REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
Monday, July 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 7:02 P.M.
Council Members Present: Jon Hawkinson, Blanca Ferguson, Tom Kalahar, George Ebbers, and Landon Padrnos.
Others present: Dan Coughlin, City Administrator; Christi Weidemann, City Clerk; Aaron Walton, City Attorney; Jason Krumheuer, Police Chief; Jasmine Miller, Planning and Zoning Administrator; Kendra Lyngaas, SEH Engineering; Nikki Pregler, newly-hired Deputy Clerk (via Zoom); and Scott Tedrick, Editor, Renville County Register (via Zoom).
Motion by Ferguson, second by Kalahar: to approve the Agenda as amended. Motion passed unanimously.
Motion by Ebbers, second by Padrnos: to approve the presented Consent Agenda items:
- Regular Meeting Minutes of July 6, 2021
- Acknowledge Receipt /First Reading of Proposed Lexipol Police Policies 310
- Resolution, 2021-57, Temporary Liquor License to Max’s Grill
- July Payables #2
- June Check Register
Motion passed unanimously.
Update on Primrose / Hillcrest Alley Project
Planning and Zoning Administrator Jasmine Miller provided the Council with an update on the issues in the process of being resolved regarding easement and encroachment issues that have developed over time in the Primrose / Hillcrest Alley. Miller said that a variety of staff and consultants have worked to identify the specific matters of concern regarding encroachments into established alley and utility easements and then seek to find a reasonable, equitable solution to address this complex and multi-faceted situation.
Miller noted that the proposed solution was two-fold. In situations where there were clearly encroachments into the alley right of way which could cause public safety or snow removal & storage issues, in those specific cases those encroachments would need to be moved or removed. In other cases where encroachments existed but did not pose a risk to either public safety or direct issues with utility access and placement, existing encroachments would be addressed by establishing formal encroachment agreements acknowledging the non-conforming nature of elements of specific properties but not require their immediate removal or relocation (but would not allow them to be replaced if they deteriorate or are otherwise removed.)
Miller suggested that the city cover costs to move a particular property’s fence. She said that there is every evidence to show that this particular property owner pulled a building permit and placed their current fence in good faith in a location they understood to be in compliance with alley and utility easement restrictions. Miller said that the City apparently did not undertake a field verification of the fence placement after it was installed and its non-compliance was only discovered as part of the recent alley survey process.
Kalahar rhetorically asked why even have easements if we are going to allow people to do what they want regardless of utility and transit corridor needs. Kalahar reiterated his previous admonitions to the Council that the City needs to do a better job of protecting its established easements.
Padrnos asked if this was a special situation or if there were other areas in the community with similar challenges; and if so, how many were there. Miller said there are a few other easement encroachment issues that she is aware of and working on but as to the exact number, she and the Public Works Director were unsure of the total number of such issues. The City Attorney shared that he was aware of a few other situations but he felt that this particular location has a number of unique challenges that have led to this area being more problematic than most.
Coughlin said he and Miller are working with SEH Engineering on creating a layer on GIS map which would provide graphical information in regards to where easements are located and what type they are. He said having this information readily available would make Miller’s and Planning Commission’s job much easier in terms of enforcing and protecting easement areas throughout the community.
Ferguson asked if the Council was willing to do this for everyone in town including the City paying to have fences moved. Kalahar stated that the proposal to pay for the moving of a fence was due to a single case where a permit was pulled but the zoning administrator at the time did not field verify the placement of the fence that was installed. He said if there wasn’t a permit then it would be a totally different situation. Padrnos said he agreed with Ferguson in that there needs to be equitable handling of similar situations. Walton said this specific instance situation was unique in terms of a utility and alley easement combo and the solutions proposed were similarly unique to this neighborhood. He said that while it is right to apply an equitable solution to impacted properties in such cases, each neighborhood has unique situations and challenges which require case-by-case review rather than apply a one-size-fits-all standard.
Kalahar said he doesn’t want to make this attempt at finding a solution to this particular alley issue a “blanket Christmas present” regarding easement violations throughout the community. Ferguson reiterated she wants to make sure everybody is treated equally. Walton again mentioned that the City needed to look at each encroachment matter on a case-by-case basis.
Miller also said there is a deteriorated fence segment and three trees that are blocking the way to electrical system boxes so they need to be removed so the electric department can get to those units in case of an emergency. Public works has offered to remove the trees and fence and Miller is in the process of communicating with the property owner involved.
Highway 71 Utility Improvement Project / Resolution 2021-54, Award of Bid for TH71 Utility Improvement Project to Kuechle Underground
Kendra Lyngaas with SEH Engineering provided an update on the Highway 71 Utility project. Lyngaas said the low bidder was Kuechle with a bid of $923,367.70; which came in slightly below the engineer estimate for the project. Lyngaas said that SEH has worked with Kuechle on prior projects and have a good working relationship with them.
Hawkinson asked on project start date. Lyngaas said that is still up in the air, but potentially the end of July or beginning of August. Coughlin said that once we have a site form there will be a neighborhood meeting to help answer questions of the impacted residents and to give them an idea of what to expect as the project progresses.
Lyngaas said the completion date is in late September with only a limited allowed window to keep Highway 71 closed, so there were milestone dates in the mix that will help make sure things wrap up in a timely manner.
Motion by Kalahar, second by Padrnos: to approve Resolution 2021-54, Award of Bid for TH71 Utility Improvement Project to Kuechle Underground. Motion passed unanimously.
Braun Intertec Proposal for Construction Materials Testing Services
Lyngaas told the council that if approved, Braun Intertec will provide the mandated material testing for the 2021 TH71 Utility Improvement Project.
Motion by Ferguson, second by Ebbers: to accept the proposal for Construction Materials Testing Services from Braun Intertec. Motion passed unanimously.
SEH Engineering Supplemental Letter Agreement for TH71 Utility Project Construction Services
Coughlin said that the Supplemental Letter Agreement from SEH is a formality for the TH71 Utility Project which addressed the construction phase of the engineer’s involvement in the project.
Motion by Ferguson, second by Ebbers: to accept the Supplemental Letter Agreement from SEH Engineering. Motion passed unanimously.
Resolution 2021-55, Authorization for Competitive Negotiated Sale of GO Utility Revenue Bonds
Jason Murray provided the council with information regarding financing recommendations for the utility reconstruction project in conjunction with MNDOT’s reconstruction of Highway 71.
Murray recommends the project costs be financed through the issuance of $1,215,000 of General Obligation Utility Revenue Bonds through a rated, competitive sales process.
Murray said the proposed schedule for putting the project financing in place starts with initiating the competitive sales process, receiving and awarding bids on August 16 and closing the first part of September. Murray said funds will be in the bank in September which follows the same timelines as the utility project.
Coughlin thanked Murray for the effort put into this project and noted that within minutes of receiving the bids for the project, Murray was working with the engineers to develop the proposed competitive bond sale resolution.
Motion by Kalahar, second by Ebbers: to approve Resolution 2021-55, Authorization for Competitive Negotiated Sale of GO Utility Revenue Bonds. Motion passed unanimously.
Resolution 2021-56, Hiring Recommendation for Deputy Clerk / Finance Assistant Position
Coughlin reported to Council that after interviewing several very impressive applicants, the hiring committee recommended that Nikki Pregler be formally offered the Deputy Clerk / Finance Assistant Position. Coughlin said that immediately after providing Pregler with the news of the group’s recommendation of her, she began the initial steps to look for housing in Olivia. Pregler’s start date has not been finalized as of yet but it is anticipated to be in the beginning of August.
Motion by Padrnos, second by Ebbers: to approve Resolution 2021-56, Hiring Recommendation for Deputy Clerk / Finance Assistant Position. Motion passed unanimously.
Resolution 2021-58, Restricting Water Usage Within the City of Olivia (DNR Drought Order)
Hawkinson said that the Minnesota DNR has determined that the State of Minnesota is in a drought warning. The DNR has asked areas with severe drought conditions to implement water use restrictions. Hawkinson clarified that this resolution only bans lawn watering. Hawkinson said that watering of trees, shrubs, flowers, gardens, vehicle washing, and filling swimming pools is still allowable at this time.
Motion by Ferguson, second by Kalahar: to approve Resolution 2021-58, Restricting Water Usage Within the City of Olivia (DNR Drought Order). Motion passed unanimously.
No one came forward during the public forum.
Corn Capital Committee – June 28 / July 19
Ebbers said that Corn Capital Days kicked off with an Ecumenical Church Service earlier in the evening. He mentioned that Corn Capital Day goers should check the festival’s website corncapitaldays.com for the most up-to-date information. Ebbers also mentioned that if anybody is interested in volunteering, they can contact him.
Hawkinson thanked the Corn Capital Days committee for their hard work and diligence in executing this event.
EDA – July 14
This meeting was postponed.
Parks and Trails Report
Coughlin said he continues to work with MnDOT on various aspects of the Highway 71 project.
Motion by Kalahar, second by Ferguson: to adjourn the meeting at 8:01 P.M. Motion passed unanimously.