REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
Monday, May 17, 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; Aaron Walton, City Attorney; Brian Stenholm, Police Officer / Emergency Manager; Kari Klages, Finance Director (via Zoom); Amber Dale, Utility Accounts Manager (via Zoom); Terry Wolf, MRES Vice President of Power Supply and Operations (via Zoom); Katianne Briese, Resident (via Zoom); and Scott Tedrick, Editor, Renville County Register (via Zoom).
Motion by Ferguson, second by Padrnos: to approve the Agenda as updated. Motion passed unanimously.
Motion by Kalahar, second by Ebbers: to approve the presented Consent Agenda items:
Motion passed unanimously.
Resolution 2021-31, Amendment to Personal Hardship Personal Deferral Policy on Special Assessments
Administrator Coughlin and Director Klages explained that the current deferral policy, adopted in 2012, requires assessments to be paid in full at the time of property transfer however there have been requests for an alternative option to allow the amount owed to be re-amortized and re-assessed to the property and then assumed by the new owners. It was noted that the recommended change in the policy simply allowed city staff and the city attorney to work on a new assessment proposal but that the Council would still have to vote to authorize any update to existing assessment rolls.
Motion by Kalahar, second by Padrnos: to approve Resolution 2021-31. Motion passed unanimously.
Resolution 2021-32, MRES Contract Renewal
Terry Wolf with Missouri River Energy Services said that MRES was pleased to have been partnering with the city with respect to electric utility operations since 2003. It was noted that the current contract between the City and MRES was set to expire next February and it was the recommendation of city staff to proactively look at a renewal process well in advance of the expiration date in order to not have to rush the process. Mr. Wolf said that he worked closely with Utility Accounts Manager Amber Dale on the contract update process and he expressed his strong appreciation for the talent and focus she brought to the effort.
An overview of the proposed contract update was presented to the Council with the acknowledgment that the vast majority of the contract language remained consistent with past versions. Mentioned as notable material changes was the new 5-year contract term, a modification allowing the City to determine the level of staffing desired instead of prescribing a specific number in the document, and mention of the MRES mileage reimbursement rate to account for depreciation of vehicles and equipment used along with routine maintenance & upkeep costs.
Amber Dale mentioned that she did an extensive analysis of alternatives to contracting for operational services with MRES including establishing an in-house department to replace MRES. She said that her research provided a clear and definitive conclusion that MRES was not only the best option available to the City, it was also by far the cheapest option. Ms. Dale said that an in-house option would cost tens of thousands of dollars more than the offered contract in addition to other challenges such a move would create.
The Council thanked Mr. Wolf for taking the time to provide the Council with a contract overview and also expressed their appreciation for the ongoing service that MRES provides the City. The Council also recognized Amber Dale for her significant role in helping facilitate the contract update process.
Motion by Ebbers, second by Padrnos: to approve Resolution 2021-32, MRES Contract Renewal. Motion passed unanimously.
Resolution 2021-33, Award of Seal Coat Bid to Aztec Corp, Inc.
City Engineer Justin Black reported on the recent seal coat project bid opening and said that the bids received were stunning because several bids received were lower than 2020 pricing; with the low bid coming in at about 58% of what was estimated to be the base price. Engineer Black said that due to a number of Twin Cities communities opting to forego sealcoat projects in 2021, contractors were scrambling to schedule enough work to keep their crews working and as a result, prices were much more competitive this year.
It was mentioned that the low bidder, Aztec Corp, indicated that they would honor their bid price on any additional work the City would wish for them to undertake. Administrator Coughlin explained that with the bid price coming in so low, there would still be allocated street maintenance funds available to perhaps get a jump on additional seal coat work and take advantage of historically low project costs. He recommended that the Council consider awarding the low bid to Aztec Corp and to authorize the Public Works Director, City Engineer and Mayor to sign off on additional street segments to be seal coated as long as the work remains within the established 2021 budget.
Motion by Kalahar, second by Ferguson: to approve Resolution 2021-33, award of seal coat bid to Aztec Corp, Inc. and to authorize the Public Works Director, City Engineer and Mayor to identify additional street segments to be included in the 2021 seal coat project subject to available budgeted funds. Motion passed unanimously.
Resolution 2021-34, Approval of Plans, Specifications and Ordering Advertisements for Bids for the Highway 71 Utility Project.
City Engineer Black provided a quick review of the proposed project along with assumed project timelines. He said that the Council is quite familiar with the overall plan so he was not going to go into any details unless they had specific questions. It was requested that the Council formally approve the provided engineering plans and specifications and allow him to move ahead with seeking bids for the project.
Motion by Padrnos, second by Ebbers: to approve Resolution 2021-34. Motion passed unanimously.
Old Water Plant Roof Replacement Quotes (Insurance Covered Hail Damage)
The Council reviewed the three roof repair bids for the Old Water Plant building which the League of MN Cities Insurance Trust insurance adjuster identified as requiring a full roof replacement. Administrator Coughlin mentioned that while at first look Winn Exteriors provided the lowest price point quoted, a more detailed analysis revealed that the shingles noted in the quote were a lesser grade than those included in the quote of the second lowest bid which was from Country Wide Lumber. Coughlin further mentioned that Country Wide included a plan to cover the entire roof surface with ice and water guard material where Winn Exteriors’ bid only planned to cover roughly the lower half of the roof with a similar material. He said when these two factors were considered, Country Wide’s numbers were competitive with Winn’s and their plan would result in a longer-lasting product.
Motion by Kalahar, second by Ferguson: Award Old Water Plant roof replacement contract to Country Wide Lumber. Motion passed unanimously.
Continued Virtual City Tours
The Council viewed short videos highlighting City Hall operations and the Planning & Zoning department.
Motion by Padrnos, second by Ferguson: to approve Ordinance 2021-03, Illegal Dumping. Motion passed unanimously.
No one from the public asked to speak during the public forum.
Emergency Manager Brian Stenholm shared that Covid infection rates continued to trend lower. He mentioned that approximately 6,000 county residents have received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine and over 5,500 have been declared fully vaccinated. The mask mandate has now been lifted statewide but because local communities and businesses have opted to create differing interim mask requirements which has created some confusion for people.
Mayor Hawkinson said that as the Covid response starts to wind down, he wanted to pause and thank Manager Stenholm and Administrator Coughlin for their leadership throughout this long ordeal. He said he was appreciative of everyone that worked to keep everything operating as efficiently and effectively as possible even when faced with considerable challenges.
Pool Board – May 11
Mayor Hawkinson shared that BOLD Schools agreed to transition to a 25-75 operational cost split as a first step towards the District moving back to sharing those costs on a 50-50 split with the City.
Building Committee – May 13
Progress is being made regarding the public safety addition plans. Designer / Architect Barbara Marks does a nice job building consensus among the various participants.
Airport Advisory Board
The group met with SEH engineer Adinda Van Espen to review plans for various lighting and safety upgrades at the airport that would largely be paid for via a MnDOT Aeronautics grant award.
Parks and Trails Report
Administrator Coughlin reported that he is working with the city engineer and MnDOT staff on the Highway 71 ADA project. He said the pace of these conversations continues to pick up as MnDOT begins to refine and complete their project plans. MnDOT will be sending several District 8 staff to the June 1st Park Board meeting to discuss crossing locations and related topics.
Mayor Hawkinson mentioned that the Chamber was finishing up with an effort to update its website including a linked page dedicated to being a one-stop destination for Corn Capital Days information.
Motion by Kalahar, second by Ebbers: to adjourn the meeting at 8:17 P.M. Motion passed unanimously.