May 28, 2013 Work Session

Attendance: Reinhardt, Hughes, Williamson, Bren, Sippel, Tolsma, Lewin, Pearson, Beck, Goman.



Included is a staff memo for review – Reinhardt said there is a memo with background info and options.  She said in evaluating the options, building goals need to be established.  She said there is still storage below city hall and the size of the new building needs to be adjusted accordingly.  Hughes asked about the area to the south of city hall as it was previously discussed and he wonders why that isn’t an option now.  Goman said it can’t be utilized because of the 50’ radius from the well head location.  Reinhardt asked the council for their thoughts on building usage and needs.  Reinhardt wonders what is going to be performed.  Goman said two buildings, downstairs city hall would be cold storage and the other building for everything else.  Sippel thinks the other building should be for both storage and a workshop so there is no conflict.  Bren said she thinks a building should be constructed, she thinks public works needs a workshop.  She thinks it’s important and she thinks Goman does a good job and he needs some central place for his job duties.  She’s undecided about where the building is located.  She is also uncertain about size of building.  She said she did some checking on the neighboring property owned by Bremer (4365 Warren Ave).  She believes property price cannot be based upon the amount of revenue generated.  She wonders about an independent appraiser to help establish a reasonable market price.  Reinhardt said there is the eminent domain process.  Williamson said he is uncertain the more he studies this.  He said he was very interested in purchasing the Norling property and leasing it back to Norling.  Williamson said he thought it was good timing as Norling has indicated he is preparing to get out and retire.  Goman said Norling doesn’t need the old carwash (4332 Shoreline Dr) facility to conduct his business.  He said Norling chooses to continue to use the old site for the oil changes and dirty jobs.  Hughes doesn’t want to rush into anything.  He likes the idea of leasing Norling’s property for a year with perhaps a future purchase.  He said it buys some time to evaluate the needs.  Reinhardt said she wasn’t in favor of leasing in the beginning but she is now seeing the benefit of this.  Reinhardt likes the idea of going slowly on this and she would like to continue to pursue exploring the adjacent Bremer property.  She feels the tennis court location is not optimum.  Goman said he goes back and forth too.  He said the property next door has elevation difficulties.  Reinhardt believes an offer should be tested for both properties.  She likes the idea of purchasing the vacant lot (4373 Warren Ave) and it puts more pressure on the Bremer property.   She said the property could be rezoned to public.  Hughes thinks a rental ordinance might be enough incentive for the Bremer property to consider a sale. 


Williamson said eminent domain involves a lot of processes.  He said there will be costs involved and it’s usually better to negotiate.  Beck said it depends upon the comprehensive plan and there can’t be spot zoning.  Williamson said there can be a plan amendment.  Goman asked if the council wants to eliminate any of the four options.   Sippel is not in favor of acquiring any properties.  He feels there is adequate property available without buying.  Reinhardt said she thinks the tennis court property is under utilized but she wouldn’t want to live on a street that has public works.  Hughes said the health issue in the lower level needs to be dealt with.  Reinhardt doesn’t believe the city is looking at future expansion of duties.  Goman said it would be nice to have flexibility to evaluate the use and needs of the public works shop.  Goman said from an ease of access, the property adjacent is the best.  Goman is not in favor of using Wilkes Park.  He said it’s too residential.  Sippel said he’s not totally against acquiring property he just doesn’t want to pay inflated prices for it.  He also thinks property needs to be square versus long and narrow.  Sippel said he thinks the pursuit of Norling’s property is the best way to go and then spend time to evaluate the needs.  Beck said no offers should be made for purchasing property until an independent appraisal is done.  She said a real estate agent could be consulted to get an idea of pricing based on comparable sales. 


Reinhardt suggests pursuing a lease with Norling and having Beck investigate negotiating options for the adjacent property. Reinhardt said what she is hearing is to pursue a lease with Norling and the other properties aren’t discarded.  She said the second component is to figure out a process about establishing market values for negotiation.  She said the old SA site (3701 Sunset Dr) could also be reconsidered as a potential site.  Goman said that would be his first choice.  He said the shell of the building is in good shape.  He said the roof is intact but they haven’t been inside.  He recommends a site visit and getting inside the building and get assessments from building and mechanical contractors.  Reinhardt suggests a third staff directive to attempt access to the SA property and have contractors' evaluations.  Beck thinks pursuing the Norling lease is the obvious first step.




Included is a copy of the minutes from the April 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. – Reinhardt said the April Admin committee meeting was discussing the IPad usage and whether the council is interested in pursuing paperless.  Reinhardt said in the beginning two council members didn’t have internet access but it has been fixed since then.  She said the monthly charges for the data being used is high because it’s currently a high-priced plan.  Hughes likes having his laptop with him and likes reduction of paper.  Reinhardt said she’s happy Williamson has e-mail and thinks it's very important.  Sippel said it would cheaper to buy internet at home and use Wi-Fi.  Tolsma said there is such a thing that an internet service could be offered but it could be waived.  Reinhardt wondered if the city could come up with a city policy to provide for internet service for its council members.  She would be okay with coming up with a policy perhaps based upon income levels.  Williamson said either that or a blanket stipend.  Beck said staff time for preparation of the packet and paper costs could be factored.  Reinhardt asked for staff directive and said she would be in favor of exploring internet access to council members who meet affordability measures.  Beck said she’ll do some research on this.


  1. CONSERVATION RATE BILLING SAMPLE 8:30 – 8:45 – Reinhardt explained there was a blurb added to the bottom of the utility bill explaining the tiered conservation rates.  Sippel said it's good but he would rather see each line item itemized out. He also said these are just water rates and over half the bill is sewer rates so he would like to see detail for sewer.  Sippel said the minimum charge per quarter could be rephrased as base fee or per meter or per unit.  Sippel thinks if the water rates are being calculated out per the tiers, it should be able to be printed that way.


    1. Mound Fire Department Press Release – Recent activity.
    2. Memo Regarding MNSPECT – Reinhardt said there was some nice feedback about Mnspect’s building services.


  1. MISCELLANEOUS – Goman said the recent water tower work is related to antennae contracts.  He said Sprint is doing an upgrade going from 3G to 4G service. Goman said this was supposed to be a two day project and they are now on week three.  Williamson asked if they are replacing or adding.  Goman said they’re adding three new antennae and will be removing six.  Williamson is concerned about the structure integrity.  Goman said this project started a year ago. He said KLM engineering has been hired to do the inspections and it is billed back to Sprint.  He said there have been weather delays. 


Goman said he was on call this weekend and there was a failure of well number three.  He said it was the variable frequency drive on wells one and two.  He said the electrician was in on Sunday morning.  He said the parts cost is in excess of $6,000.  They are out of warranty and there were no weather related problems.  Goman said on the banners and Christmas decorations a complete count was taken for what is needed for every pole.  Originally it was at 17 and they are now up to 23.  They previously didn’t factor in the poles that were taken down and three additional poles in front of the Mist.  Goman said the CR 15 corridor has a light on every pole now.  He said it brought the unit cost price down.  Williamson said since this is related to new light poles, the cost should be added to the new light poles so they are spreading the costs. 


Hughes said on I phones and Androids Hennepin County can send a text message or e-mail to your phone.  Regarding the potential dynamic sign co-owned with Hennepin County Water Patrol, Williamson thinks prices, dimensions, features, location and operating costs should be sought.  Goman said he has a preliminary design but dimensions need to be worked out.  He said there is grant funding available and he was maybe going to be able to talk with Eric Waage.  The grant funding request is due the end of June.  Sippel said it's important to determine who owns the messaging.  Hughes said that does come into play.  Reinhardt said the city would like to control the message and Hennepin County and Westonka Schools send the city their requests. 


Adjourn Meeting at:  9:05 p.m.