June 27, 2016, Work Session Minutes

JUNE 27, 2016 – 7:00 PM
Attendance: Williamson, Bren, Hughes, Horton, Pavot, Attorney Beck, Commissioners Mason and Palen, Administrator Tolsma, Clerk Lewin.


1. PUBLIC WORKS TRANSITION DISCUSSION – Williamson calls the meeting to order at 7 p.m.
a. Expanded standby coverage. Tolsma feels that needs to be in place.
b. Consultant agreement with Goman – Goman is willing to provide assistance during the transition. The concern is whether Orono would be agreeable to this and the other is how this would be worked out in terms of insurance. As an independent contractor, he does not have insurance coverage.
c. Short term coverage with independent contractor and this is where Peoples Service comes in. Tolsma has reached out to two other entities but they are not as promising.
d. Existing city staff over-seeing basic public works. Tolsma feels staff is able to handle most of the daily events.

Tolsma said there was a memo in the packet which puts down what’s been worked on since Goman said he was leaving. He said he wants to focus on a temporary replacement and separation logistics and the long-term replacement can be worked on as time goes on. Tolsma said he and Goman have worked on emergency contacts for vendors. He introduces Paul Christensen with People Service and they are an independent public works contractor. He said they’ve discussed options both short term and long term. He said the City of Orono is willing to add a clause for up to 90 days that they are willing to expand the on call service. He said the changes on the draft document are Orono’s addition. Williamson said the draft document it covers everything but he is still unclear regarding terminology 'rendition of services' – he wonders if it’s 24/7 or only if a call out. Tolsma said the 24/7 is his language and Orono is not comfortable with that. Williamson wants to know what they are getting paid when they are available. Tolsma said article a. e. 6 in the proposed agreement is the availability charge. Tolsma said Orono is short staffed too and if there is a long-term agreement, they would have to look into hiring someone.

Tolsma said Peoples Services would provide someone two days per week to check on the water plant. SP would need to be flexible. He said as part of this discussion while looking at the short-term, they would also like to be considered in the long run as well. Tolsma said he put together a loose proposal based upon the public works job description for a long term agreement. Tolsma thinks all options should be considered. Paul Christensen introduces himself and states that he typically works in the northern area. He said their approach is a team approach. They have three regions and they work out of Arlington, MN. He said they do water and waste water treatment collection and distribution. They’ve been in business since 1986 and they have about 160 contracts with about 60-70 in MN. They work with municipal clients. He said they represent the city and they are a liaison and extension of the city. The city is in control, they advise and make suggestions. They bring outside ideas in, if necessary. He said the operator would be dedicated with this being the home facility. He said they have an individual who has 20 years experience and is looking to relocate to the metro area. They would provide the labor and the staffing. He said the operator would be backed up by a manager and they would have one or two others cross trained for coverage purposes. He said they cover currently Lester Prairie, Winsted, New Germany, Arlington and Green Isle so they have local operators. He said they offer a fair price, up front, and they are prepared to live by it. He said they don’t have extra people waiting in the wings so they have to make this work. He said the region managers put their work uniforms back on in order to help in the short-term.
Williamson said from a technical standpoint he wonders about hands on and what they’d have to call on for expertise. Are they able to handle most things or would they have to bring in contractors? Christensen said they consider this within their abilities. They check pumping levels, mix chemicals, monitor iron and manganese levels after filtering, these are basic operations. They monitor lift station run times and pay attention to the data. He said it takes staff to interpret the data. Amperage draws and incoming voltage are checked and will indicate a problem that needs to be diagnosed. He said if a relay or component needs to be replaced, sometimes someone else needs to be called in to service for repair such as an electrician.
Tolsma said Peoples Service (PS) has gone on a tour with Tolsma and Goman and he would like Christensen to comment on how SP’s system compares to others. Christensen said he thinks the system stacks up very well. He said there aren’t problems that have to be fixed. He said everything is extremely well taken care of. He said record keeping is top notch. He said they don’t have to come in and fix anything. They have to maintain the high standard already set by SP.
Hughes asked what the roll would be for coordinating the new water treatment plant. Christensen said they would assume the role Goman is providing right now. He said they would provide suggestions to the engineer during the construction if there are missed opportunities. Christensen said regarding the short-term agreement, they want to know that this could potentially go to long-term. He said they would be happy to help out in the short-term to be considered long-term. He said the short-term would be up until July 31st. He outlines the services to be provided according to the MN Department of Health. He thinks four to six hours to begin with and two to four hours thereafter. Their personnel have all appropriate licensing. He said managers will arrive in vehicles and would only need to access the city truck in case of necessary repairs.
Christensen outlines the fees being proposed. Hughes wonders who would handle alarms. Tolsma said both People Service and Tolsma would be notified on an alarm. He said what would need to be determined is who needs to be called whether it is Orono, PS or a vendor. Christensen suggests Orono be kept as on call in emergency and PS will be in charge of the daily operations unless they are brought in by the suggestion of the on call person. Billing occurs once a month. Regarding the long-term agreement he quotes an annual cost. He said this includes the man, the labor, insurance, training, basic hand tools, a vehicle. He said they don’t know how many hours would be in the city. He said it’s not X amount of hours, it’s X amount of the job. He feels this contract is a good thing. He said they tell PS and PS fixes it or the next contract isn’t signed. He said they typically sign five year agreements. He said a lot of energy needs to be put into the startup. He said there is a big learning curve to get in the groove.
Hughes asked about hydrant flushing and Christensen said spring and the fall and dead ends get flushed more often. Hughes wonders about notifications. Christensen said they always notify of a flushing event. Williamson asked if the short-term date of July 31st is a date certain. Christensen said the date is pretty solid because they are looking for long-term and would have to prepare for that certainty. Beck said the short-term agreement covers the basic requirements and she believes less is more so she wouldn’t have a lot more to add. She might have more to add on the day-to-day specifics. Hughes said city staff works summer hours. Beck said flexibility regarding days in the city might need to be more specific. Christensen said he understands that he and Tolsma would sit down and decide what would work best for the city. Beck said an elaborate legal framework isn’t necessary for a one month short-term agreement. Tolsma said it’s the essential services that are necessary right now. He said staff can pick up the slack on the other public works tasks for the time being. Pavot wonders if the insurance on the truck needs to be transferred to PS as an additional insured.
Tolsma said he reached out to MMUA and they aren’t necessarily what the city is looking for in terms of coverage. He said he did set up a time to meet with Bolton and Menk. He said they are an engineering firm and we already have an engineering firm, however Sambatek doesn’t have any certified waste water managers on staff so they’d be okay with consulting with Bolton and Menk because of the critical timing. Pavot is concerned about delaying this due to no coverage. Tolsma said the reality is there is no coverage other than Orono on call until next week when the council meets again.
Tolsma said he doesn’t want to be biased but PeopleService was very helpful in terms of offering their assistance immediately. Tolsma said he appreciated their helpfulness. Tolsma said he’s going to meet with Bolton and Menk too but they are looking for SP as a client. Pavot agrees and makes a motion to move forward with the short term contract with Peoples Service and Tolsma still look at the second option with Bolton and Menk. Horton seconds. Hughes said they’ll look at PS for the short-term and look at Bolton and Menk as a long term with them as an engineering firm. Hughes likes what he’s heard tonight and thought the answers to his questions are more than satisfactory. He thinks PS knows about water testing. He likes the idea of them being local and in the area. Williamson said he still feels it’s not wise to proceed without a second opinion. He said the issues are less clear about where we’re headed. Williamson calls the vote and it’s unanimous in favor of the short-term agreement. Christensen said they look forward to opportunity to present themselves and possibly as a long-term client.

• Hughes said for the 4th of July, Water Patrol will have 8-9 boats on the lake. He said their presence will no longer be so much educational as they’ve worked on that. They are now going to switch to enforcement. There will be unmarked boats also.
• Tolsma said there are several upcoming special events. Three are recurring and he’ll bring them to a regular council meeting for approval. Running of the Bays, Tour de Tonka and Lord Fletcher’s Oktober Fest (10-1) for one day. He said there is a new event proposed for February and it’s an ice fishing event at Lord Fletcher’s. He is looking for feedback before the next regular meeting. Williamson said what is key is the interaction with trail users and event participants and there is an expectation for participants to follow the rules of the trail.
• Bren said she was at city hall last week and noticed Chief Farniok was in attendance and she would have liked to have been involved being she is on the police commission. Williamson said this came up rather suddenly and it was part of the admin committee meeting. Williamson said there were a large number of tickets written for cars illegally parked, disorderly behavior and an excess crowd and overloading the wharf. He said it was the intention to let Lord Fletcher’s know that the city was aware of the problems.

• Dan said he received the signed employment agreement for the new clerk. City hall security proposals are ready to be presented but it’s been delayed due to the current events.
• Williamson said defibs still need to be discussed.
• Hughes said CPR training could be offered to some of the election judges.

4. INFORMATIONAL ITEMS – Williamson said he has some wildflower seeds from Norling that could be sprinkled around.

Meeting adjourned at 9:12 p.m.