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Olivia City Council Meeting Minutes – February 7, 2022

Home » Olivia City Council Meeting Minutes – February 7, 2022


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, Blanca Ferguson, George Ebbers, and Landon Padrnos.

Council Members Absent: None

Others present: Dan Coughlin, City Administrator; Chief Krumheuer, OPD; Kendra Lyngaas, SHE Engineer; Troy Fuoss, MRES Superintendent; Richard Parr, SEH Engineer (via Zoom); Scott Tedrick, Register Editor (via Zoom); Aaron Walton, City Attorney (via Zoom); anonymous / unidentified participant (via Zoom); and Nikki Pregler, Deputy Clerk.


Motion by Ferguson, second by Ebbers: to approve the agenda as presented. Motion passed unanimously.


Motion by Padrnos, second by Ebbers: to approve the presented Consent Agenda items:

  • Regular Meeting Minutes of January 18, 2022
  • Resolution 2022-12, Lawful Gambling Exempt Permit for Church of St. Mary of Bird Island
  • Confirm Mayoral Appointment of Brian Stenholm to the Airport Advisory Board and Airport Board of Appeals and Adjustments
  • Confirm Mayoral Appointment of Steve Altmann to the Parks and Recreation Board
  • Confirm Mayoral Appointment of Alicia Osthus to the Parks and Recreation Board
  • Authorization of Purchase for Mailing Machine Replacement (Pitney Bowes Send Pro C Series)
  • February Payables #1

Motion passed unanimously.

Reverse Osmosis Pilot Project Recommendation

Richard Parr of SEH joined via Zoom and presented the recommendation prepared by SEH. He reviewed some background information regarding the preferred option for a Reverse Osmosis system to be installed at the wastewater treatment facility in order to meet new MPCA limits and the role SEH will play in this project. Three manufacturers submitted proposals, Harn (Komline-Sanderson), WesTech and WaterSurplus. He shared cost comparisons from each manufacturer for a three month and four-month duration. He noted that this portion of the overall project is small in comparison to the estimated $5.2M conceptual construction cost. He also noted that the proposals were apples-to-oranges and more than just the cost presented needed to be considered.

Harn’s proposal included remote access and data logging, which is the most comprehensive automated data logging. They also included a pilot unit container for weather protection, on-site startup support, and 24-7 phone support. Overall, Harn had the most extensive membrane experience. Harn was the most expensive proposal, however SEH has worked with them on a few projects and they were very satisfied with their work and Parr stated that they communicated well and in a timely fashion.

WesTech’s proposal included on-site technical assistance during start-up and decommissioning of the pilot. They offer technical support during office hours and access to a 24-hour emergency support line. They did not include compressed air, which would be an additional cost. They did not include storage tanks for the needed chemicals, which the other proposals included. WesTech’s pilot unit required a 10’ x 10’ level area and did not include weather protection. SEH has worked with them on a few projects in the past and they had limited experience then. Parr stated that they have probably gained more experience over the years, but not nearly as much experience as Harn has.

WaterSurplus’ proposal was the least expensive, it included on-site startup support, and their pilot unit required the smallest footprint which may fit in the existing building. Their proposal did not include any automated data logging, instead all data would need to be recorded manually by an on-site operator and transmitted back to WaterSurplus. That makes the data collection more labor intensive and potentially result in less quality and quantity of data. SEH has worked with them on this quote but not on a membrane project.

Parr stated that SEH recommended that the city proceed with an agreement with Harn (Komline-Sanderson). Although it was the most expensive proposal it was also the most comprehensive, which should result in the best data collection. SEH has worked with them successfully in the past. Overall, the additional cost of the Harn RO unit is less than 1% of the estimated conceptual construction cost ($5.2M). Parr mentioned that the comparisons and the full proposals from each manufacturer were included in the Council Packet. He then opened the floor for questions.

Mayor Hawkinson asked, regarding the WaterSurplus proposal, what does the data logging process look like and how cumbersome is that data collection process. Parr agreed that it would be cumbersome because an on-site operator would need to manually log all data several times each day. Harn’s proposal included automated data gathering hourly if not more frequently. Padrnos asked how often we currently have someone on-site. Coughlin stated that we must have someone there at least once each day. He likened this automated data logging system to the automated system now in use with city utilities, that provides extensive data points which is very helpful. He added that if $5M is spent on this project, they should ensure that they collect the most accurate data possible. He also stated that approximately 80% of this project will be covered by grant funds, so the impact to local costs would be low even if the Harn proposal was accepted.

Mayor Hawkinson stated that considering the scope of the overall project, they should go into it with the best data possible. Ferguson agreed that the more information they have at the front of the project, the better.

Padrnos asked if more information could be provided by WesTech regarding comparable equipment that was not included in their original proposal, so that a more apples-to-apples comparison could be made by the Council. Parr explained that Westtech doesn’t typically provide those equipment items, which is why they were not included in the proposal. They typically would ask the city buy or rent the additional equipment on their own. Parr stated that he could ask WesTech for the additional information, however it would likely include a cost markup beyond what the city would pay if they rented the equipment themselves. Parr added that regardless of the manufacturer selected, some aspects of the total project would have to be completed in house (ex: plumbing and electrical) with the help of SEH and the manufacturer. Ebbers asked if the city happened to have any of the needed equipment on hand. Coughlin said they may have one but not three tanks, and they don’t have any of the pumps required. Parr added that weather protection would then also need to be provided by either WesTech or the city.

Padrnos stated that due diligence would require him to at least ask about those costs. Kalahar stated that due diligence was achieved in asking for multiple quotes and corresponding information. Kalahar remarked that while none of the Councilors are experts in this field, and this is a complicated and expensive endeavor, the more quality information they have at hand will ultimately reduce headaches down the road. He stated that he would prefer to select a team that is able to work well with the grant providers. In his experience, he has seen the mistakes made by selecting the lowest bidder. He agreed with Hawkinson and Ferguson that they need the most and best information they can collect from the very beginning of this project.

Parr added that more information could be requested from WesTech, which would likely bring their cost comparison closer to Harn’s proposal. However, that would not change the SEH recommendation to select Harn due to their experience level.

Ebbers estimated that the additional environmental protections, if provided by WesTech, could raise their bid by more than the current $10,000 difference; plus there would be additional costs for equipment rental. Ebbers agreed with Padrnos that the comparisons are apples-to-oranges however as Kalahar mentioned, they needed to trust the experts they pay for their expertise. Thus, he would go by the SEH recommendation.

Mayor Hawkinson asked how tight our timing/deadline is currently. He knew of a subcommittee that could dig deeper into these proposals in the next two weeks, if time allowed. Parr stated that the wastewater treatment permit renewal with the MPCA had not been completed yet, so there is not a lot of time to complete all of the steps required by 2023. Parr said that an additional week or two for conversation should not have a great impact on the timeline. However, there would likely be a 3-4 week turnaround time with any of the vendors, to get the equipment to Olivia after approval of a proposal.

Ebbers suggested that the PUC could meet on Wednesday to review this information and then make a recommendation to the Council at the next Council meeting. Parr mentioned that he will be attending that PUC meeting as well.

Padrnos asked how long it would take for WesTech to update their proposal. Ferguson clarified some of the additional needs from WesTech and asked about the data differences between Harn and WesTech. Parr explained that WesTech doesn’t provide as many data points as Harn. Parr added that he could reach out to WesTech right away to get the additional information and quote, however those items are not within their usual scope of services so it would be an additional cost. Ultimately, it would not change the SEH recommendation to select Harn.

Ebbers stated that they could ask WesTech for more information and then decide on a vendor in two weeks. He reiterated that the PUC will meet this Wednesday. Ferguson asked if it was possible to get the additional information from WesTech to the PUC by Wednesday. Parr said he could reach out to WesTech immediately and ask them to provide the information by Wednesday, but he could not promise delivery. Ferguson stated that if WesTech is interested in competing for the bid, they will provide the information. Padrnos stated that he was satisfied with that course of action.

Mayor Hawkinson thanked Parr for his presentation and recommendation.

The Reverse Osmosis Pilot Project Recommendation was tabled until the next City Council meeting.

DePue Project Update

Kendra Lyngass from SEH began by presenting a broad overview regarding the DePue project. She stated that SEH submitted information to Rural Development last week. They are working on the final right-of-way and temporary and permanent easement information with Walton, which they hoped to complete this week. She then opened the floor for questions regarding easements. There were none.

She also shared a handout regarding the Yellowstone Trail that follows DePue Avenue. There have been requests that the Yellowstone Trail be recognized along DePue Avenue. SEH suggested adding the Yellowstone Trail emblem to the DePue Avenue street signs and adding 12″ medallions in the concrete sidewalks along DePue Avenue. The handout depicted the images of the emblem and medallion and their potential locations. She explained that they used the historical emblem image, as has been used in other communities.

Ferguson asked if the yellow sidewalk was completely out as an option, which was confirmed. Coughlin said it was discussed, however repairs in the future would have been very difficult, to which Lyngaas agreed. Lyngaas also mentioned the total cost would be approximately $4,000. The street signs would cost about $216. Ferguson stated that increasing awareness of the Yellowstone Trail would increase the appeal of Olivia to residents and visitors.  Kalahar mentioned that Lyngaas had given a presentation about the Yellowstone Trail to the Park Board as well, and they were in support of it.

Mayor Hawkinson mentioned that an in-depth discussion could be had regarding the Yellowstone Trail as Scott Tedrick had joined the meeting via Zoom. Hawkinson and Ferguson invited Scott Tedrick to share a brief synopsis with the Council. As a representative of the Yellowstone Trail Regional Alliance, Tedrick shared his support of the project and explained that a master plan document had just kicked-off to develop a tourism master plan for the State of Minnesota, so they are in the early stages of that process. They also just received a grant from the Pages of the Community Foundation to hire an architect to research the potential facility use of the Dowling house and to see if it would be a benefit to the community to purchase it if there remains community interest to do so. There will be an executive meeting prior to, and then a community meeting about this topic on February 22nd at 5:30 at Max’s. Mayor Hawkinson thanked Tedrick for sharing that information with the Council and thanked Lyngaas for her patience.

Lyngaas resumed and referenced the Active Living Phase 2 preliminary designs that SEH is currently working on. Mayor Hawkinson asked for a refresher regarding the Phase 2 project. Lyngaas highlighted the location and directions of the project and that the work is expected to be complete in summer of 2022.  

She also mentioned the sealcoating for 2022 as it is progressing.

Mayor Hawkinson opened the floor for questions, there were none. He thanked Lyngaas for the update. He also shared that Scott Tedrick could be contacted for further information regarding the Yellowstone Trail as he is an authority on that topic and appreciated for his work with it.

DePue Project Construction Financing

  • Resolution 2022-13, Olivia GO Sewer Revenue Bond Anticipation Note 2022A including Bond Form and Closing Documents (Sanitary Sewer)

Mayor Hawkinson invited any discussion on the topic, no discussion commenced.

Motion by Kalahar, second by Padrnos:  to approve Resolution 2022-13, Olivia GO Sewer Revenue Bond Anticipation Note 2022A including Bond Form and Closing Documents (Sanitary Sewer). Motion passed unanimously.

  • Resolution 2022-14, Olivia GO Utility Revenue Bond Anticipation Note 2022B including Bond Form and Closing Documents (Water & Storm Sewer)

Mayor Hawkinson invited discussion or a motion to approve Resolution 2022-14.

Motion by Padrnos, second by Ebbers:  to approve Resolution 2022-14, Olivia GO Utility Revenue Bond Anticipation Note 2022B including Bond Form and Closing Documents (Water & Storm Sewer). Motion passed unanimously.

Consider Reposting Patrol Sergeant Position

  • Resolution 2022-15, Updated Patrol Sergeant Job Description

Mayor Hawkinson explained that a few months back the position posting was withdrawn due to the staffing levels in the OPD. Now that staffing has regulated again within the OPD, it seemed an appropriate time to repost the Patrol Sergeant position with a slightly updated job description. Mayor Hawkinson asked if this was an internal posting.

Coughlin shared that previously this position was posted to the Minnesota POST board and they also let local law enforcement professionals in the area know about the posting. Coughlin suggested that if the position were to be reposted, that previously received applications could be considered without reapplication so long as the applicants were still interested in the position. Mayor Hawkinson agreed that seemed most sensible. Chief Krumheuer asked if those applicants would be allowed to submit any updates to their already submitted applications before the new deadline, to which the Mayor agreed. Coughlin suggested reposting the position both internally and externally and asked for the preferred posting time period. Chief Krumheuer suggested a 2-week posting to draw in serious applicants.

Motion by Padrnos, second by Ebbers:  to approve Resolution 2022-15, Updated Patrol Sergeant Job Description which will be posted for 2 weeks. Motion passed unanimously.

Resolution 2022-17, Delegating Authority for Police Policies

Chief Krumheuer explained that initially Lexipol suggested they should accept the most important primary policies first and then move on to add the rest of them. That procedure did not work, as many of their policies referred to things OPD do not have in place and putting those things into place would take a fair bit of time (ex: training and qualification requirements). Some of Lexipol’s other policies did not coordinate with the current policies OPD have in place. Currently, policy additions and changes need to be brought to Council for approval, which can delay the efficiency of policy implementation. He asked for permission to change the OPD policies as he sees fit, while also consulting with Walton, to make the whole process smoother. Brining each policy addition or change to the Council is cumbersome and time consuming for all involved. Chief Krumheuer stated that he will provide a copy of changes for their review.

Kalahar asked if Walton was on board with this process, which Chief Krumheuer confirmed. Walton stated that historically police policy changes were presented to Council, however it is not necessary by law. Chief Law Enforcement Officers have state mandated policy that they must comply with. Walton stated that he and Krumheuer could do a good job of proofing the policies without Council reading every paragraph of policy. Walton stated that this change makes sense to him. He also offered that the County Board and the Sheriff’s Office proceed in a similar way regarding their policies.

Kalahar and Ferguson agreed that micromanaging the various departments will not help to get policies in place in a timely way. Ferguson also offered that Walton and Krumheuer would know much more about these policies than the individual council members. She also welcomed Walton and Krumheuer any time they wish to bring policies to the Council, to which Chief Krumheuer agreed. Walton added that this process would also help to keep policies current and updated. In the end, it would result in a better process and product. Chief Krumheuer added that statutes will be attached to the policies in some form and they will be easily accessible for reference or questions.

Motion by Ferguson, second by Kalahar:  to approve Resolution 2022-17, Delegating Authority for Police Policies. Motion passed unanimously.

Consider Combining February 22nd meeting with Special Workshop / Meeting on February 23rd

Mayor Hawkinson explained that February 21st is a holiday and the next regular Council meeting is scheduled for February 22nd followed by a prescheduled employment selection process on February 23rd. He suggested that business could be addressed after the hiring process has concluded on the 23rd rather than meeting two days in a row. All agreed to hold the next Council meeting directly following the hiring process on February 23rd.

Kalahar shared that he is going to try his best to join via Zoom or phone to participate in the hiring process.

Agenda Additions / New Business

Troy Fuoss from the Electric Department presented a purchase request and referenced the information supplied to the Council. He explained that a Ditch Witch is like a miniature skid loader. It is a versatile machine however they are looking specifically to put a vibrating plow on it so that they can install underground wires with minimum destruction of grass/yards.

Kalahar asked what percentage of wire is currently underground. Fuoss stated approximately 40% is already underground.

Mayor Hawkinson asked if they had to rent equipment or contract a third party in the past for this task. Fuoss stated that they have a trencher, but it is a large machine for that type of job. Fuoss explained that each piece of equipment has a place and purpose, and this one would be intended for street lighting and house services.

Padrnos asked if it was budgeted for this year which Coughlin confirmed it was.

Motion by Ebbers, second by Kalahar:  to authorize the purchase a Ditch Witch Mini Skid Steer SK1550 and Attachments. Motion passed unanimously.

Public Forum

Mayor Hawkinson temporarily recessed the regular meeting and opened the public forum at 7:58 p.m.

No public comments were made so Mayor Hawkinson reopened the regular meeting at 7:58 p.m.


Fire Relief Association Annual Meeting – January 27

  • Resolution 2022-16, City Support of Fire Relief Retirement Fund Annual Stipend Increase

Coughlin shared that this was a required annual meeting to establish the executive board. The Board is comprised of the Mayor, Clerk/Administrator and the Fire Chief. Primarily, they discussed their investments and the obligations against them. He reported that last year was a good year for them. The OFD did not anticipate any retirements this year although potentially five members could retire, as they are vested. Per State Statute, Relief Association Boards set their retirement stipends themselves. State Statute allows for the city to underwrite their retirement fund as a backup plan, however once the city agrees to underwrite the fund the city is contracted to honor that underwriting amount. Two years ago, the City Council agreed to increase the stipend from $1100 to $1400 per year of service. In addition, the Relief Association requested that after two years, they would like to increase it to $1500. The association unanimously voted to present to the Council this resolution to increase to the stipend to $1500 including the city’s agreement to underwrite for that dollar amount.

Mayor Hawkinson opened the floor for discussion. Kalahar and Ferguson agreed that they did not have any issues with the proposed increase.

Motion by Ebbers, second by Ferguson:  to approve Resolution 2022-16, City Support of Fire Relief Retirement Fund Annual Stipend Increase. Motion passed unanimously.

EDA – January 31

Mayor Hawkinson said most of the meeting was closed session and the rest was relatively uneventful.

Park Board – February 1

Kalahar shared that Lyngaas from SEH presented much the same Yellowstone information as she did tonight. Feedback regarding the ice rink is that it has been enjoyed without incident. Jackie Edwards presented information regarding the YMCA initiative. The Park Board felt it was important to participate in it and then decided to appropriate $5000 seed money toward a scholarship fund. He added that the snow hill is a big hit! He credited Joey Wittmann for that. Wayne from Public Works mentioned looking for a new site for the snow hill in the future because someday that lot will be developed, so an alternate location should be considered.

Mayor Hawkinson thanked the Wittman’s and the Park Board for their efforts.

Corn Capital Days – February 7

Ebbers shared that the meeting was very well attended. They are looking for more volunteers and will be posting those opportunities on Facebook and on the Corn Capital Days website. The band “Curiosity” was booked for the Friday night street dance. The next meeting is on Sunday, March 6th at the Legion at 3 pm. The community is invited to attend and learn more about volunteering with Corn Capital Days. Coffee and cookies will be provided. Mayor Hawkinson thanked Ebbers and the Committee volunteers.

BOLD Community Pool Report

Mayor Hawkinson reported that every Sunday in February from 1-3 pm is a free open swim. He shared that the pool report provided by Tracey Johnson included some feedback regarding activities that were held and some that were canceled in January.

Other Reports of Council / Staff

Mayor Hawkinson attended some extra committee meetings. The Mid Minnesota Development Commission (MMDC) held a meeting two weeks ago and they discussed the need for a refresh and increased coordination regarding the transportation offered in this area. CCT is a valued service but they are also struggling to recruit drivers. He then mentioned the opportunities for community members to volunteer or become a driver with either organization.

Mayor Hawkinson attended the Minnesota Association of Small Cities (MAOSC) meeting which is a lobbyist group on behalf of cities under 5000 people to the legislature. They met last week and they will be optimistically looking for fair formula adjustments to LGA (local government aid).

Notices and Communications

Mayor Hawkinson announced a Special Council Workshop / Meeting: Wednesday, February 23rd starting at 8:00 a.m. at City Hall (for finalist interviews for the Finance director position). A short business meeting will follow.


Motion by Kalahar, second by Padrnos: to adjourn the meeting at 8:15 p.m.  Motion passed unanimously.

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