June 18, 2018 Work Session Minutes

JUNE 18, 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: Jerry Rockvam, Mayor; Gary Hughes; Catherine Kane Palen; Pamela Horton; and Megan Pavot (arrived 6:07 p.m. via speakerphone)

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


City Administrator Tolsma reviewed current Spring Park water and sewer rates versus surrounding communities. He discussed residential and commercial rates and highlighted additional fees that other cities charge to offset costs such as a stormwater management fees. He further reviewed the options for the proposed increases including one, three, and five year plans. He asked Council to provide feedback so that City staff will know how to move forward to bring the City’s fees current.

Council Member Kane Palen asked about an additional charge for a stormwater management fee.

Mayor Rockvam responded that it is already placed on the budget as an individual line item so he didn’t see the need to change that process.

Council Member Pavot stated she wants to look at the three year option to be mindful of people on fixed incomes. She added that she wants to look at the earlier suggestion of Council Member Hughes for point of sale inspections.

City Engineer Kuno added that point of sale inspections could include required televising where any inflow and infiltration issues found must be resolved at that time. His recommendation was to continue the City’s work on sewer mains first and then look at the connections.

Mayor Rockvam questioned the different rates for residential versus commercial.

City Engineer Kuno reviewed commercial rates and added that there was a water conservation directive from the Metropolitan Council that factors into the equation.

Council Member Pavot stated that high-density residential properties have higher rates since they are charged as commercial properties so it costs twice as much to flush a toilet in an apartment building versus a single-family home. She wants City staff to look into adding a separate category for high-density residential.

City Administrator Tolsma responded that City staff will look into that option including checking with the Metropolitan Council to be sure that there are no unintended consequences when making that change.

City Engineer Kuno offered an option of averaging the cost based on number of units instead of one bill for the entire building which is what triggers the higher tiered costs. As an example, currently an apartment building would receive one bill for 20,000 gallons versus the proposal of averaging where a building would receive 10 bills with an average of 2,000 gallons per unit.

City Engineer Kuno discussed small, medium, and large user comparisons for commercial properties in Spring Park. He recommended increasing the quarterly base rates but leaving the usage rates as they are. He stated that the Council needs to look at the rate package as a whole including water, sewer, residential, and commercial.

City Administrator Tolsma stated that City staff will come back to the City Council with numbers for a three year price increase option for residential and commercial customers including looking into billing options for high-density residential. He added that it is good to discuss these options now so that the Council can come to a consensus prior to the planning the upcoming year’s budget.


City Administrator Tolsma provided a brief summary of an issue that has come to City staff regarding outdoor storage setbacks and a current complaint that has been filed with the City. He reviewed the complaint process and the history of a neighbor dispute that led to the issue.

Mayor Rockvam stated that if a property is not in compliance with the new ordinance then they need to correct the issue.

City Planner Brixius responded that the property owner is claiming the City approved the driveway expansion many years ago with the intent of storing his trailer in that spot. He added that since the physical improvement of the property in the form of a paved driveway pre-existed the new outdoor storage ordinance, the storage of the trailer could be considered legally non-conforming with grandfather rights.

Council Member Palen asked if there is any documentation to support the property owner’s claim.

City Administrator Tolsma stated that staff are checking the files and also seeing if the property owner has written documentation. He added that this might be one of those instances where it was a handshake agreement; he has encountered several of these informal agreements from previous management.

City Planner Brixius and City Attorney Jensen Beck provided Council with an update regarding an ongoing nuisance violation at a commercial property on Shoreline Drive.


The City Council consensus was to cancel the July 2 City Council Meeting since there are no pressing agenda items during the holiday week.


5. ADJOURN - The work session was adjourned by unanimous consent at 7:07 p.m.

Date Approved: July 16, 2018

Dan Tolsma, City Administrator
Theresa Schyma, City Clerk