October 28, 2013 Work Session

Attendance:  Council: Reinhardt, Williamson, Hughes, Sippel, Bren; Consultants: Qualle, Pearson, Beck; Staff: Tolsma, Lewin, Goman.


    1. Included for review is the red lined version of the proposed joint powers agreement for the LMCC. Bruce and Doug will give the council an update on the current status of member cities and will hopefully be able to answer any questions the council has regarding the proposed agreement –

Reinhardt said a redline copy is in front of the council. Williamson said the only reason this in front of the council is a company uses the right of way and they have to have a local franchise.  He said years ago no cable company wanted to build one town.  But to get cable tv out to the suburbs the cities had to join together. He said the LMCC was formed.  He said as years have gone by they’ve had to abide by state and federal government.  He said it was cable tv but technology has changed. 


Williamson said about a year ago several communities decided to take a different route.  He said the cable company solicited five cities for direct franchises.  Those five cities are pursuing that option and two have negotiated new agreements.  Williamson said this has generated some soul searching.  He said they've discussed how to manage and service it and how to conduct a community tv function and running the studio.  He said they've discussed how to carry out studies on telecommunication issues and report back.  Wifi has been explored.  He said the LMCC has been recognized at the state and national level as being the most forward thinking. 


Williamson said if nine cities leave there is a provision that dissolves the LMCC.  He said if only eight cities leave they can continue on with the resources.  He said at this point, nine have given notes to withdraw but four have said they will rescind if their expectations are met.  He said the two principal elements of the redlined copy is to allow cities to leave with 15 months notice by October 1st.  He said this satisfies several cities by not being locked in for ten years.  He said the JPA can only be changed by unanimous agreement of the parties.  Williamson is not enthusiastic about this as he sees it as a contract.  He is going to ask the council to vote for it.  He said one city said they will rescind their notice to withdraw if this passes.  He said it makes sense if the LMCC is going to continue to exist and benefit the member cities.  He said 17 cities must agree to make the changes and he said three are probably not going to cooperate.  He proposes supporting the changes in the JPA with an effective date of January 1st, 2014, when unanimity can be achieved with remaining cities.  


Williamson said Sippel has been involved with a committee to decide about benefits given to those cities that choose to leave.  Sippel said they’ve been working to make sure these cities don’t find value in cherrypicking the best services.  He said they need to make it lucrative for them to stay versus leaving. Sippel said the LMCC is best served by having a large membership so he’s in support of this.  Reinhardt suggests a resolution be pulled together and presented to the council.  Sippel said the sooner it’s passed the more comfortable the fence sitter cities become. 


    1. Included for review are two proposals (one from Northern Technologies, Inc. and one from American Engineering Testing, Inc.) solicited by MFRA for a feasibility report regarding the lift station #5 remodel - 

Reinhardt said there was an e-mail with omitted items from the packet.  She said there was direction for a feasibility study.  Paul Pearson said a proposal was put together with a packet of research.  He said there is software that identifies the work required for lift station one so budget numbers were put together.  He said there is an estimated budget of $4900 for the civil engineering services.  He said there is a need for soil borings to evaluate the conditions.  He said another structure in a slightly different location will be necessary, therefore they need borings.  He said they got two quotes and they are included.  They were approximately in the $3500 range and survey costs were figured for a topo with easements.  Williamson wondered if MFRA had access to the previous surveys performed by Schoell and Madson.  Goman said MFRA has the information but it needs to be verified with the proposed new structure.  Pearson confirmed but said the survey includes finding the property corners and it can sometimes be difficult. He said sometimes monumentation has been disturbed. Williamson believes in soil borings but he thinks the survey docs should be readily available.  Pearson agrees.  It’s about reducing costs by using everything that is available.  Pearson said it could be reduced to even half if everything goes smoothly and the monumentation is found.


Reinhardt said feasibilities also can reveal the condition of the structure and perhaps there is more life left in it.  Pearson said he thinks this feasibility is with the intent of replacing this lift station.  Reinhardt wonders about the current status, wonders how much of this work needs to happen and wonders how much the $11,000 is effectively part of the project.  Pearson said he looked at the budget and, in his opinion, if they eliminated the report and put together a plan for the final design, the amount of work required and reduction of work from preliminary to final would be about a $3700 reduction.  He said there is some risk but he thinks it's minimal.  Goman said this would be cookie cutter in nature.  Reinhardt is okay with the concept of the feasibility but she wants something in writing why the project needs to be done.  She needs documentation as to why this needs to be done. 


Sippel said that is his thought.  He said it doesn’t surprise him but it doesn’t handle nearly the flow as the others.  He also wonders about the life expectancy of the concrete.  Hughes wants to know about repair history.  Reinhardt said she’d rather have a staff memo documenting everything.  Williamson said a fair assessment of the facility needs to be done before taking votes on spending money on feasibility.  He said time might be an issue.  Williamson said if there is a new lift station, he wonders about the road surface.  He wonders if this is a standalone issue or will it be tied to a broader project.  Goman said he’s looking at it as a standalone.  Williamson said there are drainage issues there already.  Goman said this would be to the north.  Williamson said it’s still in the same area.  He also brings up timing for financing.  He said the city has the money but managing the money is important.  He said spending the cash is probably a better investment.  He said they could bond. 


    1. Included for review are three draft water quality letters. The drafts get incrementally longer and more technical from the first version to the third. If there is a consensus that one draft is favored staff will begin sending the letters to residents as soon as possible. The final version will go out in letter format to every address in the 55384 zip code (approximately 1,100 in total) –

Everyone likes the option B.  Beck suggests the longer one be on the website.  Sippel said it speaks clearly about the federal standard being five and the at risk people.  Reinhardt agrees she likes B.  Sippel said historically we’ve been at that level but it’s been gradually increasing.  Goman said there will have to be more of these updates done.  Sippel wouldn’t be opposed to having the historical trend on the website.  Tolsma asks for direction on the format for mailing.  He said there is everyday direct mailing that is a folded flier option but it can be deemed as a throw away.  Hughes and Reinhardt think this first notice should go out on city letterhead and mailed in a city envelope. Reinhardt said she also did like the blurb about signing up for the e-newsletter and wonders if this should be added.   Goman wondered about the alternate contact being the state.  Reinhardt wonders if the state knows about Norlings well and feels like they should know.  She said the timing of the TCE’s elevating is around that same time. 


  1. MISCELLANEOUS – Scott Qualle said letters were sent to Park Island, Certified Auto and Tonka Grill.  Qualle said Park Island has an engineer under contract to evaluate the structure but wouldn’t divulge who it is.  He wants to make sure the four issues are addressed.  Reinhardt wondered if this was believable and Qualle said they do want to get going on this.  Beck said the final letter has been sent and the city is ready to go.  Qualle said these planks are in the process of failing.  Beck said goal is to get this fixed.  Qualle said he got a call from a mechanical contractor for the Tonka Grill and they are looking to get this resolved.  Beck said the statement about closing the restaurant was powerful.  Qualle said he met with Certified Auto and they have a timeline of three weeks to get the permits accomplished.


Qualle talked about rental licensing.  He said this has been talked about.  He said what they look at is benefits and challenges, rental inspections versus maintanence and a risk/reward relationship.  He said residents will be protected and no one will thank us for it and the risk is there if there is loss of life due to negligence.  Hughes said it’s a selling point for renting when there are strict inspection programs in place for safety.  Qualle said rental versus property maintenance, landlords get defensive.  He said a lot of communities use the International Property Maintenance Code.  He said it might be adopted for everybody but makes rentals subject to inspection.  He said it is complaint based.  Qualle said it’s a beginning point and it’s pretty simple, basic stuff.  He said this code is used by many communities, Hopkins, St Louis Park, New Hope.  Benefits versus challenges. He said if there is a committee or planning commission to investigate this he suggests this is a certain.  He said dedication to the destination is important.  He said if unsure, it should be thought about.  He said landlords will be vocal about this.  Hughes said Maple Grove in 1975 a fire chief made it his goal to inspect all rentals for smoke detectors only.  He said it was an ease into the program gradually. 


Hughes wonders about rental numbers and Williamson said two-thirds of the population is rental.  Reinhardt asked if the ordinance addresses multi-family and Qualle said they would want to make special arrangements for licensed facilities.  Bren has a concern and she’s been thinking about this as there is nothing to protect people.  She said she wonders about abandoned properties or properties under maintenance and wonders about rules and regulations.  She feels it’s the same for apartments too.  She said in her neighborhood she feels there are about five properties in her neighborhood that need fixing and she wonders how it affects property values.  Qualle said there are good and bad landlords.  He said it’s the bad landlords that need to be managed.  Reinhardt wonders if the flood gates would open.  Hughes said some of it’s been previously addressed.  He said to get started, it should start softly.  He thinks smoke detector/carbon monoxide, other things can be looked at.  Bren wonders if this is a fire department function or a building inspections.  Hughes wonders about paying for this and he said his daughter pays over $200 for an inspection every three years.  Williamson thinks something should be done but incremental in nature. Hughes thinks this should be addressed slowly.  Williamson said it might be good to get a report or documentation about rental units and maybe more information about tenant/landlord disputes whether it’s financial or livability related.  Sippel is inclined to send this to the Planning Commission.  He doesn’t like overreaching government but given the percentage of rental in Spring Park it’s probably something that should be explored.  Williamson and Reinhardt said some guidelines should be addressed before giving it to the PC.  Hughes wonders if Goman can provide some information on the rentals in the city. 


  • Hughes said he’s noticed that with the new streetlight wiring, some of the lights that used to work don’t work anymore.  Goman said he’s been in contact with the project foreman about this.  He said where they tie the conduit to the foundation they’ve had to pull the old wiring out and it disables the new light temporarily.  Secondly, Hughes congratulates Tolsma and Bren for graduating from police academy. 


  • Reinhardt wondered about the tree lighting date.  Tolsma said last year it was before a council meeting and he wondered if the council was okay with that.  It’s decided the November 25th work session will be the tree lighting. 


Meeting adjourned at 9:20 pm