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City Council

City Council Meeting Minutes

October 21, 2013

 

1.       Roll Call

Mayor Roe called to order the Roseville City Council regular meeting at approximately 6:00 p.m., welcomed everyone and made introductions.  Voting and Seating Order: Laliberte; McGehee; Willmus; Etten; and Roe.  Interim City Manager Patrick Trudgeon and City Attorney Mark Gaughan were also present.

         

2.     Approve Agenda

Mayor Roe announced that the "Organized Trash Collection" previously publicized as an agenda item for tonight's meeting had been rescheduled to November 18, 2013.  If there were members of the audience in attendance at tonight's meeting to speak to that item , Mayor Roe invited them to do so during "Public Comment" when he recognized that portion of the agenda in a few minutes.

 

Etten moved, McGehee seconded, approval of the agenda as presented.

 

                                                Roll Call

               Ayes: Laliberte; McGehee; Willmus; Etten; and Roe. 

               Nays: None.

 

3.    Public Comment

Mayor Roe called for public comment by members of the audience on any non-agenda items.  No one appeared to speak.

 

4.    Council Communications, Reports and Announcements

RV Mayor Roe announced two upcoming Roseville Community Education sponsored discussions "Creating Community for a Lifetime.' The first scheduled on October 24, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. at the Little Canada City Hall; and the second on November 16, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. at the Roseville Branch of the Ramsey County Library.  While the events are free, Mayor Roe noted that R.S.V.P.s were necessary to ensure adequate space; with additional information on free transportation to the event available by calling 651/604-3535 (Library) and R.S.V.P.'s directed to 651/297-2704; with additional information also available on the Community Education website.

 

Mayor Roe announced the upcoming annual Roseville Area Schools Walk/Run in support of the Roseville Area Youth Scholarship Fund, scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. from the Emmett D. Williams School to the Roseville Area High School on November 9, 2013.  Additional information is available, along with registration information, available online at isd623.org or by phone at 651/604-3511.

 

Mayor Roe announced the upcoming fundraiser for Hit and Run victim Sgt. Travis Torgerson, scheduled for November 3, 2013 from 12:30 - 4:00 p.m. at Calvary Baptist Church on Lexington Avenue in Roseville.  The fundraiser to help with medical expenses will include a lunch buffet, and silent and live auctions; with donations also accepted at local TCF banks in his name.

 

5.      Recognitions, Donations, Communications

 

6.     Approve Minutes

Comments and corrections to draft minutes had been submitted by the City Council prior to tonight's meeting and those revisions were incorporated into the draft presented in the Council packet; as well as additional corrections from Councilmembers McGehee and Etten provided as a bench handout,.

 

a.                Approve Minutes of September 23, 2013 Meeting

McGehee moved, Etten seconded, approval of the October 14, 2013 Meeting Minutes as presented.

 

Roll Call

                        Ayes: Laliberte; McGehee; Willmus; Etten; and Roe. 

                        Nays: None.

 

7.     Approve Consent Agenda

At the request of Mayor Roe, Interim City Manager Patrick Trudgeon briefly reviewed those items being considered under the Consent Agenda.

 

a.            Approve Payments

Willmus moved, Laliberte seconded, approval of the following claims and payments as presented.    

 

Check Series #

Amount

ACH Payments

$109,842.47

71709 - 71790

507,550.44

Total

$617,392.91

 

Roll Call

                        Ayes: Laliberte; McGehee; Willmus; Etten; and Roe. 

                        Nays: None.

 

b.            Approve Business & Other Licenses & Permits

Willmus moved, Laliberte seconded, approval of business license applications for the period of one (1) year, for the following applicants:

                            

Applicant/Location

Type of License

Julie Pagani; Colleen and Company

3092 Lexington Avenue

Massage Therapist

 

Roll Call

                        Ayes: Laliberte; McGehee; Willmus; Etten; and Roe. 

                        Nays: None.

 

c.            Approve General Purchases and Sale of Surplus Items In Excess of $5,000

          Willmus moved, Laliberte seconded, approval of the submitted list of general purchases and contracts for services presented as follows:

 

Department

Vendor

Description

Amount

Budget / CIP

Parks & Rec

Upper Cut

Tree Care

Diseased & Hazardous Tree Removal

$20,000.00

Budget

 

Roll Call

                        Ayes: Laliberte; McGehee; Willmus; Etten; and Roe. 

                        Nays: None.

 

d.            Consider Joint Powers Agreement Ramsey County Violent Crime Enforcement Team

Mayor Roe noted that the Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) included financial procedures adopted in June of 2013 as a response to items identified previously in task force situations.

 

Police Chief Rick Mathwig thanked the City Attorney for excellent work in looking out for city interests in development of the JPA.

 

Willmus moved, Laliberte seconded, approval of the terms of the Agreement (Attachment A) and authorize the Mayor and Interim City Manager, City Attorney, Finance Director and Chief of Police to execute the document.

 

Roll Call

                        Ayes: Laliberte; McGehee; Willmus; Etten; and Roe. 

                        Nays: None.

 

e.            Consider Resolution to Accept Work Completed, Authorize Payment and Commence 2012 Storm Sewer Line Warranty Work

Willmus moved, Laliberte seconded, adoption of Resolution No. 11099 (Attachment A) entitled, "Final Contract Acceptance - Storm Sewer Main Lining Project;" initiating the one-year warranty period and authorizing final payment in an amount not to exceed $96,153.00.

 

Roll Call

                        Ayes: Laliberte; McGehee; Willmus; Etten; and Roe. 

                        Nays: None.

 

With additional audience members arriving, Mayor Roe reiterated his announcement regarding the rescheduling of the organized trash collection item to the November 18, 2013 meeting to allow staff to prepare additional background information; and offered another opportunity for public comment, with no one coming forward.

 

8.            General Ordinances for Adoption

 

a.            Consider an Ordinance Amending Title Five, Chapter 501 of the City Code Specific to Rabies Vaccinations

Police Chief Rick Mathwig briefly summarized this requested ordinance amendment, basically a procedural change, as detailed in the Request for Council Action (RCA) dated October 21, 2013.  Chief Mathwig advised that this recommendation was based on best practices used by area veterinarians, putting the monitoring process back in their hands; and also allowing City Police Reserve Officers to handle animal control.  Chief Mathwig highlighted those recommended amendments on lines 102, 105, 121, and 178 of Attachment A, and a typographical correction on line 259 of the draft. 

 

Councilmember Willmus expressed his concerns in striking language on line 121 removing the provision for submission by a lifetime license holder to the City every two years proof of animal rabies vaccinations, and proposing to only provide that the owner maintain that proof.  Councilmember Willmus questioned if this led to people purchasing lifetime licenses without pursuing annual vaccinations and the City's lack of ability to determine that.  Given the amount of wildlife frequenting suburbia today, Councilmember Willmus opined that it was important to make sure animals were up-to-date with vaccinations, and reiterated his concerns in striking that specific language.

 

Chief Mathwig advised that the recommendation language was based on changes in the veterinarian industry, with over-vaccination recently determined to be not healthy for dogs.  Based on his experience in the City of Roseville, Chief Mathwig noted that, if a dog is licensed in the City, a vast majority of the time it was also vaccinated and updated as recommended by veterinarians.  Chief Mathwig advised that the majority of issues were with animals that were not licensed.

 

Councilmember Willmus expressed concern with the type of activity engaged in by a dog, and whether they were indoor or outdoor pets, with frequency of vaccinations determined by their outdoor exposure to rabies and potential for harm.  Councilmember Willmus opined that it was advantageous to keep that submission of proof requirement for lifetime licenses intact, or to somehow have City staff verify that documentation.

 

Chief Mathwig advised that it would be problematic for current staff to review that documentation and contact individual license holders every two years, opining that good pet owners would continue to vaccinate their pets.

 

Councilmember McGehee concurred with Chief Mathwig, opining that a pet owner would do whatever was necessary to protect their family and pets; and expressed her happiness to see this return to veterinarians to establish that guideline.  From personal experience, Councilmember McGehee noted that, even if an animal was vaccinated, it did not necessarily preclude an issue with rabies under all circumstances.  Councilmember McGehee expressed her agreement with the proposed changes.

 

At the request of Councilmember Willmus, Chief Mathwig confirmed that the guidelines established by the Minnesota Veterinarian Board had been referenced and consulted in making these recommended changes, and followed parallel to their conclusions.

 

McGehee moved, Etten seconded, enactment of Ordinance No. 1453 (Attachment A) entitled, "An Ordinance Amending Selected Text of Title Five, Chapter 501, Animal Control of the Roseville City Code."

 

Councilmember Willmus questioned the accuracy of portraying animals as being "over vaccinated;" as the rabies vaccine diminished over time; and reiterated his request to require those holding lifetime licenses to keep those records up-to-date.  Councilmember Willmus further disagreed with the statement that the issue was related to "over vaccination;" and opined that the City was doing a disservice to its residents if not keeping tabs on lifetime license holders.

Councilmember Laliberte concurred with Councilmember Willmus, opining that with lifetime licenses, there should be some onus or expectation that they be held responsible to keep up-to-date; with this recommended language removing that requirement and making monitoring difficult.

 

Amendment

Willmus moved, Laliberte seconded, retaining the original code language of line 121 to require submission by lifetime license holders every two (2) years, proof of the animal's current rabies vaccination.

 

Councilmember McGehee stated that, being familiar with veterinarian practices, she could not support the amendment, opining that a veterinarian had the best view on that, especially concerns with older pets and autoimmune diseases.

 

Staff did not have available the percentage or a count of lifetime license holders in the City.

 

Mayor Roe stated that in general, he could support either approach; opining that the proposed amendment added strength to the additional language to demonstrate proof of vaccination every two years; also speaking in support of the amendment.

 

Roll Call (Amendment)

                        Ayes: Laliberte; Willmus; Etten; and Roe. 

                        Nays: McGehee.

Motion Carried.

 

Roll Call (Motion as Amended)

                        Ayes: Laliberte; Willmus; Etten; and Roe. 

                        Nays: McGehee.

Motion Carried.

 

Willmus moved, Etten seconded, enactment of Ordinance Summary No. 1453 (Attachment B) entitled, "An Ordinance Summary Amending Selected Text of Title Five, Chapter 501, Animal Control of the Roseville City Code."

 

Roll Call (Super Majority)

                        Ayes: Laliberte; Willmus; Etten; and Roe. 

                        Nays: None.

                   Abstentions: McGehee.

Motion Carried.

 

b.            Consider Ordinance Repealing City Code, Chapter 305 Regulating the Sale of Christmas Trees

Finance Director Chris Miller briefly reviewed the recommendation for repealing this ordinance, as detailed in the RCA dated October 21, 2013.  Mr. Miller noted that this action (Attachment A) would repeal an ordinance enacted in 1952 seeking regulatory response at that time, with the issue now governed in the City Code, Chapter 1011, providing a broader and all-encompassing regulation, negating the need for a code specific to Christmas tree sales.

 

Councilmember Willmus thanked staff for bringing this forward, referencing it being brought to the City Council's attention during discussions last fall.

 

Laliberte moved, Etten seconded, enacting Ordinance No. 1454 entitled, "An Ordinance Repealing City Code Chapter 305, Sale of Christmas Trees."

 

Roll Call

                        Ayes: Laliberte; McGehee; Willmus; Etten; and Roe. 

                        Nays: None.

 

c.            Consider Ordinance Amending City Code, Chapter 306, Tobacco Products

Mayor Roe noted that staff had made further amendments at the direction of the City Council since discussion at the previous City Council meeting, as detailed in the RCA dated October 21, 2013, and Attachment A.

 

Finance Director Miller concurred, advising that language had been tweaked with the RCA including a brief synopsis of staff's research with other cities and their regulatory efforts for e-cigarettes.  Mr. Miller noted that this presented a regulatory challenge, since enactment of an amendment to the City's Tobacco Product Ordinance amended in 2012 to include e-cigarettes, but relying on the nature of those e-cigarettes and them containing nicotine in the devices.  Since the evolution of other substances and flavorings being added to them, Mr. Miller advised that it had been necessary to develop broader provisions to cover all cigarettes, regardless of what they contained; and treat all the same, as presented in the draft ordinance included in tonight's packet (Attachment A).  Mr. Miller advised that the City had the authority to regulate tobacco and products especially as allowed under State Statute, but noted that it also contained an arena where the City did not have authority to regulate, creating a definite challenge for Roseville and other cities.

Public Comment

Dan Bertuleit,  (Shoreview resident and former Roseville resident)

Mr. Burlight sought to make the City Council aware of upcoming FDA studies and conclusions regarding electronic cigarettes.  As a user of them to facilitate smoking cessation, Mr. Burlight displayed the vapor products he made himself; and opined that this was a free speech issue with the City attempting to regulate something with no harm.  While recognizing the regulatory problems that could be created with their sale and use, Mr. Burlight asked that the City Council make sure that its concerns for public health were based on science and on results of those FDA studies, not just public opinion.  Mr. Burlight referenced his submission via e-mail prior to tonight's meeting of links for other studies done to-date; with the products continuing to evolve.  By forcing electronic cigarette users into public smoking areas, Mr. Burlight noted that they were being subjected to second hand smoke that had already been determined to be harmful.  Mr. Burlight opined that the City Council should consider legislation that would separate these devices and products from tobacco products.

 

Timothy Kester, 4901 12th Avenue S, Mpls., MN

As the co-owner of smokeless smoking retail establishments throughout the metropolitan area, as well as their kiosk at Rosedale Center, Mr. Kester opined that treating e-cigarettes like traditional cigarettes was not appropriate when considering their use and potential harm.  Mr. Kester further opined that those advocating against e-cigarettes could not verify whether or not the product was harmful as there wasn't enough science to support that claim.  Mr. Kester referenced a Drexler University study, which he had forward to the City Council, and quoted portions of that study, and quoted from the American Council of Science and Health Institute that any contaminants, as well as a recent Forbes article, indicating that health risks were insignificant and presented no health issue to bystanders. 

 

Mr. Kester opined that this substantiated his assertion that there was no reason to ban public use of e-cigarettes indoors from a public health standpoint; and further opined that it wasn't good to have laws dictating what people could do on their own property just because some people didn't like it, and further opined that this should be left to their discretion.  If, for instance, Rosedale Center received a significant number of complaints, they could take it upon themselves to address the issue on their own private property.  As a seller of e-cigarettes since early 2011, Mr. Kester advised that they had received no complaints from Rosedale Center management on those products or their use on-site.  Mr. Kester noted that banning e-cigarettes had consequences, and any law stigmatizing electronic cigarettes would dissuade people from their use and move them back to tobacco products, proven unhealthy.

 

From a business standpoint, Mr. Kester noted the impacts on his business if this vital part of allowing customers to sample the products was no longer allowed; and if disallowed at Rosedale Center, he would likely have to close their kiosks and move elsewhere.  Mr. Kester noted that some cities had chosen to take drastic measures similar to this with no exemption for retail stores selling the product, but opined that those were only a minority.  Mr. Kester referenced a recently adopted ordinance by the City of Roseville requiring a license for sale of electronic cigarettes; and advised that he would support that type of ordinance to allow the City to regulate sales to minors.

 

Mr. Kester advised that his company did not even allow a minor (under the age of 18) into their facility, and definitely not any sampling, and had been their company policy and business practice even before it became State law.

 

Barry Shortell, speaking on behalf of another electronic cigarette store in Roseville

Mr. Shortell asked for more clarification on sampling, and despite their ultimate decision, asked that at the very least, the City Council abstain from disallowing sampling until other metropolitan cities have made similar decisions to avoid businesses in adjacent communities still able to offer sampling from continuing to operate that would result in a loss of customers to Roseville.  Mr. Shortell referenced studies saying the use of e-cigarettes provided a healthier and more effective tool for smoking cessation; with the FDA continuing to look into other products as well.  Mr. Shortell asked that the City Council delay any action until the FDA ruling came forward.

 

At the request of Councilmember McGehee regarding verification of whether products were being sold to minors, Chief Mathwig advised that the compliance checks were performed by his department twice each year, for tobacco and alcohol license holders, but not specific to e-cigarettes to-date; with sale of e-cigarettes to minors outside current parameters of City license.

 

Councilmember McGehee advised that her intent was to determine disparities between state and local law; with Mayor Roe and Chief Mathwig responding that State law talked about age limits and how to enforce compliance.

 

 Jesse Griffith As another tobacco licensee in the City of Roseville, Mr. Griffith admitted confusion with Chief Mathwig's comments regarding compliance, as their firm had received a phone call from a person appearing to represent themselves as part of a city sting who had subsequently advised them that they had passed the check.  Mr. Griffith admitted that it may be specific to their holding that type of license, but upon receipt of the phone call, they were of the understanding that they were subject to compliance checks and had been found in compliance.

 

Mayor Roe, with concurrence by Chief Mathwig suggested that as the holder of a tobacco license, they probably were reviewed during that round of tobacco licensing compliance checks; and that they should assume that they were always going to be subject to such checks.

 

Councilmember Etten questioned Chief Mathwig on how to differentiate from one type of combustible cigarette, e-cigarette, or traditional cigarette in enforcing compliance.

 

Mr. Chief referred to Finance Director Miller's earlier comments regarding regulation of cigarettes versus vapors, and if sampling was done in store, then there were enforcement issues.  Chief Mathwig advised that enforcement was difficult, as they were required to have probable cause that a law was being violated before they could move to address a situation; but noted that his officers could not address one versus the other without a clear demarcation line in place as alluded to by Mr. Miller.

 

At the request of Councilmember Etten, City Attorney Mark Gaughan advised that he was not aware of a prohibition in State law for sale of e-cigarettes to minors, but that the Minnesota Clean Indoor Act for behavior in public and work places were what was being used.  Mr. Gaughan advised that current City Code applied to retail establishments and predominantly focused on Hookah lounges and this situation, with other public areas not yet applied to e-cigarettes or the Indoor Clean Air Act.  Mr. Gaughan advised that his concern was with products that didn't contain nicotine and where the City's authority lay regarding that. As stated by Chief Mathwig, Mr. Gaughan noted that if the City had one regulation for e-cigarettes containing nicotine and another for those not containing it, it didn't provide a clear answer for the City.  Mr. Gaughan opined that current technology was exceeding the ability to provide enforcement at this point, and created more questions than answers.

 

Councilmember McGehee stated that she would prefer erring on the side of public health and safety; and opined that the City Council should rely on staff's research rather than allowing something to go forward and creating difficulties in enforcement.

 

McGehee moved, Etten seconded, enactment of Ordinance No. 1455 (Attachment A) entitled, "An Ordinance Amending Title 3, Section 306.01; Relating to Tobacco Products" as presented by staff; revising the definition of tobacco products to include ALL e-cigarettes and similar devices.

 

City Attorney Gaughan stated that he was not making any value judgments or an endorsement for or against this ordinance amendment, but thought it important that the City Council kept in mind that authority for any municipal regulations of any cigarettes came under State law, with cities allowed to impose regulations to combat the danger of second-hand smoke, even though that was an outdated term of phrase given new technologies.  Mr. Gaughan stated that the concern he couldn't get past was that, in the absence of clear research and study regarding what is in that vapor, could the City say dangers of second-hand smoke were being emitted; an answer he could not provide at this time.  If the City Council considered regulating something that they had no actual basis for doing, indicating that the vapors were dangerous, Mr. Gaughan questioned on what the City Council was basing their enforcement; and without that basis, could be found arbitrary and capricious by a court of law.

 

Councilmember McGehee opined that since there was little to distinguish how to evaluate the substance contained in vapors, whether nicotine or not, and no current regulation of the product generated in that vapor due to so little regulation at this time, she found it to clearly be an imminent health risk.  Councilmember McGehee opined that the City would therefore be remiss in not taking preventative action until they were provided firm, conclusive proof that there was no danger.

 

Councilmember Laliberte stated that she found the opposite to be true, questioning why the City would take action before that data was available; and since the State and FDA were currently working on it, she opined that it was premature for the City to act on this ordinance when enforcement would be difficult.  With her obvious concern being sales to minors, with that provision apparently being addressed by individual establishment owners, Councilmember Laliberte opined that if someone wanted to smoke something, they had the freedom to do so.

 

Councilmember Willmus opined that the City Attorney had done a good job representing the City in his opinion with this matter; opining that the City currently didn't know what it was attempting to regulate.  While not being a fan of e-cigarettes in public places, Councilmember Willmus opined that he was far from forming a position to regulate those products, since they were not yet known definitively if they were harmful or not.  Councilmember Willmus concurred with Councilmember Laliberte in waiting for FDA guidance on this before taking action.

 

Councilmember Etten sought clarification from Mr. Miller as to whether this simply banned retail sales but not the use of e-cigarettes in public places.

 

Finance Director Miller recognized that as an interesting question, referencing the City Council decision in February of 2012, and deliberate selection of language stated as "any retail establishment;" and if defining that as a tobacco shop, the ordinance was saying that it was not permitted to use them in retail, but permitted for use elsewhere (e.g. schools, churches, elsewhere) which would not make sense.  Personally, Mr. Miller opined that he think the intent was "any indoor establishment."

 

Mayor Roe questioned if that was the actual intent.

 

Councilmember McGehee stated that it was certainly her intent at that time.

 

City Attorney Gaughan stated that his recollection was that amendments in 2012 to Section 306.05, "Indoor Smoking Prohibited" was in response to State law expressly allowing sampling of tobacco at retail shops, with the City of Roseville using its regulatory authority as other cities had done, to prohibit use in sampling and Hookah lounges.  Mr. Gaughan noted that the problem then became, if you were to expand the definition of tobacco in the City to e-cigarettes and the like, then disparity was found in where they could be used, since State law already applied to public and work places, therefore a City Code was not needed to cover them, but now there were new technologies that State law and definition had yet to catch up to.

 

Mayor Roe stated that his recollection of the 2012 amendment to City Code was in regulating sales in retail establishments licensed to sell tobacco-related products and/or devices; and the linkage was then based on sampling in that section related to the sale of products.

 

City Attorney Gaughan stated that this was his recollection of what was intended in 2012, and because of State law being in place (Minnesota Clean Air Act), the City didn't have to worry about regulating other places since they were already covered under State Law.

 

Councilmember Etten noted the need to focus on how to address the Chief's concerns in regulating and enforcing nicotine and non-nicotine products based on their definition.

 

At the request of Mayor Roe as to whether State law already regulates sale of e-cigarettes to minors, City Attorney Gaughan advised that he could not respond, but suggested that Ramsey County may have more information on that.

 

Councilmember Laliberte stated that she would be voting in opposition to the motion, for reasons previously stated, opining that there were clearly more questions yet to be vetted before taking this action.

 

Mayor Roe concurred that there wasn't a lot of regulatory information available, with the FDA still conducting their study and their conclusions eventually dictating how the State and local government moved forward.  However, Mayor Roe opined that he found this proposed amendment to be a relatively simple change, and while recognizing that business owners may disagree, it provided the City to continue compliance checks and enforce sales within the community.  Mayor Roe further opined that the consternation seemed to be with sampling and by definition without exception elsewhere in ordinance, all provisions in Chapter 306 would apply to this product as well.  Mayor Roe stated that he was supportive of making that amendment at this time, with the understanding that further amendments may be indicated in the future; but opined that he didn't think it was appropriate to wait for that. 

 

Mayor Roe referenced concerns brought up during public comment at last week's meeting, until a determination was made that non-nicotine vapors or product use were not dangerous, until that FDA conclusion was available, the City needed to take this action.  Mayor Roe noted that there may be some products that would be imported from overseas that were not FDA regulated, and with that and other unknown factors, it also caused him to err on the side of caution and provide the Police Department with the ability to not have to distinguish between one or the other.

 

At the request of Councilmember Laliberte, Mayor Roe clarified and confirmed that this amendment would apply only to sales, and provide a mechanism for enforcement, with current State law provisions allowing for the potential pathway for smoking for kids; making regulating this through the City's licensing scheme of vital importance to him.

 

Councilmember Willmus concurred with Mayor Roe's comments; however, he noted that he also struggled with the discussion and guidance of the City Attorney in how to defend this amendment.  While wanting to err on the side of caution as well, Councilmember Willmus noted his hesitation until there was firm guidance from the FDA.

 

Finance Director Miller sought clarified if the motion currently on the table accepted the definition of retail as anywhere that sold tobacco products as defined in City Code;  or just sampling in vaping and other lounges.

 

Mayor Roe confirmed that sampling would apply to any retail establishments involved in the sale of these products; based on its location in Chapter 3,  noting the broad framework of where this is in the Code.

 

Roll Call

                        Ayes: McGehee; Etten; and Roe. 

                        Nays: Willmus and Laliberte.

                   Motion carried.

 

9.            Presentations

 

a.            Quarterly Joint Meeting with HRA

Mayor Roe welcomed HRA members presented who included Chair Dean Maschka, Bill Majerus, Vicki Lee, Susan Elkins, and Kelly Quam.

 

Dale Street Redevelopment

Interim City Manager Trudgeon recognized inclusion of a revised Attachment B,  entitled "Dale Street Redevelopment - Summary of Proposals dated October 16, 2013; noting that the difference was in the second column clarifying additional financial assistance and waiver of fees in response to questions regarding waiver of park dedication fees, with that line now removed; as well as changes to any city subsidy reflected accordingly.

 

Chair Maschka noted the main topic for tonight being the Dale Street Redevelopment and the three proposals recently received; with the HRA seeking feedback from the City Council before the HRA pursued any ideas.  Chair Maschka advised that the HRA's intent was to select someone by the November 2013 HRA meeting if feasible.

 

Having attended all neighborhood sessions, Councilmember McGehee opined that she found the Greater Minnesota Housing Corporation (GMHC) best represented the wishes expressed by the neighborhood and most closely matched the wishes of the community with a housing product not currently available, and provided a new enterprise or process for Roseville to try.  Councilmember McGehee opined that the other proposals and their many scenarios came back wanting more density and without adequate parking for an owner-occupied product.  Councilmember McGehee noted the good participation from the community for all three sessions, with interested engagement overall; and opined that she was very happy that the GMHC proposal so closely aligned itself with those fully-expressed interests from residents.

 

Having attended the HRA meeting where proposals were given, Councilmember Laliberte opined that the presentations were all great and very revealing of their proposed product.  However, Councilmember Laliberte opined that the CommonBond proposal didn't understand the community well nor the location of the building, having expressed their surprise that there was no bus line at the property, and their proposal being very urban-based, and working well if the property was located on a bus line, but not at this particular location.  While finding the Sand Company's proposal fine, Councilmember Laliberte expressed concern with the financing challenges with their proposal.  Councilmember Laliberte opined that the GMHC proposal had a better feel for the process, residents and community long-term, and therefore favored their proposal when compared with the others.

 

Councilmember Etten concurred with his colleagues so far; opining that this addressed a current lack in housing products available in Roseville, and the CDI process engaged in and helping and supporting the community and its larger needs for a variety of housing products, price points, etc.  Councilmember Etten stated that he looked forward to discussions of the HRA with developers to make financing work, noting that this proposal does require a fair amount of city assistance, even though he understood there were ways to make it happen using various areas of expertise.  Councilmember Etten opined that this proposal fits the community and the neighborhood, as well as helping the broader community with its housing needs.

 

Councilmember Willmus, in attending three of the four housing sessions, and as a member of the HRA, noted that he was able to observe those neighbors participating and hear their clear direction desired for their neighborhood.  Stepping back and reviewing all three proposals, Councilmember Willmus noted that all of them would require significant city contributions to make any of them work.  As the HRA began discussions, Councilmember Willmus advised that the neighborhood was looking for owner-occupied housing and a lower level of density for the development to minimize its impact to their immediate neighborhood, both important aspects and of concern to them.  Councilmember Willmus noted that those were admirable goals to be met, and the City should try to attain them.  If the goal was to maximize dollars for Roseville, Councilmember Willmus opined that the City shouldn't be involved, but put it on the open market and zone it High Density Residential (HDR); however, the community voice is saying that isn't the way to go.  Councilmember Willmus opined that he was fine with continuing discussions with the GMHC; as they had obviously paid attention to those neighborhood discussions and submitted their proposal accordingly.

Mayor Roe stated that the key for any proposal was to reflect what neighbors were looking for, to fit the scale of the neighborhood and keep options owner-occupied.  Under that scenario, Mayor Roe opined that the only proposal meeting those criteria was that of the GMHC.  While having  considerable concerns along the City/HRA financing needs, including the $1 land sale and other waivers requested, Mayor Roe anticipated that the GMHC would be flexible during discussions and negotiations to address those issues.

 

Chair Maschka advised that he was in agreement with the City Council support of the GMHC proposal, but hadn't wanted to drive tonight's discussion, but agreed that they had found the appropriate developer in the GMHC.  While a considerable amount of refinement on the site was still needed, Chair Maschka opined that he was intrigued about the GMHC proposal, as well as their interest in rehabilitating existing single-family housing for seniors to make the move into this product and resell their current homes.  While being concerned that the initial GMHC proposal may be too vertical and intense, Chair Maschka expressed confidence that those details could be worked out; and opined that the GMHC proposal best fit the Roseville community's expectations for this site.

 

Chair Maschka opined that the CommonBond proposal provided for a beautiful building, it didn't connect with the community at this site.  Regarding the Sands Company proposal, Chair Maschka opined that it was a good development, but concurred with the comments of Councilmember Willmus that if that was the proposal, the property should be put on the open market.  Chair Maschka advised that the HRA was also very concerned with the financing aspects, with the market place able to meet those demands, but with City financing something may need to be significantly adjusted.

 

HRA Member Quam stated that, if simply addressing the neighborhood concerns, she really liked the GMHC proposal, but also had significant concerns with the financing.  Member Quam advised that financing options for any of the proposals should not be glossed over, but was confident that as the finer details were worked out in the final process it would become clear.  Member Quam concurred with the need to take advantage of this rare opportunity and not push the property into the market for development.  Member Quam advised that her two finalists of the three proposals were that of the GMHC and Sand Company, based on the overall RFP and not just the design component, opining that she needed more information on how much money the City would need to commit out-of-pocket- for either of those proposals.  With that additional information, and if one was found more significant than the other, Member Quam noted that this would be of concern to her as that cost would be borne by all Roseville residents.  However, without the benefit of that more detailed information, Member Quam advised that she had not yet made a clear determination between those two proposals.

 

Member Lee stated that she was in the GMHC camp, understanding that the financial gap was an issue for committing the City to a specific proposal, as mentioned by Councilmember Willmus.  Member Lee noted that the HRA and City had gone to great lengths to work with the community for what they wanted in their neighborhood, and in order to get that type of product at this location, it was not something the market could do on its own without financial assistance from the City.  Even though these are not affordable housing units, Member Lee noted that they are affordable in Roseville; and that was part of the bigger picture that needed to be vetted; and a determination of what the City was receiving for their investment for a product that would not otherwise happen in the community.

 

Chair Maschka noted that the return on investment (ROI) was very important, including getting homes updated that needed to be updated and relocate people into a new type of housing; as well as considering the impact on the property tax base aspect as well.

 

Member Elkins stated that, obviously the GMHC has a great reputation, and with her institutional knowledge of their organization, thought they would be very flexible in negotiating a final product and agreement.  Member Elkins noted that she was not familiar with the Sand Company; and opined that she found the CommonBond proposal way off base even though she had found them flexible in the past.  Member Elkins noted that the GMHC also had many avenues to pursue for federal and state money; and opined that with fine-tuning, they could come up with some creative financing options.

 

Councilmember Willmus echoed Chair Maschka's comment regarding ROI, since that had a major component of the proposals, with the rehabilitation of additional homes within the community being a major financial component not fully addressed in the revised Attachment B.  Councilmember Willmus noted that there was also intrinsic value in creating a much more stable neighborhood with lower density, of value to the City and immediate neighborhood.  While there remained substantial gaps in all three proposals as presented, at this point, Councilmember Willmus expressed his interest in working with and exploring how to make a project work with the GMHC.

 

Specific to rehabilitation of existing homes in Roseville as mentioned by Councilmember Willmus, Member Elkins advised that GMHC indicated that Ramsey County strongly encouraged the use of senior money to rehabilitate them, providing a great aspect not addressed in the other two proposals.  While such a program already exists in Roseville through the HRA, Member Elkins opined that this would be using Ramsey County money set aside for that purpose; and was encouraged if they were to invest in it at all.  Member Elkins advised that she would also ask GMHC to consider use of a Community Land Trust (CLT) option, where a homeowner would own the house, but not the property that would be on a 99 year lease; which she found to be a program that really worked well in places.

 

Councilmember Laliberte expressed appreciation for Member Quam's comments; having her own concerns with the accuracy of the numbers and financial aspects.  Councilmember Laliberte noted that the GMHC proposal had twice the funding potential of the Sand Company, made very clear from their presentation.  However, Councilmember Laliberte noted that some areas included on the matrix (Attachment B-revised) were very interesting, such as the differences in demolishing the fire station between the GMHC and Sand Company proposals; and expressed her need to have those number based on reality as much as possible.  Councilmember Laliberte noted the substantial investment made by the City and HRA to-date on that property; and the need to make sure taxpayers are getting value for that investment, if not immediately with an outright sale, then a return in some other way.  Councilmember Laliberte noted that GMHC had paid more attention to parking and other amenities than other proposals; and as far as density was concerned, she didn't have much concern with the GMHC layout for senior housing, two-story, single-family homes, and townhomes; and found the gradation worked with the neighborhood.  Councilmember Laliberte opined that her only concern was in refining the numbers.

 

Councilmember Willmus opined that he didn't have concerns with the density; however, he noted that if units were eliminated it would drive up the cost and financial gap contribution requirements for the City.

 

Councilmember McGehee expressed her confidence in the HRA, offering her positive impressions with their process to-date, and the good relationship they had developed with the neighborhood.  Councilmember McGehee advised that she had heard very positive remarks from the immediate neighbors and their satisfaction with the overall process and the GMHC proposal.  Councilmember McGehee opined that fine-tuning was between the HRA, the GMHC, and the neighborhood; and expressed great confidence in their pursuit of that part of the process.

 

Councilmember Etten expressed some concern, beyond the general layout, with the parking for single-family homes and townhomes and allowances for two vehicles, with no room for a boat or other item; pushing some cars on to the street on Cope and Lovell.  Councilmember Etten suggested consideration may be necessary for community parking spaces outside driveways for this type of development.  Also, with proposals for single-family homes having double-depth garages, Councilmember Etten noted that this provided some concern to him as well with many seniors still driving two cars, making it cumbersome to continually move cars when parked front to back versus side by side.  Councilmember Etten questioned if this situation had any potential to limit who would purchase homes due to the limited amount of garage space available.

 

Councilmember Willmus clarified that, at this stage, the design was conceptual, and as it proceeded, opportunities would be available to bring those factors into the discussion.  Councilmember Willmus opined that he would be surprised if development looked exactly with the designs presented in the proposals.

 

Chair Maschka advised that additional questions would be directed to developers as appropriate.

 

If the final decision was to pursue the GMHC proposal, Councilmember Laliberte opined that the various components and criteria needed to be revamped (e.g. cost for fire station demolition) and figures refined.

Mayor Roe noted that another part of final discussions needed to include overall plusses and minuses of current waivers and non-waiver criteria.

 

Regarding the proposals other than that of the GMHC, Mayor Roe opined that there may be a place for those types of development outside of this parcel, but elsewhere in the community.  As he mentioned to a fellow attendee at the HRA meeting, Mayor Roe opined that the CommonBond proposal would be great for the Twin Lakes Redevelopment Area as an example, if not in other areas within Roseville for multi-family housing.  Mayor Roe opined that those are opportunities we shouldn't throw out but keep in contact with those groups for other opportunities.  As evidenced in the HRA-commissioned market study, Mayor Roe noted that the demand for market rate and other types of multi-family rentals in Roseville was still there; and if a way could be found to make those types of development fit and make it happen, and put a positive spin on for those other developers, it would serve the community well.

 

From a density standpoint, Mayor Roe opined that he was fine with that proposed by the GMHC and with the two-story single-family homes; understanding the need for that density to achieve financing; and from his perspective found the transition from the higher to lower density worked well.

 

Chair Maschka thanked the City Council for their input, and concurred with Councilmember Willmus on the variables between design concept and reality; with opportunities for vetting already in evidence that were not seen when this was initiated.  Chair Maschka advised that the HRA would continue to keep the City Council in the loop; as well as putting together a realtor focus group to see if the HRA remained on track with current trends.

 

2654 Lexington Avenue

Chair Maschka advised that the HRA had an opportunity to purchase this parcel; with another parcel already under City ownership, acquired during his tenure on the City Council (directly across from City Hall).  In continuing to look at the Reiling property and future development in this area, Chair Maschka noted that acquisition of this parcel became part of the assembly process.  Chair Maschka stated that the HRA's question for the City Council was  should the City be in the business of assembling/holding properties, and if assembling, for what purpose should that be; and sought City Council direction on long-term use of those parcels.

Since the City wasn't in the development business and at the request of Councilmember Etten, Interim City Manager Trudgeon confirmed that the large majority of property in this section of the City (across Lexington Avenue from City Hall) was owned by the Reiling family; with Councilmember Etten seeking where the City stood with the family and how the City fit into the larger concept for this area.

 

Interim City Manager Trudgeon advised that he had held a broader discussion with Mr. Reiling, noting the City's interest in considering the potential purchase of the properties without any specific timetable; but if a need or interest became evident.  Mr. Trudgeon concurred that the question of "Toward what purpose" was valid.  Mr. Trudgeon opined that he didn't think there would be any barrier, assuming something could be worked out, further opining that he had found Mr. Reiling to be willing and open for discussions.

 

Chair Maschka noted that, with four parcels, a concept such as that presented by CommonBond would work well.

 

Councilmember Willmus opined that the City currently had a lot on its plate, and questioned if it should jump on this parcel, expressing concerns in looking at the context of the City being involved, not the HRA, whether the parcel should be acquired for a future City Center.  While already owning some properties, Councilmember Willmus expressed his interest in continuing to explore properties with the School District and other opportunities; but opined that he wasn't sure he was ready to acquire property for the purpose of a City Center at this time; and could provide no solid direction at this point.

 

Councilmember Laliberte noted her understanding with the concept of being aware of opportunities when they arise, and while timing isn't always the most desirable, she agreed with Councilmember Willmus that the City was not yet there, given the other projects (e.g. Park Renewal Program, Dale Street Project, etc.) and agreed that the timing wasn't right at this time to pursue purchase.

 

At the request of Councilmember McGehee, Chair Maschka advised that the asking price for 2654 Lexington was $229,000; and if purchased now, the intent would be to continue to operate it as a rental.  While not having anything particular in mind, Councilmember McGehee opined that if she was on the HRA, she would purchase the parcel and keep it as a rental.  Councilmember McGehee noted that the City had a historical problem in not having property assembled and ready when things arise; and further noted that the City could always resell the property.

 

Mayor Roe opined that he was not prepared to acquire the property at this time; however, he noted that the HRA had some latitude with its funding, and the parcel could be pursued further if the HRA so desired.

 

Member Quam asked City Attorney Quam if the HRA was to acquire this or other properties for assembly and rented those properties out, would they be removed from the tax roll, with the City also needing to carry insurance.

 

City Attorney Gaughan advised that those were several issues needing further research.

 

Interim City Manager Trudgeon advised that if they were still used for residential or business use, they would still be taxed, similar to the former Edina Realty building now owned by the University of Northwestern but being used for private use, as pointed out by Mayor Roe.

 

Chair Maschka opined that he was ambivalent whether to purchase it or not, but also wasn't sure how long the opportunity would present itself, and therefore sought the City Council's input.  Chair Maschka noted that he wasn't interested in being in the business of assembling property unless there was a clear, short-term use, opining that owning land was not cheap.

 

Councilmember McGehee, for the short term, agreed with Councilmember Willmus that the HRA had a lot on its plate; however, she expressed her respect of the HRA as an independent body; and expressed appreciation for their consulting with the City Council, even though it was ultimately the HRA's decision.

 

Chair Maschka thanked the City Council for their time and feedback; expressing his appreciation of this quarterly meeting process and his desire to see it continue.

 

10.         Public Hearings

 

a.            Rental License Ordinance

Acting HRA Executive Director Jeanne Kelsey briefly reviewed changes made since the last City Council discussion of the draft multi-family rental license, as detailed in the RCA dated October 21, 2013.  She highlighted those changes in Attachment A, Section 908.04 "Licensing Term," page 5, Letter B (line 199) specific to type C or D licenses qualifying based on public testimony at the last reading; and Section 908.07 -Licensing Suspensions, Revocation, Denial, and Non-Renewal," Letter C.5 (line 254) at the request of the Minnesota Multi-Family Housing Association, providing more flexibility in recognizing landlord options to terminate tenancy other than through eviction.

 

Based on previous public testimony and concerns with recent immigrant populations about the number of people living in a well-maintained unit, Councilmember McGehee clarified with Ms. Kelsey who confirmed that this proposed ordinance did not limit that beyond current code.

 

Councilmember Laliberte noted the need to talk about cost implications associated with this ordinance and the apparent potential for at least three additional hires in some form or another as addressed on Attachment C.

 

Ms. Kelsey clarified that the Neighborhood Enhancement Program (NEP) was performed on a seasonal basis for six months and funded by the HRA.  However, Ms. Kelsey advised that the intention for next year was not to have that position and allot funds to this position to gauge A, B, C, and D property ratios.  At that time, Ms. Kelsey advised that it would be determined if another seasonal employee was needed, or if the two positions could be melded into one position under the NEP umbrella.  Ms. Kelsey advised that, at this point, there had been no determination other than that the seasonal NEP would not be done next year.

 

At the request of Councilmember Etten, Ms. Kelsey addressed the Minnesota Crime-Free Multi-Housing Program and decision-making process with the Police Department.  Ms. Kelsey advised that instead of putting that program together for Roseville at this time, and three different phases making it a requirement in the ordinance, that specific license type (Class C and potentially Class D) would be required to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) detailing their commitment/engagement and educational outreach, since those two categories are the most problematic, and would then allow focus on helping them get out of that category if crime activity is a prime problem for them.

 

Councilmember Etten and Mayor Roe spoke in support of a more targeted approach and not expending resources unnecessarily.

 

Mayor Roe opened the public hearing at approximately 7:56 p.m. for the purpose of hearing public comment on proposed Multi-Family Rental License Chapter 908.

 

Public Comment

Lisa Peilen, MN Multi Family Housing Association, 1600 W 82nd Street, Bloomington, MN

Ms. Peilen noted the shared goals of members of the Association and the City to ensure quality rental housing to meet the needs of the community without becoming overly cumbersome for property owners of those types of properties.  While the Association almost never supported any new local regulations due to over-regulation, Ms. Peilen advised that the Association did not oppose this.  Ms. Peilen thanked the entire Roseville HRA for the time they spent in receiving public testimony; and Mr. Trudgeon and Ms. Kelsey for being receptive and responsive to the Association and its members in addressing their concerns and suggestions.  Ms. Peilen opined that the draft ordinance, as proposed, met the needs of all parties; and thanked the City Council for their receptiveness.

 

Mayor Roe thanked Ms. Peilen for her participation and invaluable input throughout the process of developing the proposed ordinance.

 

With no one else coming forward to speak, Mayor Roe closed the public hearing at approximately 7:58 p.m.

 

McGehee moved, Etten seconded, enactment of Ordinance No. 1456 (Attachment A) entitled, "An Ordinance Amending Title 9, to Add Chapter 908 to Regulate Rental Licensing for Multi-Family Rental Dwelling Units;" with amendments as noted by Ms. Kelsey to Section 908.04 "Licensing Term," page 5, Letter B (line 199) specific to type C or D licenses qualifying based on public testimony at the last reading; and Section 908.07 Licensing Suspensions, Revocation, Denial, and Non-Renewal, Letter C.5 (line 254).

 

Councilmember McGehee thanked all involved for their work in bringing this forward.

 

Councilmember Willmus spoke in support of the motion, and opined that the ordinance would be beneficial for the City going forward, and thanked Ms. Peilen for her contributions to the end result and helping the HRA understand implementation and impact issues, resulting in a stronger tool for the City of Roseville.

 

Roll Call

                        Ayes: Laliberte; McGehee; Willmus; Etten; and Roe. 

                        Nays: None.

 

Etten moved, Willmus seconded, enactment of Ordinance Summary No. 1456 (Attachment B) entitled, "An Ordinance Summary Adding Chapter 908: Rental Licensing for Multi-Family Rental Properties of 5 or more units to Title 9, Building Regulations, of the Roseville City Code."

 

Roll Call (Super Majority)

                        Ayes: Laliberte; McGehee; Willmus; Etten; and Roe. 

                        Nays: None.

Recess

Mayor Roe recessed the meeting at approximately 8:02 p.m. and reconvened at approximately 8:14 p.m.

 

11.         Budget Items

 

a.            Continue Budget Discussion

Finance Director Chris Miller briefly summarized discussions to-date, as detailed in the RCA dated October 21, 2013; noting four specific key assumptions and seeking City Council direction on those items embedded in the preliminary Budget adopted in September of 2013.  Mr. Miller noted that those represented big ticket items requiring advance planning for 2014, and primarily affecting the tax levy, as well as for the Budget Public Hearing scheduled in December to received final public comment.  Mr. Miller noted that there would be additional items yet to come before the City Council, including 2014 Utility Rates scheduled for November 18, 2013.  Mr. Miller encouraged feedback at any time during the process.

 

2% Employee Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)

Councilmember McGehee opined that the COLA seemed straight forward, and had been supported by the City Council in past discussions and continued to be supported.

 

Councilmember Willmus questioned if it had in fact been supported, other than only as it was supported as it tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).  Councilmember Willmus noted his rationale in wanting to go back over two budget cycles during discussions about the Employee Compensation Study; thinking it would be easier to view the broader picture. 

 

Councilmember Willmus noted that, in January of 2012, staff received a 1% COLA; in January 2013, another 2% COLA; and then in October of 2013, received a 3.26% COLA.  At that rate, Councilmember Willmus opined that he found that the City was ahead of the game with increases of 6.26% while inflation only increased 3.18% over the same period. Councilmember Willmus stated the additional 2% was not warranted. Councilmember Willmus opined that the intent of the policy was for an annual look back; and proposed that the additional 2% COLA should not be provided now, but during the 2015 calendar year when a clearer look was available for 2014, in order to make adjustments for 2015.  If the City was to go forward and provide an additional 2% COLA, it would represent an additional $165,000, making other items shown for discussion a moot point; and from his perspective, not allowing them to be accomplished.

 

Councilmember Laliberte opined that she had also not been supportive of the 3.26% COLA increase approved October 1, 2013; and had thought that was in place for 2014; with the CPI used as a tool going forward.

 

Councilmember McGehee stated that her recollection of the entire discussion was that the results of the most recent Compensation Study had indicated that the City was 5.6% below the average for peer cities; and with no one happy with the findings of the study, they were unwilling to move forward, with the CPI determined to be an alternate way to make annual adjustments, and a policy developed to move that issue forward.  Councilmember McGehee opined that the City Council was clearly informed by staff that, if they went ahead with the 2.26% COLA increase in October of 2013, but did not set aside the 2% COLA for 2014, they would revert back to the same position of being well below that average.  Councilmember McGehee opined that the behavior of the City Council throughout this process has been bad and lacking in support for its staff; and while no one appreciated the increase, it was apparent that the City Council did not value its own staff.

 

Councilmember Laliberte opined that she felt insulted by the comments of Councilmember McGehee, and did not feel that the City Council had verbally or non-verbally communicated any lack of appreciation of its staff.  Councilmember Laliberte expressed her appreciation of staff; and even though she did not support the Compensation Study and findings that the City was under its peer cites, this discussion again brought that back into the conversation, even though she thought it had been set aside.  Councilmember Laliberte reiterated her appreciation of staff, and the great job they did; but based on the CPI, percentage increases had been granted, and discussions had been held about staff positions and filling those positions, with no apparent problem.  Councilmember Laliberte opined that it was staff, not the City Council, who continued to belabor this issue; and whether or not the City Council valued its staff.

 

Councilmember Willmus stated that his intent in considering this was how best to move forward.  While agreeing that there were certain budgetary limitations and constraints, Councilmember Willmus expressed his interest in how best to move forward from today.  In his review of 2012, Councilmember Willmus advised that his intent in suggesting this idea to Finance Director Miller, was that as of today, a total of 6.26% in COLA adjustments had been made at the same time inflation had been half that amount; and if another 2% COLA was enacted in 2014, it was being done in a vacuum without the benefit of local adjustment numbers in the Minneapolis market.

 

At the request of Councilmember Willmus, Finance Director Miller advised that the Minneapolis CPI figures were more commonly available on a semi-annual basis at mid- and end-of-year.

 

Councilmember Willmus opined that he would consider staying where currently at, and not enact an additional 2% until the situation was re-evaluated in 2014 to determine 2015 COLA.  Councilmember Willmus opined that the discussion should be whether or not the City Council supported a retroactive pay increase or remain at the current point.  Given the needs expressed by the Parks Commission for one for a Volunteer Coordinator and a Parks Maintenance position, Councilmember Willmus opined that it would be difficult to fund those positions if another 2% COLA was enacted, thus his personal struggle.

 

Mayor Roe clarified that the 3.26% enacted in November of 2012 was intended as a "catch-up" looking back beyond 2012; and to make up for the years when zero levy/budget increases were in place and during difficult budget times, using CPI to provide a more accurate picture, but still all involving "catch-up."  Mayor Roe further clarified that this 2% COLA increase proposal was looking forward, and with the value of the CPI piece at this time.  However, Mayor Roe noted that he didn't observe much difference from the second half of 2012 and the first half of 2013 that would significantly alter the inflationary projections of 1.02%, or between the first and second half of 2012 about another 1%.  Mayor Roe reiterated that all that had been accomplished in October of 2013 was to "catch-up" to that point beyond 2012; and now under the new policy, the City was looking forward at what percentage to move toward based on that and the CPI, using that policy for 2014, and staff's recommendation for a 2% COLA.

 

Councilmember Etten stated that Mayor Roe's perspective as stated was also his understanding; and questioned the accuracy of Councilmember Laliberte's comments that a 1% and 2% COLA had been approved in the last two calendar years.  Councilmember Etten noted that the Compensation Study went back ten years to the last study, and addressed any "catch-up" and this assumption was based on fresh money for 2014.

 

Finance Director Miler advised that Councilmember Laliberte's comments were accurate, exclusive of the 3.26% one-time adjustment.  Mr. Miller concurred that this was a new assumption for 2014 and not applicable to the "catch-up" action recently taken.

 

Interim City Manager Trudgeon clarified that staff did not keep bringing this issue back, but their action was simply based on the City Council discussions direction given to staff to-date.  Mr. Trudgeon noted that the policy adopted was to be used for future years in determining COLA as part of the budget process.  Mr. Trudgeon stated that, if the City Council had said "no COLA" with Preliminary Budget adoption on September 9, 2013, it would have the end of the discussion.  However, Mr. Trudgeon advised that staff was simply following City Council direction.  With adjustments made to-date, Mr. Trudgeon opined that that was a market adjustment, not COLA based on the Compensation Study indicating that the City was 4.6% below average of peer communities; and after considerable discussion, approving a 3.26% "catch-up" allotment to bring the City within the 90th percentile of that average to correct that past allotment. 

 

As Interim City Manager, Mr. Trudgeon advised that it was up to him not to grant employee raises just to be nice, but to look out for the overall health of the organization in recruiting, retaining and succession planning of its employee resource.  While not at the top of cities and their pay structures, Mr. Trudgeon noted that the adjustment now brought the City within competition range; and his charge was to keep the City competitive, thus the previous discussions and recommendations for the 2% COLA to avoid the City and its employees from falling behind again.

 

Mr. Trudgeon advised that another aspect of his consideration as Interim City Manager was in making sure that the City continued to adhere to the State's Pay Equity regulations ensuring equitable pay for genders and represented and non-represented employees.  When an organization was faced with many male-dominated positions and different classes of employees getting different increases, Mr. Trudgeon cautioned the need to remain aware of remaining in compliance. 

 

Mr. Trudgeon noted that those were just two things to he needed to keep in mind as the Interim City Manager: keeping the organization healthy and making sure it was in compliance with State regulations for pay equity; opining that the further skewed the pay equity plan was, the more problems that would surface. 

 

In arriving at the proposed 2% COLA, Mr. Trudgeon reviewed the process used in developing this as part of his City Manager-recommended budget previously presented to the City Council and public; but noting whether the CPI measures were used or not were up to the City Council and their policy.  While speculation could be part of that process looking forward, Mr. Trudgeon noted that without a clear picture of the future, and based on information currently available, those calculations indicated the 2% COLA recommendation.  Mr. Trudgeon advised that staff research to-date had indicated most peer communities were projecting between 2% and 2.5%, with each city's budget limited by its own resources.  Specific to the City of Roseville, Mr. Trudgeon noted that their decision would also need to be based on the City Council's priorities; with staff recommending a 2% COLA to keep the City competitive, while recognizing the tough budget decisions before the City Council.  However, Mr. Trudgeon sought to clarify staff's rationale in making the original recommendation, and bringing this assumption forward based on previous City Council direction.

 

Councilmember Willmus referenced another index, the Employment Cost Index for Local and State Government Workers, noting that had also been running flat at 1%; and opined that the City needed to be careful how it budgeted and allocated its funds; and questioned Mr. Miller on the percentage of the overall budget that was allotted to wages and salaries.

 

Mr. Miller estimated 75% to 80% in tax-supported programs.

 

Councilmember Willmus noted the need to be cognizant regarding its choices; and if using a similar tool going forward, suggested that maybe the CPI wasn't the best or only tool to use.

 

Mayor Roe clarified that when referencing an index for policy decisions, the one index represented what others were paying and the other is based on cost of living; and not making an argument either way, Mayor Roe questioned if the cost of living index was keeping up with what was being paid.  Mayor Roe suggested finding a composite for individual points of view, noting that it appeared that a majority of the City Council supported COLA, but the difficulty was in its context with other things.

 

Councilmember McGehee noted that Councilmember Willmus had originally suggested using the CPI, which she thought was a good suggestion, as it provided a very organized and clean process going forward.  Councilmember McGehee concurred with the comments of Mayor Roe in trying to pay a reasonable wage to keep employees whole, which she supported.  Councilmember McGehee reiterated that the concept of using the CPI seemed fine moving forward, since the 3.26% adjustment was looking back from the study done ten years before it, and the adjustment was made.  However, Councilmember McGehee reiterated her previous comments that now it was time to look forward; and spoke in support of looking at the previous year to move forward, putting the City on a good footing for the next year's budget cycle.

 

Councilmember Willmus opined that, another component of this has been that an overall context discussion was pending on the budget and levy; and if required to make up his mind on this tonight, it would also require him to make a decision on the other items.

 

Mayor Roe clarified that staff was not seeking a decision tonight, simply direction as noted in the RCA.

 

Councilmember Laliberte advised that for her personally, she needed to know more about the other items for 2014.  Councilmember Laliberte noted that Ramsey County and several adjacent municipalities were proposing flat levies with no increases for 2014, and possibly for 2015.  While understanding that the City of Roseville provided additional services compared to some of those municipalities, Councilmember Laliberte opined that she needed to have a better feel for the overall levy increase.

 

Mayor Roe clarified that the proposed  levy increase for 2014 was inclusive of the debt service. The 4.4% not-to-exceed Preliminary Levy adopted in September of 2013;  including  1.4%  exclusive of debt service.  Mayor Roe further clarified that Ramsey County was able to project a zero percent levy increase based on their receipt of additional federal and state funding that they had not received before; further clarifying that they were actually spending more, just not raising taxes to do so.

 

New Parks Maintenance Position (budgeted)

Councilmember Etten opined that this position should remain in the budget; that it would bring the park system back up to what it had been in past decades; and serve to maintain existing and new items in the Park Renewal Program.

 

At the request of Councilmember Laliberte, Mr. Miller clarified that this was the only new position that was tax-supported.

 

Councilmember McGehee concurred with the comments of Councilmember Etten; noting that new park assets required a price at the end; and this position was needed to support the programs and products of the park system.

 

To justify the position because "they used to exist," Mayor Roe opined was not applicable, as organizations continued to adapt and become efficient.  While agreeing that the City was adding some long-overdue assets, Mayor Roe opined that made sense to include this position in the budget.

 

New Volunteer Coordinator Position (not budgeted)

Mr. Trudgeon advised that he would bring back a detailed report at the next meeting regarding this position and how he saw it working within the overall organization, as well as better numbers based on his recent interesting research with the City of Plymouth.

 

Councilmember McGehee stated that she would support the position if it was an overall volunteer position, which she envisioned as part of the Administration Function; and expressed her interest in seeing how Mr. Trudgeon put that together.

 

Councilmember Etten expressed his support of looking at this position as well in addition to how the position could be funded, not just what it would cost to do so.  Councilmember Etten spoke in support of having additional funding available for other budget choices and options that were still on hold, through use of creative financing to support the position and through reorganization of other functions.

 

Mayor Roe referenced staff's memo related to the use of reserves having gone down due to closer scrutiny, with the use of reserves projected for 2014 reduced from $430,000 to $317,000.  Mayor Roe opined that this could be a way to fund the first year of the position; but cautioned that the City Council may need to reconsider that option after 2014 to avoid continued use of reserves.

 

Councilmember Laliberte noted that this position request originated with the Parks & Recreation Commission; but clarified that it was her understanding that this position would serve the entire community and not just that specific department.

 

Mr. Trudgeon confirmed that this was the discussion being held at the staff level to-date.

 

2014 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Funding Plan

Mayor Roe noted that the portion being brought forward by staff was based on initial City Council discussions, based on  reinstatement of Local Government Aid (LGA) funding, as amended in detail in the RCA.

 

Councilmember McGehee opined that, in order for the CIP to be fully sustainable by 2020, it would require $1.4 million annually; and noted that this fell far short of that goal for funding $225,000 annually, an ongoing issue that had created the current situation, and the need to use debt service to address infrastructure issues.  At a very minimum, Councilmember McGehee opined that funding for 2014 should be consistent with those decisions made just two years ago and not immediately make cuts to the CIP.

 

Councilmember Etten agreed that this was an important priority, and in capping the levy and taking $50,000 or more from another source, this was a one-time compromise and may represent a short-term levy investment.  Councilmember Etten noted that this may put the CIP further in arrears, but may be necessary to get the levy where it needed to be in 2014.

 

Mayor Roe noted that the thought had been to look in 2015 to get the levy funding back in; thus only losing one year of the twenty year CIP and not selling the City too short;  an approach that he could support for 2014.

 

Mr. Trudgeon advised that additional discussion was scheduled for next week's meeting, including the Volunteer Coordinator Position.

 

Mr. Miller noted that the Utility Rates were currently slated for the November 18, 2013 meeting; and represented the only lingering big ticket item that hadn't been discussed at length yet.

 

If the City Council had additional specific topics for discussion, Mr. Trudgeon and Mr. Miller asked that they let staff know.

 

At the request of Mr. Trudgeon as to whether the City Council wanted to discuss COLA next week, Mayor Roe suggested that the City Council may not be prepared to do that quite that soon.

 

12.         Business Items (Action Items)

 

a.            Consider Policy on Annual Staff Cost of Living Adjustments

Mayor Roe noted that staff was presenting proposed policy language for City Council consideration based on the City Council's direction, specifically as detailed in lines 7 - 10 of the RCA dated October 21, 2013.  Mayor Roe clarified that this was not intended as a hard and fast rule that is considered automatic, but to be used during budget discussions, and still at the discretion of the City Council with flexibility built in.  If the Council preferred to have a more formal policy, Mayor Roe suggested that it be done in ordinance format.

 

Councilmember Willmus spoke in support of an annual look back to determine future budget cycles; however, he admitted that he struggled with the tool, and whether the CPI or BLS Employment Cost index was the best tool, an answer he didn't yet have.  Councilmember Willmus stated that he would like to do further research and was not ready to say if this is the policy needed to move forward.

 

Councilmember Laliberte suggested annual reviews of more than one index to be used that were measurable and solid enough to rely on across the state and what could be done.

Councilmember Willmus opined that it may also be important to address timing in the budget calendar, further roping that this seems to come before the City Council on a recurring basis; and the policy maybe should spell out a timeframe that could still accommodate setting a preliminary not-to-exceed levy and annual number.  Councilmember Willmus noted that he was not sure when access was available for first half figures.

 

Mr. Miller responded that they were often not available until September 30th of a given year.

 

Councilmember McGehee questioned if it would be acceptable for the policy to reference 2 indices: the Employment Cost Index for State and Municipal Employees as well as the CPI.

 

Finance Director Miller clarified that those two indices were two entirely different measures used for two distinct purposes, and not intended to determine wages.  Historically, Mr. Miller advised that the CPI, based on his observations, had remained a much closer approximation to other cities that with which the City competed for employee pools; but also noted that he was unaware of another City that used an employment cost index.  Mr. Miller admitted that there may be some out there who do so, but he was not aware of use of the index which was intended for measuring something other than salaries.

 

Mayor Roe opined that, if the broader overall Employment Cost Index was considered, based on his review of it over the last 10-11 years, it consistently tracked almost identically with the CPI.

 

Councilmember Willmus opined that it will also be broken into different components; and concurred with Mayor Roe that they track fairly close; however, he further opined that it should be something that was given a closer look.  Councilmember Willmus reiterated that he was hesitant tonight to make a determination on which direction to go.

 

At the request of Mayor Roe to clarify his hesitation, Councilmember Willmus advised that he was hesitant to make a decision to add an additional index or to approve the proposed policy, without further research.

 

Councilmember Etten advised that his thought in using the State and City Employee measurement was in considering public and private sector positions when competing for expertise from the broader market beyond other cities or government agencies (e.g. Information Technology positions).  Councilmember Etten questioned whether or not staying within only those indices that may trend lower, would put the City out of the market for those not necessarily giving thought to municipal employment at the time.  Councilmember Etten opined that he didn't want to remove the City from the broader market in recruiting and retaining other candidates outside the public sector.

 

Councilmember McGehee concurred with Councilmember Etten, opining that his was an excellent point; and reiterated that since this had been Councilmember Willmus' suggestion in the first place, it served to eliminate any contentious perceptions from the Compensation Study, and provided a more accurate and straightforward approach.  If done mid-year, Councilmember McGehee opined that it would provide an even more accurate number for the preliminary budget, and would be a workable, nonjudgmental way to proceed.

 

Councilmember Laliberte concurred with the comments of Mr. Miller that neither indices is typically used for this purpose; opining that this was her rationale in having both sets of data available for discussion versus basing policy on only one.

 

Mayor Roe questioned the interest in having a policy that took them both into consideration or only mentioning one.

 

Councilmember Laliberte opined that both could be mentioned with merit, while not ruling out other indices that may weigh in.  Councilmember Laliberte clarified that she was not seeking a position to use the lesser number, as that would be disingenuous; however, she liked the idea for a timing factor rather than talking about it throughout the year.

 

Mayor Roe opined that the mid-year idea provided a clear and accurate goal.

 

Councilmember Willmus opined that the ECI index would be helpful for reference, but note that the CPI was published monthly, and not necessarily only Minneapolis data, but a broad index that tracked closely; and suggested incorporating both into the proposed policy.

 

McGehee moved, Etten seconded, approving Compensation Policy language as recommended by staff and detailed in the RCA dated October 21, 2013 as follows:

"Annually, during budget discussions, the City will provide any cost of living wage adjustments as deemed necessary by utilizing the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) site for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) of urban consumers in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area for the previous fiscal year as the basis, rounding that percentage to the nearest tenth of a percent."

 

Councilmember McGehee opined that left open the option for individuals to bring any other indices into the discussion by reference.

 

Amendment

Willmus moved, Laliberte seconded, amending the motion to incorporate inclusion of the Employment Cost Index for State and Government Workers.

 

Mayor Roe offered his support of the motion to amend.

 

Councilmember Etten stated that he could support the amendment, as long as those indices were guiding pieces and not the ultimate determination of COLA increases, even though he preferred a cleaner policy as originally moved.

 

Roll Call

                        Ayes: Laliberte; McGehee; Willmus; Etten; and Roe. 

                        Nays: None.

 

Amendment to the Amended Motion

Roe moved, Willmus seconded, an amendment to the amended motion to delete the sentence on line 10 of the RCA that the percentage be rounded to the nearest tenth of a percent.

 

Roll Call (Amendment to the Amended Motion)

                        Ayes: McGehee; Willmus; Etten; and Roe. 

                        Nays: Laliberte.

 

Roll Call (Original Motion as amended twice)

                        Ayes: Laliberte; McGehee; Willmus; Etten; and Roe. 

                        Nays: None.

 

 

b.            Consider Approval of Rental Licensing Ordinance

As noted, action on this item was taken immediately following the Public Hearing.

 

c.            Consider Zoning Text Amendment and Conditional use Request to Allow Dog Daycare/Boarding Facility - Woof Room at 2025 Rice Street

City Planner Thomas Paschke briefly reviewed this request as detailed in the RCA dated October 21, 2013.  Mr. Paschke noted that there were two aspects for consideration and approval or denial: the Zoning Text Amendment as highlighted in Attachment F.

 

Zoning Text Amendment

 

Discussion among Councilmembers and staff beyond the Planning Commission meeting minutes included in the materials (Attachments D and E) included rationale in developing reasonable 100' area; physical location of the dog run on the property and public notice as per City requirements of 500' and State Statue requirements of 350';

 

Mr. Paschke noted that a fence was not going to suffice in an effort to stop or contain barking to any great degree.

 

Councilmember Willmus opined that he was not sure if 100' was a reasonable area or not; or whether it was sufficient to ensure reasonable, quiet enjoyment of residential properties adjacent to such a use, opining that he would prefer a 300' minimum.

 

At the request of Councilmember McGehee, Mr. Paschke advised that the City has no record of ever receiving any complaints with this existing facility at their current location adjacent to numerous residential properties.

 

Mr. Paschke clarified, at the request of Councilmember McGehee that dogs were not out all the time, and referenced applicant response to the Planning Commission meeting minutes addressing their business model in dealing with problem pets.  Mr. Paschke opined that the proposed revisions served as a way to support this type of use, with only one in town to-date; and allowing the City to manage expectations.  Mr. Paschke suggested other uses that would have as much or more noise than this use that was also permitted uses in this District.  Mr. Paschke further noted the ability to address any issues through the City's nuisance code or through the Conditional Use conditions on the property, with other areas of code still applying to this use with or without the residential property owner support within the 100' area.

 

Councilmember Etten spoke in support of the amendments; noting that dogs from a larger distance were often heard from one residential to another residential property; and with the limited time exposure for the dogs being outdoors, it prevented the City and staff from becoming over-involved in the process.

 

Conditional Use (CU)

Councilmember Willmus expressed another concern with the CU and it running with the land and ramifications should these owners decide to move their business elsewhere; or if a neighbor providing written authorization moved with a property sold for residential use or another development and those owners not aware of encumbrances in place.

 

Mr. Paschke noted that he didn't see this happening, as a CU often had numerous conditions running with the property.

 

Mayor Roe questioned if and how the CU would run, if continuously or when a situation occurred within that 100' that didn't support the CU and automatically voiding the CU.

 

Mr. Paschke advised that the CU would run with the land unless removed by the City for cause, and provided several examples where the City might revoke the CU.

 

City Attorney Gaughan concurred with staff's interpretation; and provided additional examples; opining that an existing or new neighbor revoking their support for whatever reason would be unfair to applicant if their CU could be revoked due to lack of that support.  If the City chose to amend their code to require annual written support from property owners, Mr. Gaughan advised that then they could do so, but opined that neighborhood cohesiveness should not be up to whims of future property owners.

 

Mr. Paschke reiterated that code allows for this use as a CU, and an Interim Use (IU) would only apply when deviating dramatically from the Comprehensive Plan or Zoning Ordinance if a use was not allowed in that specific district.  However, Mr. Paschke noted that this is a permitted and conditional use with a CU.

 

Mayor Roe, with concurrence by City Attorney Gaughan, clarified that a permitted use if permitted by a CU was appropriate in this situation versus a more discretionary IU.

 

At the request of Councilmember Laliberte, Mr. Paschke provided a more detailed explanation of staff's determination as referenced in the Planning Commission meeting minutes, in using this process versus a Variance request.

 

Mr. Paschke noted that the CU was supported by the Planning Commission with the three conditions tied to the resolution of support.

 

At the observation of Mayor Roe, Mr. Paschke confirmed that there was one condition at the discretion of the City Council, Item 7.2.c (page 5 of the RCA) related to pet waste that was not incorporated in the proposed resolution.

 

At the request of Councilmember McGehee, Mr. Paschke addressed triggers to be used by assembling a record of violations and unwillingness of an applicant in not meeting code requirements and conditions of the CU approval that would follow due process to address code violations and subsequent revocation of the CU.

 

Mayor Roe noted that this would fall under the general condition of protecting and not harming public safety.

 

City Attorney Gaughan noted that code violations are misdemeanors under City Code, and repeat violations are subject to a criminal citation, a situation that quite often tended to resolve issues rather quickly.

 

Etten moved, Laliberte seconded, enactment of Ordinance No. 1457 (Attachment F) entitled, "An Ordinance Amending Selected ZONING TEXT CHANGE pertaining to Conflicting Fence Regulations and Requirements for Animal Boarding and Daycare Facilities in Chapters 1009 (Procedures) and 1011 (Property Performance Standards) of Title 10 "Zoning Code" of the Roseville City Code including inserting, "at the time of application" into the requirement for approval of all property owners within a 100-foot distance."

 

Roll Call

                        Ayes: Laliberte; McGehee; Willmus; Etten; and Roe. 

                        Nays: None.

 

Willmus moved, McGehee seconded, adoption of Resolution No. 11100 (Attachment G) entitled, "A Resolution Approving an Outdoor Component of an Animal Boarding and Daycare Facility as a CONDITIONAL USE at 2025 Rice Street (PF13-015);" amended to include Condition 7.2.c in the staff report (page 5) as a fourth condition:

"All affected indoor flooring areas shall be promptly cleaned up using appropriate cleaning/disinfecting products following pet waste "accidents."

 

Councilmember Willmus provided his rationale in reinstating the condition to address potential future owners.

 

Roll Call

                        Ayes: Laliberte; McGehee; Willmus; Etten; and Roe. 

                        Nays: None.

 

Mayor Roe wished the co-owners of the business, present in tonight's audience, good luck in their new location.

 

13.         Business Items - Presentations/Discussions

 

14.         City Manager Future Agenda Review

By consensus, a determination on whether or not to hold the November 25, 2013 regular meeting remained pending until a future meeting.

 

15.         Councilmember Initiated Items for Future Meetings


  

16.         Adjourn

Etten moved, McGehee seconded, adjournment of the meeting at approximately 9:36 p.m.

                                                Roll Call

Ayes: Laliberte; McGehee; Willmus: Etten; and Roe.

            Nays: None.