REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
Monday, August 2, 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, Tom Kalahar, George Ebbers, and Landon Padrnos.
Council Members Absent: Blanca Ferguson
Others present: Dan Coughlin, City Administrator; Christi Weidemann, City Clerk; Trenton Dammann, Acting City Attorney; Jason Krumheuer, Police Chief; Amber Dale, Utility Coordinator; and Scott Tedrick, Editor, Renville County Register (via Zoom).
Motion by Ebbers, second by Padrnos: to approve the Agenda as amended. Motion passed unanimously.
Motion by Kalahar, second by Padrnos: to approve the presented Consent Agenda items:
- Regular Meeting Minutes of July 19, 2021
- Approve Lexipol Police Policy 310 (First Reading 7/19/2021)
- Resolution 2021-59, Recognizing National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day
- August Payables #1
Motion passed unanimously.
Discussion of Quotes for Insulation of Electric Dept. Cold Storage Shed
Utility Coordinator Amber Dale provided a memo to the Council explaining that the cold storage shed south of the Olivia Chrysler building will need to be heated during the winter months to protect the electric department equipment and assets. She explained that the planned construction of a new electric department building had to be put on hold due to the major spike in building material costs as well as the uncertainty that those materials would even be available at any price. It was mentioned that the more cost-effective approach at this point would be to insulate and heat the existing storage shed and then make due with that for a year or so until construction material availability and costs stabilize.
Dale said that it is important to get this process started to avoid issues that could occur during the winter months. Dale provided quotes to the Council and recommended they approve quotes from LTM Insulation for both spray foam and fire-retardant paint, Country Line Door for an insulated door and Chappel Central for a heater. Dale said the total cost is $62,151.76.
Hawkinson said there could be other uses in the future for a heated shed and that doing it now could potentially get the electric department by until a new building would be built and material prices stabilize.
Ebbers noted that while the cost of insulating and heating the existing building was significant, it was far cheaper than the near tripling of the current estimated construction costs for the proposed new facility. He said that if construction material costs drop in the next year or so as they are predicted to do, the savings compared to rushing ahead with building a new facility now would more than cover this added expense.
Kalahar asked where funds would come from for this project. Dale said most likely out of the electric reserves.
Motion by Kalahar, second by Ebbers: to approve quotes from LTM Insulation for spray foam for $31,609.00, LTM Insulation for fire-retardant paint for $11,425.00, Country Line Door for insulated doors for $11,992.76, and for Chappel Central for a radiant heater for $7,125.00. Motion passed unanimously.
Proposed FAA Commissioning Flight Inspection of the Olivia Airport’s Updated PAPIs/REILs/MIRLs on Runways 11/29 at Olivia Regional Airport (KOLV)
Coughlin said the City of Olivia’s Airport Engineer provided a draft proposal for the FAA Commissioning Flight Inspection. Coughlin reported that we are looking to secure a MnDOT Aeronautics grant that would cover 95% of the project which was in the neighborhood of $500,000. Coughlin mentioned that the other 5% would be local funds that are budgeted for in the airport budget.
Coughlin said this project includes a new lighting system which provides a much higher level of safety for pilots that are flying into the airport at night.
Finance Department Vacancy
Coughlin shared that Finance Director Kari Klages has accepted a position as the Finance Director with the City of Redwood Falls. Coughlin said that he is happy for the opportunity this new adventure provides Klages, but added that the City of Olivia will miss her terribly.
Coughlin said that in consultation with the Mayor and Personnel Committee, he reached out to our audit firm Abdo, Eick, and Meyers regarding options to potentially address our short-term staffing needs during this moment of transition. Coughlin said that AEM is extremely familiar with our City finances as they have been the audit firm for the City for many years. Coughlin suggested that during this time of transition that the Council consider entering into a short-term, month-by-month contract with AEM for finance staffing services to afford us time to assess our future needs in the finance director realm while allowing newly hired staff an opportunity to learn the ropes before additional staffing changes take place.
Coughlin explained that City Hall has been coping with a number of transition issues including the recent hiring of an administrative assistant, the utility accounts manager taking on added responsibilities, Christi Weidemann moving into her new role at the police department, and the upcoming onboarding of our new deputy clerk / finance assistant. He said that it would be his recommendation to allow the organization to catch its breath before jumping into future plans for our finance department staffing.
Coughlin said that a short-term staffing services agreement with AEM is estimated to be in the range of what the City pays Klages at present, so the impacts on the 2021 budget would be minor if at all. Coughlin suggested that due to the short span of time left before Klages departed the Council might consider authorizing Mayor Hawkinson and himself to negotiate a short-term agreement with AEM. This would respect the tight timelines involved and allow interim finance department staffing to hopefully be put in place prior to Klages’ departure; and perhaps even allow for some minor overlap between Klages and the scheduled interim staffer.
Kalahar said he likes the idea of going forward with the idea presented by Coughlin. He said he believed it would be a good idea to take a breath and do this process right rather than rushing into things unprepared.
Coughlin added that in the time being some of Kari’s duties might be temporarily triaged amongst the current staff; and that he assumed any AEM consultant staffer would be in the office a couple days a week and then available by phone, video or email the rest of the time.
Motion by Padrnos, second by Kalahar: Authorize Mayor Hawkinson and Administrator Coughlin to negotiate with accounting and audit firm Abdo, Eick, and Meyers to develop a short-term, interim finance staffing service contract, and sign said agreement on behalf of the City. Motion passed unanimously.
No one asked to address the Council during the public forum.
Corn Capital Committee – August 2
Ebbers said the event was a success and that it was good to see things back to normal. Ebbers wanted to especially thank Dan Coughlin and Jasmine Miller for the time and effort they put in behind the scenes during the event. Ebbers stressed that they will be looking for more volunteers and new faces to assist with Corn Capital Days for 2022.
The next meeting CCD meeting will be on October 4 at noon at Max’s. It was mentioned that future meetings of the group may switch between daytime and evening times in order to respect the differing availability of prospective volunteers.
EDA – July 28
Hawkinson reported that most of the meeting involved general discussion with few action items being considered. Hawkinson said the board is exploring options on how to incorporate a significant property tax increase into Bayberry Court rental rates.
Parks and Trails Report
Coughlin said there is a Park Board meeting on August 3. Coughlin said that there will be discussions on how to potentially “tip the hat” to the history of the Yellowstone Trail as the City discusses plans for the Depue Avenue reconstruction project. He mentioned that Depue Avenue was part of the original Yellowstone Trail so it was only fitting that the Park Board talk about how the City can best celebrate that history as part of its sidewalk and street improvement plans.
Other Reports of Council / Staff
Krumheuer said that Corn Capital Days overall went well with a few minor matters that were quickly taken care of. Krumheuer said that recently the OPD was able to escort a historic military convoy through town. Krumheuer said the new squad car has arrived, but the supply chain for interior police car accessories was way behind schedule. Krumheuer said that Officer Becky Pieper and Administrative Assistant Christi Weidemann are great additions to the department and both are doing a great job. Krumheuer said he plans to advertise for part-time officers.
Hawkinson thanked Chief and officers for the help during Corn Capital Days.
Motion by Kalahar, second by Ebbers: to adjourn the meeting at 7:48 P.M. Motion passed unanimously.