November 28, 2016, Work Session Minutes

NOVEMBER 28, 2016 – 7:00 PM


CALL TO ORDER - The meeting was called to order by Mayor Williamson at 7:00 p.m.

Council Members Bruce Williamson, Mayor; Gary Hughes; Megan Pavot; and Shirley Bren; Pamela
Present: Horton; and Shirley Bren.

Staff Present: Dan Tolsma, City Administrator; Al Brixius, City Planner; and Theresa Schyma, City Clerk.

Others Present: Rich Hirstein, Manager of Municipal Recycling and Waste Services for Republic Services; Jerry Rockvam, Mayor-Elect; Catherine Kane Palen, Council Member-Elect; and Michael E. Mason, resident.

Mayor Williamson amended the agenda to move Item #4 - Comprehensive Plan Proposal to Item #2. The order of all subsequent agenda items would follow accordingly.

1. RECYCLING CONTRACT RENEWAL DISCUSSION – City Administrator Tolsma presented a summary of the proposed recycling contract and introduced Rich Hirstein, Manager of Municipal Recycling and Waste Services for Republic Services, for more detailed information regarding the contract renewal.

Mr. Hirstein discussed the history of the Lake Minnetonka Recycling Group (LMRG) as a way to pool the resources of smaller cities in order to get a better rate for recycling services. He further stated that a price increase is necessary for the upcoming contract period due to economic changes. Each city in the LMRG has the same pricing structure but is assigned their own rate depending on the number of households.

Council Member Pavot questioned the future of organics recycling in Spring Park.

Mr. Hirstein responded that it is a difficult process because there are currently not enough collection centers. Before residential organics recycling can be implemented in this area there will need to be more collection centers.

Council Member Hughes thinks the City could do a better job of informing residents about the recycling process. He stated that Mr. Hirstein gave a video to City staff and he is going to speak the LMCC about having that video played on the local cable access station.

Council Member Horton requested putting more information in the City newsletter about the recycling process and also how residents can have damaged carts replaced.

Mayor Williamson discussed the proposed pricing increase structure and stated he appreciates that the increases are subtle and easy to budget.

Mayor-Elect Rockvam stated he was unaware that single family homes are still not being charged a separate fee for recycling services but apartment buildings are being charged. He stated that the pricing difference began years ago as a way to encourage residents to participate because there was some resistance to recycling. However, the switch to the single sort recycling process has made it easier for residents to participate which means that everybody should contribute equally.

Mr. Hirstein stated that the LMRG has over 90% participation for recycling services in each of their cities.

Mayor Williamson stated that issue could be taken up with the next City Council in January but that he would be opposed to charging a separate fee for single family homes.

Council Member Pavot stated that as an apartment renter she gets charged double for recycling services because those fees are figured into her monthly rent charge and also her taxes.

City Administrator Tolsma stated that most cities charge line items on their utility bills for recycling services. He added that some cities also charge for additional items like street lights, snow removal, etc.

Council Member Pavot stated that the apartment renters are subsidizing recycling services for single family home owners in the city.

Council Member Bren stated that if recycling services were listed as a line item on utility bills then residents can see exactly what they are paying for because recycling services are not actually free.

Mayor-Elect Rockvam asked how charges could be figured for snowbirds.

Mr. Hirstein responded that the City could send monthly numbers for customers that have their services on vacation hold.

Mayor Williamson stated that the City Council consensus was that there were no issues with proposed contract so it will be moved to the next City Council agenda for consideration. However, the issue of whether or not to charge a separate fee for recycling services for single family homes will move to the next City Council in January.

2. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN PROPOSAL (former Item #4) – Mayor Williamson discussed the $10,000 grant received from the Metropolitan Council for assistance with updating the City’s Comprehensive Plan.

City Planner Brixius provided a summary report of the 2040 Comprehensive Plan proposal and discussed the Metropolitan Council’s requirement for cities to review and update their plan every 10 years. He discussed the work program in detail and stated that he believes there won’t be many substantial changes from the 2030 Comprehensive Plan.

Mayor Williamson asked if the Council would need to adopt the proposed work plan.

City Planner Brixius responded that he will prepare a resolution endorsing the work plan with an attached contract to be considered at the next City Council meeting.

Council Member Horton questioned the best way to offer input and suggestions for the new plan.

City Planner Brixius responded that he will be conducting interviews with each council member to gather their ideas before the new plan moves to the visioning process and priority setting.

Mayor-Elect Rockvam stated he is comfortable with the proposed plan and wants work to begin as soon as City Planner Brixius is ready.

Council Member Hughes asked when the Council will receive a schedule of events for this process.

City Planner Brixius responded that he will submit a schedule with the contract at the next City Council meeting. He added that this process is currently scheduled as a 12 month program based on the Metropolitan Council’s deadline; however, he believes the process will be completed early.

3. DRAFT BUDGET DISCUSSION (former Item #2) – Mayor Williamson opened the floor for discussion of possible line item changes or even more substantive changes to the proposed budget. He further discussed how decertifying TIF District 1-2 (Lakeview Lofts) in September 2016 has made a positive impact on next year’s budget. After the remaining balance in the account is calculated and appropriately distributed, the City will receive approximately $150,000 for decertifying the district.

City Administrator Tolsma presented a summary of the proposed budget. He explained that current annual expenditures are tracking under budget. Additionally, he highlighted the main increases that impacted the budget including a bond payment increase and greater costs for Police and Fire services.

City Administrator Tolsma announced the Truth in Taxation hearing on Monday, December 5.

Mayor-Elect Rockvam asked City Administrator Tolsma if he saw any reason to make changes to the proposed budget as it is presented.

City Administrator Tolsma responded that there are always small changes that can be made between line items but nothing that would change the overall budget. It is important not to put too much focus on individual line items. A city’s line items will always change but meeting the bottom line of the department budget, and even more importantly, the overall budget is the main goal.

Mayor Williamson stated he can see some potential $1,000 changes to certain items but that is mostly conjecture (e.g. how much snow will fall this winter).

Mayor-Elect Rockvam stated that he thinks the budget that City Administrator Tolsma prepared is very transparent and easy to follow.

Mayor Williamson asked Council to thoroughly review the budget and to contact staff with any questions prior to the meeting next week.

4. 2017 STAFF WAGE DISCUSSION (former Item #3) – Mayor Williamson discussed the report prepared by City Administrator Tolsma. He further explained the recommendations of the Personnel Committee regarding individual staff increases and a one-time payment to City Administrator Tolsma as compensation for covering Public Works related job duties during a staff shortage.

City Administrator Tolsma stated that the proposed wage changes are based on individual staff evaluations and salary comparison information for similar positions in the Metro region, as well as the Lake Minnetonka sub-region specifically. For his own evaluation, City Administrator Tolsma leaves that to the Personnel Committee and City Council for their recommendations.

City Administrator Tolsma provided a summary of the evaluations on individual employees. The biggest factor that influenced the evaluations this year was staff turnover in the areas of City Clerk and Public Works and the challenges and additional work that are associated with transitions in key areas.

Council Member Pavot stated she agrees with City Administrator Tolsma’s assessment. She also detailed the reasoning for the recommendations of the Personnel Committee regarding the wage adjustments for individual employees. The wage increase for City Clerk Schyma acknowledges her working to improve administrative processes and also for managing a major election immediately after being hired. The one-time payment to City Administrator Tolsma recognizes the additional working hours and responsibilities he took on during the two month transition in Public Works.

Mayor Elect-Rockvam stated that he agrees with the recommendations and that they are reasonable.

Mayor Williamson stated the City Council consensus was to move forward with the recommendations and take official action at the next City Council meeting.


M/Bren, S/Hughes to approve the claims & payroll.

Motion carried 5-0.


Mayor-Elect Rockvam asked for an update on a request he made approximately five years ago to have banners put on the power poles on Sunset Drive in front of all commercial businesses. He stated that some commercial properties have them but it is not consistent on Sunset Drive.

City Administrator Tolsma responded there were two main issues discussed at that time: 1) placement along Sunset Drive which has a mixture of residential and commercial properties and 2) the fact that the banners would need to be attached to power poles.

City Administrator Tolsma stated that he will count the total number of power poles along Sunset Drive and look at options and the costs associated with revisiting this project.

a. OPD Tobacco Compliance Checks
b. Gillespie Center Financial Reports


M/Bren, S/Pavot to adjourn the City Council work session at 9:18 p.m.

Motion carried 5-0.

Date Approved: December 5, 2016

Theresa Schyma, City Clerk

Dan Tolsma, City Administrator