November 20, 2017 Work Session MInutes

NOVEMBER 20, 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; Scott Qualle, City Building Official; and Theresa Schyma, City Clerk.

1. MNSPECT CONTRACT DISCUSSION – City Administrator Tolsma briefly discussed the history of the services provided by MNSPECT and the reason for considering updating the contract. The initial contract with MNSPECT was signed in 2008 and pricing and fees have not changed since that time. It is a rolling contract that automatically renews and there is currently not any language in the contract about scheduling increases to factor in changing labor and processing costs. He added that larger building permits are not the focus of a potential change in pricing since those fees are calculated on a sliding scale. However, maintenance permits for smaller items are a set price based on the project and those fees have not changed since 2008; those outdated fees do not cover the costs incurred by MNSPECT or the City.

City Building Official Qualle stated that a majority of his costs are for labor and he noted that wages have drastically increased since 2008. He added that the fees are based off of the 1997 Uniform Building Code (UBC). He would like feedback from the Council as to whether or not they are open to the idea of updating the contract and the building permit fee schedule.

City Administrator Tolsma offered a possible solution that is a blended approach of changing both the contract and using a more updated UBC to determine permit fees. This approach would make the increases more subtle for all parties involved.

The City Council consensus was to have City Building Official Qualle work with City Administrator Tolsma on preparing a draft contract for the City Council to consider at a future meeting.

City Building Official Qualle stated he would prepare a draft contract with modest step increases and adopting a newer UBC to bring the building permit fees current.

Mayor Rockvam asked staff for an update on the ADA accessibility issue at the docks owned by 5th Street Ventures.

City Building Official Qualle responded that the contractor applied for, paid, and has picked up the building permit; however, no work has been completed. Unless the contractor applies for an extension the permit is set to expire in the early months of 2018.

Mayor Rockvam stated that with the cold weather approaching there is not going to be any progress made on the docks. He added that the owner had plenty of time to address this issue and is choosing not to bring the docks up to Code.

City Building Official Qualle responded that he would post a “stop work, do not occupy” order at the site and have City Attorney Jensen Beck send a letter to the property owner regarding the non-compliance.

2. 2018 BUDGET & FEE SCHEDULE DISCUSSION – City Administrator Tolsma discussed the upcoming December 4 City Council regular meeting with the Truth in Taxation hearing. He asked the Council if they had any additional questions or concerns that need to be addressed before scheduling the budget to be considered at that meeting.

The City Council discussed the Parks and Recreation Department’s budget including options for replacing the City’s seasonal maintenance worker that recently retired and the upcoming playground equipment upgrade at the City’s parks.

Mayor Rockvam asked to see a version of the budget that has a 2.5% increase instead of the 3.5% increase that the Council has already received.

City Administrator Tolsma responded that he would prepare a version of the budget that has a 2.5% increase for the Council to compare to the current proposed budget.

City Administrator Tolsma stated that due to time constraints, the fee schedule discussion would be moved to a future work session.

3. RENTAL ORDINANCE DISCUSSION – City Administrator Tolsma discussed the possibility of an ordinance to address rental licensing and inspections in the City. He asked the Council for direction as to whether or not this is the next high priority item they would like staff to research and bring to the Council.

Mayor Rockvam asked about the type of complaints that staff receives from renters in the City.

City Administrator Tolsma responded that staff does receive a number of complaints from renters but typically the complaints come from the same properties. Those properties include multi-family housing and single-family rentals.

Council Member Pavot stated that she would be in favor of the Council looking into rental licensing.

Mayor Rockvam asked why certain rental properties aren’t condemned.

City Planner Brixius responded that properties must meet certain standards to be condemned and many of the properties that staff receives complaints about are right in the middle of those standards.

The City Council consensus was to have staff gather more information about how other communities approach rental licensing and inspections so that it can be discussed at the next City Council work session.

4. MISCELLANEOUS – City Administrator Tolsma and City Planner Brixius discussed an issue that Council Member Hughes brought to their attention regarding the proposed outdoor storage ordinances that are scheduled to be considered at the regular meeting following the work session. They discussed examples of corner lot storage requirements with regards to traffic visibility.

Council Member Hughes stated that the proposed ordinance has traffic visibility requirements for corner lot storage that would not improve traffic visibility due to trees and other shrubbery that already cause issues with visibility. He added that since the new language will not benefit the situation he believes it is too prohibitive and the section should be removed.

City Planner Brixius stated that the proposed ordinances are for outdoor storage only; not for tree/shrubbery maintenance and visibility.

Council Member Kane Palen did not agree that removing the section in the proposed ordinances would improve traffic visibility.

Council Member Hughes responded that keeping the section wouldn’t improve the situation either so that is why he believes the section should be removed.

City Planner Brixius stated that this is a Council decision about whether or not they want to allow residents to store items right on their property line.

The City Council consensus was to keep the section pertaining to traffic visibility requirements on corner lots in the proposed ordinances.

5. ADJOURN – The work session was adjourned by unanimous consent at 7:00 p.m.

Date Approved: December 4, 2017

Theresa Schyma, City Clerk

Dan Tolsma, City Administrator