REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
Monday, August 16, 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 Acting Mayor Ferguson at 7:00 P.M.
Council Members Present: Tom Kalahar, George Ebbers, Blanca Ferguson and Landon Padrnos.
Council Members Absent: Jon Hawkinson
Others present: Dan Coughlin, City Administrator; Nikki Pregler, Deputy Clerk; Christi Weidemann, Police Administrative Assistant; Aaron Walton, City Attorney; Jason Krumheuer, Police Chief; Amber Dale, Utility Coordinator; Kari Klages, Finance Director; Troy Fuoss, Electric MRES Superintendent; Susie Lang, EDA Director (via Zoom); Jason Murray, David Drown Consultant (via Zoom); Shaurice Moorman, Power Systems Engineering; and Scott Tedrick, Editor, Renville County Register (via Zoom); Tyson and Bella Throughbred, residents; Jordan Zeller, Economic Developer, Renville County EDA; Cathalina Zuniga, resident; Sue Hilgert, resident.
Motion by Padrnos, second by Kalahar: to approve the Agenda as presented. Motion passed unanimously.
AGENDA AMENDMENT: to add Resolution 2021-61 to the Consent Agenda.
Motion by Padrnos, second by Kalahar: to approve the Agenda as presented. Motion passed unanimously.
Motion by Padrnos, second by Kalahar: to approve the presented Consent Agenda items:
- Regular Meeting Minutes of August 2, 2021
- Resolution 2021-60, Scheduled Step Increase for Kari Klages
- Resolution 2021-61, Authorization of Employment to Ben Dehmlow as an On-Call, Part-Time Police Officer
- Resolution 2021-62, Retainer Agreement with Kari Klages
- Resolution 2021-65, Approving Temporary Liquor License to American Legion for Ribfest
- Resolution 2021-66, Designating Amber Dale as Acting Administrator in City Administrators’ Absence
- Updated Home Office Allowance Policy
- Short-Term Finance Department Staffing Agreement with Abdo, Eick & Meyers
- August Payables #2
- July Check Register
Motion passed unanimously.
Resolution 2021-63, Issuance & Sales of $1,215,000 GO Utility Revenue Bonds Series 2021A
Coughlin initially proposed tabling this item to be resumed later in the meeting, when Jason Murray could join the meeting and present.
Jason was able to join via Zoom. He presented the information and results regarding the $1,215,000.00 Bond issuance and sale which included the interest rate of 1.77%, initially anticipated to be 2.03%. Two entities submitted bids for these bonds, which contributed to the lower interest rate.
Motion by Kalahar, second by Ebbers: to approve Resolution 2021-63, Issuance & Sales of $1,215,000 GO Utility Revenue Bonds Series 2021A. Motion passed unanimously.
Kalahar thanked Coughlin and Klages for their efforts regarding the Bond Sale.
Discussion Regarding Assessments on Previously Tax Forfeited Properties
Coughlin introduced resident Tyson Throughbred as the purchaser of the properties and explained a bit of history regarding past tax liens and expungements associated with those properties.
Tyson Throughbred introduced himself and explained his intent to build a handicap accessible rambler on the two adjoining parcels of land which he purchased. He asked to combine the parcels and shared his sketched plan. He also stated that he had already cleaned up the other detached parcel he had purchased. He then asked for information regarding his next steps.
Coughlin stated that the two adjoining lots near Dirks Park had been discussed with Jasmine Miller, Planning and Zoning Director; regarding the potential for combining the lots for development.
Kalahar asked if this topic had been presented to the EDA. Coughlin shared that some discussion was had at Wednesday’s EDA meeting regarding the debts currently held and how the EDA could work with the Council to resolve some of these questions.
Walton shared some past information regarding the lots and potential reassessment of taxes.
Padrnos and Ferguson asked Throughbred if he had a time line for development. Tyson expressed concern regarding water issues on nearby properties. He stated that he does not currently have a time line determined.
Coughlin stated that conversation regarding the potential for debt forgiveness based upon meeting predetermined development timeframes had been discussed with Susie Lang, EDA Director; and the EDA. Ultimately, the shared goal would be to assist in development without disadvantaging the developer.
Kalahar shared his support of future development of those lots and assisting that process.
Padrnos shared that he would like to see a firmer plan before taking action.
Throughbred thanked the Council for their time and consideration.
Shaurice Moorman, Power Systems Engineering – Cost of Service/Rate Study Preliminary Results
Moorman introduced herself and shared a presentation regarding electric costs, proposals regarding potential increases and budgeting for 2022. A proposed tax increase of approximately 5.66% would assist in providing for future improvements, growth, overhead, and unforeseen disaster. To ultimately increase the capital reserve, a higher incremental increase over the next 5 years would be required. The potential for a new Shop to be built in the future was also considered in this proposal. It was suggested that the costs associated with that construction could be balanced in part, by the sale of other city property.
Moorman asked what information the Council would like to discuss.
Kalahar asked for an example of a reason to rebuild the reserve budget. Moorman shared that the reserves are intended as self-insurance for our utility system and would be needed to rebuild the system in the event of a natural disaster. FEMA only covers 85 percent of the cost of a rebuild and the city would be responsible to cover the remaining 15 percent.
Kalahar asked for input from Amber Dale, Utilities Coordinator; and Troy Fuoss, Electric MRES Superintendent. Dale suggested that it is important to work toward a 15 percent reserve goal to reduce future fund transfers incrementally over multiple years. To which Fuoss agreed. Kalahar stated that he would tend to agree with staff recommendations, and Ebbers concurred.
Padrnos asked if the changes to the Capital Improvement Plan were included in what was presented, Dale confirmed that the calculations for the 5.66 percent increase did include backing off these transfers over 5 years with a scheduled increase of $60,000 for 2022, $45,000 for 2023, $45,000 for 2024, $35,000 for 2025, and $30,000 in 2026.
Padrnos asked about the potential progression of tax increases over the next four years and the origination of fund transfers. He shared concerns over committing to increases during tough economic times.
Coughlin shared the importance of this kind of future planning to have reserves on hand and mitigate future budget short-falls.
Ferguson asked if a decision needed to be made tonight. Coughlin stated that no decision was required.
Moorman stated that she was there to present multiple options and to receive direction to proceed. Ultimately a final proposal will be shared to try to meet all of the City’s goals in a multifaceted way. Historically, that final presentation has resulted in a decision on rates by the Council.
The general consensus of the Council was for Moorman to continue developing the rate study with the plan to back off transfers from electric to other departments’ Capital Improvement Plan funds over a 5-year period.
Consideration of Resolution 2021-64, Continuing Education Request – Amber Dale
Dale shared that her job tasks have evolved and now incorporate more responsibilities. Because of this, she would like to pursue formal education to prepare herself for these professional requirements. She proposed enrolling at St. Mary’s University in an accelerated Masters of Business Administration program with a finance certificate. Although the city’s current education policy requests one year of service after completion of courses, Dale proposed to extend this to 3 years to demonstrate her commitment to the city. Dale plans to complete the program in 14 months which would be a cost of approximately $8500.00 in 2021 and proposes the remaining cost be split to each of the four utility funds, budgeting $4500.00 to each fund in 2022.
Kalahar shared his support of the utilization of this policy and the importance of rewarding and retaining quality employees.
Padrnos requested a maximum dollar amount be determined for this policy for future requests.
Motion by Padrnos, second by Ebbers : Motion passed unanimously.
Resolution 2021-67, Set Public Hearing on September 7, 2021 for Consideration of a Business Subsidy Agreement with Olivia Chrysler. Inc.
Coughlin shared that the City Council must hold a public hearing and the EDA must as well in order to sell the property and the land it is on, to Olivia Chrysler. This resolution allows for the required notice to be provided to the public.
Motion by Ebbers, second by Kalahar : Motion passed unanimously.
Resolution 2021-68, Approval of Reapportionment of Special Assessment (Olivia Ambulance)
Coughlin shared information regarding past assessments of lots near the hospital. The Ambulance service has discussed with Miller the assessments and property divisions currently in force and potentially reallocating those assessments and redrawing those boundaries.
Zeller stepped forward to thank Jasmine for the great work she has done regarding this property.
Walton advised that a motion to approve the agreement was required as well.
Motion by Kalahar, second by Ebbers: Motion passed unanimously.
Agreement for Reappointment of Special Assessments
Walton clarified that the previous resolution also included an agreement with the County, therefore the agreement would also require a vote by the Council.
Motion by Ebbers, second by Kalahar: Motion passed unanimously.
No one asked to address the Council during the public forum.
Park Board – August 3
Coughlin shared information and ideas surrounding the DePue Project and Trail, including historical and educational opportunities and cement stamping to highlight a theme. As the project consultant will be away from the office, there may be a pause in progress on this project for a short time.
Kalahar shared that opportunities, resources and ideas could be incorporated and shared along the Yellowstone Trail, outside of this local area as well.
Highway 71 Utility Project Neighborhood Meeting – August 10
Kalahar shared that the meeting was well attended and participation was positive.
Coughlin stated that the detour has been approved by MNDOT for 5 weeks only, beginning August 18, 2021. However, residents should still have daily access to their properties as well as any service providers. Access concerns have been discussed with Emergency Responders as well. Overall, questions regarding this project and future potential issues were discussed with the project managers to allay concerns and lay ground work for public expectations.
EDA – August 11
A Fall Festival is being planned for mid-September to be held primarily on the former hospital property. Some marketing/theme verbiage was discussed and was not supported by the EDA in association with EDA land. The EDA required proper insurance documentation, electricity was to be self-supplied and any additional resources from the City would need to be requested with adequate notice.
Parks and Trails Report
Plan revue on Thursday 8-19-21 at 9 a.m., with MNDOT to discuss the resurfacing/sidewalk project.
Other Reports of Council / Staff
Motion by Kalahar, second by Ebbers: to adjourn the meeting at 8:40 P.M. Motion passed unanimously.