October 15, 2018 Work Session Minutes

OCTOBER 15, 2018 – 6:00 PM

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

Council Members Present: Jerome P. Rockvam, Mayor; Pamela Horton; Gary Hughes; and Catherine Kane Palen

Council Members Absent: Megan Pavot

Staff Present: Dan Tolsma, City Administrator; Scott Qualle, Building Official; Mary Tietjen, City Attorney; and Theresa Schyma, City Clerk

a. Scott Qualle will be in attendance to discuss changes to the proposed contract for building inspection services. The City’s current contract with Mnspect went into effect in 2012 for an initial term of one year with a provision for the contract to “roll-over” for an indefinite number of one-year intervals after the initial term until either party decides to terminate the contract. Please review the attached memo from Mr. Qualle for a summary of the changes that he is proposing.

Building Official Qualle reviewed the history of the contract, provided a summary on recent discussions regarding the fee schedule, and noted the proposed changes to the MNSPECT contract.

Mayor Rockvam stated that the fees are not supposed to be a profit center and it appears that the proposed adjustment and increase do not seem to be that significant.

Building Official Qualle stated that his intent was to temper the increases as much as possible.

Council Member Hughes questioned some of the changes and how they relate to the City Code.

City Attorney Tietjen responded that the Minnesota Building Code would supersede anything in the City Code.

City Administrator Tolsma stated that it is a challenge to figure out the exact fees for every type of project out there because some require more time than others and it varies by permit; the goal with the fee schedule is to break even overall. The main comments that staff receive from contractors regarding the City’s permit fees, especially for over-the-counter permits, is that Spring Park’s fees are incredibly low compared to other cities they do projects in.

Council Member Hughes stated that he wants good communication to residents on what types of projects require permits and suggested an article be added to the quarterly newsletter.

Building Official Qualle stated that he could provide an article for an upcoming newsletter.

The City Council consensus was that the proposed changes are agreeable and should move forward for a vote at a future meeting.

a. In 2016 the City entered a five-year contract with PeopleService for public works. Although the contract doesn’t expire until 2021, the Mayor would like the Council to start thinking about the City’s long-term public works strategy so that there is ample time to plan a transition to another provider if the Council deems that the best course of action. Alternatively, the Council and PeopleService may both conclude that the current arrangement is working well and decide to extend the contract at the time that it expires.

Mayor Rockvam stated that he asked for this item to be on the agenda to consider the long-term strategy for Public Works since the snow-plowing in the City has become an issue. The City of Orono could provide full Public Works and snow-plowing so there are some advantages to consider when the PeopleService contract expires and it is best to discuss options before the contract comes up for renewal.

Council Member Horton asked about the potential cost of contracting with Orono.

City Administrator Tolsma responded that numbers have not been figured out yet since this is just the beginning of discussions. He further discussed the City’s current plowing options for the upcoming winter season.

Council Member Hughes asked if contracting with the City of Mound for snow plowing was an option.

City Administrator Tolsma responded that he has had brief discussions with Mound but nothing substantial.

Mayor Rockvam stated that if the Council has some interest in contracting with Orono for full Public Works after the PeopleService contract is complete then we should approach PeopleService to let them know we are considering other options since they do not provide snow plowing.

City Administrator Tolsma stated that the main issue with snow plowing in the City is the sidewalks; that is where a majority of our snow plowing money is spent. Hennepin County has their own schedule for plowing and the City needs to work around it and sometimes re-plow sidewalks multiple times.

Mayor Rockvam added that Orono Public Works is already plowing in Navarre with their equipment so that is an advantage.

City Administrator Tolsma stated that the City has options. He added that he will speak with Orono and PeopleService for more information so that a decision can be made in regards to a long-term Public Works solution for the City.

a. Staff is recommending the cancellation of the Nov. 5th regular council meeting due to the election on Nov. 6th, as well as rescheduling the regular work session and council meeting from Nov. 19th to Tuesday, Nov. 13th in order to meet the state requirement for the council to meet within 10 days of the election to canvass the results.

The City Council consensus was to cancel the November 6 regular City Council meeting and move the November 19 work session and regular meeting to November 13 so that the results of the election can be canvassed in a timely manner.


5. ADJOURN - The work session was adjourned by unanimous consent at 6:55 p.m.

Date Approved: November 13, 2018

Dan Tolsma, City Administrator

Theresa Schyma, City Clerk