to need significant directional signage for traffic; but duly noted Mayor Roe?s comments.

 

Mr. Paschke noted that developer signage would typically be on private property versus the public right-of-way.

 

Mayor Roe noted that his suggestion was to include directional signage as part of the entrance monuments for the developments, which the City could take into consideration as part of the developer signage requirements as applicable.

 

Public Comment

Lisa McCormick, Wheeler Street

Ms. McCormack expressed her disappointment that the developer was not present for this discussion; and apologized for the apparent lack of public participation at the Planning Commission level. Ms. McCormack opined that part of the lack of participation at that point may have been the public?s unawareness of a potential Aldi?s grocery at that location. However, once revealed, Ms. McCormack noted the public lack of interest or support for that retailer expressed on the City?s website; and expressed hope that the developer would acknowledge and consider that neighborhood feedback accordingly. Ms. McCormack noted the public perception that Aldi?s was a discount retailer, and the perception that it was already becoming a ?discount corner.?  Ms. McCormack noted that neighbors expressed their preference for Trader Joe?s or a Whole Foods, or something more upscale to balance that perception.  Ms. McCormack opined that everyone was in this together, and expressed that it was unfortunate that the public voice had been lacking at the Planning Commission level.  Ms. McCormack recognized that Community Development Director Bilotta had conveyed some of the public comments to the Planning Commission; but opined that it was important for the developer to hear them from the public as well.

 

Kathleen Erickson, Centennial Drive

Ms. Erickson spoke in support of Ms. McCormack's comments; and referenced the comments on NextDoor on the preferred retail choices in the neighborhood. Ms. Erickson opined that it was unfortunate that the identity of this retailer was not available earlier in the process due to non-disclosure requirements during negotiations, and until an article appeared in the Business Journal about the potential for an Aldi?s grocery store. While having nothing against Aldi's personally, Ms. Erickson opined that a Trader Joe's - even though run by the same German firm -provided a different feel and clientele. Ms. Erickson opined that it seemed that urbanization was part of Roseville?s changing future, with two new hotels, the WalMart, and now a potential Aldi?s, and it just didn?t seem to be an upscale area.  Ms. Erickson encouraged consideration by the developer in keeping the climate and atmosphere of the adjacent residential neighborhood.

 

Lisa McCormack

Ms. McCormack expressed appreciation for the developer dividing the retail space for two end caps and interest from restaurants versus fast food establishments for those locations. Ms. McCormack noted that this was another amenity requested by residents in that neighborhood, for a sit-down restaurant, and thanked the developer for taking that initiative.  With that type of sit-down restaurant, and consideration of an upscale grocer, Ms. McCormack opined that it would serve to draw patronage from the residential neighborhood as well as from the broader community and region.

 

Community Development Director Bilotta clarified that is was his understanding from the developer that the article referenced identifying Aldi as the grocer tenant had been published in error due to the project engineer using a template typically used for that retailer.  Mr. Bilotta advised that the developer could still not address that issue, as they had also stated at the Planning Commission due to non-disclosure issues during negotiations with tenants. Therefore, Mr. Bilotta advised that no additional information was available, and any suppositions were inaccurate until negotiations were completed.  Mr. Bilotta assured the public that staff would pass the public comments along to the developer; but further clarified that staff could only advise, but the developers would respond to the market and interested tenants of their choice for this privately-owned property.   With the access decision forwarded to staff by Ramsey County earlier today, Mr. Bilotta opined that this may cause one potential tenant to rise above the others.

 

Knowing that hotel properties were anticipated adjacent to this development site, Mayor Roe opined that an Aldi?s didn?t seem to be the best fit, and synergistically that may be taken into account as well.  Mayor Roe noted that he had heard from various sources in the community that Roseville already had enough chain-type food establishments, and while nice, the desire was to have more unique opportunities. 

 

Etten moved, McGehee seconded, approval of the proposed The Cleveland Club PRELIMINARY PLAT as presented for the property located at 2700 Cleveland Avenue; based on the findings and recommendations of the Planning Commission and content as detailed in the RCA dated January 26, 2014, subject to the ten (10) conditions as listed in that RCA.

 

Councilmember Etten expressed his interest in persuading Ramsey County to get the turn lanes installed at developer expense now, and remove future costs for residents and taxpayers.

 

Mayor Roe encouraged individual Councilmembers to lobby their Ramsey County Commissioner.

 

Councilmember Laliberte echoed public comments heard tonight, as well as those of Mayor Roe, specifically related to a potential Aldi?s store in Roseville, with one already located in Little Canada, and two Cub Food Stores in Roseville.  Councilmember Laliberte opined that, at some point, the area could not support duplicative establishments, and therefore, she encouraged the creation of a different establishment other than Aldi?s to prevent another duplication.

 

Councilmember Willmus questioned if staff was aware of whether the developer had contacted existing liquor license holders regarding acquiring a license, which could determine a potential tenant.

 

Mr. Bilotta advised that the developer had indicated that they may have access to a license; however, staff had no additional information at this time.

 

Councilmember McGehee opined that there may be more than one liquor license available, so she didn't think that would be an issue for a potential grocer tenant. Councilmember McGehee also spoke in support of the public comments requesting that the discount format of this corner be addressed, especially given the significant amount of community distress over the WalMart development. Given the walkability north of the development and residential neighborhood of 500 plus homes that would service this development, Councilmember McGehee opined that it would only serve to improve the entire Twin Lakes area and broader community if the developer took that into consideration.

 

                                                Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe. 

Nays: None.

 

13.       Budget Items

 

a.        Receive a Summary Recap of the 2015 Adopted Tax Levy and Budget

Finance Director Chris Miller presented a summary recap of the 2015 adopted tax levy and budget as previously requested by the City Council.

 

At the request of Mayor Roe, Mr. Miller confirmed that the report would be made available to the public online on the City?s website; and that he was always available to answer any questions of the public.

 

Councilmembers thanked staff for presenting this informative report.

 

14          Business Items (Action Items)

 

c.       Park and Recreation Renewal Program Natural Resource Restoration Project Update and Acceptance of Grants

Parks & Recreation Director Lonnie Brokke, Park Superintendent Jeff Evenson and Stantec, Inc. Consultant Paul Bockensted were available for this presentation, as detailed in the RCA dated January 26, 2015.

 

Mr. Bockensted provided the natural resources update, including a review of the 2013-2014 planning and work completed on restoration work and public outreach and volunteer efforts to-date, and the 2015 work plan, with photo examples.  Mr. Bockensted commended Roseville residents for their outstanding participation and support; expressing his favorable impressions with those volunteers.

 

The presentation included signed trail closures for safety when machines are running, as well as safety spotters; public outreach protocol and series of activities; building of a volunteer base with regular events scheduled to lay the groundwork for that volunteer legacy; stewardship network of a core group of volunteers to continue monitoring and management of natural resources in Roseville parks, including corporate and higher education venue participation planned for organization early this year.

 

As planned, Mr. Bockensted advised that leveraging city funds through grant awards would assist those ongoing efforts.

 

As far as the 2015 work plan, Mr. Bockensted reviewed significant invasive brush and woodland restoration efforts; wetland restoration; monthly volunteer events and stewardship programs as previously noted; and invasive weed management and shoreline restorations; with ongoing grant screening and applications.

 

Mr. Brokke noted the intended three year approach that included establishing programs the first year, with two subsequent years for maintenance, all under the umbrella with Stantec before those areas were turned back to the City for maintenance.

 

Park Superintendent Evenson thanked the City's Volunteer Coordinator Kelly O'Brien for her help with the volunteer program and leveraging interested residents in specific stewardship opportunities.

 

Councilmember Laliberte questioned how and when maintenance of those areas being mowed would need attention in the future.

 

Mr. Bockensted advised that, depending on the actual invasive plants, those cut by hand were treated immediately with a herbicide, but those areas treated with the machine (forestry mower) would re-sprout and need to be treated as well, typically after native trees and grasses go dormant in the fall.  Mr. Bockensted noted that the overall goal was to increase plant diversity to improve wildlife habitat and provide good competition to those undesirable invasive plant species.

 

Councilmember McGehee expressed appreciation for the presentation and work accomplished to-date, stating her support for this aspect of the Park Renewal program.  However, she expressed her disappointment that only the core projects were able to be accomplished and not more.  Councilmember McGehee asked for the anticipated plan going forward in applying for grants and whether they were in line with original expectations.

 

Mr. Bockensted advised that they would continue to screen grants for a wide variety of programs, a number of which have been applied for already.  Overall, with the City Council?s acceptance of the two grants before them tonight, Mr. Bockensted advised that the City would have been awarded $265,000, with a total goal set originally at between $300,000 and $400,000.  Mr. Bockensted assured the City Council and public that they would continue to look at additional grant opportunities from various local and national agencies to find good fits.

 

Councilmember McGehee sought information on aquatic invasive species in Roseville lakes, with Mr. Bockensted providing an update on Langton and Bennett Lakes and the invasive species they were affected by.  Mr. Bockensted advised that their firm was performing an inventory and developing a management plan, in conjunction with applicable area watershed districts, and working with previous surveys done on those bodies of water, and specific to invasive, non-native species occurring annually or only episodic in nature.  Mr. Bockensted noted that there may be grants available through the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to address some of those infestations.

 

Councilmember McGehee addressed the need to alert the public in advance when herbicide treatments were going to occur; with Mr. Bockensted advising that this could be done, but most herbicide use was minimal with little residual impact on non-target species, and dried quickly allowing re-entry by citizens.  Mr. Bockensted noted that signs and flags were used to notify the public in advance, but he could pursue further notice as applicable and reasonable.

 

Mayor Roe questioned the ongoing costs for maintenance in those areas once the City took them over again; and how much Stantec would be involved in determining those costs, their activities and role.

 

Mr. Bockensted advised that his firm would assist City staff in identifying regular maintenance activities and estimating the level of activity needed to sustain gains made during the first few years; and help to develop a plan for long-term management.

 

Mayor Roe expressed the City's appreciation for that, opining that he didn't want to see all this work in the first three years and then have the areas revert back due to a lack of funding or maintenance on the part of the  City.

 

Councilmember McGehee suggested that Stantec and City staff also reach out to the St. Paul Campus of the University of MN for volunteer and partnership opportunities; with Mayor Roe suggesting Bethel University as well as those previously identified.

 

Etten moved, McGehee seconded, authorizing the Mayor and City Manager to sign the necessary documents to accept a Conservation Partners Legacy Grant from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in the amount of $120,966 for natural resource restoration at Reservoir Woods and Bennett Lake in Central Park, with a City cash match of $362,898 to be taken from the approved $1.5 million Parks and Recreation Renewal Program budget.

 

                                                Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe. 

Nays: None.

 

Etten moved, McGehee seconded, authorizing the Mayor and City Manager to sign the necessary documents to accept a Capitol Region Watershed District grant in the amount of $22,410 for natural resource restoration at Villa Park with a city cash match of $2,490 to be taken from the approved $1.5 million Parks and Recreation Renewal Program budget.

 

Councilmember Willmus thanked Stantec and staff for this additional service provided by Stantec in their request for proposal during the Best Value process that had not been included in other proposals; and expressed appreciation for their due diligence.

 

Mayor Roe concurred; and clarified for the public that the City was not expending additional money to match these grant awards, but making the City?s bonding money go further to accomplish more.

 

                                                Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe. 

Nays: None.

 

14          Business/Action Items (continued)

 

d.            Request by JAVA Properties for approval of a Preliminary Plat at 2700 Cleveland Avenue (continued)

Mayor Roe recognized developer representatives Dean Devolis of JAVA Capital Partners, and Mark Krog, with JAVA Properties and Capital Partners.

 

Mr. Devolis reviewed negotiations to-date with a retail tenant for a sit-down restaurant of 5,500 square feet, with other tenants still pending, including a potential grocer.

 

Mr. Krog stated that they had hoped to be able to identify several tenants by tonight's meeting, but the potential tenants had requested not to be identified yet. However, Mr. Krog anticipated announcing the tenants soon, and opined that the City and residents would be happy with them.

 

Mayor Roe noted that public feedback to-date had sought to ensure more unique tenants to Roseville versus nationwide chains.

 

Mr. Krog advised that the proposed tenant for the restaurant was unique and locally based.

 

Councilmember McGehee noted other feedback received earlier tonight was that, if possible, a grocer tenant other than Aldi's be selected.  Councilmember McGehee noted that residents in a large, single-family neighborhood directly to the north were concerned that this was becoming a "discount corner," and they were interested in access to a grocer not currently available (e.g. Trader Joe's or Whole Foods); as well as hoping for a unique restaurant.

 

Mr. Devolis advised that they had also spoken to neighborhood representatives when arriving at tonight's meeting, and would do their best to find desired tenants based on the current retail market and economics.  Mr. Devolis advised that the grocer tenant remained unconfirmed at this point.

 

Councilmember Laliberte noted the response earlier today to staff on Ramsey County?s access point and their decision to not allow access onto Cleveland Avenue.

 

Mr. Devolis advised that they had been advised by staff of that response, and while less access meant less interest from quality tenants, they would work with that, but noted that it may mean the same choices were not available in terms of quality of tenants for the development.  Mr. Devolis advised that once they had reviewed the response from Ramsey County, they would work with them directly to find a remedy or resolution to benefit all parties to the greatest extent available.

 

Mayor Roe advised that the message to the developer was that the City Council was on the side of the developer and expressed the City Council?s commitment to lobby on their behalf with Ramsey County, especially based on the knowledge that the type of tenants was based on adequate and preferable customer access to and from the site.

 

Mr. Krog noted that the traffic study, paid for by the developer as required by Ramsey County and the City Council, recommended a right-in, and was preferable and would handle traffic better rather than having to drive into the intersection.  Mr. Krog expressed appreciation for the City Council?s support; and advised that they would continue to work with Ramsey County and staff toward the best option.

 

Mayor Roe noted that part of that discussion should include consideration that there is currently access only a few feet north of Twin Lakes Parkway.

 

Councilmember Laliberte expressed her personal preference for a grocer tenant other than Aldi's; and asked the developer to use whatever sway they had available to ensure a better quality tenant.  Councilmember Laliberte noted that Roseville's history had tenants duplicating stores held in neighboring communities (e.g. WalMart in the Village of St. Anthony) and then closing those stores even after promising not to do so, but leaving vacant buildings needing to be turned over. 

 

Mayor Roe expressed the City's confidence in the developer and the City's high expectations of them.

 

e.            Dale Street Fire Station Site Redevelopment

Community Development Director Paul Bilotta noted that the City Attorney had provided language for several potential motions to simplify tonight?s discussion, and subsequent to the recent Housing & Redevelopment Authority (HRA) action on January 20, 2015. 

 

As noted by a representative of the current potential lender, Western Bank, at the HRA meeting, Mr. Bilotta advised that the bank had finally received the appraisal, but at that time had not been able to complete their review.  Mr. Bilotta advised that the actual Project Manager at Western Bank, Mr. Paul McNamara, was present at tonight?s meeting to address the current status of the appraisal review.

 

Paul McNamara, Western Bank

Mr. McNamara advised that Western Bank was very supportive of the Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation (GMHC)'s history and background in this type of project.  Since Western Bank had only been involved with GMHC on this potential project for 3-5 months, Mr. McNamara advised that they were excited about this project as well; as he was personally as a Roseville resident.  Mr. McNamara noted that with the variety of housing stock and ownership partners on this site, it was a challenging development, but still viable.

 

Mr. McNamara noted that, as stated by the Western Bank representative at the HRA meeting, they had only received the appraisal documents earlier that day.  After their initial review, while recognizing that there was a little work for the bank and client to work out as far as structuring the financing, Mr. McNamara advised that the project could work.  Mr. McNamara advised that the bank had met with Roseville staff earlier today, and would continue to meet as the project was reviewed in more detail, with Western Bank still very supportive of the project.  Mr. McNamara assured the City Council and public that the delay was certainly not indicative of how GMHC had handled the project, but was due to the City?s involvement in ownership of the property and demolition requirements for the existing fire station, each component just making things a little more complicated or challenging. Mr. McNamara encouraged the City Council to allow Western Bank to continue working with GMHC for this project that would result in a good benefit to the City, the project and Western Bank as well.

 

At the request of Mayor Roe, Mr. McNamara addressed the established timeline by the HRA, remained committed that Western would meet those deadlines to the best of their ability, pledging to work hard and move the information forward.

 

Councilmember Willmus noted his attendance at the HRA meeting and confirmed that Western Bank had just received the appraisal earlier that day.  While the Western Bank representative at the HRA meeting mentioned that she had some concerns, Mr. McNamara?s referencing them in greater detail proved helpful.  Councilmember Willmus sought confirmation from Mr. McNamara on the timing of approval.

 

Mr. McNamara advised that Western Bank supported the dates established by the HRA, and was interested in staying involved in the project, and opined that the bank could have information available for those dates, as well as meeting the timing of the subsequent February 23, 2015 City Council meeting.

 

Willmus moved, Laliberte seconded, TABLING discussion and any potential action on this item until the February 23, 2015 City Council meeting.

 

                                                Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe. 

Nays: None.

 

Community Development Director Bilotta clarified that the outstanding information still needed from GMHC was basically updating or massaging documents and/or information and did not mean that any documentation was missing. 

 

Speaking on behalf of HRA members, Mayor Roe asked that the City Council continue to receive periodic updates as this project moves forward.

 

Mr. Bilotta duly noted that request; and noted that GMHC had also committed to attending upcoming meetings as well.

 

Recess

Mayor Roe recessed the meeting at approximately 8:07 p.m., and reconvened at approximately 8:16 p.m.

 

15.         Business Items - Presentations/Discussions

 

a.            Discuss Solar Projects and Authorize Applications

City Engineer Marc Culver and Public Works Director Duane Schwartz presented updated information on solar projects and recommendations to-date by the Public Works, Environment, and Transportation Commission (PWETC).  Mr. Culver displayed a map showing the civic campus and flat roofs available and suitable for solar installations; and addressed current electrical usage on the campus.

 

Mr. Culver's presentation included three viable options that had been found:

·     The best from a financial standpoint was for a "Made in Minnesota" grant over ten years based on actual production, requiring use of solar panels made in Minnesota, with two manufacturers qualifying for that designation.

·       The direct purchase option with financing directly with the St. Paul Port Authority (SPPA), creating upfront costs for the City and/or a much longer loan payoff.

·         A  power purchase agreement with the system owned by a third party to receive federal tax incentives thereby lowering the cost of the overall system and upfront costs for the City; with the third party selling solar generated power back to the City at 85%  of the rate charged by Xcel Energy.

 

Beyond those options and for future consideration, Mr. Culver noted that the other component of solar power was whether or not a community solar garden was viable as a future and separate component, with individuals allowed the opportunity to purchase shares of the overall system, with individuals then receiving a credit on their electric bill for the share of power generated.  Under this system, Mr. Culver advised that there would be administrative costs, tax reporting required, and management of shares that would add some cost to the overall system, which staff and the PWETC were still investigating before making a recommendation to the City Council.  Mr. Culver noted that there were pros and cons to consider, and additional consultations with various organizations to determine if this was a viable option to offer Roseville residents.

 

Mr. Culver advised that, at this time, the PWETC's recommendations were provided on lines 36 - 42 of the RCA to provide the most cost-effective method.  Based on that recommendation, Mr. Culver noted that two proposals had been received as detailed in lines 57 - 60 of the RCA, with staff recommending TruNorth and combining the SPPA loan with a third party power purchase agreement as outlined in the RCA.  Mr. Culver advised that the recommendation was to consider the fire hall and City Hall roofs, with two Made in Minnesota, reserving the larger roof space for a potential 100 Kw system.  Mr. Culver clarified the options available for additional City savings under the TruNorth proposal; displaying total savings available.

 

Councilmember Laliberte asked if staff was aware of any other communities doing private/public partnerships that would address administrative cost concerns.

 

Public Works Director Duane Schwartz advised that staff was hearing from other communities that with this type of program and a guaranteed energy savings, it was beneficial to have a third party as a partner so they took on the risk and guaranteed the performance of the system.  Mr. Schwartz opined that the cost in staff time and money should be minimal under that third party arrangement.

 

Mayor Roe clarified that costs for a community solar garden and associated shares and costs would be handled by a third party.

 

Mr. Culver advised that this was the part staff was seeking to gather additional information on, to research the true costs for third party administration of the system, and at what point it made sense.

 

Councilmember Laliberte noted that the Fire Department used the fire station roof for training purpose, and questioned impacts with a solar installation, especially given the significant investment in that station and impacts to firefighter safety and ability to use that training area.

 

Mr. Culver advised that the solar panels would be designed for half the size of the roof, allowing for maintenance of the roof and/or training by moving the array from one side to the other versus total removal.

 

Councilmember Laliberte questioned disposal issues for solar panels, and any laws, rules and/or costs for their disposal.

 

Mr. Culver advised that the life cycle of solar panels was currently between 25 to 30 years; and the majority of the material was made of glass and aluminum or other recyclable materials.  Mr. Culver advised that staff continued to investigate that, as well as inverter maintenance and other special maintenance requirements that would need to be addressed in any agreements.

 

Mr. Schwartz advised that none of the solar equipment or materials were considered hazardous, but it was just yet to be determined how much was recyclable and where those markets may be.

 

Mayor Roe noted that, within the next 25 to 30 years, someone may find a way to recycle all of those materials, creating more demand for the materials.

 

Councilmember Etten noted design costs and recommendations by staff that TruNorth was a better long-term option for the City, as a third party, tax equity partner, but questioned if they had access to grant monies unavailable to a municipality that would play into the deal to bring City costs down.

 

Mr. Culver responded affirmatively, clarifying that the Newport Energy proposal also included that option, but overall staff thought TruNorth provided the better overall proposal, with the City not required to put down any cash and advantages of having TruNorth as an tax equity partner as well.  Mr. Culver noted that financing was a complicated component with the different players, and how it interacted with the SPPA lending.  Mr. Culver advised that the end result with the refined TruNorth proposal was that the tax equity partner owned 40% of the system, with the City owning 60%, but overall getting better benefits.

 

Mr. Schwartz advised that, at this point, staff was only seeking authorization for the grant application, which did not bind the City to construct a project; with further refinement needed as well as City Attorney review prior to any request for agreement or contract approvals from the City Council.  Mr. Schwartz noted that additional design and roof structure analyses would be needed prior to any construction.

 

Councilmember Willmus expressed appreciation that the systems could be physically relocated on existing roofs.

 

Mr. Culver noted that the systems were not secured to the roof, and no holes were drilled, but just ballasted down on aluminum girders or cross beams, making the system much easier to move if and when needed.

 

Mayor Roe noted that newer roofs were being chosen for the solar arrays, confirmed by Mr. Culver and Mr. Schwartz.

 

Councilmember McGehee questioned if the grant applications were being submitted separately based on the outlined options, and questioned why staff was not recommending submitting more applications at this time to improve the odds of award.

 

Mr. Schwartz responded that the Made in Minnesota applications were limited to systems of 40Kw in size; with staff reserving roofs on the larger buildings (e.g. Public Works and Skating Center) for potential larger systems with another program, allowing the City to take advantage of future opportunities.

 

At the request of Councilmember McGehee, Mr. Schwartz advised that there had been some meetings with residents at the PWETC level with some interest expressed in the community solar garden concept.  Mr. Schwartz advised that staff was retaining an e-mail list of those interested as further research was conducted on the viability of a community solar system, with only preliminary discussions held to-date with potential developers, and a need to refine subscription rates payback to determine savings for residents.

 

Mr. Schwartz noted, as part of staff's additional research, an upcoming meeting of State energy offices by prequalified contractors to talk about larger systems, with approximately one dozen prequalified contractors currently on the State?s list.

 

At the request of Councilmember Laliberte, Mr. Culver advised that any future power purchase agreement would address various components, including lease payments, ownership of the system, location of the system, and other issues.  Mr. Culver advised that staff?s next step would be to meet further with CERT?s representatives on reasonable market rate rooftop lease payments and necessary requirements to make things work from the tax equity side.

 

Etten moved, Willmus seconded, directing staff to enter into a Letter of Intent with TruNorth Solar to apply for two (2) 40kW PC Solar Installations through the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program, and to continue to explore a larger solar installation for the Skating Center roof.

 

Councilmember Willmus thanked the PWETC and staff for their work, and to residents for their participation as well.

 

                                                Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe. 

Nays: None.

 

At the request of Councilmember Laliberte, resident Sarah Barsel, in tonight?s audience, provided an update on the interest of St. Christopher's Church in their solar project.

 

City Manager Trudgeon advised that the Community Development Director and Finance Director were continuing to discuss various aspects of agreements, and if their research is finalized at that point, may be available to present to the City Council in February.

 

b.   Discuss Facility Management and Public Works Department Reorganization

With the City's Fleet and Facility Supervisor, Pat Dolan, recently retiring, Public Works Director Duane Schwartz advised that, while if created a significant loss of institutional knowledge, it also provided an opportunity for further review of the Department?s structure and service delivery needs at this point in time, as detailed in the RCA dated January 26, 2015.  With many additional changes anticipated in the future, and more department retirements pending, Mr. Schwartz noted the need to review how things were done and if they were being done as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible, or if things should be structured differently to match staff and their skill sets. 

 

Mr. Schwartz reviewed the department's strategic plan, how facilities are and should be managed, reallocation of duties, and reconsideration of the previously proposed entry level customer service positions with the goal to better align duties with skills and reduce unmet needs and disruptions.  Mr. Schwartz further reviewed current position duties performed by the Fleet/Facility Supervisor in managing and/or overseeing City Hall, Public Works and License Center maintenance with the majority provided contractually; management of central garage operations; ICON pavement management data and NPDES storm water duties and reporting; as well as special projects.

 

Mr. Schwartz presented the current Public Works Department organizational chart as of January 15, 2015; and his recommendations across the department.  Mr. Schwartz proposed that facility management oversight fall under a Utility Superintendent position and fleet management under the Street Superintendent, with the addition of the proposed Customer Service position thereby shifting duties with other support staff and superintendent level positions.

 

Mr. Schwartz noted that facility management required specialized training and experience, and currently represented 50% of the Facility Management position duties, and filling the position was difficult to match with compatible skills and limited availability with the private market offering higher pay rates than could be managed by the public sector, with many private sector firms specializing in facility management.  Therefore, Mr. Schwartz suggested that long-term solutions indicated that, when an opportunity arose, the City needed to consider a different approach.  As an example, Mr. Schwartz noted that management of the Blaine City Hall was done by an outside facility manager, similar to that used by many private firms.

 

Specific to a facility management contract, Mr. Schwartz noted services could include monitoring facility operations and/or energy management systems, regular building assessments, coordination of contractual services, management of an online work order system with 24/7 on-call support and response, management of preventative maintenance and asset management, and special project management including capital planning.  Mr. Schwartz advised that this could be provided through a renewable contract with a flexible scope of services using budgeted costs currently being used for in-house staffing; and suggested that such a contract could be managed by the City?s Utility Superintendent.  Mr. Schwartz further advised that other departments (e.g. Fire Department) had expressed interest in such a contract for their facility in 2016, with other facilities potentially added in the future (e.g. park buildings).

 

Mr. Schwartz suggested that other fleet management responsibilities could fall under the Street Superintendent, with management of the ICON pavement database delegated to Engineering staff, and currently handled very well by the Department Assistant; with stormwater duties already being handled in part by the Environmental Specialist, with others recommended for delegation to the Street Superintendent as applicable; and special projects handled by a facility management contractor with oversight by the Utility Superintendent.

 

Regarding the proposed Customer Service position as originally requested, but unfunded, during the 2015 budget, Mr. Schwartz note that it would allow shifting of duties currently performed by other positions, with the department understaffed for basic customer service phone calls and an ever-increasing number of customer calls, especially as the meter change-out program starts, and with ongoing increased data capabilities and monitoring of that data.  Mr. Schwartz opined that the need was not being found in the traditional clerical sense, but in data management, with phone calls for storm and other events, making appointments, or a basic public need for information.  Mr. Schwartz noted that engineering staff was currently and frequently being interrupted from their project design work to address those needs.

 

Mr. Schwartz noted that the Department Assistant was currently doing data management and handling reporting responsibilities, and he would recommend reclassifying that current position to reflect asset management responsibilities.

 

Mr. Schwartz advised that the current Fleet Facilities position had been budgeted in 2015 at over $105,000, with a Facility Management Contract estimated to be about $44,000 to $45,000 for the City Hall, Maintenance Facility and License Center combined; and estimated the Customer Service position at $50,000 including benefits.  With reclassification of the Department Assistant and new duties, Mr. Schwartz anticipated that would need to be scored within the City?s pay system, and estimated an additional $5,000 to $8,000.  Under this recommendation, Mr. Schwartz noted that the department full-time equivalency remained at 33 employees, therefore should stay budget neutral.

 

Mr. Schwartz advised that staff would like to continue developing these changes and return to a future meeting for approvals if so directed by the City Council.

 

Councilmember Etten opined that if was obvious to anyone listening that Mr. Schwartz should be commended in his efforts to restructure the department and his staff to improve service delivery to the City?s residents; and offered his support to pursue it.

 

Councilmember McGehee concurred; recognizing the problem with supervisory staff handling public phone calls during critical times when they were needed to do their jobs based on their particular expertise.  Councilmember McGehee opined that the presentation was very informative and well-thought-out, and expressed her appreciation that this opportunity had presented itself.

 

Councilmember Willmus sought additional information on the proposed Customer Service position, and whether this would be a new employee; with Mr. Schwartz responding affirmatively. Councilmember Willmus questioned if that was a typical starting pay range; with City Manager Trudgeon advising that as an entry level, clerical position, it would be on the lower end of the compensation level.

 

Councilmember Willmus sought additional information on that pay range.

 

Mr. Schwartz advised that he had held preliminary discussion with the Finance Director, and were considering whether this position would fit within the current pay system or would need creation of a lower grade than currently exists based on the minimal entry level training and experience needed.

 

Councilmember Laliberte echoed her colleagues about providing better service to residents and having staff doing what they were meant to do.  Councilmember Laliberte stated that she shared concerns expressed about that Customer Service position wage range-with benefits - seeming high; and expressed her interest in staff reviewing that grade more.

 

Mayor Roe noted that, once the entire restructuring proposal was reviewed and researched, it may indicate more reclassifications are needed.

 

At the request of Councilmember Laliberte, Mr. Schwartz stated that he found this restructuring provided a good succession plan, and in consultation with Mr. Culver, offered his support of the proposed plan.  Mr. Schwartz thanked the City Council for their support in other changes to the department over the last few years and in providing funding for those changes, which served to match what was envisioned for changes foreseen.

 

Mayor Roe expressed the City's appreciation in staff having found funding to meet needs within the existing budget when the Customer Service position was not funded.  Mayor Roe addressed the benefit of that position on a day-to-day basis for taking calls from the public and connecting them with the right person and providing better management of calls.  Mayor Roe stated that he would endorse all of the City's facilities using this model, opining that the minimal cost of expanding the contract management to other buildings or facilities may prove negligible compared to the cost to hire an employee.  Mayor Roe spoke in support of freeing employees to do what they were hired to do in support of the City.  Mayor Roe suggested it be tried initially in the Public Works Department and then made available if working to other departments and facilities.

 

Mr. Schwartz advised that, during preliminary discussions he'd held with facility managers, it was a nominal cost to add other buildings, based on the economy of scale; and estimated that adding the fire station would cost approximately $8,000 annually; and to add park buildings, another $8,000 to $10,000 annually.

 

While supportive of the cost for an entry level Customer Service position, Councilmember McGehee asked that staff not lose sight of the importance of having a good, competent and capable customer service representative handling the job.

 

At the request of Councilmember Laliberte, Mr. Schwartz noted that with additional electronic tracking data now available to the City, staff could notify residents when observing variables in utility usage or other issues as that additional information became available, creating a need for more communication with residents.

 

City Manager Trudgeon noted ongoing discussions and support for increased data capabilities, using the civic engagement module.  Mr. Trudgeon noted that frequently the Public Works Department is initially at the receiving end of that information, whether through the website or phone calls, and as access was made easier and more available, a customer service position served as the first filter to help overall service delivery across the board.

 

By consensus, there was no objection to staff proceeding with these efforts.

 

c.            Discuss Utility Programs

Mayor Roe advise that he had requested a staff comparison report on sewer backup and water freeze-ups to-date along with staff?s general impressions and comments.

 

Mr. Schwartz addressed that data for water freeze-ups and sewer back-ups, as detailed in the RCA dated January 26, 2015.


Discussion included annual and repeat running water credits that were not included in this summary; favorable comments received from the public; reductions in damage claims; and preventative maintenance efforts continuing.

 

Councilmember Willmus questioned if backflow preventers were required; with Mr. Schwartz responding that staff recommended them, but to-date was not requiring them. Councilmember Willmus questioned if the City was in a position to require them when new laterals were installed for residential or commercial properties, and asked that staff report back to the City Council on that in the near future.

 

At the request of Councilmember McGehee, Mr. Schwartz reported on reduced incidents in areas with relined sewer pipes.  In addition to the information requested by Councilmember Willmus, Councilmember McGehee asked that staff also include information on costs for digging up basement floors to install backflow preventers and how that works when the line was cleaned out.

 

Mayor Roe thanked staff for their report on impacts to the City with this new policy.

 

16.         City Manager Future Agenda Review

City Manager Trudgeon briefly reviewed upcoming preliminary meeting agendas

 

17.         Councilmember-Initiated Items for Future Meetings

 

18.         Adjourn

Etten moved, McGehee seconded, adjournment of the meeting at approximately 9:32 p.m.

 

                                    Roll Call

Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee, and Roe. 

Nays: None.