July 16, 2018 Work Session Minutes

JULY 16, 2018 – 6:00 PM

CALL TO ORDER - The work session was called to order by Mayor Rockvam at 6:02 p.m.

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

Council Members Absent: Pamela Horton

Staff Present: Dan Tolsma, City Administrator; Mike Kuno, City Engineer; Nancy Jensen Beck, City Attorney (arrived 6:08 p.m.); and Theresa Schyma, City Clerk.


City Engineer Kuno and City Administrator Tolsma reviewed the water and sewer rate increase options. They stated that the proposals have factored in depreciation and the expected lost revenue due to the billing change for multi-family housing.

Mayor Rockvam stated that depreciation and the increased charges from the Metropolitan Council need to be factored into the budget process so that rates are reviewed on an annual basis.

Council Member Hughes asked for clarification on how the changes will impact multi-family housing.

City Engineer Kuno stated that the change for multi-family housing is not in the rate that they are charged but in how they will be billed; they are currently billed as one account so they hit the higher tier more quickly. He added that they will now be billed differently using an average based on number of units so that they will not hit the higher tier so quickly.

City Administrator Tolsma responded that this billing change will provide some relief to multi-family housing.

Council Member Pavot stated that there is no guarantee that the relief will be passed on to their renters but she is hopeful that it will provide more reasonable rent increases in the future.

Mayor Rockvam stated that the three year proposal is a good start to resolve the funding issue. He further stated that future Councils should review rates on an annual basis; it is the fiduciary responsibility of the Council and needs to be done.

City Administrator Tolsma agreed and stated that rate review needs to be part of the budget process each year since minor increases are easier for residents to factor into their household budgets; we don’t want the City to get back into this spot again in the future.

The Council consensus was that rates should be reviewed each year as part of the budget process.

City Administrator Tolsma stated that since the Council has a consensus about the proposed numbers and timeline being sufficient then City staff will post the draft ordinance for the required time so that it can be brought back to the Council for consideration at a future meeting.


City Engineer Kuno updated the Council on recent discussions with Hennepin County regarding a pedestrian push-button crossing on Shoreline Drive (CR 15) at the western portion of Bayview Place. He stated the County brought the issue to their Safety Committee and they don’t want to do a push-button crossing in that area and suggested a pedestrian ramp crossing on the eastern side of Bayview Place with a possible pedestrian refuge area in the middle of Shoreline Drive. He added his concern is that a ramp is not going to stop people from crossing in a dangerous area; this is a safety issue. He is requesting feedback from the Council on how to proceed.

The Council questioned why the County believes the eastern side of Bayview Place is a better location for a crossing ramp.

City Engineer Kuno responded that the County believes a crossing on the western portion of Bayview Place would be too close to the nearest crossing.

Mayor Rockvam stated that there are two pedestrian push-button crossings in Orono that are extremely close together so he doesn’t understand the County’s logic in saying that a push-button crossing at Bayview Place is too close to the nearest crossing when the distance would be similar to the crossings in Orono.

Council Member Pavot stated that if there was a pedestrian push-button crossing with flashing lights then a pedestrian refuge area in the middle of Shoreline Drive would not be necessary.

The City Council consensus was to direct City Engineer Kuno to approach the County again and stress that the Council believes this is a safety issue and that a pedestrian push-button crossing on Shoreline Drive (CR 15) at the western portion of Bayview Place is necessary.


City Administrator Tolsma stated that Council Member Kane Palen asked staff to look into recent ordinance changes in other metro cities that changed the purchasing age for cigarettes to 21 years old in their municipalities. He asked Council to review information and provide feedback to staff to determine whether or not they would like to consider an ordinance in Spring Park.

Council Member Kane Palen discussed hookah and e-cigarette lounges.

City Clerk Schyma responded that she will research to see whether or not Hennepin County’s “Clean Indoor” ordinances would cover the city and prevent hookah and e-cigarette lounges in Spring Park.

The City Council consensus was to have staff move forward with working on a draft ordinance to increase the cigarette purchasing age to 21 years old in Spring Park. They further directed staff to research the ordinances regarding hookah and e-cigarette lounges.


Council Member Kane Palen asked for an update on some of the City’s infrastructure items.

City Engineer Kuno responded that the County has not sent out official word yet on whether or not Sunset Drive (CR 51) will be included in their CIP.

Mayor Rockvam stated that he would like to see some type of pedestrian walkway on Sunset Drive this year or next year since there are still darks spots and we need to give people an area to walk for safety.

City Engineer Kuno discussed options for improving pedestrian safety on Sunset Drive.

Mayor Rockvam asked what the next step is for the City Council.

City Engineer Kuno responded that he will contact the County to see where they are at with their CIP decision and question them on what the City can do in the interim to improve pedestrian safety on Sunset Drive. He believes the County would be receptive to striping.

Council Member Pavot asked if the County could count pedestrian traffic on Sunset Drive.

Council Member Kane Palen also discussed where the Council is at with the goals that were set at their 2017 goal-setting work session.

Council Member Pavot responded that the Council does need to move forward with removing the City’s assessment policy

City Administrator Tolsma added that this is the time to be discussing these issues since the budget process is beginning soon.

Council Member Kane Palen requested an update on upgrading the playground equipment at the City’s two parks.

City Administrator Tolsma stated that he recently spoke with the vendor and they have the project on their schedule for Fall 2018. If that schedule remains then the City could do a parks re-dedication in Spring 2019.

Mayor Rockvam asked about the cost of the upgrades and how the City is paying for it.

City Administrator Tolsma responded that there are three different options that will be presented with a range of prices. He further stated that the upgrades were put into the CIP.

5. ADJOURN - The work session was adjourned by unanimous consent at 6:59 p.m.

Date Approved: August 6, 2018

Dan Tolsma, City Administrator

Theresa Schyma, City Clerk