January 25, 2016, Work Session Minutes

JANUARY 25, 2016 – 7:00 PM
Those Present: Mike Kuno, Paul Pearson, Nancy Beck, Mike Mason, DJ Goman, Pam Horton, Shirley Bren, Gary Hughes, Megan Pavot, Bruce Williamson, Wendy Lewin.


1. MIKE KUNO INTRODUCTION & SAMBATEK INFRASTRUCTURE STUDY DISCUSSION –Mike Kuno thanks the council. He said he is from Montevideo and attended Augustana College and went to the University of Minnesota. He’s had several years experience with several different firms. He said municipal engineering is his specialty. Kuno said city engineer Paul Pearson will assist with the transition. Williamson thanks him for the material provided in the packet and says he’s impressed with the amount of experience he brings to the city. Williamson asked about cost cutting and bringing in projects under cost and Kuno said that is his goal. Tolsma said he’s been talking with Pearson and Kuno and bringing them up to speed. He said they’ve come up with an asset management plan that mirrors the planning session that was conducted by Brimeyer last fall. He said they’ve got some good ideas going forward in determining some factors in evaluating the condition of infrastructure. They hope to have a report ready for the council in March. He said sanitary sewer is priority number one and they are looking for an in-depth report. Williamson said status needs to be established and priorities set for doing what needs to be done first. Williamson feels projects that are going to be done are better done at the start of the season. He said with seal coating it’s best to be done in height of the summer to take advantage of the heat. Kuno said he would ask if there is an interest in sidewalks and Williamson said most of the sidewalks are on county roads so anything would need to be synchronized with the county’s plans.

2. PLANNING COMMISSION VACANCY UPDATE - Williamson said there is a vacancy and the rumor is there will be a second vacancy coming up this spring. Tolsma said there are five members, one of which recently resigned due to a move away from the city. He said it’s been implied that a second commissioner will be leaving in April. He said to-date there have been two expressions of interest and one person has turned in their application. He said the decision is to how to handle this: either keeping the vacancies separate or joining the vacancies in terms of the advertising and closing dates. Williamson said it might not be wise to wait as a quorum requirement is three. He suggests to the council the city advertises in The Laker and set a closing date of February 20th. A review of the applicants could take place at the February work session. He said if they get a few applicants anyone remaining from the first round could/may be considered.

Williamson said the planner will be guiding the update of the comp plan due in 2018 and the PC will be participating in this update. Megan wonders about posting something on the Facebook page, website, newspaper. Horton likes the idea of something now and maybe something in the future.

3. CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PLAN – REVIEW OF PROPOSED 2016 PROJECTS – Williamson said the list was in the packet and it refers to seven priorities but it doesn’t rank them. He said the discussion needs to be general, i.e. a phone system, what are the problems, what is being sought, what is the outcome. He thinks this could be administrative. Sewer slip lining he suggests wherever the problems are in terms of identified leaks or cracks, where a solution is available, it should be done as soon as it can be done. He would like to turn the staff and engineer loose on this and get it done. He said City Hall security seems like it should be done as soon as possible but there are still things that need to be identified. The community garden is not life or death but it’s been mentioned and talked about for many years and it hasn’t gone anywhere. He thinks a decision should be made now because it’s the time to make plans for spring. Horton said regarding the Thor Thompson items, she suggests a community garden could be done together. Williamson said Wilkes Park is the option for the community garden. Hughes asks where the soccer nets are going and it’s confirmed they are going at Thor Thompson. Hughes thinks the community garden might be too late for this upcoming growing season. Pavot said they’ve talked about raised beds so it might not take as long as we think. Pavot wants to have a raised bed that would support the local food shelf. Horton doesn’t like the idea of delaying this. Williamson suggests the planning commission engage in this. Williamson suggests Pavot be the chairman of an ad hoc committee that puts together a plan and discuss this with Norling.

Goman said city hall security has been discussed but he wonders about cameras and monitoring of the water plant and if this could be combined with the city hall security plan. Tolsma said he circulated a draft RFP around the office and it was based upon some meetings with vendors. He said the proposal was based more upon an alert/alarm but instead he feels safety of the moment is important and separation of public/staff space is probably the most important. He’s redrafting the RFP based upon the discussion held at the staff level. He thinks they should look at a plan that is expandable to accommodate security cameras for the water plant.

Williamson said other than alternate small utility vehicle and public works building, staff should be comfortable pursuing what’s on the list. Hughes wants to boost the dynamic signage dollars assigned it should go to $30K. Tolsma reminds the council that the costs aren’t super important because it’s not funded by the general fund and more funded by savings. Tolsma wants to know about slip lining and he wonders if this is to wait until March when the report comes in or to go ahead on the known bad areas. Pavot wants to know if the engineer concurs with the latest televising results before a decision is made to go ahead immediately with the problem areas. Pavot asks about televising records and Tolsma said the entire city has been televised in the last five years and those are available for the engineer to analyze. Pavot just wants to make sure we’re in compliance with the insurance policy.

a. Clip of 2015 Televising – video is shown to the council from Interlachen to Black Lake Rd. Goman said out of 23,000 feet televised, he’s identified Lafayette Ln easement, behind Pres Homes and behind Marina shopping center, three manholes in the swamp and slip line through those. From Lift station 5 west to a driveway on West Arm Central.
b. Slip-lining Example – Goman passed around samples of slip lining materials and said he has received two quotes. Hughes wonders about approving this proposal soon. Williamson would like this reviewed and wants the administrator to review the quotes that Goman has received. Tolsma said he has seen the quotes but if they want to wait for the report to come back, competitive bidding requires more compliance with law. He said there is a threshold that can be held and the job can be shopped. Williamson wonders about a timeline from the engineers. Hughes thinks an evaluation should be presented in February and not go as long as March. Kuno said he would be comfortable if this could be presented at the February 16th meeting as it gives him more time to discuss the project. Tolsma wants to be clear about what the engineers will be looking at. Williamson thinks the 23,000 feet and Pavot says no, it should all be looked at in terms of data and material. Williamson said Goman has price quotes on the 23,000 feet that would keep this out of competitive bidding. Tolsma thought do a system wide study and determine the problem areas. Take that to a contractor and ask them what they can do under 100K. He said this might be difficult bid.
c. Lift Station Alarm System Explanation – Goman said with the alarm system, it depends upon the response time: five minutes if he’s in the city, up to an hour if it’s Orono’s on call weekend. He said an alarm goes to Goman’s phone first, if he doesn’t answer it goes to the next on-call person, his wife and the Orono on-call guys. He said the alarm will be acknowledged and they’ll try and track down Goman. Williamson asked how long can a lift station be not running. Goman said the transfer switch failed at 1:30 p.m., Wednesday to 6:33 a.m. the following Friday. Williamson asked how often the tests run and Goman confirmed every Wednesday. He said they switch from Xcel to the generator and run for 20 minutes and in this case it failed to do this. Williamson wondered if Goman goes around and checks these just in case. Goman said no. Horton wondered why the light didn’t go off and Goman said because it’s relying on backup power. Horton wonders about Goman manually checking these to make sure they are powered up. Goman said that is what the battery back-up proposal should do. Williamson is concerned about relying upon battery backup because they fail too. He thinks it would be better to manually drive around and check them after they test. Hughes wonders why there isn’t an opportunity to monitor this via a tablet. Goman said they currently have that but it doesn’t cover what happened. Tolsma wondered regarding the notification going to the generator if there could be a notification that says it switched back. Pavot said the lack of a message indicates there’s a problem. Williamson wonders if these weekly trials should be staggered more for one each day versus 30 minutes apart.

5. STAFF EXPENDITURES POLICY DISCUSSION – Williamson suggests we lay this over to another meeting.

6. MISCELLANEOUS – Water plant construction timeline – Tolsma said the schedule is a fluid plan. He said the line items are broken out and it’s interesting to see week one is erosion control and they work their way through the project. He says it’s a general outline of how they intend to complete the project. Weather delays and shipment delays can always impact the timeline. He said staff is very excited to get this going. Bren said she is really excited about this because she has seen this in operation at the City of Edina and was very impressed. Goman said there will be weekly construction meetings going to bi-weekly with scheduling updates. Williamson is concerned that nothing happens to delay or impair this project. He said this city is very fortunate to get the level of state funding and it is necessary to accede to the experts and he doesn’t want anything to get in the way of this project.

Hughes said Pavot mentioned a half hour response time to a fire alarm in the apartment building. Hughes went to Pederson, the fire chief, and someone actually called and the on scene time was 4 minutes, 47 seconds. He said there is a sequence time from the dispatch with the caller stating the fire alarm is going off. No sign of smoke was reported. Therefore the duty chief was sent. When duty chief arrived, he went to the second floor and saw smoke. There was a page out for mutual aid from Maple Plain and Excelsior but it was canceled soon thereafter. There was no charge for this. He said in the apartment buildings not monitored, a recommendation should be made for signage to be placed about calling 911 if the alarms are going off.

7. CLAIMS – Williamson said this is the largest amount for this year partially because of the GO bond payments. Horton asked about DJ and annual APWA membership and wondered why it was listed three times and Williamson said it’s because it is split over three accounts and what to look for is the grand total. Horton makes the motion to pay and Hughes seconds. All votes ayes, motion carries.


a. Channels 8 & 20 Schedules
b. WeCAB Thank You Letter
c. Orono PD Use of Force Seminar Invitation – Bren attended this and Tolsma said council should rsvp if they want to attend. Bren highly recommends it.
d. Water Plant Tentative Construction Timeline

Meeting adjourned at 10:04 p.m.

Wendy Lewin, City Clerk

Dan Tolsma, City Administrator