August 25, 2014 Work Session

Reinhardt, Williamson, Hughes, Bren, Sippel, Administrator Tolsma, Clerk Lewin, Utility Superintendent Goman, Engineer Pearson, Attorney Beck, Resident Catherine Palen


    1. See attached staff memo. –

Tolsma directed staff to look at fire service contract and states it’s increasing over $4K and police has a larger increase. He said the snow removal line item increased and it’s always a guessing game.   Williamson asked about the sidewalk element and Tolsma confirmed, it’s snow removal.  Tolsma said staying with the general fund under letter f., the PERA employer contribution is increasing.  Tolsma said health insurance premiums are going down, LMCD and assessment are the same.  He said there is an increase in the bond repayment.  Tolsma said when looking at water and sewer, the Met Council sewer charge is increasing significantly.  Tolsma refers the council to general fund revenue under property tax levy and that increased.  He said the other line item that changed was in lieu of taxes and this is revenue from Pres Homes based on a calculation when Brimeyer was here.  He said the good thing is it has gone up with the increase of market value.  Sippel asked if it is specifically for the nursing home and Tolsma said it’s for the facilities that are not tax exempt (the care center). Reinhardt asked for questions on the revenue side as it hasn’t changed much.  Hughes asked about a study about a permitting fees and if the city is charging enough to cover costs.  Discussion held about escrows collected and costs exceeding the escrows and perhaps increasing the fees.  Williamson asked about Other Revenue and what it is.  Tolsma said it’s Pres Homes conduit financing money.  He said it isn’t an annual collection so it’s better to start with zero.  Reinhardt said there is an old category for Channel Road and it was used to keep track of the expenses but she thinks that is long done and isn’t relevant any longer. 


Tolsma directs the council to the expenditure side. Tolsma wondered if the council had questions.  Sippel referred to page six, streets and sidewalks, improvements other than.  He asked if this was an anticipated project of $50K.  Tolsma said it’s a sub department under the PIR.  Tolsma said it ties into the CIP with retaining walls and sidewalks.  Williamson questions the numbers assigned to the streetlight project and thinks it’s high and not reflective.  He wonders if other things got attached to that.  Hughes said there are a couple things not reflected.  He wonders about potential dollars for the community dynamic sign project.  He said as part of that they can submit a matching grant application to Save the Lake for additional revenues.  He said there is going to be a movement for next boating season, back in 2003-2004 where cities and marinas kicked in to get more deputies assigned to Lake Minnetonka and that has started to gain traction.  Williamson remembers this happening and then additional funds were dedicated to two additional deputies.  Williamson said the numbers need to be found within a month for the preliminary levy. 


Reinhardt asked about benchmarks for staff salaries. Tolsma said he put in a 3% and it’s allocated.  Hughes asked about the public works rental and new equipment or things that need to be purchased.  He wondered if there are major purchases factored.  Tolsma said this budget assumes continuing the lease with Norling.  If the lease is reworked due to capital purchases – Hughes wonders about the ATV with the City’s sign on the side and he wonders if this is being considered.  Tolsma said he doesn’t have that factored.  Tolsma said this would perhaps go on the CIP.  Williamson asked about this and Goman said it was used by the part-time person to touch up utility poles and traveling about the city to do various tasks.  Goman said there hasn’t been anything budgeted because there hasn’t been a long-term lease secured yet. 


Reinhardt asked about the spring and fall cleanup and Lewin said Allied Waste has agreed to continue this. Reinhardt asked about energy savings reduction from the street lights and Tolsma said it’s based on actual for the year as only 40% has been spent so far.  Hughes asked about trees, new/replacement.  He wondered about the trees at Bayview parking lot.  Goman said the plan is to remove and not replace them.  There is a plan from Norling about some planters and Tolsma said it was discussed at Admin.  He said they’ve gone back to Norling to see if there are other options.  Williamson asked about scheduling treatment of the trees for Emerald Ash Borer.  Goman said it’s the off year.  Williamson thought if the trees were a certain size they need treatment every year and it would fall under tree maintenance. 


Reinhardt wondered if there are other things to go in the budget. Hughes said he doesn’t think the steps in front of city hall are well lit.  Beck agrees and she thinks they are a safety issue.  Reinhardt is interested in pursuing a panic button system in their council chambers and city offices in the event there was a situation at a public meeting to trigger a police call.  Reinhardt said the technology is available and it’s not high priced.  Williamson agrees this should be looked at and perhaps a phone call to the City of Shorewood.  Goman said the City of Orono has this installed.  Palen asked about streetlights in the town and she thinks the lights on her street are wanting.  Palen said the Federal Marshalls are giving lessons regarding armed individuals who show up in public places.  She agrees the panic buttons are important.  Williamson wondered about perhaps tree trimming is necessary because he thinks the illumination should spread.  Palen said no, there are dark spots and they purposely leave their house lights on because of the dark street. 


Reinhardt said the levy right now is about 1.5% over last year’s levy. She wonders if the council is comfortable with that or direction to staff.  She said she doesn’t know if there are places to cut and wonders if they should pad some numbers.  Reinhardt said Tuesday, September 2nd they could have the second draft and September 15th it could be certified.  She said the deadline is September 30th but Tolsma will not be present at the work session.  She said there is time to discuss this further.  Williamson suggests shooting for the 15th and the certification could be laid over to the 30th pending waiting on some particular numbers they are waiting for.  Reinhardt said both the water and sewer show transfers from the fund balances and she said for water and sewer there is depreciation for capital equipment replacement.  She said if they’re doing a transfer it defeats the depreciation purpose.  Goman shows a piece of pipe taken from the lift station currently under construction showing corrosion to the pipe and discusses life expectancy of replacement pipes. 



 See attached response from Orono regarding our request on the feasibility of having them provide water until the TCE filtration system can be installed. In discussions with Orono City Administrator Jessica Loftus she has noted that the price per unit is negotiable if the council wishes to pursue a partnership. Assuming we use their residential customer rate of $5.27 per unit for an average year (80,000,000 gallons) the cost would be approximately $422,000.


Reinhardt said there has been a response from Orono regarding the potential request. Williamson said their response was legitimate.  Williamson said he thought this was a component and it might be a supplemental request.  Reinhardt said the MPCA board meets tomorrow to decide if Spring Park will be included on the state’s superfund list.  She isn’t planning on making any comments but may mention some of the demographics. 


Williamson asked about pump three which is pumping the majority of the water right now and if there are back-up parts in case well three goes down. Williamson wonders about going on the Interconnect and having TCE’s showing up in the neighboring system.  Reinhardt asked about the recent test numbers and Goman said he has not seen the results yet from three weeks ago.  Reinhardt asked about the most recent letter expected to be mailed and Tolsma said tomorrow or Wednesday will be the mailing.  Goman said there is a contract that says the price will be averaged between the two cities based on the city’s rates.  Sippel said he assumes this would be a supplemental process wherein the city of Spring Park continues to use well three and supplements with the Interconnect.  Tolsma said he is in negotiation with Orono but they are waiting for tomorrow’s designation for the superfund site.  He said the MPCA really requested that Spring Park go through the motions to explore options.  Reinhardt said this was dictated by the Health Department.  Sippel thinks this should be put on the record that this is supplemental.  Williamson thinks this should be put on hold for at least a week.  But, he thinks council members need to know they aren’t needing a contract to do the deal.  Sippel asked about pumping from well 1 and 2 to backwash.  He wonders if the tank is overfilled.  Goman said when they’re filling the tower, sometimes all the wells kick in.  Sippel asked if the back flush is automatic after pumping numbers and Goman said it’s after a certain number of hours.



Palen loves the work sessions because there is a lot to learn. She said with the street (West Arm Rd) presently being torn up, she wonders about West Arm Central and East and she wants to establish an e-mail chain to keep everyone in the loop.  She is concerned about snowbirds leaving and not being kept informed.  Palen said it’s been a challenge for this reconstruction process including the new house (4336) that is being built at the same time.


Goman is looking for feedback on updates he has sent out regarding weather alerts as part of his emergency management. Sippel said it’s no more than what is already available.  Reinhardt thinks it’s helpful.  Williamson said the key thing is timeliness. 


Adjourn at 8:29 p.m.



                                                                                    Wendy Lewin, City Clerk



Dan Tolsma, Administrator