May 29, 2012 Work Session

Attendance – Reinhardt, Williamson, Stone, Widmer. Hughes absent. Channel Road residents Bob Kesitalo and Alice Schultze, Engineers Darrin Ellingson and Paul Pearson (new engineer), Attorney Beck and Planner Brixius,

a. Staff has received a couple of complaints recently regarding the condition of the Channel Road rain garden. The rain garden has become overgrown with cattails, which have effectively crowded out the original plantings in the garden. Staff has met regarding the rain garden several times in the past few months to come up with possible cost effective modifications to the rain garden which will be discussed with the Council at the work session.
Ellingson said if the rain garden was filled in and established with grass, it would overcome the cattails. He said there was an increase in hardcover and some flood plain studies as well as phosphorous removal sited. Ellingson said cattail removal would be labor intensive. Reinhardt asked about bulldozing it. Ellingson said aggressive maintenance would be required. Reinhardt asked how much the rain garden cost and Ellingson said $4000. Reinhardt said if it was filled in, what would happen to the runoff. Ellingson said the street is the same height so it’s difficult, especially when the lake level is so high. Schultze asked about a grate over the culvert for safety for the kids playing and to prevent muskrats from swimming in. Ellingson said a bar crate can be inserted. Reinhardt asked Tolsma if he’s had any discussion with the Watershed District. Tolsma said he did have a conversation and asked about available funding for upgrading rain gardens. He was told since this was existing there wouldn’t be any funds but they could offer some advice. Schultze said this is not a rain garden; it is a slough. Reinhardt said she would like to see an attractive rain garden. She wonders about an expert opinion from the Watershed. Williamson said part of the problem is a lot of wild growth areas are in more remote areas but this one is so visible and so “in your face.” Williamson wonders about removal of the cattails and more ornamental plants placed. Ellingson said the cattails are the dominant plant and it would be difficult to control it. Williamson wondered about an Eagle Scout project. Reinhardt said she would like to do some more research on options. Stone asked how long the cattails have been a problem. Ellingson said in 2009 the rain garden was established and in 2010 the cattails appeared. Schultze asked about the original wood chips placed because she said as they decayed they smelled awful. She said it’s got to be mulch, not chips. Kesitalo said the rain garden has accomplished water drainage and has had some success in that regard.

a. City and contract staff met on Thursday, May 24th to discuss the street light options and safety concerns with the existing lights. Included for the Council to review are some pictures of the light that recently fell down. The consensus among staff was that the seven street lights with three sides rusted out should be immediately removed and one spare light installed near the Marina Shopping Center so there is still adequate lighting on the corridor. Staff agreed that this would not result in a significant additional financial burden to the City because the street lights will need to be removed regardless of what the Council finally ends up deciding and having them removed will allow the Council to look at their options in a thoughtful and deliberative manner without being rushed to act quickly due to concerns about one of these lights falling.
Tolsma said the street lighting has been broken out into two parts. What needs to be done and the condition of the existing lights, safety concerns, etc. He said safety concerns are paramount. Tolsma said it is suggested that one of the poles on Shoreline Drive be replaced immediately using the spare pole in order to maintain some light in that area. Goman said after meeting with a vendor, refurbished poles are no longer an option. Williamson asked about the base and the bolts. Goman said the base is in excellent shape and the bolts have 90% life left. Widmer asked about the three poles that fell. Goman said one was by the Water Patrol, one by The Mist and one across from the Water Patrol. Reinhardt asked Beck’s thoughts. Beck said pole replacement has been brought up by city staff for several years. She said the recommendation has been to begin replacement as the existing poles have met their useful life. She said given the fact that three have fallen down, this is more immediate. Beck said a deliberate, well-thought out plan is important but the immediacy of the safety concern is more important. Widmer asked about the electrical components. Tolsma said that will be addressed for the long-term project. Widmer said a year or two ago some of Mound’s street light replacement had to be redone because of the wiring. Goman said the existing wiring at the pole locations is overall in good shape. Reinhardt makes a motion to remove the seven poles recommended by staff and replace with the spare pole for now. Stone seconds. Williamson said he was reluctant to move at the last council meeting as he was concerned about the large black out area. He said this does make the most sense after discussing this further but said a plan also needs to be put in place to replace all of the street lights. Williamson also said wiring has to be put in conduit and not direct buried. All votes ayes, motion carries.

b. Included for review is a basic description of the three options the Council has regarding the street lights. Options 1 and 2 would require little additional research and staff involvement. The total costs are based upon received quotes and should be reliable. Option 3 is relatively wide open and would depend on a number of factors. This option would require additional research by staff and engineering involvement. If the Council wishes to pursue this option MFRA representatives will provide the Council with a proposal at the meeting to perform an assessment of the City’s current lighting and electrical system which will give them the needed information to solicit price estimates for option 3.

Tolsma said this is a review of options. He said with options one and two they are confident in the numbers. He said the work has been done for those two options. Option one is cost effective but doesn’t take into consideration for wiring placed in conduit. Option two is with Xcel Energy and are recent numbers. He said there is a high up-front cost and a lease cost but it would be a new system, new conduit. Option three needs more direction from the council. He said the assumptions are new poles, lights and conduit. He said he’s heard feedback about decorative poles and LED lighting. Option three would need a thorough evaluation of the existing lighting. Ellingson said he can recommend an engineering firm. Reinhardt is concerned that this is the same firm that made the mistake on the water plant control panel. Tolsma asked about the not to exceed figure of $1500 for an evaluation. Widmer asked about the removal of the old poles and have that factored into the costs. A bid of $800 per pole has been received for removal of the seven emergency poles. Goman said Hunt Electric was also considered as well as the electrician the City uses. Goman said City of Orono is also in this process so there might be some partnering for better prices. Reinhardt said if this is going to cost a lot of money, she would like to know options about LED and additional options for the design. Lighting life and level of energy should be costed out and financing options should be explored. Ellingson said there are a lot of options for lighting but decisions need to be made about style and type of lights because options may dictate according to what is existing. Reinhardt said this project is top priority. She would like to see this move forward, preferably before the end of the year. Williamson agrees but wants to do the assessment and come to a conclusion about the plan. Reinhardt wonders about approving Barr Engineering to do the study. Williamson said the most important thing is the evaluation be done effectively and done well. Goman said this is not a bid report, just an evaluation. Tolsma said regarding the decorative option, he wonders if the council would be looking to stay similar with The Mist. Widmer suggests getting everything figured out ahead of time and then just figure how many poles would be needed. Goman asked about three different styles, plain option similar to what’s already in place, a decorative pole and a hybrid pole. Ellingson said it might be worthwhile to skip the $1500 evaluation and decide to put in an entire new lighting system. Williamson still believes it’s necessary to have an explanation when questioned by the residents. Williamson wonders if other surrounding cities are considering new lighting projects. Goman thinks the only close community is Orono. It’s decided Barr Engineering will conduct the evaluation. Reinhardt said with the seven light poles coming down Celebrate Greater Mound was contacted to hold off on the banners currently being printed. Williamson suggests a separate account be started for this lighting project.

Ellingson introduces his replacement because of his departure. Ellingson explained that Pearson has been with MFRA since 1973. Ellingson said it was a pleasure to work for the City and he really enjoyed his time here.

Paul Pearson said he would like to stay for the meeting. Goman said he’s going to leave also unless he is needed. Williamson asked about Boomerang. Goman said Mnspect inspected last month and the wells are still disconnected. He said the readings are similar, not indicating there are any changes.

Williamson asked Ellingson about the sport court location due to the fact he is very knowledgeable about the drainage issues. Ellingson said the proposed spot is close to the playground area and it’s naturally high anyway. It will be elevated anyway so it is a nice area to place the court. Widmer asked about the pooling of all the water after all the rain. Goman said he mowed today and the same spots that are usually wet are wet.

a. Al Brixius will provide the Council with an update regarding the current status of the west end of Certified Auto. Included for review is a memo and plan from Al.
Brixius said in 2006 a plan was approved for expansion and a landscape plan was furnished by Certified Auto. In 2010 there was an expansion proposed for the building however, conditions for landscaping were not required as his footprint remained the same. Brixius said they are looking for permission to approve the esthetics of Certified Auto and work with Norling to find a low maintenance landscaping plan. Phleghaar said he would be willing to work with the city. Brixius is looking for permission to make this more attractive and work with the ponding area. Reinhardt asked about the public right-of-way and boulevard. Brixius said this will be concentrated on the west side. Reinhardt said she’s a little hesitant as Phleghaar’s the one that took down city trees. Brixius said he’s just looking for permission to meet with him and Norling and they would be asking for an easement. Brixius said Phleghaar should be responsible for continued maintenance. Brixius said there is some fill in the pond that has to be removed and Phleghaar knows he is responsible for this. Brixius said this is an opportunity to work with a local business person and get something for the city. The council doesn’t want Norling to charge for the design, especially if he’s going to be doing the work.

Brixius said he is also looking for a resolution to adopt the plan for street beautification. Reinhardt said on the beautification, that is a formality. Williamson said there were maps and species designations of plantings from previous meetings. He wonders if those votes didn’t constitute in aggregate. Brixius said he’s looking for a formal agreement instead of looking back for multiple approvals from years back. Brixius said he will have a resolution prepared.

4. WATER RATES – 8:40
a. Staff was recently contacted by the manager of boomerang labs. He was wondering if the City is looking at making an adjustment to the water rates. I told him that the Council had not discussed the issue lately and that I would bring it to the Council’s attention for direction.
Reinhardt said as background this business uses a large amount of water due to their manufacturing process. The business dug two wells to circumnavigate the costs but they were not allowed to hook the wells up. Reinhardt said in the meantime water conservation rates were installed by mandate that increased the water rates even higher. That has since been repealed. Widmer wondered about metering this separately. Reinhardt thought there was a situation where that wouldn’t work. Boomerang wants the water rate conservation rates taken away. Tolsma said he’s just wondering if the council is interested in looking at this. Reinhardt thinks it should be looked at especially since it’s no longer required to charge for water conservation. Williamson suggests looking at it as fairness to the system and economic impact and any change not take effect until 2013.

a. Position description included.
Tolsma said four out of eleven applicants were interviewed. The candidate pool was very good. He said they are leaning towards one individual. All are from the area. One is a local individual who graduated high school a couple of years ago. Two are college students and the fourth one is graduating high school this month.

a. June Channel 8 & 20 Schedules
b. Spring Clean Up Estimate


Lord Fletcher’s music started and Reinhardt and Tolsma were there yesterday. It was also observed from neighboring properties. Residents in Orono on Fagerness Point could hear the sound. Reinhardt said Fletcher’s has done a lot of things to monitor the noise. They’ve purchased a sophisticated decibel meter and they have a sound technician at every live music concert to control the levels.

Williamson asked about the status of the wells. Tolsma said a chunk fell in and blocked the well. Then there was a cave in. About 14 feet of sand was removed. A cavern was created, which is good because it can collect more water but the hopeful depth was not reached.

Paul Pearson said a memo was provided and a seamless transition is guaranteed.

Adjourned at 9:25 p.m.