April 22, 2013 Work Session

Attendance:  Reinhardt, Williamson, Hughes, Bren, Sippel, Goman, Beck, Qualle, Tolsma and Lewin



a.  Included is a staff memo for review. If the council desires, a short tour of the basement could also be done either prior to, or following the discussion.  Reinhardt said the memo outlines options.  Hughes wants to add an option.  He asked about the diesel tractor and wonders if it could be converted to propane.  Goman said it would be too costly based on the size and it would be in excess of $5,000.  Hughes said he called someone and they said it would be more like $1,000.  Tolsma said this has been an ongoing issue due to a public works facility under office space.  Tolsma said Goman has necessary operations he performs in the lower garage. Tolsma goes through the suggested options. 


Goman said the basement has a suspended ceiling and there have been upgrades performed.  He said a sheetrock ceiling was suggested but it has pros and cons as do all the options.  Hughes asked about spray foam.  Tolsma said options 2,3 and 4 are off-site options.  Reinhardt suggested discussing each option.  Hughes said he wants to eliminate option 3.  Reinhardt agreed and stated the historic nature of the building would prohibit moving city hall to another location.  Hughes agrees stating this is city hall.  Goman said the building is not historic – not officially historic in nature.  Williamson said this is as close to a historical embodiment the city has but he doesn’t think any option should be scratched right now.  He said the bottom line should be considered.  Reinhardt said it’s either lease, build or fix and the initial outlay would be spent no matter what.  Williamson doesn’t think that equates.  He wonders about purchasing the Norling property and leasing it back to Norling - for example.  Goman said he and Tolsma recently met with Norling.  He said Norling is interested in selling in the near future.


Sippel said he believes vehicles parked below will be a conflict.  He wonders about a hybrid and have a workshop but to get the vehicles out of here.  He also thinks a shed by the tennis courts might make sense, especially if it wasn’t heated and it was just a garage.  Reinhardt likes the idea of purchasing the adjacent property because it would get rid of two blighted properties on Pattees Lane.  Goman said discussion has been had about using the basement as cold storage for Christmas decorations, flags, parts, etc but moving the workshop off site.   Qualle said one furnace services two areas.  He said the basement is being pressurized and the fumes are being pushed up.  Reinhardt remembers when the HVAC was redone and it was a lot of money.  She wonders if this wasn’t done properly at that time. 


Basement Tour:  Qualle pointed out where the garage door opener track was lowered and the sheet rock enclosed it.  Reinhardt said she was surprised at the storage room and the high ceilings and amount of space.  Reinhardt asked how much the tractor was worth.  Goman said it cost around $25K and if they trade the tractor in they should come out ahead after buying a new mower and trailer.  Sippel asked where the compressor was and Goman said it was in the back storage room because of the noise.  Goman said the back storage room has seepage and mold on the wall.  Williamson thinks this could be sealed - regardless.  Back in the garage Goman explained the green generator iss owned by the city and serves lift stations 4 and 5.  He said the yellow generator is Orono's.  Goman said it's in exchange for the Toolcat used for Beinek's snow plowing.  Reinhardt said she didn't believe that storing Beinek's snowplowing equipment was part of the contract.


Reinhardt asked the council for their thoughts after seeing the downstairs.  Williamson said he’s impressed with the organization and the space.  Beck said something to keep in mind is that staff made this complaint last fall and the long term options are going to take time so there are interim measures that need to be considered. Goman said he has to juggle his jobs so the effect of his work is kept to a minimum.  Bren always looks to doing things right the first time.  She is in favor of purchasing the property next door.  Reinhardt said after seeing the space downstairs she’s leaning towards a retrofit.  Hughes agrees with Bren but he thinks considering the money spent downstairs he’d rather rent or lease a facility for the time being and take time to really think and design this.  Williamson thinks the move process will be costly and a one year lease is typically expensive.  He said in investing in leased space it should be 3-5 years minimum with a cancellation clause. 


Goman said Orono is not interested in a long-term commitment but they would allow a short-term option.  He said it would give some time for evaluation and to do what is best.  Goman said the Hennepin County  substation is due for an upgrade in 2015.  They’re not looking at expanding the building but it’s not out of the question.  He said Mound and Spring Park have approached HC about a shared facility.  Reinhardt thinks fine tuning the improvements to the garage should be considered for costs including mold mitigation, the garage door, etc. Goman said he can’t guarantee there won’t be issues and he wonders if this is a band aid. Hughes thinks other numbers to consider are costs to acquire property.  Williamson said now is the time to buy property.  He believes property values have bottomed and are heading upwards.  It is suggested staff talk to a realtor about the Bremer property.  Sippel thinks the city already has city owned property and he thinks acquiring property doesn’t make sense.  Beck agrees with Sippel. 

2.    HYDRANT FLUSHING 8:00 – 8:15

Included is a map used by Public Works Superintended DJ Goman to determine the hydrants that are serviced annually and by which method. DJ will be in attendance to discuss the current maintenance approach with the hydrants and to answer any questions. The council should also use this discussion to determine if they would like to develop any new maintenance policies or staff reporting requirements, such as an annual report to the council or an article in the newsletter.  Goman said there is a map in front of the council.  Goman said some of the hydrants need to be pumped and there are others that need to be flushed and pumped.  He said they only flush once a year because of the filter plant and a process called poly pigging.  They are foam bullets that go through and scour off the rust.  Williamson said he thinks the hydrant in front of his house hasn’t been flushed in a while.  He also noticed in the paper other cities are flushing hydrants routinely.  Williamson asked if a wrench was put to each hydrant every year to make sure it’s operational and Goman said yes.  He said every hydrant gets pressurized.  They tighten the caps, turn the hydrant on and it's pressurized. This process checks for leaks and for water present. Hughes thinks a spreadsheet showing the hydrants that have been wrenched could be added very easily.  Reinhardt said just another column could keep track of that.  Williamson asked about private hydrants.  Goman said they are maintained privately.  He said the fire Marshall inspects those hydrants. 


  1. ROAD SALT DISCUSSION 8:15 – 8:30
  2. DJ will brief the council on the history of the city’s approach to salting and/or sanding the city streets and will also update the council on the specific treatment chemical currently in use by the city. Goman said sodium chloride is being used. He said it’s been used for four years.  Prior to this time a salt/sand mixture was used.  Ninety/10 sand to salt mixture has been used.  Goman said the salt is more expensive.  He said salt/sand combo puts too much sand into the lake.  Too much salt kills vegetation.  He said in the end, the runoff is diluted.  Sippel asked about a delta cost and Goman said it’s a fixed cost.  Williamson asked about what is being picked up in the street sweepings and Goman said it’s been reduced by one third.  Goman said most of the surrounding communities use straight salt; a few are still using a salt/sand blend.  Goman said .75-1” is the call out – predicted or happening.  Reinhardt asked about the recent snowfall.  Goman said with last week’s snowfall, the sidewalks were not able to be cleared.  It was decided to clear the sidewalks and haul out during the night. The operation started around 10 p.m. starting in Mound.  A noise complaint was received and a road debris hazard complaint was received.  There was a concern about the road being blocked so Hennepin County was called.  The operation was shut down by HC.  Goman was notified by Bienek.  Goman called for a meeting on Monday morning to figure out what happened.  He said there was some finger pointing.  Some concerns were brought up about safety concerns.  Goman said haul outs are rare at night. 


Due to the lateness of the meeting, Reinhardt suggested they lay over the remaining items to a meeting at a later date.


    1. Included is a copy of the minutes from the most recent administration committee meeting (see item 3) where the members discussed the benefits and concerns about the use of iPads. The committee agreed at that time to bring the issue to the entire council for further discussion.




  1. MISCELLANEOUS – Reinhardt said she forwarded an e-mail that she sent to Blaze at The Laker.  She said he had some valid points stating he didn’t know there was a special meeting.  Reinhardt said she anticipates a follow up article will be written.  Williamson said this seems to be a common thread and they are relying upon insufficient sources.  Reinhardt said she’s posted on the Facebook page that this was reported wrongly.  Williamson said he read some other articles and St. Boni and Long Lake had to get new assessors because the numbers were off. 


Adjourned 9:45 p.m.