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City Council


City Council Meeting Minutes

Regular Meeting

March 9, 2009

 

Call Roll

Mayor Klausing called to order the Roseville City Council regular meeting at approximately 3:50 pm for the purpose of interviewing advisory commission applicants.  Pust; Johnson; Roe and Klausing were present.  Public Works, Environment and Transportation Commission Chair James DeBenedet was also in attendance.

 

Advisory Commission Interviews

Those interviewed were: Thomas Lund, Brent Huberty, Ja son Etten, Robert Murray, David Holt (Parks & Recreation Commission); Jeff Boldt (Parks & Recreation Commission / Public Works, Environment, and Transportation Commission);  James Campbell (Police Civil Service Commission); Steve Gjerdinger (Public Works, Environment, and Transportation Commission); and David Horsager (Ethics Commission). Recess

Mayor Klausing recessed the meeting at approximately 5:20 p.m. and reconvened at approximately 6:00 pm in Regular Session.

 

1.         Roll Call

Mayor Klausing called to order the Roseville City Council regular meeting at approximately 6:00 pm and welcomed everyone. Pust; Ihlan; Johnson; Roe; and Klausing were present. City Attorney Scott Anderson was also present.

 

2.         Approve Agenda

The agenda was approved by consensus, as presented.

                                   

3.                 Public Comment

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

 

4.                 Council Communications, Reports, Announcements and Housing and Redevelopment Authority Report

Councilmember Johnson expressed the community’s congratulations to the Roseville High School Gymnastics Team for their Fourth consecutive State Championship.

 

On behalf of the City Council, staff and community, Mayor Klausing offered condolences to the family of Roger Hess, former City Councilmember from 1974 – 1977, who passed away on March 1, 2009 at the age of 75 years.  Mayor Klausing noted Mr. Hess’s active involvement in the community through the years, including as an advocate for the Roseville Parks system and its development and growth, specifically that of Central Park and being an original member of the Central Park Foundation.  Mayor Klausing noted that, in lieu of flowers, the family requested memorials to the Roger B. Hess, Sr. Memorial Fund, c/o Western Bank, 1740 Rice Street, St. Paul, to be used for cardiac rehabilitation.  Mayor Klausing noted that today’s Council rested on the shoulders and hard work of the City Councilmembers who served before them.

 

Mayor Klausing, on behalf of the City Council and community, extended congratulations to Bethany Brausen, who was named Pioneer Press Prep Girls Hockey Player of the Year.

 

5.                 Recognitions, Donations, Communications

 

a.                 Recognize and Accept Lake Ridge Care Center $500 Donation

Chief Carol Sletner introduced three representatives of Golden Living Center Lake Ridge Health Care Center Leslie Brown, Christopher Krebsbach, Meghann Henry and their sponsorship of Community Services Initiative Grants to get involved with communities they served; with donation of $500 for an external defibrillator for a squad car.

 

Mayor Klausing expressed the community’s appreciation of the donation.

Johnson moved, Ihlan seconded, accepting the Lake Ridge Health Care Center donation of $500 to the Roseville Police Department to be used to offset a portion of the cost of one defibrillator.

 

Roll Call

Ayes: Pust; Ihlan; Johnson; Roe; and Klausing.

Nays: None.

 

b.                 Recognize and Accept Minnesota 100 Club $3,500 Donation to Officer Jorgensen

Chief Carol Sletner reviewed the history of the event causing the injury of Officer Jorgensen in executing a high risk drug warrant at a Roseville residence.  Chief Sletner introduced John Derus, President of the Minnesota 100 Club.

 

President John Derus provided background on the purpose of the Club; and their contact with the Roseville Police Department requesting further information about Officer Jorgensen’s injury in the line of duty; and award to the family in the amount of $3,500 for the Jorgensen family; and provided information of how the Club raised funds for their donations.  President Derus presented a check in the amount of $3,500 to Officer John Jorgensen and his family; and thanked them for the family’s dedication and support of law enforcement.

 

Officer Jorgensen, on behalf of his family and the Roseville Police Department, thanked the Minnesota 100 Club and President Derus for recognizing his family and for their contribution, stating that it would not be forgotten.  Officer Jorgensen expressed his appreciation for organizations that helped Police Officers throughout the State of MN.

 

Mayor Klausing, speaking directly to Officer Jorgensen, expressed his appreciation as a citizen and elected official for work he and fellow officers do; thanked his family for supporting his work and wished him a full recovery.

 

6.         Approve Minutes

 

a.                 Approve Minutes of February 23, 2009 Regular Meeting

Pust moved, Klausing seconded, approval of the minutes of the February 23, 2009 Regular Meeting as presented.

 

Roll Call

Ayes: Pust; Ihlan; Johnson; Roe; and Klausing.

Nays: None.

 

7.                 Approve Consent Agenda

There were no changes to the Consent Agenda.  At the request of Mayor Klausing, City Manager Bill Malinen briefly reviewed those items being considered under the Consent Agenda.

 

a.                 Approve Payments

Roe moved, Ihlan seconded, approval of the following claims and payments as presented.     

ACH Payments

$98,412.35

54165 – 54293

283,558.24

Total

$381,970.59

 

                                                Roll Call

            Ayes: Johnson; Ihlan; Roe; Pust; and Klausing.

            Nays: None.

 

b.                 Approve Business License

Roe moved, Ihlan seconded, approval of business license applications for the period of one year, for the following applicants:

                            

Applicant/Location

Type of License

Imane El Impahi @Arcades (Rosedale)

10 Rosedale Center

Game Room

Amusement Device

 

Roll Call

Ayes: Pust; Ihlan; Johnson; Roe; and Klausing.

Nays: None.

 

c.                  Set a Public Hearing for Key’s Café Liquor License

Roe moved, Ihlan seconded, approval of scheduling a Public Hearing on Monday, March 23, 2009, for an On-Sale Wine and 3.2 Liquor License for Key’s Café.

 

Roll Call

Ayes: Pust; Ihlan; Johnson; Roe; and Klausing.

Nays: None.

 

d.                 Receive Update on Imagine Roseville 2025 Medium and Long-Term Goals

Roe moved, Ihlan seconded, acceptance of an update of Imagine Roseville 2025 medium and long-term goals, as presented by City Manager Malinen.

 

Roll Call

Ayes: Pust; Ihlan; Johnson; Roe; and Klausing.

Nays: None.

 

e.                 Authorize Acceptance of Metropolitan Emergency Services Board Grant for 800 Megahertz Radios for Public Works Supervisors

Roe moved, Ihlan seconded, acceptance of a grant from the Metropolitan Emergency Services Board in the amount of $5,859.91 for the purchase of radios for Emergency Management.

 

Roll Call

Ayes: Pust; Ihlan; Johnson; Roe; and Klausing.

Nays: None.

 

f.                   Approve Change Order; Adopt a Resolution to Accept the Work Completed; Authorize Final Payment of $52,077.28; and Commencing the One-Year Warranty Period on the 2008 Contract B Street Improvement Project

Roe moved, Ihlan seconded, adoption of Resolution No. 10695 entitled, “Final Contract Acceptance, 2008 Contract B;” approve Change Order; accepting the work completed; authorizing final payment in the amount of $52,077.28; and commencing the one-year warranty period on the 2008 Contract B Street Improvement Project”.

Roll Call

Ayes: Pust; Ihlan; Johnson; Roe; and Klausing.

Nays: None.

 

g.                 Amend Contract with WSB to Prepare a Response Action Plan for the Twin Lakes AUAR SubArea I Infrastructure Improvements

Roe moved, Ihlan seconded, authorizing the City Manager to amend the Twin Lakes AUAR SubArea I Infrastructure Improvement Contract with WSB and Associates to include preparation of a response action plan in the amount of $6,400.

                                               

Roll Call

Ayes: Pust; Ihlan; Johnson; Roe; and Klausing.

Nays: None.

 

8.         Consider Items Removed from Consent

 

9.                 General Ordinances for Adoption

 

10.             Presentations

 

a.                 Hear a Presentation and Adopt a Resolution Regarding Early Voting and Vote by Mail

While awaiting arrival of Ramsey County Elections Coordinator Joe Mansky, Councilmembers and Ms. Curti addressed some outstanding issues and options available for consideration.

 

City of Roseville Elections Coordinator Carolyn Curti

Mayor Klausing noted several possible revisions to the draft  resolution presented by staff to further clarify the intent for presentation to the legislature; ensuring options for the City of Roseville as a pilot program City, with or without passage of pending legislation.

 

Councilmember Ihlan stated her interpretation of the intent was for the City to serve as a test site for election reforms, whether or not the legislation was approved for statewide implementation.

 

Ms. Curti clarified that the City had been asked by Ramsey County for their interest in serving as a test municipality, thus the draft language of the resolution offering that as an alternative.  Ms. Curti provided a brief review of background information on the proposal, as previously presented to the City Council at an earlier meeting, in an effort to bring the State’s current election system less cumbersome, and up to pace with today’s society and changing demographics.  Ms. Curti noted today’s outdated and incredibly detail-oriented election system, and its labor-intensive nature.

 

Ms. Curti highlighted potential labor reduction with the vote by mail process; increased postage; reduced supplies and equipment purchases; and reduced resources in administering elections in the City.

 

Councilmember Pust offered her support of early voting; however, expressed concern with vote by mail options, and whether that would hinder Minnesota’s same day registration option.

 

Ms. Curti reviewed the process to facilitate non-registered voters.

 

Councilmember Johnson expressed concern in accountability for tracking ballots through the process, in the voter’s ability to ensure that their ballots were received by mail, while keeping their anonymity throughout the process.

 

Discussion included the process used for tracking and protecting anonymity used in other states using vote by mail options; tracking voter identification via the outside envelope, with ballots in their secrecy envelopes separated from those outside envelopes; and specific mechanics of voting by mail.

 

Councilmember Roe noted the similarities of the vote by mail process to that at the polls in signing the envelope or voter registration form; however, expressed concern about how a voter could make sure their ballot arrived by mail, and didn’t get lost, to ensure the vote was counted; and to also provide another option for that voter in case of a lost ballot.

 

Ms. Curti noted that a bar code would be scanned, similar to today’s Absentee Ballot procedure; and anticipated tracking by the voter by internet or other options to ensure their ballot had been received.

 

Councilmember Pust expressed some hesitation in the City of Roseville signing on for a pilot program until more details of such a program were defined.

 

Mayor Klausing suggested a language change to the resolution allowing the City to participate in a pilot program, rather than current language indicating that it would be required or that the legislature could misinterpret the City’s intent.

 

13.             d.         Discuss City Manager Evaluation Process

Mayor Klausing provided draft evaluation forms, originally formatted by Councilmembers Pust and Roe in previous City Manager reviews, with some revisions; and suggested using a survey process via internet with an outside firm doing the tallying and compilation of the aggregate data.

 

Discussion included timing of the survey for initiation and response time; proposed selection of participants, expanded from previous evaluations; potential fee for this outside service; and ability of individual Councilmembers to provide suggested names of participants from other organizations that have not, but perhaps should have had interaction with the City Manager.

 

Mayor Klausing suggested that, in making suggestions for other participants outside City Hall, Councilmembers be sure to provide a contact person who has interacted with the City Manager; and that any additional contact information be provided to Mayor Klausing for processing within a week.

 

City Manager Malinen, from his perspective, noted that he would be providing a hard copy of his self-evaluation, in addition to an updated goal outline since his last review; and supplemental information of his accomplishments since the previous review, asking that that information be included as part of the review context.

 

10.      a          Ramsey County Elections Coordinator Joe Mansky

Mr. Mansky apologized for his delay due to his ongoing court appearances with the MN Senate election review.

 

Mr. Mansky noted that, in the last General Election, 17% of Roseville’s registered voters had been through the Absentee Ballot process, and that Roseville had the highest record for absentee voting in Ramsey Council, and that it continued increase rapidly annually.  Mr. Mansky anticipated that this was a future trend with voters looking for alternative and more convenient methods of voting.

 

Mail Elections

Mr. Mansky reviewed the current experience in the State of MN with mail voting over the last twenty (20 years, with MN being on of the first states to initiate all mail voting in 1987 for several rural areas not having access to conventional polling places.  Mr. Mansky noted the extremely high voter turnout in such situations, including off-year or smaller elections; and some special elections or specific referendums held entirely by mail to get a higher voter turnout.  Mr. Mansky echoed Ms. Curti’s comments regarding cost-savings; better training of election judges due to savings in resources and staff time; and encouraged Roseville to consider serving as a pilot community to provide actual logistic data for consideration of a state-wide program.

 

Early Voting

Mr. Mansky provided a summary of the proposal for early voting at a central location before election day, with a proposal currently going before a legislative committee tomorrow.  Mr. Mansky noted that voters would actually go through the voting process similar to election day, and would insert their ballots into the ballot counter, at which time, it could be determined if their ballot was completed accurately, and if not, the situation could be resolved at that time to ensure that their ballot was counted.  Mr. Mansky noted that this option would provide cost savings, including less staff-intensive labor for accepting/rejecting absentee ballots; and would allow voters to be treated the same as if they were voting on election day.

 

Mr. Mansky, based on his experience and observations in this senate election recount over the last four (4) months, noted his awareness of mistakes made by voters and election judges in the process; and the inability of the voter to correct their ballot errors if voting by absentee ballot, and their not being counted until election night.

 

Mr. Mansky addressed questions and comments of Councilmembers including; political impacts for this current legislation addressing only early voting, and not voting by mail; tracking for the voter with voting by mail and timing of such website programming at the Secretary of State level, or potentially at the Ramsey County level; potential rescheduling of MN primaries from September to June; and continued same day registration options.

 

Further discussion included options for the portion of the population not internet savvy, with considerable consideration given to serving all voters, and channeling staff time to deliver services to all voters, by streamlining efforts in available areas; and clearer instructions to voters on their ballots for voting by mail; while allowing for actual interaction with ballot counters in early voting.

 

Mr. Mansky addressed the requests of constituents in seeking more voting alternatives; potential location of voting kiosks in grocery stores and/or shopping centers; and legislation currently being drafted by Senator Marty related to a pilot program for voting options.

 

Additional discussion included timing of potential legislation; and minor language amendments in the City’s proposed resolution to serve as a pilot to preserve the City’s options.

 

Mayor Klausing thanked Mr. Mansky for his attendance and information.

Recess

Mayor Klausing recessed the meeting at approximately 7:10 p.m. for interviews; and reconvened at approximately 8:57 p.m. in Regular Session.

 

Advisory Commission Interviews

Those interviewed were: Tim Johnson (Parks & Recreation / Planning Commissions); John Gisselquist (Planning Commission); Keith Miller and, Gary Grefenberg (Planning / Human Rights Commissions); Peg Kennedy, Liz Jaeger, Barbara Yates and Howard Wagner (Human Rights Commission).

 

14.             Public Hearings

 

15.             Business Items (Action Items)

 

a.         Update of Centennial Gardens Apartments Non-Compliance

Community Development Director Patrick Trudgeon reviewed staff’s analysis of Centennial Gardens Apartments Non-Compliance, as detailed in the staff report dated March 9, 2009.  Mr. Trudgeon referenced letters from the developer’s attorney included in the packet.

 

Staff’s recommendation was that a letter of non-compliance be issued to the developer, but that no penalty be levied, with the letter specifically stating that Centennial Gardens was in non-compliance with the affordability regulations for the months of July through November of 2008, but that the violations were deemed “insubstantial” and that no penalty would be levied at this time.  Staff further recommended that the letter state that violations were a result of misinterpretation of regulations and poor communication; and that if this or similar violations occur again, upon the City’s monitoring and annual review, the City would levy a penalty.

 

Mary Ippel, representing the City’s Bond Counsel, Briggs & Morgan, was present and addressed the City Council, noting that staff and bond counsel were not relying on interpretation by the developer’s attorney via referenced letter; and advised that the issue at hand was not that of compliance, since the developer had admitted to that non-compliance; but that the recommendation was based on language of State Statute, and lack of evidence of any deliberate attempt for non-compliance by the developer, and their remedies following being made aware of concerns.

 

Staff recommended that, while not recommending a penalty, the letter be held until reimbursement by the developer of the City’s legal fees related to this issue.

 

City Attorney Scott Anderson, reiterated the language of State Statute 474A.047, Subd. 3 related to the penalty provisions; and the proposed condition for the letter versus order, is that they reimburse the City’s attorney fees.

 

Ms. Ippel, as Bond Counsel, concurred with the City Attorney’s interpretation.

 

Discussion included upfront administration fees in the amount of $120,000 paid to the City by the developer for the original tax credit bond filing; and the conservative nature of the total of $1,684 overcharge by the developer to tenants, and their compensation to those tenants who could be found, based on the developer’s misinterpretation of law.

 

Councilmember Ihlan sought what perspective was taken in concluding that this was an insubstantial violation.

 

Staff provided their rationale for this recommendation, as detailed in the staff report, and staff’s thorough review of rents paid monthly by each rental unit, the scope of the occurrence and dollar amount.

 

Councilmember Pust noted that the developer was required to provide 38 of the total 190 units in meeting affordability guidelines, with errors made, due to interpretation of utility costs, on 31 of those 38 units; opining that this seemed substantial., and the City’s need to protect those 38 affordable housing units, and impacts felt by those 31 families.

 

Councilmember Ihlan opined that,  from the tenant’s perspective, the impact could be deemed substantial based on their economic circumstances, and the dislocation of some of those families from their homes. Councilmember Ihlan further opined that the developer’s misinterpretation and inexperience should not be relevant to this decision, or whether their non-compliance was intentional or unintentional; but opined that when the developer was seeking publicly-backed financing, they should be aware of all requirements.

 

Public Comment

Karen Thomas, former resident of Centennial Commons

Ms. Thomas reviewed her experience in receiving an eviction notice and $150/month rent increase; and subsequent conversations she’d had with the developer when seeking a rent refund following determination of non-compliance.  Ms. Thomas noted the many stresses to herself and family throughout this situation; and her disappointment with the City of Roseville; her need to relocate to St. Paul from Roseville; and impacts to her family in being displaced after living 12 years at the complex.  Ms. Thomas alleged that, if not for the notice of non-compliance provided by Mr. Cann, the developer would probably not have stopped their business practices.

 

Connie Wyland

Ms. Wyland requested that the letter from Senator Marty be read into the record.

 

Marsha Kresse, resident at Centennial Gardens.

Ms. Kresse advised that Senator Marty had drafted and e-mailed a letter to the City this afternoon.  The referenced letter had not been received by Councilmembers prior to the start of today’s meeting schedule.

 

Ms. Kresse reviewed her rent increase of $150, and subsequent reduction by the developer from $850 to $834/month, following disclosure.  Ms. Kresse reviewed impacts to her in not being able to afford that much rent, but not being able to afford to move either; early assurances by the developer that rents would not increase until renovations were completed, however, the ultimate reality of the tenants living in a construction zone, and utility interruptions during that renovation.  Ms. Kresse alleged that the former community-centered apartment neighborhood had been torn asunder, and short-term, problematic tenants had replaced long-term tenants.

 

Ms. Kresse opined that the developer had been involved with affordable housing for years, based on comments of the developer’s attorney, and should be aware of requirements.  Ms. Kresse further opined that, once caught in non-compliance, the City should enforce State Statue rather than deem the situation insubstantial, alleging that the developer was fully aware of what they were doing; and asked that the City Council hold the developer accountable for the subsidies they received, whether inadvertent errors or not.

 

Norm Jones, Attorney for owner

Mr. Jones opined that there were at least three issues occurring between the owner and residents:

1)                                                       i.            legal and factual issues surrounding non-compliance;

2)                                                      ii.            substantial rent increases between former and current ownership of the building; and

3)                                                    iii.            complaints about management and construction.

 

                   Mr. Jones concurred that there needed to be better communication between tenants and the owner, without necessarily going through the management company, and that those conversations should address operational and management issues specifically.

 

Mr. Jones opined that comments needed to be restricted tonight to non-compliance issues; and reviewed the history of the issue; previous allegations of Mr. Cann and the owner’s response to those concerns; and the error identified in October of 2008, and subsequent remedies made by the developer in addressing those issues, for which Mr. Jones took full responsibility based on information provided to him through various sources and their interpretations.

 

Mr. Jones opined that the purpose of the penalty as addressed in State Statute, was to ensure compliance, which had already been achieved; and noted immediate recalculation by the owner of rents as calculated by a third-party advisory; and the compensation paid by the owner to those affected property owners over and above that indicated; and operational changes made in accordance.

 

Mr. Jones referenced his letter and his interpretation of compliance; and assured Councilmembers that the owner was motivated to ensure that this situation did not reoccur.

 

Councilmember Pust reviewed the owner’s original response to Mr. Cann’s 20 issues.

 

Mr. Jones reiterated that the client had responded to each point; and initially to this non-compliance issue, until further interpretation and advice was sought and received.

 

Discussion between Councilmember Pust and Mr. Jones included the other projects in which this developer is involved and their experience with this Statute.

 

Further discussion among Councilmembers and staff included clarifying the number of units and number of months in non-compliance; tabulation of each unit and staff’s interpretation of that data, and the request of Councilmembers for this information to be provided to them by staff; 

 

Councilmembers concurred that they required additional time to review this more detailed data reviewed by staff before making a decision.

 

Councilmember Ihlan expressed concern that residents in attendance at tonight’s meeting should have some indication from the City Council of their intent, and encouraged that action be taken tonight.

 

Mayor Klausing opined that, when he took the Oath of Office, it was his charge to understand the problem or issue, and do what was right; and that based on the information provided to-date, he could not do so tonight.

 

Councilmember Roe opined that he was still trying to understand the issues, and that he needed more information to complete his analysis of whether to impose a penalty or not.  Councilmember Roe advised that he took the concerns of both the developer and residents seriously, and in his review, was attempting to be fair to all parties.

 

Ms. Ippel again reviewed language of the State Statue regarding compliance and penalties.

 

Councilmember Johnson, in addressing residents, opined that compelling arguments were heard from them, and sought a show of hands on those in attendance who were impacted by this rate issue.

 

Tracy Goodrich, Organizer with Affordable Rental Housing

Ms. Goodrich opined that an underlying issue with residents, as initially brought to the City’s attention when proposed by the developer, was the potential for rent increases and displacement, while the developer received tax credits fro the property.  Ms. Goodrich noted that 22 people were displaced, thus creating the frustration; and the apparent lack of concern or interest of the City until Mr. Cann had identified the issue for the City.  Ms. Goodrich alleged that, without Mr. Cann’s involvement, the City would have remained unaware, and the developer would be continuing to overcharge renters.  Ms. Goodrich questioned if this was how the City would like to see their affordable housing tax credits used.

 

Marsha Kresse

Ms. Kresse reiterated her original concerns; the additional police calls to the complex based on current renters; lack of belonging of neighbors; and other residents who moved out due to the diminishing quality of the neighborhood, in addition to those displaced.  Ms. Kresse asked that the City Council ensure that those precious tax credits and bonds go to developers who do what they promise.  Ms. Kresse opined that this impact was substantial.

 

At approximately 10:02 p.m., Johnson moved, Roe seconded, to extend the meeting to complete discussion of time-sensitive items identified as Items 12.a, 12.b and 13.b.

 

Roll Call

Ayes: Pust; Ihlan; Johnson; Roe; and Klausing.

Nays: None.

 

Klausing moved, Roe seconded, TABLING consideration and discussion of the statutory compliance of Gardens East Limited Partnership in regard to the Centennial Commons apartment development.

 

Councilmember Ihlan clarified that she was personally seeking that this be brought back as an action item, not an update, specific to notice to all parties of statutory penalty consideration; and when this would coming back before the City Council.

 

City Manager Malinen anticipated that the item would be included on the March 23, 2009, to allow time for staff to respond with additional information as requested.

Roll Call

Ayes: Pust; Ihlan; Johnson; Roe; and Klausing.

Nays: None.

 

12.             b.         Adopt a Resolution Authorizing the Use of Eminent Domain for the Acquisition of Parcels for Street and Utility Purposes within the Twin Lakes Redevelopment Area

Community Development Director Patrick Trudgeon reviewed the request for use of Eminent Domain, if required do to timing constraints and negotiations with property owners, to initiate Phase I infrastructure improvements, as detailed in the Request for Council Action dated March 9, 2009.  Mr. Trudgeon clarified that the request was to acquire properties for right-of-way and construction easements only, not to acquire land for development.

 

Pust moved, Johnson seconded, adoption of Resolution No. 10696 entitled, “Resolution Approving the Acquisition of Property for Improvements to Mount Ridge Road and Twin Lakes Parkway.” – express understanding for road and infrastructure only – not for development purposes

 

Councilmember Ihlan spoke in support of the motion to acquiring land for infrastructure, with the understanding that it would be used only if negotiations with property owners failed.

 

Roll Call

Ayes: Pust; Ihlan; Johnson; Roe; and Klausing.

Nays: None.

 

Mr. Trudgeon advised Councilmembers that staff anticipated returning to the City Council on March 23, 2009, in Executive Session, to provide an update on negotiations to-date.

 

15.             Business Items – Presentations/Discussions

 

b.                 Continue Discussion on an Alternative Budgeting Process for 2010

City Manager Malinen led a discussion on alternative budgeting processes for 2010, and the Request for Council Action dated March 9, 2009 for outside consulting in an amount not to exceed $50,000. 

 

Finance Director Chris Miller noted the need to quantify costs for all programs and services to facilitate moving toward outcome-based budgeting; and any adjustments that may be indicated, such as reallocation of funding, deleting programs, or increasing fees; and allowing the City Council to prioritize those programs and services accordingly, based on their true costs and as part of the decision-making process.

 

Councilmember Pust noted that, when this was discussed in the recent Council Work session, tiers were discussed; but that this process indicated measuring programs for results, and questioned how this would help Councilmembers draw the line without another level of detail, and without additional information based on similar services and programs of peer cities.  Councilmember Pust asked to have some input or ability to review the scope of services and information sought prior to hiring an outside consultant.  Councilmember Pust opined that additional discussion was needed between staff and the City Council to make sure it was clear what information was being requested, and to draft a Request for Proposals (RFP.)

 

Councilmember Roe opined his support of outside assistance, based on their expertise and availability, recognizing time constraints on in-house staff and impacts to their day-to-day operations in gathering this data, while also allowing for an impartial look at everything.  However, Councilmember Roe noted the need for substantial community feedback on their preferred service levels, and their awareness of the dollar impacts for businesses and citizens, in providing those service levels and programs.  Councilmember Roe noted the need for more informal discussions among staff and the City Council, similar to the recent Work session, to avoid surprises during and at the end of the budget process, as noted by staff in the last budget process.

 

Councilmember Johnson expressed some concerns from his discussions with staff and various levels of support for outcome-based budgeting; and his concerns that in providing core services, park programming and services may be reduced to facilitate them.  However, Councilmember Johnson noted the support for park and recreation programs, based on quality of life preferences of citizens; and their intrinsic value to this community.

 

City Manager Malinen reminded Councilmembers that another portion of the process was identifying other revenue sources, a process already initiated on a staff level by department, as they analyzed services and programs, and considered ways to generate revenues.

 

Councilmember Roe recognized the concerns expressed by Councilmember Johnson in a third party making value judgments for the City without looking at the overall picture of the community and implications.  However, Councilmember Roe also noted that a third party could provide the actual cost of providing services and programs; and allow a more detailed review of efficiencies available, since the City’s staff was too close to the picture to be objective.  Councilmember Roe opined that the broad picture be reviewed, without any assumptions, and community input sought on those programs or services that the community may be willing to pay higher taxes or fees to continue or improve.

 

Councilmember Pust opined that the study being sought, as per the staff report, was not consistent with seeking efficiencies, and without including value to community versus dollar amount to provide services or programs.

 

Further discussion included timing anticipated for completion of the study in relationship to the 2010 budget process, with staff anticipating 90 days for completion; monies to fund the study from the City’s existing budget, but those resources not yet identified by staff, pending further analysis of impacts of lost state aid funds; one-time cost of the study, not a structural obligation, but part of the strategic planning effort; and impacts of that $50,000 based on other priorities.

 

Klausing moved, Roe seconded, authorizing staff to hire an independent outside consulting firm for the purposes of calculating the direct and indirect costs of City services; at an amount not to exceed $50,000.

 

Mayor Klausing spoke in support of the motion, while recognizing concerns expressed by Councilmembers, but noting the need to make some serious decisions based on expenses and revenues, and with community input on their preferences.

 

Councilmember Ihlan questioned whether the study would cost the full $50,000, and sought more definition of those services sought, and whether staff could provide a short list of qualified firms; and questioned whether the firm would provide sufficient data analysis, or if it would be repetitious of that already available to staff.

 

City Manager Malinen assured Councilmembers that staff would certainly attempt negotiating for less than the proposed $50,000.

 

Further discussion included impacts of this motion on outcome-based budgeting for 2010; advantages of an outside look at day-to-day City operations to provide services and programming; assessment of qualifications by staff for proposing firms, without formal bid procedures; and the need for a more detailed scope of services for Councilmembers to consider based on the desired outcomes.

 

Mr. Miller noted that staff, while drafting a scope of services outlining general parameters for the firm’s role and the City’s expectations, attempts were left to provide some leeway to guide a process based on a firm’s familiarity and expertise,

 

Councilmember Roe, in terms of the Council being involved in the RFP process, suggested that a subcommittee of Councilmembers be involved in drafting the scope of services, based on tonight’s action of the entire Council.

 

Councilmember Pust concurred with Councilmember Roe’s suggestion; opining that this emphasized the need for additional conversation between staff and the City Council.

 

Councilmember Ihlan supported the City Council having a say in shaping the scope of services requested and which contractor was chosen; however, expressed her concern it that process was short-circuited.

 

Councilmember Johnson reiterated his concern that, even going through this budgeting for outcomes process, at the end of the year, the City Council would still be at the mercy of the economy and/or individual Councilmember reaction to the economy.

Roll Call

Ayes: Roe and Klausing.

Nays: Ihlan and Johnson.

Abstentions: Pust.

Motion failed on a tie vote.

 

14.      City Manager Future Agenda Review

 

15.      Councilmember-Initiated Items for Future Meetings

 

a.         Twin Lakes Property Maintenance Code Enforcement (Councilmember Ihlan)

 

16.      Adjourn

          The meeting was adjourned at 10:44 pm.