August 4, 2014 Council Meeting

Mark Reinhardt,

  1. CALL TO ORDER – Mayor Reinhardt called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
  2. ROLL CALL – Sippel, Williamson, Bren, Hughes, Reinhardt
  3. INTRODUCTIONS – Reinhardt introduced the council and staff to the public. Administrator Tolsma, Clerk Lewin, Engineer Pearson, Attorney Beck, Utility Superintendent Goman
  5. ADOPT AGENDA – Hughes wants to add under Misc the improvements to the boat landing and he has a draft request written. Williamson moves to adopt the agenda with changes, Hughes seconds. All votes ayes, motion carries.
  6. ADOPT CONSENT AGENDA – Reinhardt said she will remove 6a. and those minutes will be added at another meeting.   Bren makes a motion with those changes and Sippel seconds to adopt the consent agenda. All votes ayes, motion carries.
    1. City Council Regular Meeting Minutes From July 21, 2014
    2. City Council Work Session Minutes From July 28, 2014
  7. PUBLIC FORUM – No one.
    1. State Senator Dave Osmek –

Osmek said from the previous session there are highlights. They passed a sales tax exemption for joint powers.  Osmek said they are working on convincing Mndot for a full purpose lane to help with the backups.  Osmek was named for minority for freshman republicans.  He was also named best friend to the taxpayer for 2014.  Osmek was named champion of transit authority. He isn’t a fan of light rail but supports busing.  Excelsior Commons Park was not added to the bonding bill this time but it is the first step. The no wake has been pulled on Lake Minnetonka.  Osmek said he is open for concerns, comments, questions.  Williamson asked about the JPA and said there was major capital spending that fell through the cracks in accounting for the elements.  He said it was disappointing the city couldn’t take advantage of this sales tax exemption.  Williamson said the LMCC is a small operation, it’s capital intensive to upgrade technology, and there could be $150K of equipment upgrades that would help if they could take the sales tax exemption.  Osmek said it’s not effective until 2016.  He said electric power generation was not touched upon and there is a problem with the electric energy being produced by Sherko which is a coal burning operation and because of the oil trades tying up railcar shipments, they are behind.  Osmek said he’s on energy environment committee.  Williamson wonders if he knows about this coal problem and some initiative towards solar.  Osmek said solar and wind is becoming more competitive.  Solar is the most costly.  Osmek said he’s toured the Sherko plant and they provide a buffer but they haven’t been apprised regarding the coal supply issue.  He said there has been discussion about converting coal to natural gas but not sure about which way it’s going.  Hughes asks about the DNR and they are not allowed to enforce the LMCD code and only the state code.  He wonders if Osmek knows someone who can influence this.  Hughes said with a lake of 14000 acres and wonders about the comparison of patrolling street officers of the same size.  He said there is a big gap.  Osmek said the LMCD has created the jurisdictional control and this would have to be removed.  Osmek said he was contacted by Mayor Hunt of Minnetrista an there will be changes coming for water quality and water treatment.  They are going to look at a regional solution and this is a heads up. Reinhardt said the city of Spring Park is already talking with the MPCA and looking at a superfund site.  Reinhardt asked about the next session ad what would be a big win.  Osmek said they passed 150 million dollar funding mechanism to give cities one-time cash.  Everyone would have gotten money for pothole repair and they didn’t get it.  He is interested in Excelsior Commons, City of Wayzata for downtown redevelopment, Hwy 12 to move the diamond lane from CR 15 to Carlson Pkwy and, a road project in Medina. 

    1. Resolutions 14-15 & 14-16: West Arm Central Street Improvement –

Reinhardt said initially the engineer will give a brief recap of the project.  Pearson said he will give a brief overview of the feasibility report and will start with the “existing conditions” section.  A map was reviewed at the public hearing with the existing conditions and proposed improvements identified.  He said the existing roadway varies from 21 feet and narrows to a width of 12 feet.  Pearson said it’s impossible for two vehicles to meet. Vehicles must pull-off onto a driveway area to allow a vehicle to pass. Vehicle types include resident traffic, fire trucks, police, ambulances, garbage trucks, recycle trucks and delivery trucks. Pearson said this narrow road is unsafe. It is my understanding, a few second delay for an emergency vehicle could result in death to someone who may be having a heart attack, or a stroke.   Snow piles restrict pulling off the road to allow passing in the winter months.  He said the proposed improvements previously discussed include removal of the existing pavement, roadway widening to 20 feet, concrete curb and gutter on the south side and ribbon curb, including curb and gutter on the north side.  The existing driveway at the west end will be used as a turnaround.  Drainage improvements will include tipping the grade of the street from north to south, and draining to a catch basin on the south curb line.  All drainage on the street will be directed so it won’t go on the private property to the north.  The three power poles will be relocated to the south. Xcel will relocate at no cost to the city. Tree limbs will be trimmed and topping off of trees will be completed.  The total estimated cost for the improvement is $136,000 and includes costs for contingency, professional and administrative services.  The city’s assessment policy can be levied on a front foot, or lot unit basis.  The lot unit basis is recommended for this project. The costs for the improvement project would be assessed to ten units, or possibly eleven with Lord Fletcher’s Apartments.  The city pays for 75% and 25% would be assessed to benefiting property owners. The estimate is $3000-3500 for each property based on the 10 or 11 units assessed.  Timeline is estimated to be a 2 week delay from what was discussed at the public hearing. A bid opening date of September 9th is proposed, with the Council reviewing the bids at the September 16th meeting. In summary, the project is feasible, is cost effective, will improve vehicle safety and access, and improves the drainage.  Williamson asks about including or excluding professional services and Pearson said it’s included in the $136K estimate.  Williamson asks about the curbing planned.  On the north side there is a slight slope on the ribbon curb and can be driven over.  Williamson wonders about driveway cuts and Pearson said the B618 curb and gutter is identical to what is on Warren Avenue.  There is a tapered slope transition of about 3-5 feet on each side of the driveway. 


Reinhardt said there are memos from the fire and police chiefs. Tolsma said Chief Pederson will be here later.  The police chief has internally reviewed the proposal and an onsite visit was performed.  He said the police department has no objections and find benefit for emergency response. There could also be increased enforcement for problematic speeders and speed trailers could be used. 


Reinhardt said Attorney Beck has a memo about assessment deferrals for senior citizens. Beck said a question came up at the work session about residents who may have a hardship paying assessments and there is a state statute about disabled and if it’s a hardship the assessment can be deferred.  Beck said the council would have to adopt guidelines and standards.  The assessment deferral would stay in place until that person died, sold the home, there was no longer a hardship or the property goes out of homestead classification.  She said the council could also create another classification as long as there is no special benefit. 


Sippel wonders if the council decides to not go forward, does that preclude from revisiting the decision or does the process have to be restarted. Beck said if there's substantially 25% or more change in the cost of the project, the public hearing would have to be re held.  She said if the decision is within the next six months and the costs haven’t increased substantially, they could move forward. 


Reinhardt said there were additional new letters sent in from residents. She said Ed and Shawn Tripett are for the drainage and neutral on the road project.  An e-mail from Brandon Heckman says he is against the road project and feels drainage first. Mark Reinhardt is in support of road improvement project and Randy and Susie Valek are for the drainage plan and the road project if it will improve the drainage but have concerns about road width and speeders. 


Reinhardt said she would open this for public comment but there is a lack of participants.


Suspend this and go to Osmek.


Reinhardt said Fire Chief Pederson submitted a memo for the council. Pederson said as background in July of 2007 MN adopted the 2007 version of the MN Fire Code.  That adoption became law in 2007 and affects all of MN.  He said Spring Park formally adopted the code. Pederson said what the fire code says is road improvements and new road construction related to that should meet the fire code.  The fire code states roads should be a minimum of 20 feet.  He said when responding to a fire in Spring Park, they bring multiple units which are 9 or more feet wide.  He said recently a garbage truck snagged some overhead lines and the fire department was summoned.  Pederson said if the road is going to be improved it should be a minimum of 20 feet wide.  He said there is vague language about the fire chief having the ability to base decisions and other options.  Reinhardt said there were references about the minimum of 26 feet and she wonders why the difference.  Pederson said it has to do with fire hydrants placed on the road.  Reinhardt asked about new neighborhood standards width and Pederson said any road with hydrants is a 26 foot road minimum. 


Council, questions for staff. She said there are resolutions that state the comp plan doesn’t have to be reviewed and there is a resolution regarding if unfavorable bids are received, the project could be withdrawn.  Williamson asked about Resolution 14-16 regarding the relationship with the comp plan and wonders if it’s a companion to the proposed improvement and not a stand alone.  Tolsma said that is correct.   Hughes said he watched the council meeting on tape because of his absence and he wants to back track on the drainage project and the bid opening is August 26th.  Hughes noted Sippel commented that when looking at this road improvement project and the project on WAR East if done together – Sippel said he mentioned this road project would be small and might not gather that much interest from contractors.  Reinhardt said her guess is even if these projects are combined, in the eyes of a contractor it’s still probably still a small contract.  Reinhardt said this project needs to pass by 4/5ths vote and WAR East only requires 3/5ths because of the existing petition.  She said the other process is the special assessment hearing. 


Williamson indicated previously a desire to speak with some of the residents and he did speak with several of them. What he’s learning in an attempt to probe further is public testimony was a negative reflection on a road project.  He thought it was a well conceived project so he’s been surprised at the negative response.  Williamson said the people he spoke with had slightly different viewpoints and it reflects comments made at the public hearing.  Williamson said he didn’t talk to the Reinhardts.  He said there a few people that said if the road can be shown will do something measurable for the drainage, they’re open.  He also said if the project is inevitable they recognize the project won’t be cheaper later.  He said if it has to happen and it helps the drainage, half the people are open to that.  Williamson said he hears there are real issues with speeding.  He said he thinks the public affected are not really bending and they still hold to the other points of opposition.  Williamson likes the project and thinks it’s been well conceived but if the neighborhood doesn’t want it, he doesn’t want to cram it down their throats.  He said the timing might be wrong. 


Hughes said he has made similar statements that the residents need to buy into the project and if they wait a year, benefits might be seen or maybe not. Hughes wonders if the project is done, what can legally be done with the private road being the same size.  Reinhardt said the private road hasn’t been considered. 


Bren stands by her feeling that this has been revisited over and over again and the council needs to make a decision. She doesn’t feel it should be entirely up to property owners as the council was elected to make decisions on safety.  Her feeling is if the water drains to the north, there still will be a drainage problem. 


Reinhardt said in conjunction with the drainage, the road project addresses the drainage.   The road reconstruction addresses public safety issues that exist today and a reconstructed road will be a safer road.  She said the condition of the road shows it’s the 9th worst.  She appreciates the council members who are taken into the residents feedback but ten years ago they didn’t want it either so she wonders how long it takes for people that don’t like change.  Reinhardt said speeding can be addressed.  She said she doesn’t think a width of 12 feet she be held to. 


Hughes moves to order the plans and specs and go out to bid but requesting a separate motion to approve the project.  Reinhardt seconds.  Hughes thinks it’s necessary to find out exactly what it costs.  Williamson wonders about the expenditure it takes to do this.  Pearson said based on historical information and based on the plan created today, the number is $7-8,000 to prepare the plans and obtain bids from contractors.  Sippel said the bulk of that work is not a throw away.  He said if it went out for bid, the throw away is issuing the bid process.  Williamson said if bids come back higher than the estimate, they can be turned down but what happens if they don’t?  Beck said she would have the resolution say there is a right to reject all bids.  Williamson wonders if that requires a 4/5ths vote and Beck thinks it would be a majority.  Sippel said in general he’s in favor of most road projects because he believes most roads are substandard.  He’s concerned about rushing this through.  He’s concerned about distracting staff from the road drainage project and Lift Station #5. Roll call vote:  Sippel, no; Bren, yes; Hughes, yes; Williamson, no; and Reinhardt, yes.   Motion passes three to two to go out for bids to see about costs. 


    1. Resolution 14-18: Water Tower Settlement Agreement –

Beck said this is a minor revision handed out. She said the project started at a public meeting about the concern about delaminating of the coating on the water tower.  The city engaged a litigator and since that time outside council has engaged in negotiations with the contractor trying to resolve the issue without further legal process.  He believes there is a resolution that is acceptable and he would recommend to the city.  Beck said negotiations are over the scope of the work and what the city will pay for.  The contractor and subcontractor have agreed to a reduced price.  She said the last that happened in a closed session, outside council was directed to go back to the contractor to talk about preventing splatter and protecting the work site.  A provision has been added on the last page under scope of repairs that the contractor will attach sails to prevent splatter. The contractor will indemnify the city.  Sippel wonders about what’s been spent on legal fees so far.  Tolsma said he doesn’t have the exact figure but he could have it after tonight.  Sippel said it would be nice to communicate the value of the repair and legal fees.  Williamson said plus it would be educational for other issues that lie ahead.  Williamson moves adoption of Res 14-18. Sippel seconds.  All votes ayes, motion carries.


    1. Mayor and Council –
  • Reinhardt said of the 14 Lake Minnetonka cities, ten cities expressed interest in the scenic by-way. She said Mndot said a community must opt in if the byway goes through the city. She said what’s really wanted is to organize the cities to promote the Lake Minnetonka area as a joint effort. It’s been decided to abandon the scenic byway but to work towards a collaboration of cities. Reinhardt said candidate election filings close on August 12th.

  • Hughes said the LMCD is back to normal speeds and the lake level has gone down and boaters can proceed with caution.

  • Sippel asks about the primary election on August 12th. He asked about the process. Reinhardt said the election primary is held at the normal voting precinct.

  • Williamson said he read where Harold Pellet passed away. Williamson said Pellet was a community supporter of Gillespie Center and WeCan. He said Pellet was involved in senior activities and very prominent. Williamson said he has been a frequent visitor to the city in support of continuing funding.

    1. City Administrator
      1. Water Quality Update Draft Letter –

        Tolsma said this is a second attempt at a draft letter prepared by Nancy Beck. Sippel wants to confirm that this will go to all of the 55384 residents. Goman said the quarterly sampling was done today for investigative and the results should be available in a couple of weeks. Reinhardt thinks the letter is great and it reads clear and the residents will understand it. Hughes moves to direct staff to send out the letter. Bren seconds. All votes ayes, motion carries.

    1. City Engineer – nothing.
    2. City Attorney – nothing.
    3. Utility Superintendent -

Goman said regarding Lift station five they are anticipating construction mobilization on Tuesday the 12th and 45 days should not be a problem. Some of the equipment has been received and expect on August 18th for the generator.  He said the FEMA flood declaration closed July 11th.  There was over $10,000 in outside costs.  Williamson asked about above and beyond the immediate costs there was pursuing of a pump.  Goman said the FEMA team will pay for the repairs of the pump but they won’t pay for the upgrade.  He said they are looking at grant money and they still have a rental pump they are going to hang on to. 

    1. August 13 – Administration Committee – 1:00 PM
    2. August 13 – Police Commission 8 a.m.
    3. August 13 – Planning Commission – 7:00 PM
    4. August 13 – LMCD – 7:00 PM
    5. August 18 – City Council Meeting – 7:30 PM
    1. Bills & Payroll –

Sippel noticed there is a missing page from the detail register. He said under equipment bought for the lift station and he’s surprised they’re coming through already. Goman said it’s 30 days and delivery has been taken.  Sippel makes a motion and Bren seconds to pay the claims. All votes ayes, motion carries.

  1. MISCELLANEOUS (Information Only)
    1. Channel 20 / Channel 8 August Schedule
    2. Hughes – Hennepin County boat landing improvement project.

Hughes said he produced a handout as a draft. He said when looking at dynamic signs and when putting the ordinance together they were working with the Water Patrol for a community sign.  He said when this came forward, the thing that caught him is the changeable message sign.  The suggested size is twice as big as what is allowed by ordinance.  Hughes said he is concerned about the location of the sign being placed by the water versus by the road.  Hughes wonders where this was left off.  Goman said part was budget and part funding.  There was a portable sign purchased down at the landing.  He said it was the same time the conservation district was looking at flags and risers on bridge decks so it fell apart. Reinhardt said Tolsma has talked with Tony Braugh of Hennepin County and there is 2014 money available.  Reinhardt thinks the location of the sign is priority one.  Tolsma said Brixius is going to be in contact with Braugh on this.  Williamson wonders about other issues and Goman said they’re looking at the whole project.  Hughes said his biggest concern is medium resolution and he thinks graphics and higher resolution should be pushed.  Sippel said he thinks extra funds from the city should be considered in order to have a sign that meets the needs of everyone.


  1. ADJOURNMENT – Sippel makes a motion and Bren seconds to adjourn the meeting at 9:18 p.m. All votes ayes, motion carries.



                                                                                    Wendy Lewin, City Clerk



Dan Tolsma, Administrator