City Council Convened at 6:00 P.M. to serve as the City’s Local Board of Equalization & Adjustment. They adjourned the meeting at 6:35 p.m.
REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
Monday, April 19, 2021
CALL TO ORDER AND DETERMINATION OF A QUORUM
The Regular Meeting of the City Council of the City of Olivia, Minnesota, was called to order by Mayor Hawkinson at 7:00 P.M.
Council Members Present: Jon Hawkinson, Blanca Ferguson, Tom Kalahar, George Ebbers and Landon Padrnos.
Others present: Dan Coughlin, City Administrator; Jason Krumheuer, Police Chief; Christi Weidemann, City Clerk; Aaron Walton, City Attorney (via Zoom); Amber Dale, Utility Accounts Manager; Karen Serbus (via Zoom); Dominique Claseman, Eagle Scout.
Motion by Ferguson, second by Padrnos: to approve the Agenda as updated. Motion passed unanimously.
Motion by Ebbers, second by Kalahar: to approve the presented Consent Agenda items:
- Regular Meeting Minutes of April 5, 2021
- Resolution 2021-22, Scheduled Step Increase for Jason Krumheuer
- Resolution 2021-23, Hiring of Seasonal Part-Time Public Works – Parks Employees
- Darin Haslip, 101 Development Resources, Inc. Building Inspector Contract Update
- Police Policies 100, 101, 102, 103, 200, 207, 208, 300, 302, 303, 304, 305, 307, 308, 421
- April Payables #2
- March Check Register
Motion passed unanimously.
Ameresco Project Development Agreement
Hawkinson told the council the PUC has recommended going forward with the proposal but there are budget considerations that need to be discussed before we move forward.
Dale said that the PUC has recommended that the Council move forward signing contract. Dale also said the PUC still has questions on the project, but Ameresco cannot answer those questions until the study is complete. Dale explained that if the Council signs the agreement, Ameresco would develop the project but the city wouldn’t be obligated to move forward with the project once it’s developed. Dale said that would be a separate project. If the city were to go forward with engineering work and not move forward with the project, the city would be invoiced for $35,000. If the city would move forward with the project that fee would be rolled into the financing per state statute.
Padrnos said one of his concerns is that this project isn’t budgeted at the present time and with looming projects on the horizon he said he was somewhat uncomfortable with acting on this item right now without having a better understanding of all the needs the Council will need to address in the coming months. Coughlin agreed that the potential $35,000 was not considered in the 2021 budget. He noted that the waste water plant does have a reserve fund that could be looked at as a possible funding source; but added that the library does not have any reserve fund or CIP dollars to cover such a cost if it were incurred. Coughlin explained that if the city didn’t move forward with Ameresco’s proposed project and had to pay the $35,000 in 2021, such an unbudgeted cost would put the library budget into a deficit for the year which would have to be backfilled the following year.
Ebbers shared that he believed that it was possible for the city to possibly undertake these updates ourselves instead of signing onto a 20-year agreement. Ebbers explained that Ameresco only covers the construction and install and the city would still be on the hook for maintenance and security of the assets placed. Ebbers said that while the present proposal would address immediate needs at Library, he did not personally think it would be a long term pay off.
Padrnos agreed there is value in the plan, but would like to see the project held until it could be included in budget assumptions.
Coughlin suggested that if the council was wanting to factor this type of potential cost in the annual budget, he said that perhaps they should table consideration of the proposal until the 2022 budget planning sessions starting in August.
Hawkinson said that he finds extreme value in this project and acknowledged the time and effort that was put into this project by staff and the PUC. He shared that the council can’t take the PUC’s recommendation lightly as they did their due diligence on this project and came to a consensus recommendation for the Council to consider. Hawkinson explained there are a lot of cost savings potentially involved with these projects; and he assumed the PUC would like to check off these items with or without Ameresco.
The consensus of the Council was to join the PUC at one of their future meetings to discuss the energy savings projects in order to come to a joint consensus on the best plan to move forward with. Kalahar said he would be comfortable moving forward with the Ameresco proposal if the PUC is found to be still solid with this plan.
Hawkinson announced that with the consent of the Council he was tabling consideration of the Ameresco proposal until the council can have further discussions with the PUC.
City Department Virtual Tour: City Hall
This item was tabled until the next meeting.
Eagle Scout Dominique Claseman updated the Council on his Eagle Scout project which will be located at Kubesh Park. Claseman said that he has been receiving donations from local businesses and plans to seek donations throughout the summer. Claseman said his donation deadline is November when he plans to order materials.
Hawkinson thanked Claseman for his leadership. The Council echoed the Mayor’s sentiments.
Coughlin said the current active case numbers are on the rise in Renville County but Public Health has noted that with the progress made with vaccinations this “fourth wave” of Covid currently impacting our area is much more controlled. Coughlin noted that even with the current spike he believes we are on the downhill side of this particular battle.
Padrnos echoed Coughlin’s report and said that the emergency county management team elements are starting to scale back and only meet as needed.
Park Board – April 6
Kalahar reported that the Public Works department is working towards transitioning into the summer season including a number of repairs and upgrades to various parks.
Public Safety Commission – April 6
The commission met and discussed public safety-related matters.
Planning Commission – April 12
The Commission received an update on Meadowcrest, Hefty Seeds and Olivia Chrysler.
EDA – April 14
Hawkinson said that due to COIVD there will be a 6-month extension on EDA loan forbearance plans.
PUC – April 14
Hawkinson said that the city is going to be gifted a level 2 electric charging station through MMPA. The PUC will determine where the car charger will be located.
Parks and Trails Report
Coughlin said he continues to have ongoing meetings with MnDOT on upcoming projects
Chief Krumheuer provided reports on the Lexipol policy updates, and discussions regarding posting signs and establishing fees for compost site illegal dumping.
Krumheuer said that due to the unrest in the metro that has reduced State Patrol presence in the area for the moment, the OPD may be responding to calls a little further outside city limits in order to provide backup for other agencies in need of assistance.
Ebbers asked Krumheuer if there were any laws on flying flags out of the back of vehicles. Krumheuer said that they’ve done research after receiving complaints, but the City Attorney’s legal opinion is that there isn’t anything that can legally be done to cause those flags to be removed. Coughlin noted that Attorney Walton provided him with case law that clearly spelled out that such displays are seen by the courts as protected speech even though most would agree the signs are in very poor taste.
Ferguson thanked Chief Krumheuer and the OPD officers for all they do. The Council echoed the councilor’s comments.
Hawkinson gave a quick update on the Chamber of Commerce and CCT board meetings.
Hawkinson reminded the Council that the city wide cleanup days are May 3-7.
Motion by Kalahar, second by Padrnos: to adjourn the meeting at 8:01 P.M. Motion passed unanimously.