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Emily City Council October highlights

Web posted November 5, 2019
By Paul Boblett, Editor

(Editor’s Note: The following article was written from the unapproved minutes of the Tuesday, October 8, 2019 regular monthly meeting of the Emily City Council as provided by the city clerk.)

The Emily City Council met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, October 8, 2019 and was called to order at 6pm. In attendance at the meeting were Mayor Roger Lund, Councilmembers Bryce Butcher, Wesley Friesner, Gerhart Hanson, and Bill Spiess, and Cari Johnson, City Clerk/Treasurer.

Council approved the agenda with an addition to the Roads report of a drain washout by the holding pond.

Public Safety
Police

Council approved Chief Herold’s requested for permission from council to set up a safe e-commerce zone in the Emily City Hall parking lot where the Hall security cameras will cover exchanges and to post information on the safe e-commerce zone. Council also approved Herold’s request to purchase a replacement radio with encrypted channels for the Police Department in an amount of up to $4,100. The current radios are outdated and no longer serviceable.

Fire Department
Fire Chief Genz reported 18 members at the last meeting and 1 fire call. Pressure tests were completed on the three fire trucks. The Fire Department would like to purchase new jackets for members.

The Fire Department is holding fire extinguisher training at the Fire Hall on Friday, October 25 from 4-6 p.m. for kids 12 and under, but everyone may attend. The Fire Department is also holding the Trunk or Treat event on October 31 from 5 to 7 p.m. behind the Fire Hall, they will contact the donor of the hay ride trailer before the event and volunteers will work on the trailer.

The Fire Department needs to be trained on the St. Emily’s Catholic Church dry sprinkler system and requested a lockbox be installed at the St. Emily’s Catholic Church. The possibility of charging for fire calls will be researched, especially for false alarms.

Council adopted Resolution 19- 35 to accept the Relief Association donation of $1,000 for equipment.

First Response
Mayor Lund reported 10 calls with 9 medicals and 1 fire. The First Responders will also be participating in the Trunk or Treat event. Council adopted Resolution 19-37 to accept a $200 donation from Loren Yungk to the First Response Unit.

Presentations

John Schommer, Brainerd HRA, presented an update on the City of Emily’s Small Cities Development Program (SCDP) Owner Occupied Housing Rehabilitation Program. The City was approved for ten owner occupied housing rehabilitation projects.

There are currently two housing rehabilitation projects in construction and two additional property owners are working to secure bids for projects. SCDP funds are available for six additional housing rehabilitation projects. There is some concern regarding the lack of interest in the housing rehabilitation program.

The program is a great opportunity for property owners needing a new roof, windows, health and safety improvements, etc.

The program would provide up to $20,000 for rehabilitation of an owner occupied home, there is no interest and no payments, and the $20,000 is fully forgiven after living in the home for ten years. The $20,000 would be forgiven 10% per year as long as the property owners do not sell, transfer, or convey the property or as long as the home is the property owner’s primary residence.

The program uses the area median income to determine income limits, which would be over $40,000 for a single person in our area. The program began in March of 2019 and ends on September 30, 2021. A grant extension could be requested if an application is received and there are available funds. Schommer requested anyone interested in a housing rehabilitation project to contact the Brainerd HRA or Emily City Hall.

Schommer also discussed Fair Housing, and stated that the SCDP housing rehabilitation program does not discriminate based on sex, color, religion, creed, etc. and the Brainerd HRA staff is available to answer any questions on the program. The Council thanked Schommer for attending.

Dr. Jamie Skjeveland, Superintendent of the Crosby-Ironton School District, and Jill Decent, Crosby-Ironton School Board Member, discussed the bond referendum vote on November 5. The bond referendum would provide funds for long term facility maintenance, maximize space utilization, modernize learning environments, enclose elementary school classrooms for safety and to provide sound barriers, redesign of the elementary school bus loop, and purchase updated equipment for the career and technical areas. There would be no increase in payment amounts for the existing bond, but the number of payments would be extended. The Council thanked Skjeveland and Decent for attending.

Public Forum

Jan Mosman, resident, addressed council regarding the draft Downtown Development Plan. The City had hired prior Planning and Zoning Administrator Ben Wikstrom to develop the plan. Mosman stated the draft plan is individualized and professional for the City. The City is not required to carry out the recommended activities. Mosman stated Wikstrom recommends any future revisions be added to the plan as addendums. Mosman stated there is more work product in the plan than was included in the original agreement, and that the plan is to help the City and to be used. Mosman said there has been difficulty in finding interested people to serve on a Downtown Development Committee to revise the plan, but there is interest in using the plan to develop plans for economic development in the downtown area. An adopted plan would be required when applying for economic development funding.

Downtown Development Plan

Wikstrom provided the draft Downtown Development Plan in a format that cannot be revised. The original revision plan was for corrections and updates. The Council requested the Downtown Development Committee provide input from local businesses and make recommendations for discussion.

Mosman stated the committee could review the plan, provide recommendations on development of downtown, search for grants, market, and search for investors, adding that the plan is a valuable tool which is needed for the EDA, is necessary for requesting grant funding for projects, and necessary for TIF and tax abatement.

The City’s Economic Development Authority (EDA) is needed to request grants for economic development. The plan is to use the draft Downtown Development Plan during development of the City’s revised Comprehensive Plan. Mosman requested the Downtown Development Committee members be invited to attend Comprehensive Plan development meetings. Mosman stated Wikstrom updated the plan with the changes that were made in the last few years. The amount paid on the plan to date, which included grant funds, is $5,400. The City had chosen to include optional renderings in the plan, but renderings were not included. Mosman said previous versions did include renderings, but they were made obsolete with changes over time. Mosman told council that Wikstrom included graphics on maps and provided photos instead of the renderings to keep the content current. The City has not received an invoice from Wikstrom for the optional renderings for $1,800 and it was noted that development of the plan was not completed in a timely manner. Wikstrom could be requested to attend a meeting to discuss implementation of the plan and discuss revisions to the plan. The Council tabled the plan and will review the plan for discussion at the next meeting.

Planning and Zoning

Council member Bill Spiess motioned for council to adopt Resolution 19-36 for fact finding and reasons for approval for a Conditional Use Permit for Timothy Greer (the business would be called Emily Auto Repair), for auto sales, repairs and towing 40395 State Highway 6, Emily, MN, as revised by the city attorney. The resolution included 11 findings of fact and 11 conditions.

Attorney
The City Attorney will provide information on the Emily City Code procedure for abatement of long term nuisance violations for the next Special Meeting. The City’s Complaint Inspector has issued administrative citations for a long term nuisance property, but the property is still not cleaned up.

Roads
Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) will repair the erosion damage to the east end of the tiled drainage ditch from 2nd Street to Emily Lake next spring. The Clerk’s Office will request the Snow Birds Snowmobile Club post the drainage ditch for no snowmobile access because the property has been used by snowmobilers as an access point to Emily Lake.

It was reported that heavy equipment damaged the pavement of Shadow Point during construction on a property owner’s property. The City hired Anderson Brothers to repair the damage, but Shadow Point was repaired in the wrong location. The Anderson Brothers invoice for $1,500 was not paid at that time due to the mistake. Anderson Brothers did repair the correct Shadow Point damage location during patching work later in the summer. The billing for the later work did not include the Shadow Point patch and the $1,500 prior billing is still due. Discussion included the City was not charged for the Shadow Point patch in the wrong location. The property owners have been invoiced for the amount of the Anderson Brothers invoice. Council approved the payment.

There has been access to the Andrews Pit so the access gate will be inspected.

Maintenance
The Maintenance Report was reviewed.

Maintenance Shop

The dispute between the City and Nor-Son Construction regarding construction of Phase 1 of the Maintenance Shop was discussed. Nor-Son states the Council approved elimination of the 12” vented soffits to cover the additional Phase 1 cost of the demising wall above the ceiling, but there is no documentation of the change and the Council did not agree to the change. The verbal agreement between Nor-Son and the City was for the bollards and aprons to be removed from Phase 1 to cover the cost of the demising wall above the ceiling, but not the 12” vented soffits.

Nor-Son is proposing to cover the cost and installation of snow guards and attic louver(s), if required, the additional trench drains change order, additional garage door openers, and additional earthwork items in resolution of the soffit overhang dispute.

Nor-Son states the value of the 12” vented soffit overhangs per the Gordian estimating system would have been $2,061.95. Nor-Son proposes to cover the following additional Phase 1 costs: import and spread offsite Class 5 at $3,000, backfill around shop with City stockpiled soil at $1,000, additional trench drains at $1,628.40, four extra garage door openers at $180, additional tree clearing due to moving building location, and downgrade of electrical service from 600 to 400 amp with additional outlets at $83.56.

It was noted that the building was not built per the approved Work Order. There is a concern of damage to the building due to the short overhangs and not having adequate ventilation in the middle section of the attic. Snow guards should hold snow on the roof which allows the snow to melt off and not cascade off in sheets and cause damage to the building. The roof has been designed to hold the snow load. Council had a question regarding the warranty for the building. Nor-Son had planned for local supervision of the Phase 1 project, but local supervision was not provided. An additional concern is that Nor-Son gave RAM the dimensions of the building and a list of items to include, but no drawing.

Council discussion included the building was not built to the City’s specifications. The Council is compromising and still questions why the 12” vented soffits were not constructed. The City could pursue legal action instead of accepting the proposal, but there would be a high cost to the City. Additional attic louvres will be installed by Nor-Son at a later date if the City determines they are necessary for adequate ventilation.

Council approved a motion to pay Nor-Son Construction the final billing for Phase 1 of the Maintenance Shop in amount of $42,923.80 and agree to Nor-Son’s dispute resolution proposal as presented with the change that Nor-Son needs to install the snow guards this fall. The Maintenance Shop 2019 budget is estimated to be negative $4,105.81 if Emily Masonry installs the concrete aprons and bollards, and Moritz Excavating installs the septic system this fall.

City Hall

Birchdale Security is providing additional information on the Hall’s security system.

Parks
The survey of the City Beach property has not been completed.

Personnel

Minnesota Statute 181.101 changed in July and now requires all employees be paid at least once every 31 days. Currently the City pays members of the Planning Commission, Park Commission, Economic Development Commission, and Economic Development Authority annually. Council approved a motion to approve payment of Planning Commission, Park Commision, Economic Development Authority and economic Development Commission wages on the first payroll date of every month per Minnesota Statute.

It was noted that firefighters and first responders are also paid annually, but Minnesota Statute 181.101 Subdivision b allows firefighters and first responders to be paid at longer intervals if the employer and employee mutually agree. Each firefighter and first responder would need to make the choice. The Clerk would need to do monthly payroll for each firefighter and first responder choosing to be paid monthly instead of annually. Council approved a motion to pay firefighter and first responder wages annually on or about the December 1 payroll date to each emlpoyee that agrees to be paid annually per Minnesota Statute, and approve payment of firefighter and first responder wages on the first of every month to each employee that does not agree to be paid on a longer interval.

Councilmember Friesner reported on the Regional Safety Group informational meeting. The Regional Safety Group would provide required OSHA compliance trainings for Maintenance and Clerk’s Office employees. The trainer would also conduct a mock OSHA inspection for each city. The program is supervised by League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT). The City would join a group which would include a minimum of three cities, currently Emily, Crosby, Deerwood, and possibly Ironton. The group would hold 6 to 12 trainings per year per the group’s choice. There are additional training topic options if the group holds 8 or more meetings per year. Meeting locations would vary between the group cities and the schedule would be set one year in advance. LMCIT and Sourcewell would each cover half of the training costs. The only cost to the City would be employee’s wages while attending training during regular business hours and mileage to the location, if the training is not in Emily. Maintenance personnel could use the City’s truck, so would not need mileage reimbursement. The program would begin in January of 2020 and the annual agreement includes a 90-day termination clause. Firefighters, first responders, and police officers already  participate in required OSHA trainings, but could also attend on their own if they choose. The Council made the decision to try joining the group for one year with 8 training meetings per year.

New Business
Council heard a Crow Wing County request that the City approve classification to nonconservation and future direct sale of a non-conforming tax forfeited tract on Little Emily Lake. Council approved the motion with the condition that the property owner purchasing the lot consolidate the lot with their property.

Council approved the following liquor license renewals for 2020: Barrett’s Log Cabin; Larson Saloon 2, Inc.; Diner’s Chicken Shack; Redding’s Sports and Spirits, Inc.; Lake Country Foods; and Emily Greens.

Council approved a contract with Aaron Kellerman, A&J Inspection Services to serve as the City’s SSTS Inspector for 2020 for $85 per compliance inspection. A memo will be sent to Kellerman with a concern regarding the inspection services. The inspector was directed to complete soil borings only when required by law.

Council approved the following locations for official City postings are the City Hall, Emily Post Office, and the City Message Center in the public parking lot.

Correspondence
Council learned that Crow Wing County is considering taking back administration of Wetland Conservation Act (WCA) requirements for all cities in Crow Wing County in January 2020. Crow Wing County would charge Emily an annual administrative flat fee of $2,000. Crow Wing County would provide more uniform administration of the WCA requirements.

Upcoming meetings
A Public Hearing on a landowner petition for vacation of a platted cul de sac on Little Pine River Road will be held on Tuesday, October 15 at 6 p.m. The proposed vacation resolution is being revised to remove the Little Pine River Road right-of-way from the proposed cul de sac vacation. A Special Meeting on a landowner petition for vacation of a platted cul de sac on Little Pine River Road will be held on Tuesday, October 15 at 6:05 p.m. The Truth in Taxation Meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 10, 2019 at 6 p.m. The Clerk’s Office will send letters to local business owners regarding snow removal per Emily City Code 93.03 Materials on Street or Sidewalk, Section B, Subsection 1: “…no person shall: (1) Obstruct any street or sidewalk by depositing snow or ice thereon;”. The Maintenance Department needs to plow the sidewalks and the Public Parking Lot and haul the snow away from the Public Parking Lot. The Council will consider revision of the Fee Schedule Ordinance for addition of an administrative citation for obstruction of sidewalks.

The next regular monthly meeting of the Emily City Council will be held Tuesday, November 12 at 6:00 pm at Emily City Hall.

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