June 23, 2020 Special City Council Minutes

JUNE 23, 2020 – 5:00 PM

1. CALL TO ORDER - The special meeting was called to order by Mayor Rockvam at 5:00 p.m.

Council Members Jerome P. Rockvam, Mayor; Mark Chase; Jeff Hoffman; Pamela Horton; and
Present: Gary Hughes

Staff Present: Dan Tolsma, City Administrator; Brian Hare, City Engineer; and Greg Pederson, Mound Fire Chief

2. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE – Mayor Rockvam led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.


M/Hughes, S/Horton to adopt the meeting agenda.

Motion carried 5-0.

a. West Arm Road West Utilities, Street, & Access Discussion
i. Project Recap
ii. Water & Sewer Repair Update
iii. Street & Stormwater
iv. Emergency Access & Fire Hydrants
v. Financial Considerations
vi. Resident Notification and Outreach

City Engineer Hare presented the West Arm Road West feasibility report. He discussed options available for water, sewer, street, and stormwater improvements. He further discussed:
• Project Area History
• Fire Apparatus Access Road restriction, NFPA/IFC Non-compliance and Risk
• Aging Sanitary/Water and Risk
• Aging Street and Drainage needs
• Proposed Improvements, Schedule, and Cost

Mound Fire Chief Pederson discussed public safety issues regarding fire truck access on West Arm Road West. He stated that the road, hydrants, and bridge are grandfathered since they were built to Code at the time they were installed but are not up to today’s standards and truck sizes. He stated that the three priorities that Council should consider are 1) increasing bridge height/width to more easily accommodate a ladder truck, 2) adding fire hydrants, and 3) widening the road since it is currently only 14 feet wide.
Mayor Rockvam asked if the Hennepin County Regional Rail Authority (HCRRA) was open to leasing, selling, or donating land to widen the road.

City Engineer Hare responded that HCRRA has said they would be open to leasing or selling land. However, HCRRA noted that the land has been listed as a potential light rail expansion area. While this particular expansion is highly unlikely, HCRRA did mention this potential future project in regards to an easement.

Council Member Hughes stated that residents have voiced concerns about traffic speed increasing, especially on the sharp corner, if the center bridge pillar is removed.

City Engineer Hare responded that there are ways to stripe and sign the road to help calm traffic.

Mayor Rockvam stated he was in favor of separating the bridge project from the proposed water and sewer improvements.

City Engineer Hare responded that based on the types of contractors that would be bidding on the water and sewer project, the bridge would need to be a separate bid process anyway.

Council Member Chase was in favor of splitting the projects for bidding, moving forward with the water and sewer improvements including adding fire hydrants, looking for a solution to increase the height/width of the bridge, and receiving more data on the proposed road improvement project. He further mentioned that he believes road projects should be on a schedule and be more of a data-driven decision instead of just basing all road projects on public opinion at the time.

Council Member Hoffman agreed with Council Member Chase and asked what the cost savings is for trenching versus sliplining.

City Engineer Hare responded that they are comparable costs with an open road but West Arm Road West is not an open road so the outliers are the shoreline area and front yard issues because the project needs to be as minimally invasive as possible. He stated that trenching would potentially bring 10-20% cost savings.

The City Council consensus was to move forward with water and sewer improvements including adding fire hydrants, look into the option of leasing or buying HCRRA land to widen the road, and researching an option to increase the height/width of the bridge for fire truck access.

City Administrator Tolsma stated he wanted to discuss the financial decisions for the proposed projects including bonding options.

Council Member Hoffman asked if the City currently depreciates its assets in order to build a replacement fund for its infrastructure.

City Administrator Tolsma responded that the depreciation is accounted for in regards to the City’s water and sewer infrastructure. There is currently some money in the cash reserves for water improvements. However, sewer improvements hadn’t been depreciated and accounted for in many years and that was not changed with a rate increase until just a couple of years ago.

City Administrator Tolsma stated that a financial decision does not need to be made tonight but he wants to the Council to start thinking about options. He stated that while there may be enough money in cash reserves to cover the West Arm Road West water and sewer improvements, but that it would be the last major project that could potentially be paid with cash reserves until there is another bond and refunding resolution.

Mayor Rockvam asked for City Administrator Tolsma to send the City Council the current amount in the City’s cash reserves so they can be more informed when making their decision.

City Administrator Tolsma stated that rates are low right now and the Council needs to decide what sort of financial position the City would like to be in. He added that if the cash reserves are used for the project it basically is being paid for by residents that have lived here for quite some time and built up that reserve fund. Whereas, if the City bonds for the project it is paid for by current and future residents since they will be seeing the benefits of the project. This is philosophical question that the Council will need to decide.

City Administrator Tolsma discussed resident notification and outreach options especially once the project gets closer. He added that the normal process of having an open house is complicated by the current COVID-19 pandemic so alternative options are being discussed.

Mayor Rockvam discussed the option of renting a larger space because he believes projects of this type need to be discussed and presented in person.

Council Member Chase brought up the idea of having a video presentation prepared for distribution before an in-person meeting. He believes this option could answer many questions ahead of time to make the in-person meeting as efficient as possible.

The City Council discussed notification options including video presentations, an online open house, renting a larger space for an in-person meeting, and distributing printed brochures.

Mayor Rockvam would like the Council to give serious thought to the Public Works contract and getting into a long-term agreement with the City of Orono once the PeopleService contract expires.

The City Council consensus was they would like to see bids to compare service options and pricing.

City Administrator Tolsma responded that starting a proposal process early is good for all parties involved. He added that he will contact Orono, Mound, and PeopleService to discuss interest, possible services that could be provided, and a timeline for proposals.



The meeting was adjourned by unanimous consent at 6:25 p.m.

Date Approved: July 20, 2020

Dan Tolsma, City Administrator

Theresa Schyma, City Clerk