Details for Public Notice September 2

Updated

Public Notice September 21, 2015 City Council Minutes 4:30 P.M. A regular meeting of the City Council of the City of International Falls, Minnesota was held in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building on the 21st day of September 2015 at the hour of 4:30 P.M. MEMBERS PRESENT: Councilors Briggs, Droba, Jaksa, Kalar, and Mayor Anderson MEMBERS ABSENT: None. MOTION by Councilor Briggs to approve the agenda with the following additions under New Business: #5 - Consider Council action for conversion to LED lighting for energy conservation and design assistance program available in town the week of September 21, 2015. #7 - Council received a letter from the Chamber of Commerce #14 Consider Transient Merchant license application for Floyd Jeffery dba Z-Line Construction (paving contractor) #15 Consider Transient Merchant license application for James Henry Joles dba Convenience Paving (paving contractor). Motion seconded by Councilor Kalar and carried unanimously. MOTION by Councilor Kalar to approve minutes of the regular City Council meeting of September 8, 2015 with the following addition to the Mayor's report at the Mayor's request: The Mayor submitted a written report and participated in several meetings with Joe Sutherland "regarding City contracting with Koochiching County for engineering services". Motion seconded by Councilor Droba and carried unanimously. MOTION by Councilor Briggs to adopt Resolution No. 64-15 approving transfers, payment of claims and accounts payable for the second monthly City Council meeting. Motion seconded by Councilor Droba and carried unanimously. MOTION by Councilor Droba to have the second reading and approval of ordinance amendment related to mobile home and recreational camping vehicles. Motion seconded by Councilor Briggs and carried unanimously. MOTION by Councilor Kalar to approve/allow necessary expenses for Ted Brokaw, Building Maintenance and Kelly Meyers, Building Official to attend the Building Green Conference on Thursday, September 24, 2015 in Duluth, MN. Motion seconded by Councilor Jaksa and carried unanimously. Dana Herschbach, Kootasca Community Action, Inc., was not present, therefore the consideration of New Business agenda items 1-4 were moved to later in the meeting. MOTION by Councilor Kalar to approve conversion to LED lighting for energy conservation and to purchase up to 303 LED fixtures for a total cost of $24,240 to be paid from Reserve for Capital Outlay Electrical Conservation (402-40915-5300). Motion seconded by Councilor Droba and carried unanimously. Michael Wellcome was present to give a Voyage Forward update showing the strengths and weaknesses of the community and explain what the next steps are in the process. He stated that 925 people responded to the survey and an email was sent out to all the Stewards, Mayor, and Council members to pick the top five issues and identify in three sentences or less a common vision for the community. There will be a meeting tomorrow evening at 5:30 p.m. at Backus with all the Stewards to review those comments that were submitted to attempt to identify those "destiny drivers" that can be pursued. The final step will be a community-wide event sometime in October to present those draft goals to the community so they can review them and select the top goals and move forward. Councilor Jaksa appreciated the many hours that have been involved and Mayor Anderson thanked Mr.Wellcome for his leadership. Ward Merrill, Vice-Chair of the EDA Advisory Board, addressed the Council in regards to the pending decision to defund the EDA program and the Director of Economic and Community Development (Director) position. He submitted a Resolution from the EDA asking the Budget & Finance Committee and City Council to reconsider their decision to defund both items, further stating that the EDA Advisory Board of Directors believes it is critical for successful economic development in the area to have a full-time EDA Director. Mr. Merrill stated that we just heard the results from Mike Wellcome for the Voyage Forward strategy and believes it is premature and too early to dismiss and defund the EDA without having more public input. He encouraged the Council to reconsider this decision. Gail Rognerud, 1121 9th Ave, discussed page 215 of the Newmark et al Economic Adjustment Strategy report, which stated to form a new non-government cooperative regional economic development partnership that should be done by all, which is defined as City, County, Voyage Forward, Chamber, Business, State, and College. She stated that laying off an employee is a life altering event and asked the Council to reconsider the recommendation to defund the EDA and to fund the Director position and department for 2016. Doug Franchot, 210 10th Ave, expressed concern about the process and decision to defund the EDA. He stated that he believes the EDA is making a good faith effort to improve the economy and jobs in International Falls. He believes the Mayor has embarked on a personal vendetta against the current Director and has put pursuing that vendetta ahead of the good of the City and efforts to develop new businesses and jobs. Mr. Franchot stated "I would strongly recommend the Council table this item and embark on a transparent and open dialogue with the community about how to best improve our economy and bring jobs to our city. I know it is often difficult for elected officials to step back from stated positions. It takes a certain amount of personal courage to do so and I hope those members of the Council who have put forth this ill considered plan will have the wisdom and courage to do just that - step back." Tim "Chopper" McBride, 1208 14th Ave. E., questioned whether the decision to defund the EDA was based on budget or other reasons. Councilor Briggs replied that the decision was based on economics. Mr. McBride stated that with the North Koochiching Area Sanitary District saving the City a quarter-million dollars a year, he didn't believe the City has a problem with money. Myrna Meadows, 2775 Co. Rd. 94, spoke in opposition to the budget proposal to reduce the Backus Community Center funding and to eliminate the EDA funding stating that these decisions are in opposition to everything heard from the Voyage Forward project. She questioned why our leadership has stepped in the way of all of this, and that people are referring to the actions of this body as "Voyage Backward." Janelle Feller, 1016 3rd St., stated that she is deeply disappointed about the elimination of funding for the EDA. She stated that there have been two recent surveys and neither one suggests reducing funding for the EDA. In fact, 428 people responded to the Voyage Forward survey with 50% of them being supportive of an increase in funding for economic development and 23% recommended no change to economic funding. She reminded the Council that there are several projects set to happen in the near future and other projects in progress. She requested the Council to move forward and reinstate funding for the EDA. Joan Christenson, 3292 Co. Rd. 24, stated that International Falls is dying and believes that we have to make smart decisions in economic development. She believes that eliminating the EDA is not a smart decision and had a list of accomplishments that have resulted from the EDA. She stated that the EDA accomplished bringing in 1.3 million dollars a year from the 30 year lease with Voyageurs National Park. So when you say you can't afford Shawn Mason's salary, it seems she has more than paid for her salary with just the Voyageurs National Park lease agreement. She said we need to keep the EDA with proven results and she believes our future depends on it. Mike Bolstad, 151 Riverview Blvd., stated that he respects the Mayor, but believes what is about to happen tonight is absolutely wrong and reminded the Council that Shawn Mason, EDA Director, has done an amazing job bringing in new business. Karen Warren Severson, 210 10th Ave., stated that she is struck by the impressive people on the EDA Board and Voyage Forward who gave so much time and energy and who care about this community. She expressed that she is deeply disturbed that three people are going to make a decision that flies in the face of what the majority of these hard working and bright people recommend and the hundreds of people that responded to Voyage Forward. She stated that this is not OK and believes it is a personal vendetta. Brian McBride, 2311 2nd Ave. E., stated that economic development is expensive, very hard to do, and you just don't throw it out because it's expensive. The success of the EDA in the last five years is outstanding, and he has strong beliefs that if you attempt to do this yourself it's going to fail miserably. Alysa Hackenmueller, 1309 10th St., believes we need to move forward and asked to Table the decision to defund the EDA and let Voyage Forward do its job. She stated that if this is a budget reason, then she could understand that; but don't do it at the expense of moving backwards until the Voyage Forward movement has decided upon the destiny drivers. "This shouldn't be a competition between KEDA and EDA, and I think we need to move forward together." Nancy Imhof, Littlefork resident and International Falls business owner, stated that this is a time where our community needs economic development more than ever. You wanted Voyage Forward and now they are doing all the work and in one sweep you are trying to negate all the hours we have spent working on this. She also believes that economic development is the number one item needed and said that this is a personal vendetta. She asked the Council to reconsider this. Councilor Briggs responded stating that he takes offense to everyone saying that this is a personal vendetta against Shawn Mason and confirmed that it is not the issue. Mayor Anderson also responded stating that the charges of personal vendetta are not true and that his issue started back in June 2012 when he spoke to the City Attorney when he believed the City Charter had been violated. Gerald Bolstad, 1941 Co. Rd. 133, questioned the Council and asked when all this is going to end. He stated he understands economics and budgets and respects that they have to make budgetary decisions. He believes this has gone on long enough. Mayor Anderson requested that City Administrator Anderson develop a response to the letter from the Chamber of Commerce with regards to the questions it entails. MOTION by Councilor Kalar to Table Resolution No. 65-15, Approving Preliminary 2015 Tax Levy, Collectible 2016 and setting the Final Budget and Levy Public Input Meeting per Budget and Finance Committee recommendations. Motion seconded by Councilor Jaksa. Motion failed 2-3 with Councilors Kalar and Jaksa voting "yea" and Councilors Briggs, Droba and Mayor Anderson voting "nay." Councilor Jaksa thought we should be approving the proposed levy only and not the preliminary budget. Mayor Anderson noted the Council already voted. MOTION by Councilor Briggs to adopt Resolution No. 65-15, Approving Preliminary 2015 Tax Levy, Collectible 2016 and setting the Final Budget and Levy Public Input Meeting per Budget and Finance Committee recommendations. Motion seconded by Councilor Droba. Mayor Anderson remarked the proposed levy is an increase of $86,064 from the previous year levy. He stated there were many cuts made in the budget including the Library and that VNP maintenance funds were used to pay EDA costs. Councilor Briggs stated many hours were invested to balance the budget and we did not arbitrarily cut the Director position. Councilor Jaksa was concerned that the elimination of the EDA funding was premature. She further listed the many successes of our EDA in the 2.5 yrs. since we have had a Director. She further argued to re-instate funding for membership in the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC). Administrator Anderson questioned if the motion was to approve the draft resolution as written in the packet which was confirmed by the Mayor. Betty Bergstrom, Deputy City Administrator, spoke in opposition, stating that the EDA is asking for no taxpayer dollars for 2016, that it is funded completely, and that it is not funded by maintenance funds. She stated $500,000 was going to fund the Airport Terminal project, she questioned if the public has been informed, and said no street improvements are planned. She also stated that in 2012 the Building Official was appointed in the exact same manner as the EDA Director and asked why Mayor Anderson didn't come forward at that time and file a lawsuit against the City and the Building Official. In closing, Mrs. Bergstrom stated "for you to sit here and say it's not personal, I disagree. I see it day in and day out. It's very difficult." Councilor Kalar disagreed with the money given to the airport, and also believes there are personal feelings against the EDA department and the EDA Director. He said we need to stand-up and not hide behind the Charter. He continued this is not right and we have two agencies that work together. Getting rid of one Director and not the other was not right. He said we are throwing money at the Airport, but cutting jobs and street improvements. Councilor Droba thanked everyone for their opinion and said it was hard to cut the CGMC funding, particularly when Councilor Jaksa has done a great job on the Board, but, thought the money was better spent on the League of Minnesota Cities. He read a statement and acknowledged the $90,000 EDA budget was a controversial issue. He said he researched nine cities our size and all have an EDA, but only one had an EDA Director. He made the following comments: The continuing loss of population in the City of International Falls and Koochiching County, The recommendation of the consulting firm of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank to create "a new Regional Economic Development Partnership (EDP) in order to forge a more efficient model to move forward," The existing organizational framework of the Koochiching Economic Development Authority (KEDA) that already includes a collaborative membership with representatives of the City of International Falls, KEDA has three staff including a Director, Administrative Assistant, and SBDC Business Consultant, The need to reduce costs of the International Falls Economic Development Authority (IFEDA) that is funded, in part, by the Voyageurs National Park building lease and the projected total funds available to transfer to the IFEDA will be going down in the future, The majority of the constituents during the last, local election campaign said that the City of International Falls should be using KEDA. Councilor Briggs stated he was elected and had the desire to use tax dollars wisely and believes that those tax dollars could be better spent in other ways, rather than fund two people (EDA Directors) each doing economic development given the small population within Koochiching County. Motion carried 3-2 with Councilors Briggs, Droba and Mayor Anderson voting "yea"and Councilors Kalar and Jaksa voting "nay" MOTION by Councilor Droba to terminate the position of full-time Director of Economic and Community Development effective October 30, 2015. Motion seconded by Councilor Briggs. Councilor Kalar stated that he believes this should be extended at least until the end of the calendar year. Councilor Jaksa suggested that this was improper and should be referred to the Human Resources Committee to decide. Motion carried 3-2 with Councilors Briggs, Droba and Mayor Anderson voting "yea"and Councilors Kalar and Jaksa voting "nay." MOTION by Councilor Briggs to approve the 60-day extension of application for Conditional Use Permit 2015-002, Larry Keep. Motion seconded by Councilor Kalar and carried unanimously. MOTION by Councilor Jaksa to approve Appointment of Election judges for the September 29, 2015 Primary and December 8, 2015 Special Election. Motion seconded by Councilor Kalar and carried unanimously. MOTION by Councilor Briggs to adopt Resolution No. 66-15 approving application for exempt permit to conduct a raffle for the Bronco Hockey Boosters. Motion seconded by Councilor Droba and carried unanimously. MOTION by Councilor Droba to adopt Resolution No. 67-15 approving application for exempt permit to conduct a raffle for the Buck Safety Process. Motion seconded by Councilor Jaksa and carried unanimously. MOTION by Councilor Briggs to approve the use of a loaner Ambulance from PSV until delivery of our new 2015 Ambulance, the expenditure of an additional $8,000 from capital outlay to offset the reduction in the trade-in value of Ambulance 10-01 for purchase of new Ambulance, and to fund 1/2 of Roche's towing bill. Motion seconded by Councilor Jaksa and carried unanimously. MOTION by Councilor Briggs to Table Transient Merchant license applications for Floyd Jefferey dba Z-Line Construction and James Henry Joles dba Convenience Paving due to incomplete applications and for further investigation. Motion seconded by Councilor Jaksa. Mayor Anderson suggested a friendly amendment to add to the Motion to have City Attorney Shermoen assist in further investigation. Motion as amended carried unanimously. MOTION by Councilor Kalar to approve State of Minnesota Small Cities Development Program (SCDP) Grant Contract with funds in the amount of $628,677 for the "Comprehensive Project" and authorize signatures. Motion seconded by Councilor Briggs and carried unanimously. MOTION by Councilor Droba to approve Contract Agreement for SCDP Administrative Services with Kootasca Community Action, Inc. Motion seconded by Councilor Jaksa and carried unanimously. MOTION by Councilor Jaksa to approve SCDP Commercial and Residential Rehabilitation Deferred Loan Program Policies and Procedures Handbook. Motion seconded by Councilor Kalar and carried unanimously. MOTION by Councilor Droba to approve Program Income and Local Funds Generated Plan for SCDP. Motion seconded by Councilor Jaksa and carried unanimously. City Attorney Shermoen stated that he had a chance to explore the insurance coverage for the volunteers of 8th Street rink. LMCIT indicated we would have coverage through the City insurance policy as long as they are working under the City's direction and supervision. Mr. Shermoen requested this in writing from LMCIT and suggested having an agreement signed between the City and the volunteers. Mr. Shermoen also informed the Council that he has been working with Administrator Anderson on the contract language with the Rural Fire group. Councilor Jaksa announced that she attended the Sewer District meeting this morning and wanted to inform the Council that there was a Motion to change the membership in the Sewer District to dilute the City's authority. Councilor Droba submitted a written report and also added that we have an absolutely great Fire and Ambulance crew who did a fundraiser last Friday with the movie in the park at Smokey Bear Park and was amazed by what they did for the community. Councilor Jaksa stated that, as far as the good will and cooperation of the Council, it's been hard for her to be accused of criminal action, innuendos in the paper, and expressed that it's been a difficult time here for her. Mayor Anderson stated that the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee recommendations were to check into a security system due to Kerry Park Arena being broken into with a number of items damaged, and also the issue of the physically challenged parking areas at Smokey Bear Park. Mayor Anderson confirmed that there were no recommendations at this time to adopt. Mayor Robert W. Anderson adjourned the meeting at 6:55 P.M. Robert W. Anderson, Mayor ATTEST : Kenneth R. Anderson, City Administrator The Journal October 10th, 2015

Categories