September 16, 2019 Work Session Minutes

SEPTEMBER 16, 2019 – 6:00 PM

CALL TO ORDER - The work session was called to order by Mayor Rockvam at 6:00 p.m.

Council Members Present: Jerome P. Rockvam, Mayor; Pamela Horton; Gary Hughes; Catherine Kane  Palen; and Megan Pavot

Staff Present: Dan Tolsma, City Administrator; Brian Hare, City Engineer; Mary Tietjen, City Attorney; and Theresa Schyma, City Clerk


City Engineer Hare presented a summary of the feasibility study including project history, options for improvements, and consequences of failure with current system. He also provided an update on removing the center pillar of the bridge.

City Administrator Tolsma discussed recent conversations with the Three Rivers Park District (TRPD) and Hennepin County Regional Rail Authority (HCRRA) and the general feeling is that they are willing to work with the City on whatever we want to achieve but the part where it gets fuzzy is when the discussions turn to which entity is going to pay for any changes.

City Administrator Tolsma also stated that the Mound Fire Department has said they would be satisfied with getting the road as close to compliant as possible due to the reality of the environment of the area; Fire Chief Pederson is pragmatic and is agreeable with a substantial improvement.

The City Council discussed the options presented including proposed cost/budgeting, timing, resident impact and input, and potential issues with property acquisition.

Mayor Rockvam stated he is in favor of moving forward on the water and sewer portions of the project but views the road and bridge options as separate projects due to the time and cost involved and also the property acquisition issues for the access road portion of the project.

Council Member Kane Palen asked why the City needs to do a special assessment for these types of projects.

City Engineer Hare discussed Spring Park’s assessment policy and stated it is one of the most generous assessment rates he has seen.

Mayor Rockvam stated he needs more information, including resident input, before moving forward on the road and bridge portions of the project.

Council Member Hughes agreed with Mayor Rockvam.

Council Member Pavot stated there is a benefit to combining projects for cost savings. She added that she would like to fix the access road issue and finally get that road up to code and in compliance with NFPA.

Council Member Kane Palen agreed with Council Member Pavot and stated the history of this project is that it keeps on languishing. She added if the City is going to continue to improve its infrastructure then the Council needs to put more effort forth. She would like the City to put a calendar date on these infrastructure improvement projects and follow through.

City Administrator Tolsma stated that staff can prepare a survey for property owner input and see what feedback is received; perhaps the City is only hearing from a few residents and that their views may not reflect those of the majority on West Arm Road West.

Council Member Pavot stated it is important to get more information for cost and resident input, but she does not want these projects to be pushed aside. She wants to the Council consider the long-term goals of the City especially where health and safety are concerned.

Council Member Horton stated she was also in favor of moving forward with water and sewer.

Council Members Kane Palen stated she agrees with the water and sewer improvements, but she has lived in this city too long and seen many improvement projects fall by the wayside. She added that cutting up projects also reduces the chances of getting competitive bids.

Council Member Pavot agreed that these infrastructure improvement projects have been issues for decades and does not want to see them pushed any further.

Mayor Rockvam stated he would not allow this issue to fall by the wayside. He added that he wants input from the property owners on West Arm Road West before any decisions are made other than water and sewer.

City Administrator Tolsma asked the Council for clarification about whether staff should move forward with taking bids for the water and sewer portion of the project.

The Council consensus was to move forward with taking bids on the water and sewer portion of the project on West Arm Road West.

City Administrator Tolsma stated that staff will begin looking at water and sewer bids and preparing a survey for the property owners on West Arm Road West to gather feedback on infrastructure improvements.


Due to timing this item was tabled until a future work session.


City Administrator Tolsma briefly discussed the 2020 preliminary budget and tax levy process. He stated the proposed general budget increase is 2.5% but the overall preliminary levy increase is 5.4%. He further discussed how the police and fire service increases of 2.8% impacted the general budget and levy. He added that the City is finally seeing some dividends on sliplining due to payments to the Met Council going down.

City Administrator Tolsma discussed the increasing costs for the City’s two clean-up events each year. He stated that the program has the best of intentions, but staff have noticed items coming in from outside the city in order to take advantage of this generous program. A discussion should occur about what makes the most sense for the community going forward.

Mayor Rockvam responded that the City’s semi-annual clean-up events should be discussed at a future work session.


5. ADJOURN – The work session was adjourned by unanimous consent at 7:12 p.m.

Date Approved: October 21, 2019

Dan Tolsma, City Administrator

Theresa Schyma, City Clerk