Acting Mayor:  Mike Hovey

Councilmembers:  Steven Bulach, Shari Hansen, and Ginny Beckett

City Attorney:  Tim Kuntz

City Planner: Lori Johnson

City Engineer:  Jeff Sandberg

City Treasurer:  Ann Lanoue

Building Inspector: Mike Andrejka
City Forester: Jim Nayes
Police Lieutenant:  Matt Swenke

City Clerk:  Cathy Iago

     and Members of the General Public.

Mayor Dan O’Leary and Police Chief Brian Sturgeon were absent.

1.   CALL TO ORDER:  Acting Mayor Hovey called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.  

2.  APPROVE AGENDA:  Acting Mayor Hovey asked if there were any additions or corrections to the agenda.

Acting Mayor Hovey stated that the Forester requested an item be placed on the agenda under 8.d. Other: Bids for Tree Removal in Right-of-way.

Clerk Iago asked that the dates for the MCFOA Conference request under Item 8.c. be corrected from March 22-25, 2020 to 2022.

Clerk Iago advised that there was no report submitted by the Forester this month.

Acting Mayor Hovey asked if there were any further changes and there was no response.

Councilmember Bulach moved to adopt the agenda as amended, seconded by Councilmember Beckett and carried. (4-0)

3.  CONSENT AGENDA:  Acting Mayor Hovey asked if there were any questions or comments relating to any items on the Consent Agenda.  He noted that the expenditures exceeded the revenues and asked the Treasurer if that was normal.

Treasurer Lanoue responded yes and noted that this would be the case until the City receives the tax settlement from Dakota County in July.

Building Inspector Andrejka stated that he issued three (3) permits and closed three (3) permits this month.

The Acting Mayor asked if there were any further comments or questions and there was no response.        

Councilmember Bulach moved approval of the Consent Agenda as presented, seconded by Councilmember Hansen and carried. (4-0)

a.   Regular Council Meeting Minutes of February 8, 2022

b.   List of Bills

c.   Monthly Financial Statements

d.   Receive Building Inspector Report

e.   Receive Forester Report

f.    Receive Public Safety Report


4.  COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC:  The Acting Mayor asked if there were any comments from the public and there was no response.

5.  PRESENTATIONS:  a. Neighbors, Inc. 50th Anniversary, Charlie Thompson, President/CEO and Beth Baumann, Board of Directors Chair:  Acting Mayor Hovey introduced Charlie Thompson and Beth Baumann from Neighbors, Inc. who asked to appear before Council to provide information on the organization and its growth over the last 50 years.

Beth Baumann thanked Council for allowing Neighbors, Inc. to visit this evening to discuss the services offered by this organization.  She stated that the organization began in 1972 and was founded by volunteers from six local churches. She explained that this is a nonprofit human services organization that serves South St. Paul, West St. Paul, Inver Grove Heights, Mendota Heights, Sunfish Lake and Lilydale. She advised that it is a volunteer-based model that is supported by 17 paid staff members.  She noted that the organization is funded primarily by individual donors, foundations and community partners.

Ms. Baumann reviewed the four areas of service that are provided to these communities; hunger relief, resiliency, financial empowerment and community engagement. She stated that the need for Neighbors, Inc. has grown due to the pandemic, job loss, rising costs, low wages, and unexpected expenses, to name a few.

Ms. Baumann noted that the original mission of the organization was to provide neighborly assistance through the use of volunteers. She reviewed the programs that were offered in the early years.  She stated that Charlie Thompson would review the current areas of focus.

Charlie Thompson reviewed the organizations current four (4) areas of focus: Hunger Relief, Financial Empowerment, Resiliency, and Community Engagement. He explained that Neighbors, Inc. offers food to those in need through curbside pick-up, home delivery, in-person shopping and Neighbors Express. He stated that the organization sets up food shelves in apartment complexes in Dakota County and that residents are able to shop for food at those locations.  He further advised that there are financial advisors available to help persons decrease debt, increase savings, and achieve financial well-being. He stated that the organization offers Clothes Closet Thrift Store gift cards, small sums grants and holiday gift programs.   

Mr. Thompson explained that community engagement is important and includes their volunteer focus, community partnerships, internships and conducting events. He reviewed the current renovations to the Neighbors, Inc. building and outlined the events planned for the 50th Anniversary Celebration.  He stated that events are planned for the evening of September 16 and during the day on September 17, 2022 at their newly renovated building in South St. Paul.  These events include tours, music, and food. 

Mr. Thompson advised that there are plans for a $50,000 Challenge Match whereby donors put forward $50,000 and every dollar raised will be matched up to that amount and added to the Neighbors, Inc. Endowment Fund for the future. He invited everyone to attend, to support the organization, to volunteer or to donate.  He stated that anyone interested could reach out to him for more information and offered to respond to questions. He thanked Council for their time and the opportunity to present this information.

Acting Mayor Hovey asked if there were any questions.

Councilmember Beckett asked if the $50,000 benefactors would only provide that amount if $50,000 is raised in donations or if it would be pro-rated. She also asked about the number of volunteers that work for the organization.

Mr. Thompson explained that the donors will match every dollar donated up to the $50,000 amount.  He explained that the number of volunteers had decreased substantially since the onset of the pandemic.

Councilmember Hansen thanked Beth and Charlie for appearing before Council. She noted that she sat on the Board of Directors with them both and that the organization was a great place to volunteer or make donations.

Ms. Baumann noted that March is Minnesota FoodShare month and she encouraged everyone to make a donation to a food shelf.

There was a brief discussion on where to drop off donations at the building in South St. Paul during its renovation.

Acting Mayor Hovey thanked Ms. Bauman and Mr. Thompson for their presentation.

6.  PLANNING COMMISSION/PLANNER’S REPORT:  a.                Planner’s Report:  Planner Johnson referred to her report dated February 21, 2022 and stated that she responded to quite a few questions regarding potential land use applications for the past month.  She advised she continues to meet with the mayor and staff regarding outstanding escrow issues. She noted that much of her time had been spent drafting the new land use application as outlined in her report.
The Planner reviewed the following items for the month of February as listed in her report:

1.  369 Salem Church Road:  Worked with the landscape contractor for this project to tie up loose ends with respect to site lighting, the fountain and the driveway. Progress is being made with respect to this project.

2.  300 Salem Church Road: There are no updates on this unpaid escrow at this time.

3.  2150 Charlton Road: The applicant made application for an amendment to the Major Site plan approval that was granted by Council on February 8.  The amendment relates to proposed changes to the landscape plan and will be reviewed by the Planning Commission at their March 17 meeting. A public hearing will be held at that Planning meeting. 

Planner Johnson noted that the amendment relates only to changes in the landscape plan for the project.

Acting Mayor Hovey asked if this application would be returned to Council for approval and the Planner responded yes.

4.  2 Sunfish Lane:  The property owner submitted an application for a Minor Site Plan Review and Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to install an accessory structure in the front yard of the property and for more than one accessory structure on site.  The proposal includes construction of a sport court in the front yard of the property, construction of a play structure in the side yard, and addition of a fence next to an existing accessory structure. 

Planner Johnson explained that this item was tentatively scheduled for review by the Planning Commission at their March meeting pending receipt of additional information needed prior to Commission review. She stated that the applicant submitted the information required prior to the deadline, therefore, the matter will be reviewed at the March meeting. 

She noted that the applications for 2150 Charlton Road and 2 Sunfish Lane would be submitted for Council review at their April meeting.

5.  New Land Use Application:  Planner Johnson stated that she, the Mayor and the City Engineer worked together to draft a new land use application.  She explained that the new application includes changes to the fee schedule with respect to application fees and escrows.  She stated it is her plan to present a code amendment item relating to the new fees and escrows to the Planning Commission for a public hearing and recommendation at their March 17, 2022 meeting. She noted that the amendment would be presented to Council at their April meeting. The Planner advised she would not be in attendance at the April Council meeting.

Acting Mayor Hovey asked if there were any questions and there was no response.

Council thanked the Planner for her report.

7.  ENGINEER’S REPORT:  City Engineer Sandberg referred to his report dated February 24, 2022 and reviewed the following items:

1. Engineering Activities Undertaken in February:     A. Meetings Attended:  Staff attended a meeting for the Dakota County Regional Rodway System Visioning Study and a Technical Advisory Committee meeting of the Lower Mississippi River Watershed Management Organization (LMRWMO) as part of their Water Plan update effort.

B.  2022 Street Maintenance Projects:  Engineer Sandberg referred Council to the Feasibility Study dated March 1, 2022 that outlines the proposed 2022 Street Maintenance Improvement Projects, includes the estimated project costs, and funding for the projects. He explained that $145,000 was budgeted for the improvement projects identified in the five-year Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) Plan adopted by Council. He stated there are four (4) roads included in the project; Salem Church Road West, Acorn Drive, Roanoke Road and Angell Road West. He stated the estimated cost for the project would be $142,000 for sealcoating of the streets with a new technology.  He referred to the maps in the feasibility report showing the location of the roads and noted that Angell Road East was completed in 2021, therefore, only the west portion of the road would be included in the project. He also noted that Salem Church Road east was included in an earlier project, therefore, only Salem Church Road west would be included in this project. He provided the estimated cost breakdown as follows: $104,000 for construction, $36,000 for Engineering and Administrative costs. He noted that the projects would not be assessable and that the city would pay the entire cost.

The Engineer stated that Council authorization is required to proceed with the project.  Staff recommends Council accept the Feasibility Study and authorize preparation of plans and specifications for the project.  The plans and specifications would be presented to Council at their April meeting for approval.  Staff would then request authorization to advertise for bids at the May meeting, then present the bids for Council action at their meeting in June, for construction to begin this summer.

Acting Mayor Hovey asked if a formal motion is required to proceed and Attorney Kuntz responded yes. He asked if there were any questions and there was no response.

Acting Mayor Hovey moved to accept the Feasibility Report for the 2022 Street Maintenance Projects dated March 1, 2022 and authorize the City Engineer to prepare plans and specifications for the project, seconded by Councilmember Bulach and carried. (4-0)

C.  Met Council 2022 CAMP Program Participation:   Staff requests Council approval to support and fund participation in the Citizen Assisted Monitoring Program (CAMP) for the three (3) lakes in the City. 

Engineer Sandberg explained that the program is sponsored by the Met Council and uses volunteers to collect water samples from each of the three (3) lakes within the City for submission for testing water quality.  He noted that the three (3) volunteers have agreed to continue taking samples for testing in 2022.  He noted that the cost for the program is $380 for each lake and that the costs were budgeted for 2022.  Staff requests Council approval of the request.

Councilmember Bulach moved to approve the City of Sunfish Lake participation in the 2022 CAMP Program sponsored by the Metropolitan Council and to authorize the expenditure of $380 per each of the three (3) lakes, seconded by Acting Mayor Hovey and carried. (4-0)

2.  Building and Site review in the Month of February:  A.  Staff conducted reviews for the following properties in February: 

- 2 Sunfish Lane:  Staff reviewed two separate submittals of a revised plan for sport court, play structure and dog kennel on the property.

- 2 Acorn Drive:   Staff participated in a conference call with the property owners and their builder to discuss the application for a new home.

- 205 Salem Church Road:   Staff participated in a conference call with the representative for the owners of the Maken’s addition.  There was discussion related to the potential development of up to four (4) lots on the parcel.

3.    Public Works Activities Undertaken in the Month of February:  A. Staff coordinated work with the city’s snowplow contractor for several snow clearing events in February.  Engineer Sandberg commented that there had been substantial snowfalls this winter, however, he had not received the same number of complaints as in previous years. He suggested this may be due to the pre-treatment used by the contractor this year.

Acting Mayor Hovey asked if Dakota County still plans to correct the friction treatment area at the intersection of Salem Church Road and Delaware Avenue this year.

Engineer Sandberg responded yes, that was his understanding and that he would keep in contact regarding this matter. 

4.   Anticipated Engineering and Public Works Activities for March:   A.   Staff continues to work with the City’s snowplow contractor to keep roads clear and safe.  Residents are encouraged to email the contractor with concerns at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and to copy the City Engineer at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Council thanked the Engineer for his report.

8.  NEW/OTHER BUSINESS:  a. Consider Resolution Approving a 3-year Contract Between the City of Sunfish Lake and the Metro Bowhunters for the Deer Management Program:   Attorney Kuntz referred to his memorandum dated March 1, 2022 and stated that since 2009 the City had approved the Deer Population Management Plan on an annual basis.  He explained that during the last six (6) years, the Deer Management Committee requested Council approve a three-year term plan which included permitted and prohibited hunt dates for the Metro Bowhunters and residents.  In 2020, Council adopted the first three-year plan that ran for 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Attorney Kuntz explained that the Committee had suggested Council adopt another three-year contract for this purpose that would cover 2023, 2024 and 2025.  He referred to the proposed agreement that outlined the new proposed hunting dates and an amendment to the agreement that deletes the requirement that Metro Bowhunters provide the addresses of the qualified archers that will participate in the hunt.  He noted that the request to delete their home addresses was due to Data Privacy and the fact that some hunters had experienced protests at their residents when conducting hunting in other communities.

The Attorney explained that he had discussions with Sgt. Matt Muellner who requested that this matter be tabled until the May meeting in order to allow the Metro Bowhunters time to review the contract terms. He indicated that there does not appear to be any areas of dispute, however, it would be appropriate to allow the Metro Bowhunters time to review the document. 

Attorney Kuntz stated that Lieutenant Matt Swenke was in attendance to respond to any questions from Council.

Acting Mayor Hovey asked if there were any questions and there was no response.

Acting Mayor Hovey moved to table the matter of the Deer Management Program contact renewal and amendments to the May 3, 2022 Council meeting, seconded by Councilmember Bulach and carried. (4-0)

b. Consider Resolution Reestablishing Precinct and Polling Location:  Clerk Iago explained that the State of Minnesota conducted a redistricting and that the City is required to reestablish precinct boundaries within 60 days of when the legislature has been redistricted.  She noted that the resolution must contain the boundaries of the voting precinct and the polling location.

The Clerk advised that the City Attorney had reviewed the proposed resolution presented this evening and expressed his concern that it may not contain the correct description of the precinct boundaries.  She further advised that there is a time limit to submit the resolution to the State and Dakota County.  She asked that Council adopt the resolution with the knowledge that staff would insert the correct boundaries prior to submitting it to the appropriate entities.

Acting Mayor Hovey asked if there were any questions and there was no response.

Acting Mayor Hovey moved to adopt Resolution No. 22-06 titled, RESOLUTION REESTABLISHING PRECINCT AND POLLING LOCATION, seconded by Councilmember Beckett and carried. (4-0)

c. Consider Request from City Clerk to Attend the Minnesota Clerks and Finance Officers Association IMCFOA) Conference, March 22-25, 2022:   Clerk Iago referred to her memorandum dated February 23, 2022 requesting funds to attend the 2022 Minnesota Clerks and Finance Officers Association Conference (MCFOA) on March 22 through 25.  She explained that the cost for conference registration and lodging was budgeted and would not exceed $650.00.

Acting Mayor Hovey asked if there were any questions and there was no response.

Acting Mayor Hovey moved to approve the request of Clerk Iago to attend the 2022 MCFOA conference at a cost not to exceed $650.00, seconded by Councilmember Hansen and carried. (4-0)

d. Consider Quotes for Tree Removal in City Right-of-Way:   Forester Nayes referred to the email that he sent to Council earlier today and explained that the three (3) quotes he submitted were not received in time for inclusion in the agenda packet last week.  He advised that approximately three dozen trees were marked with red circles and numbers for removal at various locations along Salem Church Road, Charlton Road, Angell Road and Sunnyside Lane.  He stated that all these trees are within 15 ft. of the street edges and may become a safety risk if not removed.

The Forester stated that all three (3) of the companies submitting quotes have done work for residents in the City, have appropriate insurance coverage for this type of work and cover the removal project as specified.  He noted that he has seen the work product of all three companies and that all the work was good quality.

Forester Nayes reported the following three (3) quotes:

SavATree Tree and Shrub Care         $11,484.00

Morgan’s Tree Service                        $11,794.00

Birch Tree Care                                     $15,875.00

The Forester recommended hiring the lowest bidder, SavATree Tree and Shrub Care, at a cost of $11,484.000.

There was discussion regarding the price discrepancy between the quotes. Forester Nayes explained that it may be due to the fact that SavATree is affiliated with a national company or based on the difference in company pricing.

Acting Mayor Hovey asked if there was a time-frame for the work and if there would be one billing statement.

Forester Nayes explained that the work may begin between mid-March or mid-April, depending on weather conditions. He stated that there would be one bill for the project.

Acting Mayor Hovey asked if there was any further business and there was no response.

Acting Mayor Hovey moved to accept the quote of $11,484.00 from SavATree Tree and Shrub Care for tree removal along City right-of-way as outlined by the City Forester, seconded by Councilmember Hansen and carried. (4-0)

9.  ADJOURN:   Acting Mayor Hovey adjourned the meeting at 7:55 p.m.

____________________________                                   ________________________________

Catherine Iago, City Clerk                                                   Mike Hovey, Acting Mayor

We are a small community proud of our heritage and committed to the preservation of our pristine, rural character. We cherish our privacy, yet know we are part of a thriving Dakota County and the greater Twin Cities metropolitan area. With these partnerships in mind, we strive to preserve that unique spirit which is Sunfish Lake, Minnesota.