REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
Tuesday, September 7, 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, Blanca Ferguson, Landon Padrnos and George Ebbers.
Council Members Absent: None
Others present: Dan Coughlin, City Administrator; Susan Lang, EDA Director (via Zoom); Aaron Walton, City Attorney; Jason Krumheuer, Police Chief; Justin Black, SEH; Cory Hebrink, business owner; Chris (via Zoom); Guest (via Zoom) and Scott Tedrick, Editor, Renville County Register (via Zoom).
Councilor Padrnos asked a question as to why there were a few last-minute additions to the presented agenda. He expressed a preference that such things should not be added to the agenda after it is distributed. Coughlin explained that in this particular case the American Legion submitted two temporary liquor requests late in the day. He said he was fine with Councilor Padrnos asking that those items be struck from the agenda but then added the Council would then need to schedule a special meeting to approve such things because the next meeting on October 4th would be too late for approving such requests.
Coughlin shared that with the Council only meeting twice per month and the rest of the world not typically running on such a schedule, these last-minute items are not particularly rare as individuals and groups rush to get their requests to the city ahead of a scheduled meeting. He agreed that in an ideal world, he would also prefer last-minute items to not drop into the mix but in order to best accommodate the needs of the public such as the current requests from the Legion, late additions will sometimes be part of the process.
Motion by Kalahar, second by Ferguson: 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 August 16, 2021
- Resolution 2021-69, Step Increase Authorization for Wayne Olson and Brian Klinghagen
- Resolution 2021-70, MMPA EV Charger Lease Agreement
- Resolution 2021-71, Lawful Gambling Exempt Permit for St. Mary’s Preservation Assn.
- Resolution 2021-72, Limited Use Trail Agreement with MnDOT (Active Living Trail Phase #2)
- Resolution 2021-73, Naming Nikki Pregler as Interim City Treasurer for Remainder of 2021
- Acknowledgement Receipt / First Reading of Proposed Lexipol Policies 312, 314, 317, 324, 331, 335
- Resolution 2021-76, Updated FM Bank Deposit Accounts Resolution
- Resolution 2021-77, Approving Temporary Liquor License to American Legion for Harvest Festival
- Resolution 2021-78, Approving Temporary Liquor License to American Legion for Pastoor’s Wedding Reception
- September Payables #1
Motion passed unanimously.
Public Hearing on Proposed Business Subsidy for Olivia Chrysler, Inc.
At 7:05 p.m. Mayor Hawkinson temporarily recessed the regular meeting and opened a public hearing on the proposed business subsidy proposal to Olivia Chrysler. EDA Director Susie Lang joined the meeting via Zoom and provided a staff report regarding the proposed sale of the building to Olivia Chrysler currently occupied by both Olivia Chrysler and the Olivia Electric Department. It was noted that this discussion was a formal requirement of the process for both the EDA and City Council to hold a public hearing to inform the public; and this particular hearing was originally slated to be held a number of months ago but was delayed due to COVID and the relative instability of the construction industry due to price increases and supply chain issues. Padrnos asked for the appraised value of property which Lang stated as $423,500. Coughlin was asked to share the basic steps required throughout this process which were involved with establishing any sort of formal subsidy agreement of this type.
Padrnos questioned the expense of building a space for the Electric Department in the future versus selling a property under its value. Building material availability, product prices and the supply chain is currently prohibitive to constructing a new facility. These options have been discussed at multiple previous Council meetings and many possibilities were considered then as now. Padrnos said there is value in renting the building to a utility consuming business versus selling the property.
Kalahar and Ferguson both noted that the members should keep in mind various other factors including the decades of Chrysler being a prominent business and employer in the community, the return of a commercial building with highway frontage back onto the tax rolls, the desire of this business to expand its operations and hire more employees, and the potential of losing the business if they are not able to expand as they desire to do at the present location. Ferguson mentioned that these discussions have been going on for several years and the sale price was determined before inflation and other economic issues were part of the current equation.
Coughlin shared that the Council had previously authorized the winterization of the electric utility storage shed which would be able to at least temporarily accommodate the need for heated storage space for vehicles and equipment while the current spike in building material costs and uncertain supply chain timelines require us to pause with plans to develop a new facility. Coughlin also mentioned that the owners of Olivia Chrysler had offered to sign a negotiated tax valuation agreement which would allow the repayment of any up-front business subsidies via the previously established tax increment financing district in a more compressed timeline.
Cory Hebrink, business owner, spoke during the public hearing and asked for some additional clarification regarding the history of the property and the current situation. Upon hearing answers to his questions Mr. Hebrink expressed support for the overall proposal.
No further public comments were offered. Mayor Hawkinson closed the hearing at 7:27 p.m. and reopened the regular meeting.
Acknowledgement of Mayoral Proclamation Designating August 31st as International Overdose Awareness Day
Mayor Hawkinson read the proclamation aloud that he had signed earlier in the day.
Motion by Padrnos, second by Kalahar: to provide formal City Council support the Mayoral Proclamation Designating August 31st as International Overdose Awareness Day. Motion passed unanimously.
Resolution 2021-74, Set Public Assessment Hearing for Highway 71 Utility Project
Justin Black, City Engineer, provided an update regarding the proposed assessments regarding impacted properties benefitted by the Highway 71 Utility Project. He said that he was pleased to report that the original assessment estimates provided to the public previously did not change after the bid process and commencement of the project so there are no surprises for impacted property owners. He said the City also has benefitted by securing very low interest financing for the project and that the interest that would be charged on assessments would be set at 2.77% calculated annually.
Black mentioned that the assessment process involves at least two public hearings: a preliminary one which provides notice of the project and engineer estimates on the potential assessment amounts; and a second one once the project is bid and the final numbers are known. Engineer Black recommended that the Council set a final assessment hearing for October 4th during the regular city council meeting that evening.
Black then provided a brief update on the project which is currently underway. He said that so far things are progressing more or less on schedule and that there have been no major issues pop up nor has there been much in the way of concerns or complaints from impacted residents. It was noted that there have been some instances of truck traffic trying to traverse streets that are not designated truck routes but the Police Chief added that State Patrol and local law enforcement have been trying to address those issues. It is anticipated that Highway 71 will be able to be reopened sometime at the end of the month as long as the weather holds.
Motion by Ferguson, second by Ebbers: Approve Resolution 2021-71 and set the Public Assessment Hearing for the Highway 71 Utility Project on October 4, 2021. Motion passed unanimously.
Resolution 2021-75, Order Related to Real Property Located at 311 5th Street South
City Attorney Walton shared that a hazardous garage has been recommended to be removed from this site. Findings of Fact presented and the provided resolution was noted as being the start of a formal process to order the owner to repair or remove the structure in question.
Motion by Ebbers, second by Ferguson: Approve Resolution 2021-75 which authorizes a former order related to Real Property Located at 311 5th Street South. Motion passed unanimously.
Revised Petition by Cory Hebrink
Cory Hebrink, local business owner, shared a petition regarding surface water drainage related to a private walkway / alley between his building and neighboring commercial buildings to the north. He again asked for the Council to consider partnering in the cost of improving the drainage situation at that location. Hebrink noted that had a private inspector look at the drainage issues and noted that the City inspector has also visited the building. He asked the City to review his petition to repair the alley and expand the trench below the adjacent sidewalk. City Attorney Walton clarified that the alley is not a public area and the petition being brought referenced State Statute 429 which is the same process-heavy procedure that the Highway 71 Utility Project assessment process entailed. He said that the use of that process would greatly increase the costs involved. It was noted by Walton that a simple permit from the Planning and Zoning Administrator could initiate the project being requested and if funding of the work was a concern the EDA probably had some options to assist with that type of improvement.
EDA Director Susie Lang commented that there were a few programs that the EDA has established that could potentially be used to assist with this matter. She said she welcomed an opportunity to work with Mr. Hebrink to explore the options available to him. Mr. Hebrink thanked the Council for their time and noted that it appeared that his best course of action was to have the recommended conversation with both the Planning & Zoning Administrator and EDA Director.
Kalahar advised against the City venturing into situations where it starts paying for water problems in the basements of private property. He said he completely empathizes with the situation in the mix because he himself had to deal with water infiltration in the basement of his home – but he did not want to set a precedent that public funds would be used to address private issues like this one.
Walton mentioned that because the documents submitted were considered a formal petition to the City Council he advised that the Council should take formal action to either approve or deny the petition.
Motion by Kalahar, second by Ebbers: Deny the Revised petition presented by Cory Hebrink and encourage him to explore grant and loan programs with the EDA Director. Motion passed unanimously.
Consideration of Estimates for Garage Removal at 101 3rd Street South
Mayor Hawkinson shared the two bids received to remove a hazardous building on this property.
Staff recommendation was to accept Haney’s bid due to it being the cheaper of the two quotes.
Motion by Ebbers, second by Ferguson: Accept the estimate by Haney Construction and authorize them to proceed with the proposed garage removal. Motion passed unanimously.
Chief Krumheuer shared that Christi Weidemann and the officers worked together to complete the recent POST Board audit. He said that they received short notice of this audit visit but that he was pleased to share that the department passed its audit with very few items of note in the end. The Chief thanked those in his department for their hard work, and explained that Christi was instrumental in organizing the documentation required for the audit process.
The Chief also expressed his sincere thanks to Assistant Chief Sandgren who stepped in to handle the recent budget meeting; and to Officer Pieper who has been working on a variety of grant opportunities. He said that Pieper will also be looking to develop a stronger working relationship with the school and intends on going there to begin to make connections with staff and students alike.
Krumheuer thanked Walton and Jasmine Miller for their work to move forward on the removal of two hazardous buildings. He said those buildings have been trouble for years and he is glad to see progress being made on that front.
In other news the Chief said that he has been discussing body camera options with the Sheriff’s Office in order to explore options of perhaps working together on a plan to purchase and implement those cameras throughout agencies in this county. Also noted by the Chief was that the new squad car is in our possession but supply chain issues have caused an indefinite hold on getting the vehicle fully equipped.
It was mentioned that the department continues to struggle with being short staffed and that other agencies in the region are also struggling with staffing issues as well.
No one asked to address the Council during the public forum.
Highway 71 Utility Project Update Meetings – August 24 & 31 and September 7
Coughlin shared that these construction update meetings are open to the public. They are designed to share information about the progress of the project and to address any concerns that come up along the way.
Firefighters Relief Association Investment Advisor Meeting – August 24
Coughlin, Ebbers and Hawkinson met with the Relief Association’s Investment Advisor (Wally) who was optimistic about the Relief’s funding and future planning.
EDA – August 25
Some additional discussion was had about the Harvest Festival regarding a change to the EDA’s involvement with that event, upcoming rate adjustments on rental properties and some exterior improvement programs that may assist the downtown area.
Parks and Trails Report
A meeting with MnDOT to be held on Thursday to discuss the trail & sidewalk elements of the upcoming MnDOT Highway 71 resurfacing & ADA update project slated for next summer.
Other Reports of Council / Staff
Mayor Hawkinson shared an announcement regarding the area Fire departments’ participation in Ribfest at the Legion. Tickets are still be available and he urged people to contact a Olivia Fire Department member for tickets.
BOLD Community Pool Report
Mayor Hawkinson shared the August recap of the Pool Report. Swim teams will begin fall practices there soon.
Motion by Kalahar, second by Padrnos: to adjourn the meeting at 8:17 P.M. Motion passed unanimously.