December 17, 2014 Council Meeting





DECEMBER 15, 2014 – 7:30 PM


Catherine Palen, Al Luehmann, Richard McCollum, Laura and Tom Geib, CJ Lunning, Carl Rosen, various government students.

  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 staff and council to the public. Administrator Tolsma, Clerk Lewin, Engineer Pearson, Attorney Beck.
  5. ADOPT AGENDA – Williamson makes a motion and Hughes seconds to adopt the agenda. All votes ayes, motion carries.
  6. ADOPT CONSENT AGENDA – Sippel makes a motion and Bren seconds to adopt the consent agenda. All votes ayes, motion carries.
    1. City Council Work Session Minutes from November 24, 2014
    2. City Council Regular Meeting Minutes from December 1, 2014
    3. Administration Committee Minutes from December 10, 2014
  7. PUBLIC FORUM – No one.

Reinhardt said there will be a recap by the engineer then there will be questions from the council and next, questions from residents followed by discussion.  Pearson discussed his bid summary memo.  Pearson said bids were obtained for West Arm Rd East (WARE) and West Arm Rd Central (WARC).  Pearson said there were three options.  He said two options have been previously discussed.  Pearson refers to an overhead slide showing the various options and said  option three basically extends the storm sewer and puts new storm sewer in the street ending it where it ends now.  He said this wasn’t identified in the feasibility report and is shown now in case there is opposition from the property owner. 


Pearson said there were four bids from contractors. 

He said for WARC, the bids range from $91,8K to $115K. 

He said the low bid for both parts, if the project is approved, is Northwest Asphalt for $103,7K.  WARE with option one range was $441,3K up to $528K. 

Option 2 with the drainage swale extension to the lake, the low bid of $407,7K to $498K with Northwest being the low. 

For option three for WARE, the low bid was$389K to $474K. He said Northwest Asphalt was the low bidder for the work. 

Pearson said the feasibility report estimated the costs and WARC had an est of $113K based on 2014 costs and since construction will be 2015 they’ve added in 3% so cost adjusts to $116,7 with inflation and comparing the low bid 103,7 of Northwest Asphalt.  Pearson said for

WARE with option one, the engineer's estimate was $567K versus the actual low bid of $441K. 

Pearson said contingencies have been included of 10%. He said during design if an item requires additional cost for the construction, contingency has been figured.  He said there weren't very many surprises.  Pearson said with Option two, the estimated cost was $516,6 versus low bid of $407K from Northwest Asphalt.  Pearson said Option three did not have an estimate completed previously. 


Pearson said WARC had been bid in September and the bids came in at $135K versus the current bid from Northwest of $103,7K.  Pearson said references were checked and NW is in their option reputable and responsible.  Pearson said they’ve worked with them and found they are a good contractor to work with. 


Reinhardt asked Pearson in outlining the options for drainage, other than costs, she wonders pros and cons and what the differences are.  Pearson said the staff preference is a storm sewer alignment due to sediment collecting versus the drainage swale.  He said if there is sediment collected it will be at the discharge point and it should be minor. 


Tolsma said Pearson outlined the bids.  He said once the bid prices are in for six options they calculated the city costs and resident costs.  Option one, the bid was for $545K of which the city would be $477 and the resident's share of $67,1 this is the total of both streets.  He said WARC would be $2900 assessment and WARE would also be about $2900 assessment. Tolsma said for option two, both streets, the bid price was $511 and the city's share of $444K and resident's share of $67,1K for $2900 assessment.  He said option three is both east and central and drainage option 3, the bid price of $493K/City's cost $426K and resident's cost of 67K for a $2900 assessment. 

Tolsma said project option 4 is if the council leaves off central and has drainage option one for WARE the bid price of $441K, the city's cost is $400K and WARE residents cost of $41,2K with an assessment of $2900.  He said option five is the same, $407/366/41,2K. Option six with the WARE Drainage is $389/348/41,2.  He said all options would have an assessment component of $2900 per household.  Reinhardt asked about Lord Fletcher's contribution and Tolsma said  for Option 1-3 it would be a $2900 assessment; for WARC it would be $17K for frontage on WARE.  Options 4-6, they would have the 17K for the WARE frontage. 


Williamson said he is troubled by all the options and the city has tried to determine the best solution available but the property owner controls the ultimate decision as to what is done.  His concern is city vulnerability if the property owner refuses responsibility and claims harm or damage to his property.  Beck said Williamson said the city would be vulnerable to any claim.  She said the issue is if there is liability for it.   She said there is insurance and she doesn’t believe it would be a strong claim.  Williamson asked about the best updated information regarding property owner of LF Apts.  Tolsma said he feels they’re in a positive area now and the property owner thinks they’re on the same page for an agreement.  Tolsma said it’s still difficult to coordinate a meeting time.  Tolsma said there were concerns about retainage walls and the assessment but he was pleased with the outcome recently.  Tolsma thinks something will get worked out. 


Reinhardt said this is not a formal public hearing but there is an opportunity now for residents to ask questions.  She outlines the rules of conduct.


Al Luehmann, 4300 WARE.  Luehmann said his question, when hearing the various options, at the last meeting there was discussion about the width of the street at his property line and how the grading would be done from the south side of the curb and discussion about boulder walls or other types; he understands the tree line or brush would be replaced.  He said he hasn’t heard those items addressed in the bid options so he's unable to visualize this.


Richard McCollum, 4372 WARE.  He said he had a brief conversation with the manager of the Lord Fletchers apartments and the indication was they were ready for the change but didn’t think the trees should be removed.  Mac said if he remembers correctly, the indication was all the trees would have to go in any of the options so he is concerned. 


Catherine Palen, 4352 WARE.  She said her question is regarding the swale between LF Apts and the adjoining property owner.  She wonders if there is any input from the LMCD or the Minnehaha Watershed.  She wonders about the runoff being a detriment or an assessment based on the three options and what will be best for the lake. 


CJ Lunning, 4564 and 4568 WARC.  She said she has a comment regardless what gets voted and approved as she found it difficult to get through with the utility trucks doing their work this fall and they parked wherever they wanted and blocked traffic.  She wonders if construction staging will be discussed for the least impact. 


Reinhardt said they’ll attempt to answer the questions.  Reinhardt references Luehmann’s question about the width of the road at the property line.  Pearson said there was discussion with the fire chief and it’s about 150 feet from the end of the road to where the road tapers from 21 to 16 feet in width.  He said there will be a valley gutter that will pick up water to the north curb line to the catch basin.  Pearson said there are breakaway barriers where fire trucks can get through.  Tolsma said he met with Chief Pederson and they looked at the site.  Pederson noted with the premise of the city it would be difficult to keep the 20 foot width and therefore exceptions can be made.  he said because of the emergency access from West Arm Drive, there shouldn’t be a problem. 


Reinhardt asked about opportunity for re vegetation and planting in lieu of trees removed.  Pearson said his option is yes and Norling would probably be involved as well.  Hughes asked if the timber landscaping would be removed and Pearson responded yes.  Reinhardt asked Pearson about drainage options one and two and tree removal in the swale of LF apartments and the property to the east.  Pearson said total tree removal is correct and that’s what they’re recommending.  Reinhardt said there was also a question about the swale and if the Minnehaha Creek Watershed has been consulted.  Pearson said there during preliminary discussions it was expressed that, if possible, the swale be retained through the corridor.  Their opinion is a swale allows for sedimentation to occur and storm water treatment occurs through the grasses.  Pearson said the storm water scepter removes oils and materials and does a better job.  As a part of the permitting process, they will work with obtaining approval from the Watershed and it’s their opinion either the swale or the storm scepter structure will meet their requirements.  He said it’s a matter of opinion as to what’s more effective.  Sippel said even with the storm scepter what they’re not treating is the runoff from LF parking.  He thinks the swale would.  Reinhardt asked due to the current drainage work being done, the water draining from the Warren Avenue basin will be dramatically improved removing sediments and phosphorous.  The pond also reduces the rate of flow due to the ponding capacity.


Rosen said several of the residents have asked about how the new ponding area was funded and the removal of all of the trees and moving the power lines.


Reinhardt said there was a question about utility construction and what kind of access issues would there be for residents.  Pearson said regarding vehicular traffic and pedestrian traffic during construction of either section they will work with the contractor for vehicle parking.  He said parking is limited due to the corridor.  He said as far as pedestrian traffic goes there are steps located at the top of the hill and the city is planning on working with a local contractor to improve these steps.  Hughes said his expectation would be the city/contractor would provide a weekly handout on Friday for expected activities.  Some kind of communication for planning purposes, similar to what was done when Channel Road was constructed. 


Reinhardt said there was a question about funding for the projects.  She said the funding came from the city other than tree removal was funded by HCRRA and pole relocation was done by Xcel.


Reinhardt asked for further comments. 


Luehmann said when talking about disruption to the homes he wonders if there is a calendar of the time schedule. 


Pearson said as far as access goes, the engineers will work closely with the contractor.  He said during the water main improvements and during that time it will be inaccessible.  He said with the storm sewer improvements there will be periods of time of inaccessibility. He said they’ll try to keep it open as much as possible.  He said there is a 60 day completion period for both parts of the projects.  He said if there is rain delay, the contract allows for extension.  Hughes said during this water main replacement, what kind of water outages will happen.  Pearson said the contract requires a temp water service line be provided so no one will be out of water at any time.  Bacteria tests are conducted before water service enters the home.  Luehmann asked about working with the contractor in phasing this into his driveway.  He said the street and his driveway are impacted.


4550 WARC, Tom Geib, wonders if when doing the storm sewer does the swale have to go away.  He said along the WAR trail site that all the trees will be removed and it will just be shrubbery.


CJ Lunning said when talking with a resident on WARE he cannot have his vehicle parked outside due to the nature of his job. 


Pearson said with Luehmann’s property there will be a valley gutter.  He said  with restoration two to four feet behind the gutter a section of the driveway will have to be removed.  Pearson said for driveway improvements, if they want to work with the contractor, they can ask for a price and it would be independent of the street work.  Pearson said regarding the storm sewer and if the swale has to go away he said it's staff’s preference the storm sewer extend to the lake.  However in working out an agreement with the property owner, it may possibly be a combination of both.  He said because of use in the area the storm sewer could extend and the swale could go to the lake.  Reinhardt asked about removal of trees.  Pearson illustrated on the overhead trees what would be saved and removed.  Reinhardt said if there are special circumstances, residents should keep in contact with city staff.


Palen asked about color choice regarding the granite.  She thinks things should blend in.  Luehmann would like to request for finalization and looking at the trail.  He said he doesn’t normally see the trail due to the vegetation.  He understands they’re going to lose some and he would like to go on record that they request something planned  and planted that will allow for privacy. 


Sippel said regarding the accessibility and construction hours.  He thinks that should be spelled out in the contract.  He said there are penalties for late finish and they have been exercised in past projects.  Pearson said it’s been specified as to start and stop times.  He believes it’s 7 am to 7 pm but he’ll verify.  Pearson said there are liquidated damages so the incentive is to finish the project on time.  Pearson said there has been talk about the rock to use granite or trap rock.  He said the granite material has been used along the edge of the lakeshore so it will be similar.  He said granite can vary from where it’s mined and they could work together on this.  Trap rock is gray in color but is more expensive.  Sippel asked about passability of the road and Pearson said it has to be passable by the end of the day.  Hughes asked about the valley gutter and surmountable curve and wonders if it is the same or similar.  Pearson said with surmountable curb there is four inches of variation where in this case it’s two inches.  Hughes asked about which way the drainage will go and Pearson said from west to east to the drain.  Hughes said the limestone will chemically treat and inhibit vegetation growth from beneath.  He said with the granite, because the sun won’t shine on it, there could be algae growth.


Reinhardt said she thinks the potential voting should be split out.  If the east project is approved, which option to chose and Central should be separate as there is a different voting requirement of 4/5ths vote.


    1. Sippel makes a motion to execute what is the fourth option WARE only with drainage option one with the caveat that whatever option is selected there is an easement to maintain the drainage to the lake. Bren seconds.

      Sippel said he also would like to give staff some discretion with an agreement with the property owner. Williamson said it’s not good to deal with a half million dollar contract and have then say "depending on, maybe,... or, etc." He prefers the motion to be clean. Beck said what’s important is the improvement project be ordered by a certain date. She said there is time still left on the WARE but there is a shorter time period on the WARC. She said if the project is ordered, it can be modified. Williamson wonders about two issues to order the project and authorize the signing of the contract instruments and this can be a different time line. He wonders if there is a problem authorizing the highest dollar amount on WARE and let them go forward and if a modification is necessary, where does that leave the city with the contractor. He wonders if something less can be authorized at a later date if an agreement isn't reached with Lord Fletcher's. Beck said the way the resolutions are drafted, what is being done is ordering a project, not a specific contract. She understands the concern being if we accept the bids and negotiate a contract, if it’s done before the property owner has decided about the easement, we don't know which of the three drainage options will be used.


      Hughes said he is concerned about the contractor getting prices on materials that are rendered useless later on. Reinhardt said there is a process. Hypothetically the project is selected and the drainage option and a contract with the contractor and an easement with the LF property owner. She said the contractor shouldn’t sign the contract until that piece is in place. She said that's what will get worked out this winter. Beck said she thinks that’s what Sippel was trying to say. Sippel said the city shouldn't sign the contract until the easement is resolved. He said the project can be ordered however. Hughes asked what the contractor’s bid guarantee is and Pearson said it’s 60 days. Reinhardt asked the way the motion was offered if it’s legally okay. Beck said what’s important is the project is ordered. She likes the way Sippel made the motion option four, WARE with drainage option one, and move to option two and option three. Hughes wonders about stating the 60 day limit for a time frame. Sippel said without the easement they can’t do option one or two. Williamson said there is an issue of accepting the winning bid in this process and based on the acceptance to sign a contract. He thinks that can wait a while. He thinks it’s important to adopt the winning bidder. Reinhardt wonders about passing Res 14-26 or vote on the motion as offered. Hughes wonders about including a time frame in the motion in order to get the easement. Williamson said first they order the project then they accept the winning bid and finally they negotiate the contract. Sippel said he’d like agreement from the council regarding the scope of the project and then pass the resolutions. Bren and Reinhardt are okay with WARE. She would like to see the discussion of WARC discussed next as she is in favor of the road project. All votes pass on roll call unanimously.


      Resolution 14-26: Ordering West Arm East Improvement – Hughes moves to approve and Sippel seconds. All votes ayes, motion carries.


    1. Resolution 14-27: Finding No Relationship Between WAE Road Improvement & Comp Plan.       Bren makes the motion to approve, Hughes seconds. All votes ayes, motion carries.


    1. Resolution 14-28: Ordering West Arm Central Improvement –

Reinhardt said this was a bid alternative and there is no drainage option.  She said she was pleased at how the numbers came out and thanks Sippel for pushing that these be bid as a joint project in order to save money.  Reinhardt asks for comments.  Sippel said he makes a motion to accept the bid for WARC and Bren seconds.  Sippel said this has been more contentious.  He said when this was originally bid, this came in at 20% more than what the engineer estimated and now with the project combination it is 10% less than estimated.  He said there are a lot of things in deciding a road project.  He said the utilities under this road don’t come into play.  He said the road condition is substandard, there are safety concerns and the drainage.  Sippel said a main consideration is resident input and he doesn’t take that decision lightly.  He said this project is too small to stand alone and it only makes sense to combine it. 


Hughes asked Tolsma about communicating with the residents on WARC as he was hoping to see them represented here.  He would like to table the motion to see what the residents say.  Reinhardt said there were letters from residents saying they could not be here tonight.  She feels the project has been transparent and she feels residents are well aware of this.  Williamson said there have been expressions of sentiment about the road.  He said there was hope that the virtues of combining the project might save some money and those new numbers would perhaps change how they feel.  He said because the road hasn’t collapsed, he doesn’t think it rises to the level of overriding the concerns of the residents.  He said the next best thing is to lay this over to communicate the new numbers to the residents. 


Bren said she disagrees.  She said she has listened and talked about this project trying to get answers, she has educated herself. She thinks this is a worthwhile project and she would like to see her community improved.  She feels help is needed. She said if this continues, to vote these projects down, sooner or later there will be a necessity to fix things.  She feels there is beautification on the main streets but when driving onto community back streets the conditions there would prohibit her from wanting to locate in this community.  She is concerned that not correcting the road will not correct the drainage.  She thinks this should be approved and move forward.  Bren wonders if anyone realizes the amount of money being paid to the city engineer and the attorney to not make a decision.  Hughes said he would like to see more resident participation.  Hughes makes a motion to table this until the third Monday in December to hold a special meeting and the city notifies the residents.  Reinhardt wonders if this is allowed and Hughes said Roberts Rules of order allows for this. Williamson seconds.  Reinhardt said she's disappointed and not in favor of tabling this motion.  Motion fails to table the vote three to two on roll call vote (Reinhardt, Sippel and Bren nays, Williamson and Hughes ayes.  


Reinhardt said the first motion is still in front of the council.  Reinhardt said she has been in favor of this project.  She said this will fix the drainage and it's what the residents came to the city for in the beginning.  She said a road project will fix the safety issues that this road has now.  She said there were emergency events this past summer that highlight the problems with this road.  She said winter conditions magnify the problems.  Reinhardt said this road is far worse than the road project just passed.  She said even though this road is rated as the 9th worst road in the city she thinks it has deteriorated putting it even closer to the worst road.  She said her ten years on the council they've done one road project.  Reinhardt said there has been public process, transparency, public input, etc.  She recognizes there are residents not in favor but there are several residents that remain neutral to the road. 


Change Tape:  9:24-9:26 pm.  Williamson said  Reinhardt covered a broad range and issues and misconceptualizes the city in terms of what money has been spent.  He said there have been upgrades from the water plant, lift stations and the water tower and the city commits resources to projects necessary.  Williamson said this road project ranks 9th so he’s wondering why the city isn’t working on road 1, 2 and 3.  Williamson said leadership is a democracy and means listening to people.  He said if he lived on that road he’d be in favor of it.  But he said the residents that have responded had a contrary view .


Reinhardt said she lives on that road and she cannot lobby her neighbors to vote.  She said she’ll be back as soon as she can to lobby for road improvements.


Sippel said he disagrees; he said this is not a democracy this is republic.  He said if everyone had a say in every project nothing would get done.  Bren agrees.  She said if nothing happens, nothing changes and there is no growth.  Hughes said a lot of the water issues were brought up in a year of historically high rainfall.  He said the city has taken steps to rectify these issues.  He said perhaps a normal year of rainfall would change things.  Sippel said if they had delayed, the project would cost 30% more.  Williamson said the drainage project did involve more than this year.  He said the city did take measures to improve the drainage this year.  They’ve been told it would resolve about 85% of the drainage issues and it leaves 15% in the worst conditions.  Williamson said the real safety issues are on the private part of the road and the city has no power to deal with that.  He said that’s where the problems have occurred from the fire department and emergency vehicle prospective. He believes the people control the character and nature of the city they live in.  He thinks some things require public output and he believes in not ignoring the public.  Bren said she disagrees.  She’s lived in this city for 30 years. She's had water running through her yard and she came to the city and nothing happened and she said nothing has ever been done.  She said she’s about change.  She likes improvements.  She said she’s been on the council for two years and there have been so many items that have been dropped.  Sippel said he would like to call the question.  Reinhardt wants to address the private road being the problem and said yes, it does have a problem.  But, she said when there is a problem, those vehicles stack up on the public part.  She said by improving the public road helps the private road residents too. 


There is a request to call the question.  There is a motion and second to reconstruct West Arm Central.  Motion fails upon roll call vote three to five, Williamson and Hughes vote no (4/5ths required).


    1. Resolution 14-29: Finding No Relationship Between WAC Road Improvement & Comp Plan.
    1. Mayor and Council – Reinhart references the new Hennepin County dispatch center opening.       She said there is a new non emergency phone number to dispatch. Reinhardt said the LMCD had the meeting where the quiet waters proposal was discussed and it was unanimously denied. Hughes said the north/south channel between West Arm and Deering Island needs more study compared to the east/west corridor.       Reinhardt said the public hearing on the issue addressed the area in its entirely and a separate analysis seems like a separate request. Sippel said this is his last meeting of his second appointed term and he appreciates the confidence and opportunity to serve.      
    2. City Administrator
      1. Employee Manual Amendment –

        Tolsma said the amendment is in response to the direction of the council deciding to offer 50% coverage for the family or spouse coverage. Those changes have been made in red. Hughes moves to approve the amendments as outlined. Sippel seconds. All votes ayes, motion carries.

      2. Liability Limit Waiver –

        Tolsma said this is the same as it’s always been and the city has always selected the first option. Williamson moves to accept the liability coverage and Sippel seconds. All votes ayes, motion carries.

    1. City Engineer – Sippel asked about the drainage project and the berm and he wonders if this is put at risk if it’s not in place during the winter/spring season.       Pearson said the basin has been constructed and the drain pipe has been placed. Pearson said because of cold weather they were not able to finish the bottom of the pond. It will be completed in the spring along with the sediment basin. Pearson said because the drain pipe is installed it will prevent sediment from flowing. He said this won’t be paid for until completed.       Williamson asked about a satisfactory solution on the road. Pearson said the cut in the road was for the installation of the storm pipe.       He said the curb will be installed and the road milled and overlaid in the spring. Pearson said the road will be fine for residents’ use.      
    2. City Attorney
      1. Beautification Contract – Reinhardt said this is a three year agreement. Hughes makes a motion to approve. Williamson seconds. All votes ayes, motion carries.

    1. Utility Superintendent
      1. Title Change Request –

        Tolsma said there is a request to add emergency manager to Goman's title. Tolsma said the title change is something that Goman feels falls in line with his responsibilities. Tolsma asked him if there is motivation to bolster for future wage discussions and Goman answered no. Hughes said the title is significant because he is listed with Hennepin County and can call directly to get the needs of the city met. Williamson said he initially thought this was fine. He wonders what this means in the structure of emergency management and coordination. He said police is usually first for barricading, fire rescue next and public works plays a very important role. He said there is already a structure in place. He said they have titles with roles and function. He said it’s tiered down from police and next is coordinator. He said Orono Police has coordinators. Williamson said Goman’s role has been coordinator yet he’s designated as an alternate. He said it seems appropriate to make a change as to how he’s identified but it would seem more fitting to be coordinator. Williamson thinks it would be important to get Goman and Chief Farniok to sit in on this. Hughes agrees and a session should be held to determine this. He wants the authority for Goman to be able to be make decisions and submit paperwork. Reinhardt said titles are cheap. If it implies further compensation later, she doesn’t see his job function changing. Reinhardt said Goman wasn’t asked to do this training and he did this for his fire department. Reinhardt said as a comparison, Sharon Farniok is a certified city clerk but she doesn’t have this title.


    1. December 17 – Police Commission – 8:00 AM
    2. December 22 – Work Session – 7:00 PM (Cancel?) – Reinhardt recommends to follow tradition and cancel the work session. Tolsma has worked hard to keep things off the agenda. Williamson makes a motion to cancel the December 22nd study session and Sippel seconds.   All votes ayes, motion carries.
    3. January 5 – City Council Regular Meeting – 7:30 PM
    1. Bills & Payroll –Sippel makes a motion to pay the claims and Hughes seconds. All votes ayes, motion carries.
  3. MISCELLANEOUS (Information Only)
    1. November Financial Report
    2. Mound Fire Department November Report

Reinhardt said this is her last meeting.  She thanks the residents for the opportunity to serve these last ten years.  Hughes wants to say thank you to outgoing Mayor Reinhardt and said he’s enjoyed working with her on the various committees.  Reinhardt wants to thank staff for all their efforts.  Williamson said he thinks Reinhardt has been a good mayor, there has been positive direction made and a lot of unity and teamwork. He said occasional disagreement doesn’t characterize a good working relationship. 

  1. ADJOURNMENT - Sippel makes a motion and Bren seconds to adjourn at 10:06 PM. All votes ayes, motion carries.



                                                                                                Wendy Lewin, City Clerk



Dan Tolsma, Administrator