Mayor: Dan O’Leary

Councilmembers: Mike Hovey JoAnne Wahlstrom, and Shari Hansen

City Attorney: Tim Kuntz

City Building Official: Mike Andrejka

City Planner: Ryan Grittman
City Engineer: Jeff Sandberg

City Forester: Jim Nayes
City Treasurer: Ann Lanoue

City Clerk: Cathy Iago

Councilmember Steven Bulach was absent

1. CALL TO ORDER: Mayor O’Leary called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m.

2. CONSULTANT REVIEWS: Mayor O’Leary explained the purpose of the special meeting was to conduct reviews for the consultants. He explained that each consultant would review their work plan for the past year and discuss any upcoming issues or concerns they foresee for the upcoming year.

CITY CLERK/ADMINISTRATOR: Mayor O’Leary and the Council agreed that the City Clerk/Administrator had done an excellent job during the year and thanked her for her service to the City.

Clerk Iago asked that Council consider purchasing two (2) computers for her and the City Treasurer to use for Sunfish Lake work only so that these computers could then be passed on to future employees. She also recommended that Council consider conducting an audit since one had not been done within the last five (5) years. She explained that it would be beneficial for both the City and the Treasurer to ensure that the City accounts are in order.

Council concurred with the Clerk’s suggestions.

BUILDING OFFICIAL: Inspector Andrejka explained that he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the City and that he is accessible for inspections or questions seven (7) days per week.

The Building Inspector advised that staff communication had improved this year and that he had discussed the need to make sure information is communicated between the staff to insure projects are done correctly.

Councilmember Wahlstrom explained that she had contacted the Inspector to advise that a large storage structure had been constructed very close to her property line and asked if a permit had been issued. She asked if the Inspector had spoken to the Planner regarding this matter.

Inspector Andrejka explained that he had referred her to the Planner since he was not knowledgeable about the zoning code requirements. He stated that if the structure is under 200 sq. ft., no permit is required to build it and that the Planner would have knowledge of the setback requirements for the structure. He commented that the Planner had advised him it would be difficult to find the property and stated he would contact the property owner.

The Inspector briefly discussed the fact that there are no big changes to the Building Code anticipated in 2019.

Council thanked the Inspector for his service to the City.

CITY FORESTER: Forester Nayes advised that he had worked on the City Newsletter and Arbor Day flyer, the wildflower planting program and pruning and planting of trees this year, including those planted on Arbor Day. He indicated that there may be additional pruning required next year in conjunction with the proposed Charlton Road improvement project. He advised that there appears to be progress with the dumping on Upper 55th Street since the “No Dumping” signage was installed. He also noted that the Emerald Ash Borer (EBA) problem would increase and that there were some areas in the City that would need to be addressed.

The Mayor asked if the Forester notifies residents when EAB is found on their property and if they are responsible to remove the diseased tree. The Forester responded yes to both questions and explained that first he verbally inform the resident and then follows up with a formal letter.

Forester Nayes recommended that it may be beneficial to ask citizens to re-instate the removal of invasive species in Musser Park, such as the “Buckthorn Bust” to remove Buckthorn which was held a few years ago. He suggested that after the removal the City could conduct a community bonfire, either near Halloween or the New Year, for residents to attend.

Councilmember Hansen recommended that the Forester contact Marie Nelson on Windy Hill Court and ask if she would help with the proposed project since Marie is an avid supporter of Buckthorn removal.

Forester Nayes also expressed his pleasure that his idea to form the “Welcome Committee” had been such a success and noted that the group works very well together and has had several great ideas.

Council thanked the Forester for a job well done.

CITY ATTORNEY: Attorney Kuntz discussed several items whereby the City took initiative to think “outside the box” and/or were proactive prior to issues arising. He commented that the Council had enacted the Small Cell Wireless Ordinance and had worked with residents on Acorn Drive to resolve their septic system issue. He noted that the discussions for the Charlton Road improvement project were very professional and positive. He recommended that the 3-year Deer Management Program be reinstated as it is working very well.

Councilmember Hovey asked if there were any challenges the Attorney could identify for 2019.

The Attorney explained that he did not foresee any large issues and that the biggest challenge may be related to finding a means to finance the infrastructure improvements.

There was discussion relating to legal issues associated with possible changes to the City website and citizens leaving email messages on a government website.

Attorney Kuntz explained that there may be Data Privacy issues and that he would review any proposed changes to ensure the City has no liability. He stated that it is a privilege to work for the City and that he hopes to continue the working relationship.

Council thanked the Attorney for a great job and providing excellent information.

RECESS: Mayor O’Leary called for a brief recess for dinner at 6:00p.m. Council reconvened at 6:15 p.m.

CITY TREASURER: Treasurer Lanoue stated that the budgeting process has worked well and that the major challenge in 2019 would relate to the financing for the Charlton Road project. She explained that she continues to monitor the City budgets, and continues working with Ehlers & Associates and staff to insure the City is financially secure.

Mayor O’Leary advised that the Clerk had recommended the City conduct an audit since this had not been done for five (5) years and asked that the City purchase computers for the Clerk and the Treasurer to be used only for City business purposes.

Treasurer Lanoue agreed it would be appropriate to have an audit for the City and supported the City purchasing computer equipment for staff. She thanked Council for their support and stated she enjoys working with Council and staff.

Council concurred that the Treasurer was doing an excellent job.

CITY PLANNER: Mayor O’Leary thanked the Planner for his report dated November 28, 2018 outlining the past year of work.

Planner Grittman stated that he hopes to make improvement with the pre- and post-construction site visits to ensure that all conditions have been met and that they are completed promptly. He advised that this year was better, however, he still needs to maintain better review with smaller contractors and to communicate the conditions of approval to deter problems.

The Planner explained that he would also work on defining and firming up the landscape plan at the Planning Commission level so that Council doesn’t have to deal with those issues at their review.

Planner Grittman recommended that the Site Plan Review Checklist be updated as it had not been done since 2011 and that he would work with staff on the project. He noted that he would prepare two (2) separate documents, one for Major Site Plan Reviews and one for Minor Site Plan Reviews. He explained this would clarify the requirements for each type of application and cause less confusion for the applicants.

The Planner advised that next year he would be submitting the updated Comprehensive Plan for adoption by Council and that he did not see any major challenges in 2019. He stated he would strive to work with appropriate staff members to ensure that all conditions are met for approved projects in the New Year.

Councilmember Wahlstrom asked if the Planner had reviewed the building that was constructed near her property line at 2159 Charlton Road. She explained that she asked the Building Inspector about the structure and he referred her to the Planner. She noted that she had sent an email to the Planner regarding this matter but had not received a response. She asked that he review the structure to determine if it is set too close to her property line and if it should have been reviewed by the City prior to its installation. She noted there was also another smaller structure next to the building.

Planner Grittman explained that his office had some issues with receiving emails and that he would definitely review the property to determine if an application is required. He indicated that the smaller structure may house electrical components and that would have been reviewed by the State Inspector, not the City.

Council thanked the Planner for his service to the City and for his report.

CITY ENGINEER: Engineer Sandberg explained that his strengths are substantial experience with all aspects of engineering, his extensive experience in governmental operations, and excellent people skills. He explained that he was able to resolve the easement issue with the Charlton Road project and that he was pleased with the outcome so the City did not have to proceed with condemnation.

The Engineer stated he would work on building a rapport with MnDOT and neighboring cities in the upcoming year. He indicated that challenges in 2019 may relate to inconvenience with the Charlton Road project and he plans to keep residents advised on the project. He stated that Engineer Sterna would still be involved in the final project design and that he would communicate information to residents.

Engineer Sandberg stated he would recommend keeping the road maintenance schedule as listed in the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) in order to keep the roads in good shape and prolong their lifespan.

Council thanked the Engineer for his report and service throughout the year.

Mayor O’Leary asked if there were any further comments and there was no response.

3. ADJOURN: Mayor O’Leary called for adjournment 6:58 p.m.

__________________________ ___________________________

Catherine Iago, City Clerk Dan O’Leary, 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.