SUNFISH LAKE CITY COUNCIL MEETING – FEBRUARY 7, 2017
7:00 P.M. - ST. ANNE’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Mayor: Richard Williamsa
Councilmembers: Mike Hovey, Steven Bulach and Daniel O’Leary
City Attorney: Tim Kuntz
City Planner: Ryan Grittman
Engineer: Don Sterna
City Treasurer: Ann Lanoue
Building Inspector: Mike Andrejka
Police Chief: Manila Shaver
Fire Chief: John Maczko
City Clerk: Cathy Iago
and Members of the General Public.
Councilmember JoAnne Wahlstrom and Forester Jim Nayes were absent
1. CALL TO ORDER: Mayor Williams opened the meeting at 7:00 p.m.
2. APPROVE AGENDA: Mayor Williams asked if there were any additions or corrections to the agenda and there was no response.
Councilmember Hovey moved to adopt the agenda as amended, seconded by Councilmember Bulach and carried. (4-0)
3. CONSENT AGENDA: Mayor Williams asked if there were any questions or comments relating to any items on the Consent Agenda and there was no response.
Councilmember Hovey moved approval of the Consent Agenda as presented, seconded by Councilmember Bulach and carried. (4-0)
a. Regular City Council Minutes January 3, 2017 and Special Open House Minutes of January 18, 2017
b. List of Bills
c. Monthly Financials
4. COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC: The Mayor asked if there were any comments from the public and there was no response.
5. PUBLIC HEARING/PRESENTATIONS: a. Public Hearing to Discuss the Proposed 2017 Street Improvement Project (2017-01): Mayor Williams opened the public hearing for the purpose of discussing the proposed 2017 Street Improvement Project No. 2017-01 and asked the City Engineer to review the scope of construction and the schedule of events related to the project.
Engineer Sterna explained that in 2009 the City had done a reconstruction project on Salem Church Road from Delaware Avenue to Roanoke Road and was now proposing to reconstruct the eastern half of Salem Church Road from Roanoke Road to South Robert Street. He advised that the City streets are reviewed and rated every three (3) years to determine what type of improvement should be done to keep the roads in good condition. He explained that the City then determines which projects should be done each year and staggers them for budgeting purposes. He stated that the proposed Salem Church Road reconstruction project was originally slated for the year 2020, however, due to the rapid deterioration of the roadway, Council moved the project forward in the CIP to 2017. He further explained that the Council included the overlay on Roanoke Road with the reconstruction project since it would be more cost effective to complete both projects at the same time. He commented that the reconstruction of Salem Church Road should be the last reconstruction project for several years, with the exception of possibly improving Charlton Road.
The Engineer advised that the City conducted a Special Open House Meeting in January to review the proposed improvement and invited adjacent property owners to attend. He explained that the reclamation improvement to Salem Church Road would include milling of the roadway in place and placing four inches of bituminous surfacing on the road as well as replacing culverts and repairing the shoulders, roadside swale, and driveway reconstruction. He advised that the proposed work on Salem Church Road should be done over a two to three week period and that access would be provided to property owners with driveways adjacent to the road.
Engineer Sterna also explained that the improvement to Roanoke Road would involve a two-inch overlay placed on top of the existing pavement to extend the life of the road.
The Engineer stated that the total estimated cost for the project is $413,980, which includes construction costs as well as administrative, legal, and financing costs. He advised that the City proposes to assess benefitted property owners $123,000 and the remainder of the costs would be paid from the City’s general tax fund. He explained that the City’s Assessment Policy identifies Salem Church Road as a “collector” road with cost sharing for improvements designated as 60% paid by the City and 40% paid by benefitted property owners. He explained that Roanoke Road is identified as a “local” road and the assessment policy designates a cost sharing for improvements at 20% paid by the City and 80% paid by the benefitted property owners. He reviewed the assessments that were levied in 2009 for Salem Church Road improvements and in 2014 for improvements on Windy Hill Road and Windy Hill Court and also on Angell Road.
Engineer Sterna explained that under Minnesota Statutes Chapter 429, the City must show the cost benefit to property owners is more than the proposed assessments and the City cannot assess more than the benefit. He also advised that if the City wishes to bond for the project, Chapter 429 requires that the City must assess benefitted property owners at least 20 percent of the project costs. He advised that he identified 15 assessable property units on Salem Church Road and Salem Lane that would show benefit from the improvement and be assessed $5,000 per unit. He asked the City Attorney to verify that this would meet the City’s 20 percent assessment requirement.
Attorney Kuntz advised that he calculated the $5,000 for the 15 units as assessing 22 percent of the costs.
The Engineer explained that there are a limited number of properties included in the proposed assessment in this section of Salem Church Road due to the property being adjacent to I-494 and because several homes are located on private roads off Salem Church Road which leaves only a few housing units that are actually adjacent to the road.
Engineer Sterna stated that the eight (8) property owners on Roanoke Road would be assessed $6,000 per unit as their 80% share of the costs.
The Engineer explained that if Council wished to proceed with the project, they should adopt the two resolutions; Item 5.b.Ordering the Project and Approving the Final Plans and Specifications; and, Item 5.c. Ordering Advertisement for Bids. He offered to respond to questions.
Mayor Williams opened the meeting for questions from the audience.
Brent Baskfield, 90 Salem Church Road, asked the City Engineer the size of the large parcel shown on the proposed improvement project for Salem Church Road and to explain how the assessment was calculated for this parcel.
Engineer Sterna explained that the parcel of land is approximately 20 acres, however, there is no plat for this parcel at this time. He noted that the City had discussions with the property owner and the City identified the possibility of platting 5 lots on the parcel in the future, while the property owner indicated they would prefer 6 to 8 lots on the parcel. He stated that the City preferred the lots be accessed from Windy Hill Road and that the property owner would have to pay for construction of a road for the lots when the property is platted. He further advised that the City identified that one lot on the lower portion of the land and therefore the City determined that a fair assessment would be only one lot as part of this improvement.
Mr. Baskfield asked by the City would only assess four (4) lots when the owner may possibly plat nine (9) lots.
The Engineer explained that the City was unsure how the parcel would be divided in the future and determined that the property owner must fund the installation of the road, therefore the City determined a fair assessment for the parcel for the Windy Hill Road project was to assess three (3) lots and the owner paid that assessment.
Mayor Williams asked if there were any further questions and there was no response. He asked the City Attorney to review the financing for the improvement.
Attorney Kuntz explained that the Council approved a preliminary financing plan and proposes to borrow $415,000 to pay for the project through a bond sale. He stated that Ehlers was authorized to prepare the documentation for the bond sale to be issued for a 10-year period of time. He further stated that the proposed assessments would be levied over 10 years, with the first payment due in 2018. He explained that the property owners would have the option to pay the assessment in full without any interest if they pay within 30 days of the date of approval of the assessment roll. He further advised that the interest rate would be 1-1/2 to 2 percent above the bond rate or approximately 4.5 percent per year on the unpaid balance. He noted that the property owner may also pay the full amount at any time during the 10 year period without interest being charged to the end of the year it is paid. He reviewed the two types of bond sale options and indicated that Ehler’s advised a negotiated limited sale of bonds would be appropriate for this improvement. He also explained that the remainder of the assessment costs would be placed on the general tax roll.
Mayor Williams asked if there were any further questions comments from the public and there was no response. He asked for a motion to close the public hearing.
Councilmember Hovey moved to close the public hearing at 7:25 p.m., seconded by Councilmember O’Leary and carried. (4-0)
Mayor Williams asked if there were any further questions or comments from Council.
Councilmember Bulach pointed out that there is an area of Salem Church Road near Robert Street that experiences a “washout” on the shoulder and asked what would be done to correct this.
Councilmember O’Leary commented that there are plans to change the crown of the road.
Engineer Sterna agreed and explained that the road now slopes to the west and the plan is to change the crown of the road to slope both ways and to add a bituminous rolled swale to help with the drainage.
Councilmember Bulach asked if backfill or Rip Rap was considered.
Engineer Sterna explained that Rip Rap has some issues with moving the water properly and therefore the plan is to create a valley gutter to carry the water to a small catch basin.
The Engineer and Councilmembers agreed that this area has had drainage issues in the past and should be corrected.
Councilmember Bulach asked where the drainage from the culver at Salem Lane goes.
Engineer Sterna explained that 12 years ago a bend was installed in the culver to direct water away from the road and he noted that as part of this project the ditch would be reshaped to assist with drainage. He stated the current culvert is 24” in width and may have a sediment build up which is blocking the flow.
The Mayor asked if there were any further questions or comments and there was no response.
b. Consider Resolution Ordering Public Improvement Project 2017-01 and Approving Final Plans and Specifications for the 2017-01 Street Improvement Project: Mayor Williams asked if there were any further comments or questions on the proposed resolution and there was no response.
Councilmember O’Leary moved to adopt Resolution No. 17-04 titled, RESOLUTION ORDERING PUBLIC IMPROVEMENT PROJECT 2017-01 AND APPROING FINAL PLANS AND SPECIFICATINS FOR THE 2017-01 STREET IMPROVEMENT PROJECT IN THE CITY OF SUNFISH LAKE, PROJECT 2017-01 (ROANOKE ROAD OVERLAY AND SALEM CHURCH ROAD RECONSTRUCTION), seconded by Councilmember Bulach and carried. (4-0)
c Consider Resolution Ordering Advertisement for Bids for the 2017-01 Street Improvement Project: Mayor Williams asked if there were any further comments or questions on the proposed resolution and there was no response.
Councilmember Hovey moved to adopt Resolution No. 17-05 title, RESOLUTION ORDERING ADVERTISEMENT FOR BIDS FOR THE 2017-01 STREET IMPROVEMENT PROJECT (ROANOKE ROAD OVERLAY AND SALEM CHURCH ROAD RECONSTRUCTION), seconded by Councilmember O’Leary.
In discussion, Councilmember Bulach asked if the homeowners would receive any cost savings on the assessments if the bids are lower than what was estimated.
Mayor Williams commented that the City must still assess at least 20 percent of the project costs.
Attorney Kuntz explained that the City has the option to either reduce the assessment for the general public tax levy or for the affected property owners that are adjacent to the streets, however, he noted that the cost savings would have to be substantial for this to occur. He stated this could be discussed after the bids are received.
Councilmember Bulach questioned if the bids would be sent out by April and explained that in his business contractors have expressed an interest in securing work for the summer.
Engineer Sterna stated he would be advertising for bids by March, 2017 and that he would present the bids to Council in April.
Mayor Williams called for a vote on the motion.
Motion carried. (4-0)
6. PLANNING COMMISSION/PLANNER’S REPORT: a. Planner’s Report Planner Grittman reviewed the following information listed in his report dated February 1, 2017. He stated that the Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the 2017 Street Improvement Project discussed this evening and passed Findings of Fact stating that the improvements are consistent with the City’s Comprehensive Plan. He advised that the Commission adopted their meeting scheduled for 2017 which establishes the meetings on the third Wednesday of each month. He further advised that he continues work on the 2040 Comprehensive Plan update and also updating the Census information throughout the Comprehensive Plan.
Council thanked the Planner for his report.
7. STAFF REPORTS: a. BUILDING INSPECTOR: Inspector Andrejka stated that he issued four (4) and closed eighteen (18) permits in January. He explained that there were some older permits that were issued by the former Building Inspector David Niemeyer that he closed. He advised that he attempted to reach either the contractor or the homeowner regarding these older permits and closed the permit if he received no response. He pointed out that some of the permits were issued in 2014 and automatically expire after six (6) months of inactivity. He explained that he did reach some of the permit holders and conducted inspections prior to closing those permits.
Mayor Williams asked if the Inspector had any further issues with receiving final plans for construction from staff.
Inspector Andrejka responded no and explained that there had been no activity since this was last discussed.
Council thanked the Inspector for his report.
Mayor Williams asked staff if there was any update on the removal of the lights on the sport court.
Planner Grittman stated the letter sent to the property owner gave a deadline of December 31, 2016 for removal of the lighting. He explained that he was unsure how to follow-up on determining if the lights have been removed since he is unable to view the sport court without trespassing on the property.
Mayor Williams explained that the approval of the Conditional Use Permit prohibited lighting of the sport court and he is opposed to people asking for forgiveness after the fact. He asked the City Attorney to recommend how to proceed.
Attorney Kuntz suggested one option would be to issue a citation to the property or staff could contact the property owner to determine if the lights have been removed. He pointed out that it may be difficult to remove the lights during the winter and Council could request the lights be removed by spring. He stated in his opinion it would be appropriate for the Planner to contact the property owner to ask if the lights have been removed and if they have not, ask that they provide a date that the lights will be removed.
The Mayor asked if the City could get reimbursed for the legal fees if the matter goes to court.
The City Attorney responded no.
Councilmember Bulach agreed that the Planner should first contact the property owner to determine if the lights have been removed.
Mayor Williams agreed that weather maybe a factor that has hindered removal of the lights, however, he reiterated that he does not favor residents asking for forgiveness of a violation after the fact.
Councilmember Hovey asked if staff could request photographs of the sport court with a date shown as proof they lights have been removed.
Planner Grittman stated he would ask the property owner to provide photos of the site.
Councilmember O’Leary questioned if the City could ask the homeowner if staff could access the property to view the sport court. He pointed out that the building inspectors in the City of St. Paul issue citations for property violations and asked what the difference is in Sunfish Lake.
Attorney Kuntz explained that the building inspector would have access to public areas of the property if they see a violation, however, the larger lots in Sunfish Lake may not provide that type of visibility to view a violation.
Councilmember O’Leary agreed that complaints submitted to the Planning Commission on violations were from adjacent residents who could view the violation.
Council concurred to have the Planner contact the property owner to ask if the lighting has been removed and if staff could access the property to verify this or to submit a dated photograph showing the sport court without the lights. If the lights have not been removed, the Planner should identify a specific date for removal in the spring of this year and send a letter confirming the date for removal prior to the City taking legal action.
Mayor Williams commented that in his opinion the City needs to make it clear to residents that there will be consequences if they do not adhere to the conditions imposed as a requirement for granting of a conditional use permit.
b. CITY ENGINEER: Engineering Activities Undertaken in January: 1.A. Charlton Road Feasibility Report: Engineer Sterna stated he would present the feasibility report for Charlton Road at the March meeting. He advised that field work in January included taking soil borings and locating private utilities on the road. He explained that he would discuss the three (3) options and the different pavement widths, curb location, maintenance vehicle bump outs and possible redesigned of the Sunfish Lake Outlet as well as the proposed easement requirements for Council consideration.
The Engineer advised that the Sunfish Lake Outlet caused icy conditions on the road and frozen culverts. He explained that water caused damage to a home on Charlton Road that was caused from property owner that had plowed snow into the area. He stated that he directed the plowing contractor to excavate the ditch on the north side of the road to help drain the pond, however, this created icy conditions on the road from the water draining across the road and refreezing. He indicated that he would address this issue when discussing the proposed Charlton Road improvements.
Engineer Sterna further explained that financing the project would be challenging over the next three (3) years based on the current improvement bond payment schedule. He stated that the first bond payment for the 2009 Salem Church Road improvements would not be paid in full until February 2020 and the seconded 2014 Street Improvement would be paid in full in 2025. He briefly reviewed possible assessments for the Charlton Road project and explained that he had talked to residents on the south end of the road to advise them that the City would need their cooperation to obtain easements to reduce the costs.
The Engineer discussed the icy road issues related to the design of the Sunfish Lake Outlet and noted that if the outlet is blocked the lake level rises. He further explained that the landlocked wetland in this area also causes icy conditions on the road and that he would ask the contractor to work this weekend to remove the ice from the road and driveway where the snow had accumulated.
B. 2017 Street Improvement Update: The Engineer stated this was discussed earlier on the agenda.
C. Snow Plowing for January: Engineer Sterna advised that the City spent $9,452 in costs for snow and ice removal through January 15. He explained that due to the icy road issues, he asked that the contractor use more salt in the mixture. He noted that one stop sign was damaged due to icy conditions.
Mayor Williams explained that he originally planned to discuss how to notify residents that when the January thaw and refreezing occurs they should be extremely cautious when driveway the roads later on the agenda. He advised that he plans to place an article in the upcoming Sunfish Lake Quarterly newsletter with this information and that residents should contact the City with the icy road locations.
Engineer Sterna also encouraged residents to contact him with this type of information and he would direct the snow plow contractor to the area causing concern.
There was discussion relating to the flooding that occur at the home on Charlton Road.
Shannon Nelson stated that she saw the water running from the home and contacted the City. She also agreed that if residents see something they should say something and commented that we need to look out for each other.
Engineer Sterna advised that the Police Chief also contacted him about the situation.
D. Building and Site Reviews: The Engineer stated there was one minor site review for an address/monument sign at 27 Sunny Side Lane this month.
E. Wetland Conservation Act 2016 Annual Report: Engineer Sterna explained that he is the administrator of the Wetland Conservation Act (WCA) for the City and that he would submit the required report that is due annually to the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) for approval.
Public Works Activities Undertaken in the Month of January: None.
Anticipated Engineering Activities for February: A. Charlton Road Potential Improvements: Engineer Sterna stated he would finalize the draft feasibility report for Charlton Road Improvements and would request a meeting be scheduled to discuss the proposed easements the City would need from residents to construct the project.
B. 2017 City Improvement Project: The Engineer referred Council to his report and explained this was discussed earlier on the agenda.
C. Snow Plow Monitoring: Engineer Sterna stated he would continue to monitor the City streets over the next few months to insure issues are resolved.
Anticipated Public Works Activities for February: None.
Council thanked the Engineer for his report.
c. CITY FORESTER: Mayor Williams explained that the Forester was unable to attend the meeting this evening and referred Council to his report dated January 31, 2017.
d. PUBLIC SAFETY: Chief Shaver reviewed his report dated December 29, 2016 and advised that there were three (3) False Alarms during this period, bringing the total to 41 for the year and slightly lower than last year’s total. He advised that a neighbor had contacted police to report someone trespassing on a vacation home property, however they called after the person had left the property. He asked that residents call immediately when they view something unusual. He discussed other incidents listed in his report and offered to respond to questions.
Council thanked the Chief for his report.
e. FIRE CHIEF: Chief Maczko was present and explained that he had retired after 39 years of service on the Mendota Heights Fire Department, with 31 years in the position of Fire Chief. He introduce the new Fire Chief Dave Dreelan and explained that Dave had been the Assistant Fire Chief since 2009 and had served on the department for 26 years. He noted that Dave had also served in the capacity of Captain and Training Officer with Mendota Heights Fire Department and that he is currently employed full-time as the Deputy Fire Chief in the City of Plymouth.
Chief Maczko stated his father also served as a Firefighter in Mendota Heights for 21 years. He advised that the City of Mendota Heights was in the process of filling the Assistant Fire Chief position at this time. He explained that he was very proud of the people that serve on the volunteer fire department in Mendota Heights and that he has enjoyed working with the Sunfish Lake staff on a daily basis and for special events, such as working with Forester Nayes to determine tree clearance for emergency vehicles on residential properties. He commented that it was with mixed feelings that he retired, but he now wishes to spend time with his family and grand-children.
Chief Dreelan thanked John for his commitment to service on the fire department and for his dedication to make the cities of Mendota Heights, Sunfish Lake, Lilydale and Mendota safer places to live. He explained that nothing should change the level of serve with the transition and that it is his hope to maintain the “status quo” in all the cities the fire department serves. He comments that he has “big shoes” to fill after Chief Maczko.
Mayor Williams thanked John on behalf of the residents, staff and Council for a wonderful job as Fire Chief over the past 31 years. He pointed out that Sunfish Lake is a unique community and that John had been extremely helpful in explaining to residents the difficulties related to emergency vehicle access due to long driveways and tree clearance and narrow roads.
Chief Dreelan stated he would provide information to Council when the Assistant Chief is appointed and he invited all those present to attend a get-together for John Maczko on March 10 at the Moose County restaurant in Lilydale.
Councilmember Bulach sated he has personally known John for a number of years and thanked him for his service to the community; he also welcomed the new chief.
8. NEW/OTHER BUSINESS: a. Consider Resolution to Adopt the Dakota County All-Hazard Mitigation Plan Police Chief Shaver referred Council to his report dated February 7, 2017, regarding the proposed resolution adopting the Dakota County All-Hazard Mitigation Plan. He explained that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requested cities within Dakota County to develop a single, comprehensive plan to mitigate damages from disasters. He advised the plan must be updated every 5 years and that Sunfish Lake had adopted the preliminary plan that was prepared in 2010. He pointed out that Sunfish Lake does not have substantial infrastructure within the City and that he prepared the proposed resolution by using excerpts from the plan. He pointed out that Sunfish Lake could be eligible for funds related to weather incidents, such as tornadoes or power outages from large snowfall events, as well as disasters such as wildfires. He also noted that additional items may be added to the plan as Sunfish Lake could have issues with driveway access for emergency vehicles, storm water ponding, and building codes.
The Chief explained that by adopting the plan the City would have access to Federal funds for disasters and he noted that the City of West St. Paul received funds for tree removal after a severe rain/wind storm in 2011. He advised that the entire plan is available for viewing on the Dakota County website and he offered to respond to questions.
Mayor Williams thanked the Chief for his presentation and asked if there were any questions. Hearing no response, the Mayor called for a motion.
Councilmember Bulach moved to adopt Resolution No. 17-06 titled, RESOLUTION TO ADOPT THE DAKOTA COUNTY ALL-HAZARD MITIGATION PLAN, seconded by Councilmember O’Leary and carried. (4-0)
b Consider Appointment of Shannon Nelson to fill the Unexpired Planning Commission Term of Councilmember Dan O’Leary: Mayor Williams introduced resident Shannon Nelson whom he wished to appoint to the Planning Commission to fill the unexpired term of Councilmember O’Leary. He requested Council ratify the appointment of Shannon Nelson.
Councilmember O’Leary moved to ratify the Mayor’s appointment of Shannon Nelson as a member of the Planning Commission to serve his unexpired term to December 31, 2017, seconded by Councilmember Bulach and carried. (4-0)
Mayor Williams thanked Shannon and welcomed her to the Commission.
c. Consider Request from City Clerk for Funds to Attend the Minnesota Clerks and Finance Officers Association (MCFOA) Conference March 14-17, 2017: Clerk Iago referred Council to her memorandum dated February 1, 2017 requesting to attend the MCFOA Conference in March, 2017.
Councilmember O’Leary moved to approve the request from the City Clerk to attend the Minnesota Clerks and Finance Officers Association (MCFOA) Conference March 14-17, 2017 at a cost not to exceed $500, seconded by Councilmember Bulach and carried. (4-0)
d. Schedule Public Meeting on Tuesday, April 4, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church to Review the City of Sunfish Lake’s Storm Water Pollution Prevention Program (SWPPP) and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES): Engineer Sterna explained that as part of the MS4 permitting process the City must conduct a meeting annually to educate residents on water quality issues, to review the City’s SWPPP Best Management Practices (BMP’s), and to receive comments from the public on the City’s MS4 program.
Councilmember Hovey moved to schedule a Public Hearing on Tuesday, April 4, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church to Review the City of Sunfish Lake’s Storm Water Pollution Prevention Program (SWPPP) and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), seconded b Councilmember O’Leary and carried. (4-0)
e. Consider Placing on City Website Cautionary Advisory for Citizens Regarding Overnight Refreeze of Daytime Melting Snow: Mayor Williams explained that this was discussed earlier in conjunction with the Engineer’s Report.
f. Other: Mayor Williams asked if there was any further business and there was no response.
9. ADJOURN: Mayor Williams adjourned the meeting at 8:15 p.m.
Catherine Iago, City Clerk Richard A. Williams, Jr., Mayor