August 21, 2017 Work Session Minutes

AUGUST 21, 2017 – 6:00 PM

CALL TO ORDER - The work session was called to order by Mayor Rockvam at 6:00 p.m.

Council Members Present: Jerry Rockvam, Mayor; Pamela Horton, Gary Hughes; Catherine Kane Palen, and Megan Pavot

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

1. OUTDOOR STORAGE ORDINANCE – City Planner Brixius presented a brief summary and history of the proposed ordinances. The Planning Commission worked over the past year to craft the details of the ordinances to; 1) reflect that Spring Park is a lake community, 2) recognize how current residents utilize their outdoor space, and 3) provide language that is unambiguous for the City to enforce.

City Planner Brixius stated that, when looking at it the issue of outdoor storage, measuring the setback distance from the street instead of the property line is logical due to the non-uniform character of the right-of-way/private property boundary lines throughout the City. He further stated that the draft ordinances are for outdoor storage of recreational vehicles not personal vehicles.

Mayor Rockvam asked City staff if passing this new ordinance would mean that some properties on Black Lake Road would not be in compliance.

City Planner Brixius responded that some properties on Black Lake Road could have issues with compliance but stated that the City currently operates with complaint-based enforcement.

Council Member Kane Palen added that the City has received a complaint about a resident with a 30 foot lot that is storing a 20 foot recreational vehicle on their property. She further stated that certain properties have been storing their belongings this way for quite some time but that does not necessarily mean it should be allowed to continue.

City Planner Brixius discussed the process of complaint-based enforcement.

City Administrator Tolsma stated that the primary issues with not having setbacks for outdoor storage are safety concerns with reduced sight lines, snow storage, and access for emergency vehicles.

Council Member Hughes stated that reduced sight lines, especially on Black Lake Road and Kings Road, have nothing to do with outdoor storage.

City Planner Brixius asked the City Council what they would like to accomplish with a new outdoor storage ordinance and also if they would like to delete all setback requirements from the proposed ordinance. He added that the City’s policy is for complaint-based enforcement and currently the language in the Code is not enforceable.

Council Member Kane Palen stated that it’s 2017 and Spring Park is still one of the few cities around that allows properties to remain in such poor condition. The City Council needs to look towards the future of the community and it has to start somewhere.

Council Member Horton stated that she would like to clean up the community but does not support an ordinance that will put existing residents in violation of the Code by passing a new ordinance.

Council Member Hughes stated that the proposed setback requirements for outdoor storage do not help with getting clear visibility when trying to leave Black Lake Road.

City Planner Brixius agreed that there are visibility issues when leaving Black Lake Road due to road design and topography. He then asked how parking a large boat or trailer on the property line would improve the situation.

Council Member Hughes responded that it would not make any difference at all.

City Planner Brixius stated that the Planning Commission believed they drafted an ordinance with the minimal setback distance that was acceptable. However, one option is to separate Sunset Drive and Shoreline Drive and apply different setback requirements to those two roads.

Mayor Rockvam stated he would prefer if the setback requirements would be applied to future building plans in the City and not current properties.

Council Member Hughes agreed and stated that the proposed ordinance should not impact current residents of Spring Park.

City Planner Brixius stated that the proposed setback requirements are for outdoor storage, not building plans.

City Administrator Tolsma asked the Council to contact him with any additional comments or questions they may have before the next discussion on this topic.

2. EMPLOYEE & VOLUNTEER RECOGNITION POLICY – City Attorney Jensen Beck discussed the draft policy for public purpose expenditures in relation to employee and volunteer recognition. She stated that a policy needs to be in place to ensure that taxpayer money is being spent responsibly.

Mayor Rockvam stated that he would like the annual Planning Commission and volunteer appreciation dinner to continue.

City Attorney Jensen Beck responded that the policy is just legitimizing what the City is already doing. She added that the policy does need to include language that states that public money cannot be used for any alcohol to be purchased or spent on spouses of employees or volunteers. Currently the City does not use public funds for the purchase of alcohol. And, in the future, spouses would need to pay a fee to attend the annual recognition dinner.

Council Member Hughes stated he would also like volunteers like Shirley Bren, City Council resident representative to the Gillespie Center, to be recognized as well.

Mayor Rockvam agreed that all volunteers should be recognized.

Council Member Pavot stated that the only material change with the City’s current annual volunteer recognition dinner would be that now spouses/guests of volunteers would need to pay to attend.

The City Council consensus was to proceed with the policy on the regular agenda.

3. POLICE CONTRACT DISCUSSION- City Administrator Tolsma discussed the proposed contract for police services with Orono Police that has been brought to the Police Commission. He stated that when the City of Mound decided to contract with the City of Orono for police services they negotiated a different contract than previous cities that contracted with Orono Police. The City of Spring Park is currently on a formula-based contract whereas Mound is on an escalating base-rate contract. The proposal from Orono Police is to streamline contracts with current contract cities so that each city has their own independent contract and base rate. The proposed contract appears to produce more stability with cost increases in the future.

City Attorney Jensen Beck stated that the language in the new streamlined contract is very minimal and doesn’t really discuss the services that are going to be provided to the City of Spring Park.

Council Member Hughes asked if removing the language from the contract means there is the potential for reduced services.

City Attorney Jensen Beck responded that the new contract discusses the provided services in one paragraph as opposed to the previous contract that went into more detail with a full page for the description of services. She stated this contract was drafted based on the current situation and good partnership with Orono Police but questioned what happens if that situation were to change.

City Attorney Jensen Beck discussed some of the changes she noticed between the current and proposed contracts including: five year contract with a five year renewal, Council is required to make a decision about renewal in the third year of the five year contract, inability to change the base rate if Orono Police adds or subtracts other contract cities, the City cannot terminate for breach of contract, and new language in the arbitration clause which removes the arbitrator’s right to terminate the contract. She stated the new contract removes a lot of the City’s power to terminate.

City Administrator Tolsma stated that the City will continue under the terms of the current contract if the Council decides that it is not in the City’s best interest to accept the new contract.

City Attorney Jensen Beck added that the proposed contract does not include language regarding the City’s ability to be included in the budget process for police services and required meetings for the Police Commission.

City Administrator Tolsma stated that City Attorney Jensen Beck can draft a memo with her recommendations and concerns for a future discussion with Orono Police.

The City Council consensus is to have City Attorney Jensen Beck draft a memo of understanding to Orono Police Chief Farniok.

City Attorney Jensen Beck also requested that staff send her a copy of the Mound contract with Orono Police.


5. ADJOURN - The work session was adjourned by unanimous consent at 7:02 p.m.

Date Approved: September 18, 2017

Theresa Schyma, City Clerk

Dan Tolsma, City Administrator