REGULAR CITY COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES OF MONDAY, JANUARY 28, 2019

Members Present: Mayor Hallum, Council members O’Donnell, Ryman, Linder. Council member Benson participated via Face Book Messenger from her location in the public library in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Ms. Benson was able to see and hear visitors and council members and they could see and hear her comments as well.

Following the Pledge of Allegiance, Mayor Hallum called the regular meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.

Motion by Ryman seconded by O’Donnell to approve the agenda as presented.  Upon roll call all voted aye.

Motion by Ryman seconded by Linder to approve the January 14, 2019, regular council meeting minutes as presented, with one clarification to note the RPVCC was the entity not in favor of the DNR decision regarding portable bathrooms and the Root River Trail Town Group would discuss the matter with the DNR.  Upon roll call all voted aye.

The Mayor asked if there were any citizens wishing to be heard with the following comment being made: Principal Timm of R-P Schools on behalf of Supt. Ehler wished to retract a statement in a recent newspaper article and apologize for any misunderstanding; stating that the City did assist with the new sidewalk along Pine Meadows Lane, specifically with intersection work, lighting and engineering.

There were no notices or announcements to review.

Motion by O’Donnell seconded by Linder to approve the consent agenda consisting of the following:

• Approval of Verified Claims and Fund Summary Report for period ending 1/128/19

• Approval of the annual renewal of the agreement with Fillmore County for the 2019 Ambulance Subsidy Contract. The subsidy provides funding of $4,500.00 for each Ambulance Service in Fillmore County to provide emergency and non-emergency services.

• Approval of the annual listing of Rushford Ambulance Service Officers for 2019

• Review of the EDA/RLF Loan Recap report and receive update on the EDA/RLF & Flood Loan Account Balances:

(1) $216,559.40 was transferred out of the #204 Flood Loan Fund to the #203 EDA Revolving Loan Fund at year end but leaving $45,840.88 to pay the 60% payback to flood loan recipients in March, 2019 after they have filed their annual report and insurance certificate.

(2) Flood Loan Receivables were reduced $2,008,042.10 by regular principal         payment and by forgiveness. End of 2018 Flood Loan Receivable is $2,541,681.99

 (3) EDA/RLF net changes during year resulted in a net decrease of $60,196.71. End of 2018 EDA/RLF Receivable is $1,474,442.15.  

Upon roll call all voted aye.

As per public notification, public comment will be taken to consider an amendment to the 1997 City of Rushford Tobacco Ordinance. The purpose of the amendment is to clarify definitions and regulations pertaining to the use and sale of electronic cigarettes and electronic delivery devices.  Upon receipt of any public comments and after further discussion, the Council may find it appropriate to direct additional changes to the draft ordinance or may adopt as presented. It was noted that notice of this hearing and a copy of the proposed ordinance amendments had been provided to all tobacco license holders in the City. Motion by O’Donnell seconded by Ryman to open the public hearing. Upon roll call all voted aye.

Brenda Pohlman, Fillmore County Public Health, provided samples of electronic nicotine systems, e-cigarettes and various styles and sizes of such devices. The vapor within the devices does contain nicotine and is addictive, although is often masked with fruity flavorings. The devices vary in size, with many being so small as to be almost unnoticeable. Pohlman discussed the typical age for starting a tobacco habit and the fact that these products are more affordable and attractive to younger and younger users. R-P Principal Timm noted that currently the school is handling violations in-house, but he appreciates the idea of a more inclusive ordinance giving him yet another tool to use in enforcement. He stated he had spoken with other Principals in the area and it is becoming a wide-spread problem. Timm thanked the City for taking this on. Pohlman noted it is good the City is being proactive and having multiple efforts for enforcement will give a clear message to potential users. Discussion was held on packing rules, definitions, penalties, age of seller, restricting flavored products, restricting age of purchaser and so forth. Clerk Zacher read an email received from Deputy Lance Boyum stating the Fillmore County Sheriff’s Office supports the efforts to update the tobacco ordinance and the Department and the DARE program would be a resource to the City as well. Pohlman had provided suggestions from the Public Health Law Center and American Lung Association for language changes that would enhance the ordinance. This information was not provided in time for review before this hearing. It was noted the amendments provided to the 1997 ordinance were obtained from sample ordinance langue from the League of MN Cities. Mayor Hallum thanked everyone for coming and for providing input and information at this hearing. Motion by O’Donnell seconded by Ryman to close the public hearing. Upon roll call all voted aye.

Discussion was held on the proposed language changes, noting that the amendments were probably not inclusive enough and that it might be easier to create a whole new ordinance that addresses the unique tobacco industry issues of today and repeal the older, outdated ordinance. Pohlman stated that the Public Health Law Center (PHLC) would provide a model policy and would provide technical assistance to the City at no cost through her agency. She noted this would be the first of a kind in Fillmore County and might lead the way for other communities. It was decided to work with Pohlman and the PHLC and obtain a draft ordinance from them, which would include some areas where the City would have to decide how to proceed (i.e. being more restrictive on the age of selling and/or age of purchasing). It was hoped to have this draft ordinance presented for Council review by the end of February, after which another public hearing would be schedule.

Derek Olinger of Bolton & Menk Engineering presented the outline of the plans and specifications for proceeding with the 2019 Street & Utility Improvement Project; E. Grove Street. Walnut Street and N. Burr Oak Street and for the 2019 Street Improvement Project of Lamplighters Lane. He noted the details are similar to the original reports presented; replacing 6” clay sewer pipe which is old, cracked and full of tree roots and debris, replacing 4” water main (some of the oldest in town), replacing deteriorated asphalt, replace curb and gutter, install storm sewer and improve the drainage area in the Walnut St. area, install curb and gutter on one side of Walnut St. and drive over curb on the other side. The third neighborhood meeting was held this past week and was well attended with questions and concerns being addressed. Olinger had provided a memo for earlier Council review regarding the drainage pond that needs to be addressed from the ’16 street improvement project. The Army Corps of Engineers is requiring this area to be filled in as the Corps does not believe the geotechnical analysis conducted would meet their standards. The Corps had not communicated their rejection of the design sooner due to shortfall in their funding. A correction for this issue would be to take excess material, approximately 5,000 yards, of excavated soil from the Grove St. project to fill in the pond area. The haul route is relatively short and may result in a decrease in project costs since the contractor would not have to haul a great distance or out of town. The Corps will give approval to this corrective measure. After discussion of the project, the scope of work and the timeline involved, there was a Motion by O’Donnell seconded by Ryman to adopt Resolution 2019-007 Resolution Approving Plans and Specifications and Ordering Advertisement for Bids for the 2019 Street & Utility Improvement Project; E. Grove St, Walnut St. N. Burr Oak St. and the 2019 Street Improvement Project of Lamplighters Lane. The bid advertisement will be published locally and will be available digitally on the Quest CDN site project #6093430, bid opening set for February 22, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at Rushford City Hall. Upon roll call all voted aye.

Discussion was held on two engineering studies discussed at previous meetings:

• MDOT speed zone engineering study for Highway 43 near Pine Meadows Lane. Review of the area to be assessed has reduced the estimated cost to a not-to-exceed cost of $7,000.00. R-P School has indicated they would participate with half the cost to have this study conducted. Members were frustrated at the cost of conducting a study when the sidewalk, cross-walk and lighting was already in place and the next logical step for increased safety would be for reduced speed in the area. Engineer Olinger explained the MDOT process, stating this is a state-wide requirement before MDOT will consider any changes.

• DNR Local Trails Connection Grant – re-using previous application information bringing the cost estimate to approximately $1,750.00 to apply. The total estimated cost of the project is $260,000.00 with the maximum DNR participation of $150,000.00 requiring the balance to be paid by the applicant. The R-P School has indicated they would participate in half the cost of the engineering study and would also commit to the $55,000.00 share of the project if the grant was successful. It was noted the R-P School would provide any needed easements in the area and the City would maintain the trails. It was noted that lighting may need to be addressed at a later time.

Motion by Ryman seconded by Linder to authorize the City engineer to proceed with the two engineering studies detailed above, noting the participation of the R-P School in that process. Upon roll call all voted aye.

Roger Knutson, Public Works Director, attended the meeting to discuss the memo submitted by himself and Sr. Maintenance, Dave Lombard, to construct a 40’x40’ addition to the existing storage shed located to the west of the existing garage. The additional structure will be attached to the north wall of an existing storage structure, have a poured concrete floor, be insulated and have minimal surface-mount electrical work. The building will be used primarily for storage so the main garage can be used for repair work. Currently the existing garage is too crowded to safely and effectively perform maintenance. The City would purchase the materials for the addition directly to save on markup and sales tax and public works would prepare the site, haul sand and remove debris. The City would also prepare building permit paperwork and all necessary inspections would be completed. Quotations were solicited for labor-only quotes from several interested area construction firms. Building plans and layout were provided for review, along with photos of the existing use of garage space. Discussion was held on funding from the Capital Projects Fund, which is available for construction without any need for increases in future levy amounts. After considerable discussion and a question/answer period, there was a Motion by Ryman, seconded by O’Donnell to approve the building project and award the labor bid to the low bidder Howe Construction LLC in the amount of $10,400.00. Estimated cost for materials, concrete and electrical will bring the total project to an estimated $42,261.00. Upon roll call all voted aye.

The 2018/2019 Annual Fee Schedule was provided for review. It was noted the Airport Commission is considering amending the flow fee on sales on av/gas and will provide that information at a later date. Clerk Zacher recommended increasing the annual compost fee from $5.00 to $10.00. The fee was initiated in 1998 and was intended to help with the cost of operation of the compost site, which is open to all residents all year long. Residents also receive curb-side pickup of lawn and garden debris twice a year. The annual fee has never been increased and does not adequately cover the cost of fuel, manpower and machinery to operate the site. Motion by Benson seconded by Ryman to increase the annual compost fee to $10.00 effective March 2019. Upon roll call all voted aye.

Next item of business was to review the Lodging Tax Report. In 2016 the City’s Lodging Tax Ordinance was amended to provide for the remittance of funds to the Rushford Peterson Valley Chamber of Commerce. Information was provided for 2016-2018 as well as an historical version of the 1995-2015 revenues and expenditures.

Motion by Ryman seconded by Linder to adopt Resolution 2019-009 Acknowledging with thanks memorial donations of $1,500.00 honoring Norm Ebner, for equipment needs for the Rushford Fire Dept. Upon roll call all voted aye.

Motion by O’Donnell seconded by Linder to approve the renewal of the following licenses via Resolutions to accompany their application and fee to the State of MN

• Resolution 2019-006: Renewal of Optional 2 AM Liquor License for Kitchens Ent.

• Resolution 2019-010: Renewal of Optional 2 AM Liquor License for Stumpy’s Restaurant

• Resolution 2019-011: Renewal of Optional 2 AM Liquor License for Shawnee’s Bar & Grill

Upon roll call all voted aye.

Discussion was held regarding continuing the downtown flower basket project. Roger Colbenson stated he would provide approximately 100 baskets at a price $1.00 higher than last year, $35.00 per basket. Rushford Lion’s Club has stated they would again provide watering service for the baskets. Lion member O’Donnell had taken a count and stated that 100 baskets is appropriate. Discussion was held on having four smaller baskets to be kept at the city shop area for use when the Rushford Days float is taken to various parades. Motion by O’Donnell seconded by Ryman to approve the purchase of 100 baskets at the increased price and that Colbenson should provide the four smaller baskets for the float in this price. Upon roll call all voted aye.

Reports and Miscellaneous

• Openings on Commissions and Boards: 2 for EDA, 2 for Airport, 1 for Electric, 1 for Planning

• Council member O’Donnell reported the Library board has scored applicants, selecting four applicants for interviews in February for the Library Director position

• The Coalition of Greater MN Cities Legislation conference and SEMLMC annual meeting are scheduled for this week, which Administrator Chladek will be attending

• R-P School Facilities Committee updates: The committee wishes to finish up the hiring process for the Superintendent position and get all their new school board members up to speed on progress to date. They also intend to put the Peterson building out for bids again.

• A meeting is scheduled for 1/29/19 with City of Rushford Village personnel regarding their recent request to discuss participating or sharing in future development projects.

At approximately 8:32 p.m. Council member Benson signed off from the Facebook Messenger link as the public building she was located in was closing down (10:32 p.m. their time). Motion by Ryman seconded by O’Donnell that the meeting be adjourned at approximately 8:46 p.m. Upon roll call all voted aye.

Submitted by:

Kathy Zacher, City Clerk/Treas.

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