April 15, 2019 Work Session Minutes

APRIL 15, 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; Mike Kuno, City Engineer; Brian Hare, Assistant City Engineer; Mary Tietjen, City Attorney; and Theresa Schyma, City Clerk

a. 2019 Shoreline Drive ADA Project
b. 2020 West Arm Road West Project
c. 2023 Sunset Drive Area Project

Assistant City Engineer Hare provided an update on the 2019 Shoreline Drive ADA project. He stated that the bid opening is April 24. After the bids are reviewed they will be considered at a Council meeting in May.

Assistant City Engineer Hare stated that the Sunset Drive area project was pushed back to 2023 on the list of priorities in order to match the timeline for County road improvements.

Assistant City Engineer Hare discussed the West Arm Road West project including life expectancy and current degrading condition of pipes, inflow and infiltration, and access issues. He stated that a feasibility study will be done to assess the pros, cons, and ways to best accomplish the necessary updates.

Mayor Rockvam asked about the projected cost to update West Arm Road West. He stated that the area has never had any water main breaks, and even though there has been infiltration, he questions spending the money on this project when there haven’t been any issues.

City Engineer Kuno responded that the televised reports showed high levels of inflow and infiltration. He added that there is also definitely the potential risk of a sewer main break on the lake side of this area due to the current location of lines. He further stated that identifying potential costs for this project will be looked at during the feasibility study.

Council Member Kane Palen asked what the liability is and questioned if the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) would need some input on this project due to the potential risk of a sewer main break on the lake side.

City Engineer Kuno discussed potential ideas to address the access issue for trucks during the project. He also discussed the option of moving the water and sewer lines away from the lake and possibly realigning West Arm Road West with Island Drive to create a true intersection.

Mayor Rockvam stated he is concerned at the amount of options the engineers will come up with especially when considering the cost to the city.

City Administrator Tolsma stated that the situation on West Arm Road West, with its access issues and location of water and sewer lines, is definitely not ideal but the technology now is better so that the City could keep the lines by the lake in a safer manner than before. There is never a guarantee but the technology is much better than when the lines were installed.

City Engineer Kuno discussed trenchless technology.

City Administrator Tolsma stated the reason for prioritizing the West Arm Road West project is that if there is a failure, it will be a major incident. If the sewer fails on the lake side it means that sewage would go into Lake Minnetonka and backup into people’s homes.

Council Member Pavot agreed and stated that the City can only kick the can down the road so far before something fails. She added that the City’s infrastructure needs to start being replaced and since it can’t all be completed in one year, projects need to be put on a schedule and phased in when they make sense.

Council Member Kane Palen agreed and said that completing this project is a better option than ignoring deteriorating infrastructure. She agreed with Council Member Pavot that the Council must look at infrastructure needs more frequently and start completing some of these projects.

Mayor Rockvam asked what the next step is in the process.

City Engineer Kuno stated he has applied for PointSource and Public Finance Authority (PFA) grants for the West Arm Road West and Sunset Drive projects. He stated that if the City is awarded grant funds it would only push the West Arm Road West project back from the Summer of 2020 to the Fall. He added that the next required step is to conduct a feasibility report or an engineering report if the city is awarded a PFA grant.

The City Council discussed the City’s current assessment policy for infrastructure projects.

Mayor Rockvam stated that the policy should not be arbitrary; it should be consistent and fair for all residents.

Council Members Kane Palen and Pavot stated that the policy needs to make sense and sometimes a change needs to occur if it is in the best interests of the City.

City Engineer Kuno stated that there are cities going to city-wide assessment policies since assessments are one of many tools to help fund projects for street improvements.

City Attorney Tietjen agreed that you don’t want a policy to be arbitrary but the Council should have a current discussion to revisit the policy. It is possible to change the policy but the Council should have a sound basis for why they want to move away from past policy.

City Engineer Kuno added that another metro city recently changed their assessment policy and in the spirit of fairness, credited people who had recently gone through the assessment process.

City Administrator Tolsma stated that the next step is to review the proposal for a feasibility report in May.


City Administrator Tolsma noted that the Ehlers representative scheduled for tonight’s work session was unable to attend so he will reschedule for a later date.


City Administrator Tolsma provided a brief summary of the progress regarding the proposed rental ordinances. He stated that the Planning Commission has scheduled the public hearing for May 8.

Mayor Rockvam asked about notifying property owners of proposed ordinance.

City Administrator Tolsma discussed the methods that City staff are using to ensure that all residents, property owners, and multi-family buildings are notified of the public hearing on May 8 so that feedback is received.


5. ADJOURN – The work session was adjourned by unanimous consent at 6:59 p.m.

Date Approved: May 6, 2019

Dan Tolsma, City Administrator

Theresa Schyma, City Clerk