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City Council


City Council Meeting Minutes

November 17, 2014


1.         Roll Call

Mayor Roe called the meeting to order at approximately 6:00 p.m.  Voting and Seating Order: McGehee, Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, and Roe.  City Manager Patrick Trudgeon and City Attorney Mark Gaughan were also present; and Councilmember Willmus arrived at approximately 6:09 p.m.; having previously advised that he would be arriving late due to family commitments.

2.     Approve Agenda
City Manager Trudgeon requested the addition of a business action 13a. item to   tonight's agenda to consider approval of a burn permit for 1894 Alta Vista Drive. 

Laliberte moved, Etten seconded approval of the agenda as amended.


                                                Roll Call

Ayes: McGehee, Laliberte, 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

Mayor Roe announced a winter attire donation drive by the Roseville Visitors Association (RVA) and OVALumination partnering with the Roseville School District, with donations accepted at the Skating Center /OVAL anytime the buildings are open, and running through the winter months, with clothing being distributed among students in the Roseville Area School District.  Additional information is available at the RVA, 651/633-3002.


Mayor Roe announced the upcoming interactive presentation to meet Karen community immigrants to the United States, on November 20, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. at the Ramsey County Library - Roseville Branch, one of several events scheduled to get to know diverse groups in the area, with a complete list available at:


Mayor Roe announced dates and times for upcoming city-related meetings; and noted that the City Offices would be closed on November 27 and 28, 2014 for the Thanksgiving holidays.


Councilmember Etten announced a "Walk to End Hunger" scheduled on Thanksgiving Day at 10:00 a.m. at the Mall of America, sponsored in part by area and local civic organizations.  Councilmember Etten noted that some of the monies collected would return to Roseville area food programs, and that additional information was available on the website:


Councilmember Laliberte noted that she would be attending the Ramsey County League of Local Governments (RCLLG) meeting later this week; with the agenda including recognition of outgoing legislators, a recap of the election, and setting 2015 priorities for municipalities. 


Mayor Roe announced that CenturyLink tentatively planned to have representatives in attendance at the December 4, 2014 North Suburban Cable Commission meeting at approximately 7:00 p.m. to discuss their potential role in a franchise for cable operations.  Mayor Roe advised that the public was invited to attend this public meeting, as always, with the meetings held at C-TV offices at 2670 Arthur Street in Roseville.


Councilmember Willmus arrived at approximately 6:09 p.m.; with apologies for being late.


5.         Recognitions, Donations and Communications


6.         Approve Minutes


7.         Approve Consent Agenda


8.         Consider Items Removed from Consent


General Ordinances for Adoption



Mayor Roe recessed the meeting at approximately 6:10 p.m., and reconvened at approximately 6:12 p.m.



a.            Joint Meeting with Parks and Recreation Commission

Parks & Recreation Commission Chair Dave Holt, and Commissioners Lee Diedrick and Jerry Stoner were present, along with Parks & Recreation Director Lonnie Brokke.


Chair Holt provided a brief recap of activities of the Commission since last meeting with the City Council; and expressed the Commission's interest in meeting jointly on a quarterly basis as agenda topics provide applicable.


Members addressed items as detailed in the Request for Council Action (RCA) dated November 17, 2014.


Deer Population in Roseville


Commissioner Stoner advised that the Commission was seeking direction from the City Council on specific issues with managing the deer population; with the Commission to-date only exploring preliminary information on the logistics and process for a managed hunt in Roseville.  Commissioner Stoner noted that considerable more discussion and direction would be needed prior to pursuing that option, with the range of population densities of the deer in areas city-wide and not only in one area.  Commissioner Stoner offered to bring additional information, including costs, control mechanism, and other options back to the City Council if that was their direction.


Councilmember Willmus noted that a neighborhood group had previously expressed interest in some method of control; and noted the great deal of comment on this subject that he'd heard during his recent campaign door knocking, and confirmed that the deer population was not necessarily confined to one area of Roseville, but remained an area of concern for residents.  Councilmember Willmus expressed his personal interest in finding out more about how other communities responded to the deer population problem, including their successful and/or non-successful methods, measures, and the possibility of partnering with other communities in the area experiencing the same problem regionally, not just jurisdictionally.  Councilmember Willmus supported the Commission taking a look at the problem and providing options to the City Council.


Councilmember McGehee expressed her personal and definite opposition to a bow hunt within limited open space in Roseville; noting that this was not a Roseville-specific deer herd, but area-wide, and more tracking data and information would be helpful, such as from the Cities of Little Canada and Shoreview.  Councilmember McGehee also suggested more information from the Commission on how the City could help residents having considerable issues with deer devouring their plantings, since the issue seemed to be less about vehicles and accidents and more about eating shrubs or plantings.  Councilmember McGehee suggested some type of herd management option with less deadly results.


Councilmember Etten expressed his interest in hearing a variety of methods; and stated he could support bow and arrow hunting as that seemed to be a safe and successful in other metropolitan communities, such as Little Canada.  Councilmember Etten also expressed interest in polling other municipalities to hear results of their deer herd population control methods, both positive and negative results.


Councilmember Laliberte spoke in support of determining the actions and results of other metropolitan communities, and their current or ongoing programs. Councilmember Laliberte offered to mention the issue at the upcoming RCLLG meeting.


Mayor Roe noted, from his discussions and outreach from neighboring mayors, the need for joint efforts to address this regional problem, and apologized to those mayors for not following up on the issue.  Mayor Roe suggested that the Commission and/or staff look at the issue further, and suggested some of the partnering should involve Ramsey County as well.


Community Center

Chair Holt asked for City Council direction on whether or not to pursue this issue in 2014/2015, as the Commission had kept it on the back burner for a long time, even though it was part of discussions and the whole process during the Park Renewal Program and bonding consideration. Chair Holt advised that limited information was available, but sought direction from the City Council on whether they wanted more information or updates on the existing information, or no action at all by the Commission.


Councilmember McGehee stated that personally, she would say no, because the opportunity was missed when the bonding and community survey went through; with the result of six gathering spots or buildings, only supported by 6% of the residents surveyed, with a considerable amount of public money already spent, and the decision already made on how it would be spent.  Councilmember McGehee stated that she favored a community center first, but the choice was not made that way.


Chair Holt clarified that the Commission did not consider the gathering places to serve the same purpose as a community center, with the public's vision consisting of a much larger structure to serve multiple functions.


Councilmember McGehee opined that the public had not supported upgraded buildings to replace warming houses, and not six buildings supported by only 6% of the populace. Until she observed how the Parks Renewal Program buildings were used and funded for maintenance, she was not interested in pursuing other buildings. 


Councilmember Laliberte opined that it was always good to collect updated information to assist in ongoing decision making over the short- and long-term, and supported a limited amount of Commission time to be spent on the issue.  Councilmember Laliberte spoke in support of updated information on the Shoreview Community Center and recent improvements they undertook and their justification of those improvements and associated costs; improvements on the New Brighton Community Center, if any; and any recent information available from the City of Maplewood's facility.  Councilmember Laliberte expressed her interest in observing how the new Park Renewal Program buildings would be utilized over the next year, and therefore, thought the earliest need for updated information by the City Council would be in 2016.


Councilmember Willmus noted that a Community Center was specifically and separately identified in and throughout the Parks Master Plan process and supported by the public for continue discussion and consideration.  Councilmember Willmus noted that past discussions had been primarily limited to potential partnership with Roseville Area Schools, and suggested such a partnership could still be pursued, whether through land, space, or simply the long tradition of working cooperatively (e.g. gymnastics center). Councilmember Willmus expressed his curiosity seeing how the new park buildings would fulfill the need and role for gathering spaces, and should prove an interesting component to the overall picture as they came on line.  In monitoring that, and what was learned from the Cities of Shoreview and Maplewood, and their operating deficits, Councilmember Willmus opined that the public's comfort level could then be further determined.  Councilmember Willmus opined that, just like community centers in other cities, the need to determine the public's willingness to expend dollars for such a facility was something that needed consideration, but cautioned that he was not yet ready to rush out and state that the City of Roseville had to have a community center.


Councilmember Etten agreed that a combined effort by the City and School District could prove beneficial for both parties, as well as the community; even though it meant there were more people involved who had to come to an agreement and work out the details, such as where and when, which should be possible with leaders working together as a whole.  Councilmember Etten noted that this type of facility was substantially different than those being constructed in area parks, and as residents had recently asked him, there remained a need for a facility to meet the needs from little children to the elderly.  While in agreement with many of the comments made by his colleagues, Councilmember Etten opined that he was not ready to jump into the pool yet.


With recent financial obligations undertaken by the City with Park Renewal Program improvements and bonding, as well as utility and infrastructure improvement upgrades and costs, Mayor Roe opined that right now he had little interest in adding anything additional for taxpayers.   However, Mayor Roe noted the continuing comments he heard from residents about the things we still don't have in the community from the standpoint of a community center, and therefore, it seemed a reasonable approach was to determine a timeframe when such a facility would and could make sense (e.g., if a local sales tax option was considered).  Mayor Roe suggested options, including how to adjust timing, should all be part of the process; and to him, it seemed it was important to have key things in place before moving forward, including the actual steps in the process, who to talk to, and when those preliminary conversations should occur.  Mayor Roe suggested that the Commission move from the initial interest expressed by the community in the Park Master Plan process as a starting point, including areas of interest in such a facility, and then seek further feedback from the community to determine their current level of support in pursuing a community center.  Mayor Roe noted the many different concepts for a community center, but also noted the need for a realistic and specific discussion on costs for those components as they related to the overall costs, and making a determination on exactly what a community center concept is desired.  After those discussions, Mayor Roe suggested plans be put in place and a generic structure to guide a future process, so when important decisions need to be made, the information is available and they are Roseville specific.


In response to the comments of Councilmember Willmus, Councilmember Laliberte requested market data for Roseville, as well as surrounding communities with community centers having private clubs or facilities, a better understanding of the negative and/or positive impacts and competition from of those private facilities, and a better understanding of operating deficits in community-owned facilities, including competing choices.


As a long-time supporter of a community center providing facilities to serve the entire population year-round, Councilmember McGehee reiterated her support of a community center. Councilmember McGehee advised that she had contacted the City of Shoreview's Finance Department, and they informed her that the City planned an annual deficit, setting aside 25% funding, in order to keep community center fees within the reach of the entire community, even though they realized they were subsidizing the operation from their tax levy to do so, but considered it differently than an operating deficit.  When a serious community center discussion came forward, Councilmember McGhee opined that it would be nice to have that type of format for a pricing structure; and while a market survey was fine, a community center was not intended as a fitness center, but very different, and should not be considered to be competitive with those private businesses.


Commissioner Stoner duly noted the various information being requested by the City Council, and also the consistency in requests for updated information on other community centers, recent improvements, and updated financial data, and timing for the Commission to gather that information during 2015.


Chair Holt advised that he was considering the information gathering toward the end of 2015, allowing information to be provided after Roseville facilities are in use and then having more factual information available next fall to present to the City Council.


Mayor Roe emphasized again the need for community input, similar to the listening sessions for the Master Plan process, besides factual and financial information, perhaps even with a small, statistically valid survey offering various choices or components for a community center.  Mayor Roe also emphasized the need for putting a plan in place, with steps, to get there.


Councilmember McGehee stated that she found that financing between the Maplewood and Shoreview community centers were very different; with the City of Maplewood offering lifetime memberships for initial contributors in building the facility, and asked that options such as that be included by the Commission as well.


Cedarholm Golf Course and Clubhouse

Chair Holt noted that the current clubhouse had been placed on the site in the late 1950's, and
had more than exceeded its useful life.  Chair Holt noted the need to determine
how to plan for its replacement, as it seemed to be valued by the community. 
In consideration of the City's overall budgeting, Chair Holt sought City
Council input on how they wanted the Commission to approach this major issue
and the information they wanted provided for their decision-making, whether the
Golf Course remained as an Enterprise Fund or was funded similar to the OVAL.


Councilmember Laliberte opined that Cedarholm was an asset to the community, while expressing varying degrees of willingness to pursue building a facility or making major repairs on the existing building given its age and condition.  Councilmember Laliberte expressed her interest in receiving the facilities utilization data, age, and demographics compared to state and national levels, whether private or public facilities.  Councilmember Laliberte recognized the ebbs and flows of the industry, but sought additional information on where the Golf Course was on that bell curve of utilization compared to other trends and nationwide utilization.  Moving forward, Councilmember Laliberte questioned if the Commission would feel comfortable developing a plan for how to continue promoting the facility and expand or increase use beyond the status quo.


Councilmember McGehee opined that she considered this a capital improvement program (CIP) issue versus an Enterprise Fund issue.  Councilmember McGehee expressed her frustration with the Commission being fully aware of this need, as well as that of the skating center, and not including those needs as part of the substantial amount of money allotted for CIP needs, but instead choosing to spend the money elsewhere.  Therefore, Councilmember McGehee stated that she wasn't feeling very good about this issue, since she felt good about the existing park facilities, and it was her understanding that those facilities would be improved and maintained; and further stated that she was hearing that from the community as well, that the new facilities being constructed were not what they had in mind either.  Councilmember McGehee sought information on whether fees could be raised at the golf course to make the operation sustainable; and recognizing that the City of Edina recently closed a golf course, and not wanting that to happen here, she supported it as a good course for young kids and the elderly in the community who were not semi-pros, but simply seeking a local community golf course.  Councilmember McGehee noted the desire of the public to see the course well-maintained, and questioned why one of the park buildings could not have been located on the site to replace the club house and serve various functions.  However, Councilmember McGehee opined that the Commission had not come to ask about any of that and had therefore failed to set priorities.  Councilmember McGehee agreed with Mayor Roe's comments about not being interested in taking on more major financial issues, since funds were not available to pursue everything.  Councilmember McGehee reiterated her disappointment that funds were not used to build a nice club house for the community; and she was unsure what to do about it now.  Councilmember McGehee further opined that, if the Commission could make a plan on how to fund a new club house, perhaps peoples could contribute to make a good club and if offering lunches, perhaps it could draw a nice golfing clientele, similar to other gathering buildings, and perhaps offer cross-country skiing during winter months.  Councilmember McGehee expressed her interest in seeing the Commission come up with such a plan.


Mayor Roe clarified that Cedarholm was not a Parks & Recreation Commission golf course, but belonged to the community, and therefore it wasn't up to the Commission to figure everything out.  Mayor Roe expressed his disappointment with Councilmember McGehee's attempts at lecturing the Commission, opining that if everything she thought the Park Renewal bonds should have been used for was done, the bonds would have been spent something like three times over.  Mayor Roe further clarified that it had been known from the onset that the Parks Renewal Program was only a partial solution for the community, and it had been determined to address some things first, and noted that Cedarholm and the Skating Center had not been excluded or not recognized as needing work.  Mayor Roe opined that, at this point, to second guess how the bond funds should have been spent and reprioritizing the decision-making was futile, and Councilmember McGehee needed to move past that mentality.


Councilmember Etten stated that he was looking for some sense from the Commission of what a replacement would be, since there were multiple ways to replace it as well as multiple uses it could serve.  Councilmember Etten questioned whether renovating the current building had validity, but requested information from the Commission on that option: and whether to consider a higher-end club house or a renovated club house, and pros and cons, and rough costs, for either choice.  Councilmember Etten further expressed his interest in looking at how the enterprise could enhance revenues outside of golf, such as seeking revenue sources for that space.  While replacing the roof and other major repairs have been on the CIP for several years, Councilmember Etten asked that those major repairs over $20,000 not be considered until a more robust community discussion is held.  Councilmember Etten stated that he was in agreement with Mayor Roe's comments, and opined that there had been significant opportunities for the City Council, the community and other interested parties to provide input for the Park Renewal Program components, with choices and priorities made after significant discussion. Councilmember Etten opined that to bring this issue up repeatedly after 3-4 years of that decision having been made was not helpful to the community nor did it improve the future of the community in any way.


Councilmember Laliberte echoed Councilmember Etten's request for additional information on how to generate revenue for that space; and suggested that the Commission might seek input from the Community Development Department with their new business retention program to partner with local businesses to offer golfing during open or less frequented tee times.


Mayor Roe concurred with the comments of Councilmember Etten, on his desire for pursuing additional revenue sources, usage ideas, and the type of clubhouse that the City should consider; all to be included as part of Commission, or even a potential future golf course task force discussion.


Councilmember Etten suggested that the discussion should start at the Commission level for an in-depth look, and if they determined after 3-6 months, that a more in-depth analysis was needed, it could return to the City Council for appointment of a task force.  Councilmember Etten reminded the Commission that the City Council's door was always open and expressed their willingness to listen to all options that may or may not work, but asked that a format be developed by the Commission to make a recommendation for decision-making purposes.


Councilmember Willmus agreed that the golf course is certainly an asset to the community, and given that, he asked that regional and national trends be reviewed for golfing, recognizing that interest may be declining in that area.  However, Councilmember Willmus recognized that golf remained a lifelong activity for many, and concurred with the requests of Mayor Roe and Councilmembers Laliberte and Etten that the Commission spend some time evaluating the enterprise and ways to generate additional interest in it, encourage more users, and potentially increase revenues.  Councilmember Willmus suggested partnering with the RVA as an option.  Regarding the current clubhouse, Councilmember Willmus noted that it was a double-wide trailer brought onto the site, and as he reviewed some of the maintenance and repair costs, including restrooms, he suggested it may be a less expensive option to pull in a new mobile home versus repairing the current one.  Councilmember Willmus asked that the Commission focus on the various aspects and suggest potential long-term solutions; even including a possible repurposing of the area as part of that discussion, which may need to be a future realistic consideration.


Councilmember McGehee stated that she echoed all of those suggestions as good ideas; even though she retained her position that discussions needed to consider repurposing the clubhouse as well as providing new ways to use it and the course.  While unsure of the status of the roof leaks, Councilmember McGehee noted past experience in having to replace buildings with similar leaks; and if there were structural issues needing immediate attention rather than deferring them, she suggested the task force be hastened along to avoid forcing the City into a decision because of those delayed maintenance issues.  On a personal note and as an equal member of the City Council, Councilmember McGehee expressed her disappointment in being lectured by others on the City Council about her positions.  Councilmember McGehee stated that the clubhouse asset was there and expressed her interest in seeing it maintained or upgraded, opining that it served the community well.


To avoid any misconceptions regarding the current Enterprise Fund status of the facility and golf course, Chair Holt emphasized that no tax dollars are being used for this purpose, and it actually generated some revenue; but in looking at significant capital improvements needed, there was insufficient revenue to account for large capital expenditures such as a club house.  Chair Holt advised that the City Council that the Commission would return with the information as requested.


Mayor Roe suggested that those options provide multiple options, including pulling in a new mobile home as contemplated by Councilmember Willmus to those suggestions brought forward by Councilmember Etten.  Mayor Roe asked that all components of those options, including costs and any other operational aspects, be compiled by the Commission and brought back to the City Council for further discussion.


Enhanced Volunteer Participation

Commissioner Diedrick thanked the City Council for hiring the City's Volunteer Coordinator Kelly O'Brien, who had provided a volunteer update at their December 6th Commission meeting.  Commissioner Diedrick noted the value Ms. O'Brien had already brought to the City's efforts, including receiving a grant for a database and a volunteer to work with the database; and her tracking of volunteers, their time, types of jobs available, and matching community volunteers skills and preferences, as well as nurturing volunteers already being utilized by various and multiple citywide departments.  Commissioner Diedrick noted the value in engaging the community volunteer force and Ms. O'Brien's connections and networking with other state-wide volunteer coordinators.


Councilmember Willmus thanked the Parks & Recreation Commission for their advocacy for the Volunteer Coordinator and prompting the City Council to hire that position, and the resulting positive city-wide implications.  From his perspective, Councilmember Willmus opined that the Commission got more things right than wrong; and emphasized that it was not the Commission's job to worry about things, but to bring them to the City Council's attention, at which time it was up to the City Council to decide which way to go. 


Councilmember McGehee concurred with Councilmember Willmus' comments; and also thanked City Manager Trudgeon for pursuing the hire of Ms. O'Brien; opining that she was serving the community well.


10.      Presentations


b.            ISD 623 Superintendent Dr. John Thein: State of the District

Mayor Roe introduced and welcomed Dr. Thein to the meeting.


In turn, Dr. Thein, as a Roseville citizen, expressed appreciation to individual City Councilmembers for their service, and congratulated those recently re-elected.  Dr. Thein noted that, when moving to Roseville twenty-seven years ago, he was the youngest administrator in the District at that time, and now as he moved toward the end of his career, he considered himself the most experienced administrator in the District, recognizing the many changes as the District had grown, along with the community and student body much different than when he arrived.



Dr. Thein presented an updated Demographic Report for Roseville Area Schools dated October 2014, prepared by the Department of Teaching and Learning.


At the request of Councilmember McGehee, Dr. Thein clarified that student population changes, particularly students of color, remained fluid and was driven by students, with students accepted from outside the district as space becomes available, with residents served first, and open enrollment closed at many of the schools due to their being full.


At the request of Mayor Roe, Dr. Thein defined "racially isolated" meaning that each could learn and grow from each so-designated school district other and the gift that diversity is for students as they compete against the world, not just locally, and run into various cultures and diversities.


At the request of Councilmember Laliberte, and as he addressed in more detail later, Dr. Thein noted that the District currently had sixty different home languages spoken.  Dr. Thein noted that the immigrant population understood well that to be successful, education is the answers, and expressed his appreciation of those parents being very involved and interested in their students' education.


Following his presentation, Dr. Thein reviewed individualized technology offerings at two sites for seventh and eighth graders (e.g. I-Pad Initiatives), and a pilot program training teachers first and integrating that into the classroom, providing an effective and positive return on that public money investment.  Dr. Thein further reviewed the success of year-round classes, dual immersion classes and student interaction, and hopes to expand language offerings into the middle school in the future.


Councilmember McGehee personally thanked the District for offering the immersion program; and asked for an update from Dr. Thein on implementing vocational training at the high school level.


Dr. Thein responded that a joint agreement was in place with Anoka/Ramsey as well as a dual track and partnership with St. Paul College through a collaborative with St. Louis Park, Fridley, Mounds View, Columbia Heights, and Centennial School Districts, providing students from Roseville the same options as students from those other districts.  However, Dr. Thein noted that one of the challenges of the program was in the distance; but gave kudos to Mounds View and the Anoka/Ramsey District for making inroads in the program, with their staff willing and able to accept high school staff and recognize their expertise in working hand in hand.  Dr. Thein noted that many Roseville District students had chosen offerings closer to home through the University of Northwestern-St. Paul, Bethel University, or the University of Minnesota for their post-secondary options; as well as the District being partnered with other Districts for their vocational options as well.  Dr. Thein noted that this allows a student to get their credits for an Associate's Degree (AA) while still in high school; and recognized that Irondale High School in the Mounds View School District had initiated that concept.


Dr. Thein advised that the goal was in finding students who were slipping through the cracks; and noted that in a number of families, this may be the first generation college student; and the District wanted to open all the doors and available options to those students.  Of the first group of "AVID" students, Dr. Thein noted that of 44 graduates, 43 were enrolled in college; and the efforts had started at middle school.


With distance a problem, Councilmember McGehee asked if it was possible to offer similar opportunities in the Roseville community.


Dr. Thein responded that the District is in partnership for students to earn an AA college degree through training during high school, and provided several examples being housed through Roseville Area High School, and the success of some of those students moving directly into the workforce.  Dr. Thein also recognized the staff and cooperation with District 916 and Century College where a majority of Roseville Students attend and graduate.


At the request of Councilmember Laliberte, Dr. Thein provided an update on the pressures on facilities and staff with open enrollment, especially at the secondary level; and the resulting closure of open enrollment at the high and middle school levels, or when space and design is an issue.  Dr. Thein noted that open enrollment was driven by available staffing and as staffing/budget numbers are set annually, with some consideration given for open enrollment options.  However, once enrollment reaches a certain level, Dr. Thein stated that open enrollment was closed.


On behalf of questions she'd received from residents on the School's Referendum, Councilmember Laliberte asked for levy information, as set at the maximum for the School District at 8.6%, with the understanding that the general levy would not increase in the future.


Dr. Thein responded that, with tax statements coming out today, most taxes remained flat, depending on property valuation fluctuations, with levy increases for the School District driven by student numbers.  Dr. Thein noted that, with the District's acquisition of the Harambee School, it now had 425 more students than in the past, with those costs covered by tuition in the past, but no longer true; along with full day/every day kindergarten classes as well.  Dr. Thein assured Councilmembers and Roseville District residents that the District had been and continued to be careful about levying dollars; and clarified that they were in the "kid business" not the "banking business;" and noted that the levy dollars are received after the fact and after funds were already expended to educate the students.  Dr. Thein advised that the levy for the referendum actually decreased some.


Councilmember Laliberte questioned if the District was unaware of the consequences in pursuing Harambee and the need to plan for that student influx.


Dr. Thein responded that the District did plan for the students, but due to the legislature's delay in approving the acquisition, the District had to pursue the only available option.  While the District would have preferred to handle things differently, Dr. Thein noted that the acquisition of Harambee would still prove to be a good return on the public's investment.


Given limited English proficient students and changing demographics, Councilmember Laliberte asked for an update on District plans to address that achievement gap or equity program.


Dr. Thein noted the improvements shown to-date in that gap, while recognizing the achievement impacts in those classrooms, provided the students remain in the District from K through 12.  Dr. Thein noted that frequent moving by those families, or attendance issues for students, drastically affected their proficiencies.  From his personal perspective, Dr. Thein noted that the District's ACT scores showed students well prepared, and were holding steady for the most part, and still remained above the state's average considering the diversity and background of the District's students.  Dr. Thein noted that closing that achievement gap remained the District's number one priority and focus on student achievement.


Dr. Thein encouraged ideas from individuals and hearing of other areas of expertise available to the District and its students; with the goal of offering broad programming and continuing to see students excel academically.  Dr. Thein recognized the efforts of the District's hard-working staff; and expressed his personal appreciation and privilege in living and working in the community, offering his intent to stay in Roseville even after his upcoming retirement.

Mayor Roe and Councilmembers thanked Dr. Thein for his attendance and District update.


11.      Public Hearings


12.      Budget Items


13.         Business Items (Action Items)



a.            Approval of Burn Permit for 1894 Alta Vista Drive

          At the request of Mayor Roe, City Manager Trudgeon briefly reviewed this request, as detailed in the RCA dated November 17, 2014.  City Manager Trudgeon noted that the homeowners had reached out to their neighbors, and of those they were able to contact, they were generally supportive.


          At the request of Mayor Roe, and from a legal standpoint, City Attorney Mark Gaughan spoke to whether the City would be setting a precedent or creating a special exception if approving this burn permit.  City Attorney Gaughan reviewed the specifics of this request, and whether or not similar to past practice, noted that staff reviewed each request on a case by case basis for administrative approval, and not usually coming before the City Council for approval.


          Mayor Roe questioned if the City ordinance needed revised to avoid such an occurrence in the future.


City Attorney Gaughan opined that just because the City Council approved something once, it didn't necessarily forge precedence and in this scenario, if the City Council deemed the request appropriate, should an identical request come in the future, they could still deny each case based on its own merits.


Mayor Roe suggested considering approval of this request by identifying it as a "special" burn permit.


City Attorney Gaughan suggested that for the purposes of the record, the City Council could list the reasons why in this particular case a burn permit is being granted.


          City Manager Trudgeon noted that typically, prairie burns or recreational type fires were approved administratively by the Fire Department, as directed by the City Council a number of years ago.


In regards to identifying findings as mentioned by the City Attorney, Councilmember McGehee advised that she had visited this site earlier today, and finds the site inaccessible for the removal of brush piles. In addition, the City's rules differed than those of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Prairie Restorations were unaware that they needed any permit approval beyond the DNR.  Finally, the company had prepared the piles for a burn and waited for winter to arrive and then learned that the City was unable to grant a permit. For the reasons just identified, Councilmember McGehee felt this case has a unique and special set of circumstances and spoke in support of approval.

Mayor Roe noted that his concern was that burning brush piles was not necessarily an urban practice.


Councilmember Laliberte sought an explanation as to why the homeowner was seeking to burn the brush versus hauling it out.


Councilmember McGehee, in her discussion with City Manager Trudgeon, noted the homeowner had seen that the brush was stacked specifically for burning in very tight bundles around their yard; and due to the steep grade of their property and potential disturbance to the lot, in addition to their intent to restore the savannah in the spring, they didn't want to break the bundles apart and spread it all over in their attempt to get them off the property.  Councilmember McGehee stated that she had pushed that option rather hard, but didn't get too far with the homeowner based on their future plans for prairie restoration on the lot.


McGehee moved, Willmus seconded, moved to grant burn permit in this specific case based on the reasons noted at 1894 Alta Vista Drive.


                                          Roll Call

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

      Nays: None.


At the request of Councilmember Laliberte, City Manager Trudgeon confirmed that the neighbors within 500' would be notified prior to the scheduled burn, in addition to
monitoring and stipulations by the Fire Department.


14.         Business Items-Presentations/Discussions


a.            Consider the 2015 Utility Rate Adjustments

Finance Director Chris Miller provided a presentation for City Council consideration of 2015 Utility Rate Adjustments, as previously presented to the City's Public Works, Environment and Transportation Commission at their October meeting; and as detailed in the presentation, attached to this report and dated November 17, 2014.


At the request of Councilmember Laliberte, Finance Director Miller clarified that the Finance Commission had not specifically discussed the proposed utility rates beyond the broader CIP.


At the request of Councilmember Willmus, Finance Director Miller defined the annual income thresholds needed to retain the revised utility rate discount as previously determined by the City Council. To limit staff time needed to administer the program, Mr. Miller advised that the income thresholds were set to mirror those set by Ramsey County for their financial assistance programs, or 65% of federal guidelines: $19,700 for a one-person household, and just under $27,000 for a two-person household under their current adopted criteria.  In seeking to address how that compared to the discount program currently used by the City of Little Canada for Councilmember Willmus' edification, Mr. Miller advised that theirs was several thousand dollars above this threshold, at approximately 75% of federal guidelines, in addition to adding for administrative costs for city staff to perform the analysis; and further noted that he had found few cities in the metropolitan area that offered a similar discount program other than South St. Paul and Little Canada.


In those instances for communities using different criteria, Councilmember Laliberte noted that residents were then required to submit their financial data to City staff for verification; and reminded her colleagues that this was the rationale in utilizing an existing county program for the City's discount utility rate program.  Councilmember Laliberte expressed her lack of support to ask Roseville residents to submit their financial information to various agencies; even while recognizing that the income thresholds were low.


In providing some of the City of Roseville's rationale for its rate structure, Finance Director Miller noted that residents were not assessed for water/sewer mainline replacements, which was the practice of many other cities; but those costs were covered in the base rates, while making Roseville's rates higher in comparison with those other peer communities.


Councilmember Willmus expressed his dislike of the annual comparison for other utility costs used for the property tax and levy hearing; with Finance Director Miller offering to remove it from the presentation if not of benefit to the community and/or City Council. 


Mr. Miller advised that those nine peer communities used consistently for comparison purposes were identified as first-ring suburbs with populations between 18,000 and 50,000 and with stand-alone utility systems.  Mr. Miller noted that local priorities and funding philosophies could create a wide disparity in rates; with Roseville having chosen to capture direct and indirect costs through rates rather than through the use of special assessments for its residents.  Mr. Miller noted that Roseville water rates were higher than the peer cities, but noted that the water delivered to customers in Roseville was already softened, and due to the new infrastructure replacement cycle enacted by the City Council a few years ago, those higher funding levels were necessary.  Mr. Miller further noted that Roseville sewer rates were below those of the peer cities, and while overall combined water and sewer rates were still on the high side, that had not always been the case, with the gap widening after 2011, and when the CIP needs were cycled into the rate structure to address long-deferred infrastructure needs.  Mr. Miller opined that he anticipated that gap to narrow in 2015, and continue to do so over the next five years as rates stabilize for the CIP, with no large increases foreseen in the near future.  Mr. Miller opined that this may not be a realistic picture for those peer cities depending on if and how they address their infrastructure needs.

Finance Director Miller briefly reviewed supplemental historical information provided by staff after distribution of the agenda packet, and provided as bench handouts, and incorporated in the final staff report.  At the request of Councilmember McGehee, Mr. Miller noted the inclusion of staff's analysis for other CIP
funding options via the tax levy versus water/sewer rates, and financial impacts
for a typical single-family home under both scenarios.


If using Option B, by financing capital replacement needs by using tax levy bonds as proposed by Councilmember McGehee, Councilmember Willmus asked Finance Director Miller how he proposed capturing costs from non-profits or those with tax-exempt properties in Roseville.


Finance Director Miller stated that he had no immediate answer to that dilemma, but recommended that if using that methodology, all non-profits or tax exempt properties be required in some way to pay their fair share unless waived by the City Council for some reason.


At the request of Mayor Roe in identifying $3,398,000 as the amount needed annually for a tax levy, Finance Director Miller advised that the interest on those bonds over a term of fifteen years, if bonding were used, would be additional to the average annual need projected under Option B.


Councilmember Etten observed that if moving to a partial tax based system, businesses would also be charged, and with current median home value fluctuations, business owners of commercial properties would need to pick up that differential.  Finance Director Miller concurred, noting that commercial properties pay higher tax rates than most residential properties; and if using this option, some of the burden would shift to them, generally representing a potential shift of 10% to 15% as part of the inherent design of the current property tax system.


Councilmember McGehee provided her rationale in asking for this comparison, opining that it seemed unfair to her to tie the CIP needs to the base fee, especially for residents using under 10,000 gallons of water per quarter ($7.56), with those using over 50,000 gallons receiving a much smaller increase ($3.39), with many of those lower water consumptions in lower valued homes and lower water users, creating an unequal burden on them.  If a uniform cost was applied across the board for taxpayers as part of bond issue and subsequent tax levy, Councilmember McGehee opined that her thought had been that this would be a fairer plan for infrastructure over a twenty-year CIP program.  However, Councilmember McGehee admitted that, while not yet convinced that the current application of CIP improvements to base rates is the appropriate way to fund it, she was still seeking an alternative, and therefore, had asked staff to provide this information to initiate a policy discussion and look seriously at alternatives.  Councilmember McGehee agreed with Councilmember Willmus' lack of interest in the annual review of Roseville utility rates compared to  other household expenses.


Mayor Roe opened the discussion for public comment; with no one appearing to speak at this time.


Councilmember Etten stated that he was not ready to make any significant changes in how the CIP was addressed in 2015; and asked that the Finance Commission review options early in 2015, including cost-sharing among residential and/or commercial properties as values shift and potential impacts on both classifications; and how non-profits, schools, churches, and others could be included in the system to pay their fair share, recognizing limited tax capacity over time depending on legislative action.  Councilmember Etten encouraged a robust discussion by the Finance Commission, and subsequent submission of their thoughts and recommendations to the City Council early in 2015.


Councilmembers Etten, Laliberte and Willmus spoke against making any shift in CIP financing in 2015.


At the request of Councilmember Laliberte, Finance Director Miller advised that, when cities assessed for this type of infrastructure improvement, it was typically done on a linear footage basis.


Also addressing the capital side, Councilmember McGehee requested that the City Council address infiltration issues by reconsidering ownership between the main line and stub joint.  Councilmember McGehee also requested that consideration be given to address those infiltration problems on the laterals when the main line was being lined, whether through assessing property owners at that time or as part of the overall project costs for the system; but not by the City necessarily accepting responsibility, but just making sure the job was done.


Councilmember Willmus suggested asking the Public Works, Environment and Transportation Commission (PWETC) to revisit the delineation between private and public infrastructure, as it came up during last winter's freeze-up issues, asking for feedback from
newly-appointed commissioners as well as those having served for some time.


Mayor Roe noted that it was applicable to this discussion, and findings by staff at during the freeze-up issue that 50% of cities took responsibility at the street while the other 50% took responsibility at the property line.  Mayor Roe noted there were impacts to the City for its current philosophy as well as impacts to the City if and when it considered a change.  Mayor Roe asked that the PWETC review both issues and make recommendations accordingly.


City Manager Trudgeon and Public Works Director Duane Schwartz both duly noted that request.


At the request of Councilmember McGehee, she asked that the Finance Commission, when doing their computations on options for funding the CIP, asked that they calculate how much the City would lose by eliminating churches and schools, opining that she had no big issue with that, with churches not being big water users, even though schools would be, but they were all important to the community.  Councilmember McGehee opined that this would serve to put everyone on the same playing field, and could add to the commodity itself, and pass it through in a straightforward manner and provide an additional cushion through an increased price.


Mayor Roe opined that it made sense to have those numbers, as well as how many non-profit customers there were in the City.  Mayor Roe noted that it did get into to the fairness question; and whether it was fairer to have people pay on the value of their property or frontage along the line, or on the basis of having a connection to the water/sewer system in the first place.  Mayor Roe further noted that another consideration was the fairness in shifting costs from non-profits to those affected by periodic legislative changes, or if a safer, more reliable funding source was available when dealing with a regressive tax system versus a regressive fee system.  Mayor Roe asked that the Finance Commission provide their feedback on the equity and fairness of any options; which from his perspective, all entered into the picture.  Mayor Roe opined that, if changes were made to fund the CIP, they needed to make sense, and needed feedback from many public voices, with the Finance Commission in a position to provide that analysis.


2015 Utility Rate Feedback for Staff

Councilmember Willmus stated that he was not as concerned with the proposed rates as he was with the discount program; opining that the City Council may have set the threshold low, but didn't know what the threshold should be set at.


At the request of Councilmember Willmus, Finance Director Miller advised that 2,300 Roseville households currently received the senior discount; with staff projecting 50 households qualifying for the income-based discount based on review of census data on household income, and subtracting those households who wouldn't apply
for the discount based on their financial need.


Councilmember Laliberte questioned how much staff time would be required if there was an appeal process in place.


Finance Director Miller responded from staff's perspective to the proposed income-based utility rate discount system, providing staff's findings and assumptions to-date.  Mr. Miller advised that, upon the City Council's decision to change the senior discount program to an income-based program earlier this year, staff had followed that up with an awareness campaign for residents.  Mr. Miller advised that the campaign included advertising the change in the City's newsletter and other media sources, as well as a direct mailing to every single-family home last spring.  Of the 2,300 current senior discount recipients, Mr. Miller advised that staff had heard from seventy of them.  Mr. Miller reported that roughly two-thirds of those contacts were for the purpose of gathering more information about the change and how to become eligible, but generally supportive of the change and expressing their thanks for having received the discount for many years, but realizing why the City Council implemented the change at this time.   Of those seventy contacts, Mr. Miller reported that approximately one-third of that group was upset that they would not be receiving the discount or qualifying for it; and about half of that one-third basing their frustration by stating, "I've always got it and I've earned it" by paying taxes into the system and should continue to receive that entitlement.  Mr. Miller reported that others in that same one-third stated that "I think I qualify with the financial need, but I'm not going to apply as I'm against welfare programs," even though both the senior and income-based programs were subsidy programs.  While recognizing the apparent disconnect, Mr. Miller noted that they were not perceived as the same thing. Mr. Miller reiterated that of the 2,300 current senior discount recipients, staff had only heard from seventy of those 2,300 households.


Mayor Roe reported that he had only received a fairly small number of calls or e-mails.


Councilmember Willmus reported that, while it came up during his door-to-door re-election campaign, it didn't appear to be a pressing issue, while still there.  Councilmember Willmus stated that this was his rationale in questioning if the income qualification level was set too low.


Mayor Roe suggested that, after implementing the program at that level for a period of time and having experience on which to base future decision-making, the City Council could then revisit the income thresholds.


During her re-election campaign, Councilmember McGehee reported that she had only heard from two residents who thought it would be a hardship; with others falling into the category of feeling they were entitled to a senior discount due to their age.  Councilmember McGehee advised that, once she explained the City Council's rationale in making the program available to those most in need, her contacts were fairly supportive of that basic concept.


Councilmember Willmus opined that he anticipated hearing more once the first quarter bills went out in 2015.


At the request of Councilmember Laliberte, Finance Director Miller confirmed that the proposed resolution assumed rates with increases as proposed at a 7.5% and 3.5% increase, and had been incorporated into the 2015 City Manager's recommended budget and rate analysis.


Mayor Roe observed that the water purchase budget went up less than  the rate increase realized by the City from Saint Paul Regional Water.


Finance Director Miller agreed, noting that the budget number gets refined annually, and the City had previously built in a cushion, but rates were based on actual charges received.


While Councilmember McGehee expressed her willingness to take action on this now, Councilmember Laliberte expressed her preference to wait until after the public hearing to allow residents an opportunity for feedback on this as well as the proposed tax levy.


Mayor Roe and Councilmember Willmus concurred with Councilmember Laliberte; and Mayor Roe asked that staff make this part of their presentation at the public hearing scheduled for December 1, 2014.




Mayor Roe recessed the meeting at approximately 8:27 p.m., and reconvened at approximately 8:34 p.m.


b.            Fire Department Organization Discussion

Fire Chief Tim O'Neill presented the Fire Department's request for reorganization and a full-time staffing transition plan, as detailed in the RCA and attachments dated November 17, 2015, for the first steps and setting the future for the Fire Department.  Supplemental materials were provided as bench handouts and incorporated into the final RCA.


At the next presentation, Councilmember McGehee asked that staff provide an  tabulated chart for comparisons and with the end goal of reaching the City of Richfield Fire Department model, and addressing any variables that were controllable and 1, 2 and 3 year transition options starting in 2015 and spread out to evaluate costs.


Chief O'Neill responded to questions of the City Council including, the proposed shifts based on the organizational charts presented and staff schedules and allotment of responsibilities; offsetting overtime costs as positions transitioned; future elimination of the designated Fire Inspector position by incorporating those duties during shift hours; and staffing for large scale incidents and/or mutual aid situations while ensuring the continuing safety of the Roseville community and emergency situations.


Further discussion included current call-back responses of forty, and future projections at a similar rate, anticipating no more than twenty calls annually for larger fire responses and under auto aid agreements with the Cities of St. Paul and/or Maplewood; and minimum wages paid according to contract for call backs when officers are off duty.


Additional discussion included shift times; responsibilities of battalion chiefs in the future and those chores currently handled at night by part-time supervisors; proposed change in command staff to three battalion chiefs under the reorganization plan and the current inspector position eventually eliminated; and changes in administrative duties and time compared to current call outs or training or operational to fully administrative positions.


Discussion ensued regarding pros and cons for full-time and part-time, or a combination model; changes through attrition and impacts on hiring for future firefighters; and how to balance full- and part-time firefighters; with no hiring done of firefighters over the last two years in anticipation of this changing staffing model.


Considerable discussion was held regarding the thirty-seven firefighters currently in the Fire Relief Association, in addition to retirees; and potential financial impacts as that sunsets in its current format and how those pension payouts would impact funding of the program, and based on the timing for this discussion to limit those liabilities through a minimum 3-4 year transition period with preliminary discussions with the Relief Association and the Relief Fund funded in excess of 100% at this time; and new firefighters coming in under the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) pension umbrella.


Mayor Roe expressed appreciation for Chief O'Neill's explanation and discussion, noting that the City could not unilaterally dissolve the Relief Association, and recognized that under all three options, those numbers were built in, as well as addressing how the 2% received from the state could and would be used, as part of the 2% tax applied throughout Minnesota for property insurance and distributed to Relief Associations.


Mayor Roe expressed his support for Chief O'Neill's proposed transition timeline and model.


Councilmember Laliberte expressed her appreciation to Chief O'Neill for coming prepared to these meetings and in providing the information requested, under various scenarios.  Councilmember Laliberte advised that she was not prepared to make a decision on this matter tonight.


Councilmember Willmus expressed concern with the projected number of additional callbacks in this transition model; and while noting that concern may be mitigated if phased over a longer period of time, and as opportunities came forward to develop auto aid agreements with other communities.  However, as he considered the options tonight, Councilmember Willmus stated that he was not yet ready to say which option to pursue; seeking more time to explore the actual impact of calls for service and transitions.


Chief O'Neill accepted those reservations; and based on the feedback from Councilmembers tonight, advised that he now felt comfortable having those mutual aid discussions with other departments, but had hesitated to do so before first bringing it to the City Council for their preliminary discussions. 


Councilmember Willmus noted that there were concerns and impacts if the Cities of Maplewood or St. Paul were not on board.


Chief O'Neill advised that this was part of the rationale for the 3-4 yea r transition timeframe being what was the most realistic.


Councilmember McGehee reiterated her request to see the base and auto aid agreements; observing that as long as the City maintains its part-time firefighters, it was adding more years to the Relief Association and pensions to which they were entitled, but creating additional long-term costs the longer it took to phase it in.


Chief O'Neill concurred that the longer it took to implement the reorganization model, the higher the Relief Association liability was; however, he reiterated the steps taken by the City Council in 2010 for new hires to go with the PERA pension fund and reduce liability for the Relief Association, which was in the $10 million range now, and would have probably been in excess of $13 million if that step had not been taken, thereby creating a significant step in the right direction as it related to that liability.


Mayor Roe addressed actuarial assumptions tied to anticipating long-term liability and based on retirement, deaths or other impacts in relationship with future known liabilities.


Mayor Roe noted that the City Manager's recommended 2015 budget included year one as the target.


Councilmembers concurred that the current commitment for six new full-time people was a good start no matter the ultimate decision.


d.   Discuss Metropolitan Council Housing and Redevelopment Authority Family Affordable Housing Program

Staff present for this item included Community Development Director Paul Bilotta, Police Department Community Relations Coordinator Corey Yunke, and Police Chief Rick Mathwig; with the issue detailed in the RCA dated November 17, 2014.


Community Development Director Paul Bilotta

Mr. Bilotta provided a status report and background of the Metropolitan Council Housing and Redevelopment Authority Family Affordable Housing Program, with fifteen homes currently in Roseville managed under that program (FAHP).  At the request of Mayor Roe, Mr. Bilotta clarified that there were 150 such homes in the entire metropolitan area, and statistics he provided were metro-wide and not Roseville-specific.  Mr. Bilotta referenced and presented information by graph and entitled, "Roseville Family Affordable Rental Housing Program - 2005-2014;." And presented Charts outlining reasons for turnovers during those years.


Of the fifteen homes in Roseville, Mr. Bilotta noted one particular property on Belmont Lane that had had continuing complaints by residents of that block, and numerous code compliance issues and many police calls.  Since 2004, Mr. Bilotta noted that FAHP units in Roseville had turned over twenty-one units, based on the various reasons identified for those turnovers; and noted that 29% of those units turned over transferred to another FAHP property and were HRA forced moves due to changes in family composition.


From the City's perspective, Mr. Bilotta reviewed code enforcement issues.  Mr. Bilotta noted that of the fifteen units, the City had received no complaints on eight of those units; and of the remaining seven units, staff's research indicated a variety of scattered complaints, from trash in the yard that attributed to a move out situation, long grass, but nothing considered to be of a serious nature by staff.  Mr. Bilotta advised that the unit in question on Belmont Lane had repeat code enforcement instances.  Mr. Bilotta advised that staff's preference was to work with residents on prevention versus complaints; and noted his impression that the staff of the Metropolitan Council was looking to be more proactive with their residents.  Mr. Bilotta noted neighborhood members were in attendance at tonight's meeting. 

Mr. Bilotta advised that staff had a meeting scheduled tomorrow with representatives of the Metropolitan Council and several members of the City Council to discuss ideas for the many issues with this property, with an attempted mediation process initiated about a month ago.  Mr. Bilotta opined that part of the problem was with the neighborhood's attachment to each other and their concerns with what was occurring at the how (e.g. safety and welfare of children in the home); noting that this was a positive to have that supportive of a neighborhood available and the unit located in such an environment, while also creating frustration for the neighbors wondering what they can do and how to interact with the residents.  Mr. Bilotta further opined that part of that frustration involved not knowing how to interact with the Metropolitan Council or City staff, or which government entity to contact or which jurisdiction is responsible when they observe situations of concern to them. Mr. Bilotta noted that neighbors are concerned about the individuals in those homes, and desired to get things moving toward a positive resolution, such as through the Metropolitan Council's Habitat for Humanity models.


Mr. Bilotta noted that the next step or level is the abatement side of code enforcement, reporting that of the fifteen units, no abatements had been filed; and of the City's 207 total abatements to-date, only seven had occurred in rental problems.  Therefore, Mr. Bilotta noted staff's perception that this was not a major problem in Roseville; and opined that the problem from staff's perception was of a more serious property rights and entitlement issue.


Police Department Community Relations Coordinator Corey Yunke

Mr. Yunke reviewed his role, since the spring of 2014, with the Neighborhood Watch Program, and his contact with the block captain in this area and their concerns with their perceptions of child safety in this unit.  Mr. Yunke advised that open dialogue and use o the repeat nuisance code was used to encourage better uses of property, as well as working directly with apartment managers and owners in building a liaison relationship with all parties.


Mr. Yunke advised that the referenced remediation session was an attempt to solve the problem, with the opportunity used to air concerns, but not achieving resolution of the root cause.  Mr. Yunke opined that tomorrow's meeting would be another good step toward resolution.  During the process, Mr. Yunke noted Police Chief Mathwig's attendance at the Night to Unite in that neighborhood, but recognized the limited staffing available in the Police Department.  Mr. Yunke advised that he had reviewed statistics over the last four years for Metropolitan Council units in Roseville, and had found 105 police calls, most for welfare checks, noise or related incidents; and out of the fifteen units, only one had reached the warning nuisance level and only one arrest as a domestic call, and involving a juvenile.  In his review of the previous record system's 201 calls for service to those same units, Mr. Yunke reported those involved medical assistance, and some disputes and were all prior to enactment of the City's repeat nuisance code.


Police Chief Rick Mathwig was present, as well as a representative of the Metropolitan Council in the audience, with neither offering any additional comments.


Public Comment

Councilmembers Willmus and Laliberte had attended the previous meeting with residents; and both thought it would be beneficial for neighbors to speak to this issue and make recommendation for the City Council moving forward.


Mayor Roe invited audience members to speak, briefly reviewing public comment protocol.


Sue VanSanden, Belmont Lane West Block Captain

Ms. VanSanden stated that over the last ten plus years she had seen families adjacent to this home having their quality of life totally eroded at times.  As block captain and spokesperson, Ms. VanSanden opined that little success or positive changes had been accomplished during that time and over the long-term with Metropolitan Council staff, continuing neighborhood frustrations.  Ms. VanSanden noted that there were young children involved and expressed the neighbors' empathy to the person living in the unit, and their interest in welcoming them into the neighborhood; however, she expressed frustration that things seemed to continue at an impasse.


Ms. VanSanden opined that the Metropolitan Council was not preparing their clients well before placing them in the units and in a totally different environment, value and behavior system than they were used to, with those residents not knowing how to "live in Rome, when in Rome."  Ms. VanSanden expressed her disapproval of the current orientation video used by the Metropolitan Council, which she had viewed online, opining that it was done by a graduate student, and should be viewed by the Council as an embarrassment.  Ms. VanSanden questioned why such a fairly funded program didn't have any social services available beyond those offered by Ramsey County and their already-overloaded social workers.  Ms. VanSanden expressed her interest in the Metropolitan Council making some changes accordingly.


Jules Jackson, 1358 Belmont Lane

Ms. Jackson supported the comments of Ms. VanSanden in capturing a lot of the frustrations of the neighborhood and ongoing issues with this Metropolitan Council-owned home.  Ms. Jackson noted one important thing that came from the meeting held a few weeks ago, was that this was not exclusive to this one tenant or one past tenant, but was repeated behavior of whomever happened to reside in that unit.  With so many repeat problem observed, Ms. Jackson noted their frustration with the program and residents housed in that unit; opining that the problem was not being fixed, but it appeared the Metropolitan Council was simply just filling up the house without regard to resolving any issues or future ramifications.


With no one else coming forward to speak on this issue, Mayor Roe closed public comments and thanked residents for attending and providing their comments to staff and the City Council.  Mayor Roe noted that their frustration was shared by individual Councilmembers.


Follow-up questions for staff

Councilmember Laliberte reported that she had been unable to remain for the entire mediation meeting, but had left the meeting frustrated and concerned without any real knowledge of what the City could do to resolve the situation.  Based on the rights of any homeowner or renter to live where they were entitled to live and live how they chose to do so, Councilmember Laliberte recognized that things could be put in place to track and monitor situations, and asked if staff could identify those steps and which method could be used in tracking various nuisances; as well as illuminating how to establish a baseline from which to proceed.


Mr. Bilotta assured Councilmembers and residents that staff was using the repeat nuisance ordinance to its full extent; and when it reached the point when fees were levied, they would apply to the tenant and not simply absorbed by the Metropolitan Council.  Mr. Bilotta noted that this Metropolitan unit on Belmont Lane was already at "strike two" by definition in the repeat nuisance ordinance.  Mr. Bilotta advised that City staff was committed to working harder with code enforcement and police staff and was now cross checking their two separate and different department-specific databases on a monthly basis now to ensure accountability.  Mr. Bilotta opined that the next piece was working with the Metropolitan Council and neighborhood on issues, with the Metropolitan Council proposing some ideas to facilitate resolution and perhaps using this unit as a test case in achieving resolution and positive results more quickly. 


While not anticipating that it would be the final step or resolution, Mr. Bilotta opined that tomorrow's meeting would serve as the first step moving forward, and included resources and input that he and Mr. Yunke had put together to integrate into the Metropolitan Council's process, such as information that would be contained in a new homeowner or welcome packet, but adjusted to be suitable for these units.  Mr. Bilotta suggested the information could contain local community resources, using a Habitat for Humanity model, and things residents should know before moving to their location; as well as possibly identifying a neighborhood volunteer willing to adopt the house for a year to mentor residents in how things were done in Roseville or norms for this area.  Mr. Bilotta advised that staff would be critically reviewing the existing Metropolitan Council structures available for their residents to see what can be accomplished from the perspective of all parties; with the understanding that the problem and solution were shared by all.


Councilmember Laliberte expressed her interest in making sure the burden didn't all lie with the homeowners, but involved everyone as part of the solution.  Councilmember recognized that it was unfortunate that this process was late in coming for the Belmont neighborhood, and expressed her sensitivity to that delay.


Mr. Bilotta advised that staff had prepared a matrix of responsibility listing a number of common occurrences and which agency was assigned, and contact information for each agency that would be shared with block captains.  Mr. Bilotta noted that the majority of the Metropolitan Council homes were being operated in silence with no problems, and adjacent residents unaware of their status.  Mr. Bilotta advised that it was staff's intent to solve outstanding problems without shining a light or highlighting those who haven't been creating any issues; and sought ideas on how to practically and realistic accomplish the goals without singling anyone out.


Councilmember Willmus reported on some concerns expressed at the November 9, 2014 meeting and specific to property maintenance issues (e.g. lawn mowing or inoperable vehicles in the driveway).  Councilmember Willmus advised that, in his drive through the neighborhood today, he had observed some positive steps in the right direction (e.g. the microwave no longer sitting on top of the vehicle).  Councilmember Willmus opined that there were things that the Metropolitan Council could do when a resident was unable to do yard maintenance; and suggested they could be more proactive in taking care of some of those issues that had been mentioned at the meeting.  However, Councilmember Willmus noted that it was mentioned at the meeting that there was only one maintenance person available to service all Metropolitan Council homes, and it typically took them a minimum of twenty days to make the rounds; and strongly suggested that situation be improved upon, with more frequent checks done.  Referencing Mr. Bilotta's comments that most of the homes fit into their neighborhood quite well, Councilmember Willmus opined that some of the code compliance issues should serve as major flags of other issues (e.g. trash, debris strewn in the yard, or lawn not mowed) and suggested a more proactive approach to a rental unit's upkeep would prove beneficial.


Mr. Bilotta advised that some of the reactive issues had already been resolved; and now the focus was how to anticipate or be proactive with other issues.


At the request of Mayor Roe, Chief Mathwig reviewed the assessment of fees to the Metropolitan Council as owner and their tenant if the repeat nuisance code was applied.  Chief Mathwig noted good success to-date in using the ordinance with rental companies and their tenants once things were brought to their attention and since it had been initiated, with few fines actually imposed and most issues resolved with only a warning letter.  Chief Mathwig stated that he expected the same situation with Metropolitan Council homes.


Specific to the November 9, 2014 meeting, Councilmember Laliberte expressed her disturbance with the insinuation and introduction that this was a racial issue; and sought assurances that the meeting served as a learning experience and would not be on the table or part of any future discussions.


Mr. Bilotta noted that it was unfortunate and everyone was surprised and taken aback that the facilitator at that meeting suggested that bias going in; and advised that that facilitator would not be involved in any way as the process went forward.  In his discussions with Belmont Lane neighbors, Mr. Bilotta opined that he had not gotten that impression, but instead had found heartfelt discussions and concerns from neighbors who were trying to pull people back and hopefully could ignore that insinuation and aspect and concentrate only on the positive elements resulting from that initial meeting.


Councilmember Willmus opined that, had that individual known the ethnic makeup of some of the surrounding households, they would have had a different perception versus prejudging individuals who happened to show up versus that overall makeup of the neighborhood.


Mayor Roe thanked staff and neighbors for their persistence and diligence; and expressed his personal better understanding of the entire picture than he'd had several months ago.  Mayor Roe opined that this process will help the City Council do their jobs better in the future.


a.            Request by Community Development Department Staff to Discuss Potential Amendments to City Code, Section 1011.04 (Tree Preservation)

Community Development Director Bilotta introduced this issue, as detailed in the RCA and attachments dated November 17, 2014; and provided before and after pictorial examples of several developments in Roseville and dramatic changes on those sites under the City's current tree preservation ordinance.  Mr. Bilotta noted perceptions of aerial views and interior and exterior parcel observations, without benefit of new plantings; opining that better and more informed material needed to be provided for the City Council and public as development plans came before the City.  Two examples used by Mr. Bilotta were that of the Owasso intersection and the old Countryside Restaurant location on Snelling Avenue between County Road C-2 and C.  Mr. Bilotta admitted that there were challenges in both residential and residential uses and how a lot was designed and could realize its maximum use, some not as acceptable as others.  Mr. Bilotta noted, with commercial development, the current code often was not realistic when other considerations were taken into account, such as stormwater management and replacement trees.


If the City adopted the City Manager-recommended 2015 budget and inclusion of a full-time forester position, Mr. Bilotta asked for City Council direction on when to codify the current ordinance, now or later.  Mr. Bilotta also requested general direction for staff to consider going forward in revising that ordinance.


Councilmember McGehee asked for several items, including a chart showing circumference rather than diameter; avoiding the use of "undesirable" for Cottonwood and/or Boxelder trees, since she considered them perfectly fine trees with good specimens already in Roseville; and asked that trees be planned as part of any future landscaping plans, paying attention to how they are planted and how maintained beyond considering a urban tree having only a five-year lifespan.  Councilmember McGehee further requested that if larger or heritage trees were cut down, they not be replaced with trees having a short lifespan, but that emphasis be placed on saving heritage versus cutting them down and replacing them with a bunch of sticks.


Councilmember Willmus opined that it was interesting to look at the classification of invasive and non-invasive trees, and suggested that distinction needed to be reviewed by staff.  Councilmember Willmus further asked if the City's Tree Board, as a role of the Parks & Recreation Commission, had weighed in on this issue yet, and suggested they convene more frequently to do so during this process beyond the Planning Commission's initial review.  Councilmember Willmus suggested the Tree Board and current part-time City Forester weigh in on this and any revised document.  On the other side, Councilmember Willmus sought to assure all that he was not proposing to clear-cut Roseville; but when reviewing Roseville history, it was largely agricultural space at its inception, and when going back to the 1950's and 1960's, it not very heavily forested.  Councilmember
Willmus noted that a lot of the cover seen today is fairly recent; and suggested
it be something to be aware of, and not as a solution by any means, but
supported some effort to protect what's occurred since the City's inception.


Councilmember Etten thanked staff for their time with this ordinance; and expressed his general support of it and staff's suggestions. On page 2, line 62, Councilmember Etten questioned what was appropriate for inches.


Mr. Bilotta responded that there was currently one standard for conifers and one for deciduous trees with the same formula used but addressing two different languages.  Mr. Bilotta suggested reclassifying that to address those different trees and tradeoffs for whatever trees is appropriate versus being required to replace it with the same type removed.


Councilmember Etten noted the need to reduce diameter requirements if adding conifers; and asked where the line was for tree preservation or replacement if the ordinance required too many trees that would impede development to happen, or place them in the easement, or other things that could dramatically increase the number of trees to be replaced of preserved, and where could a balance be achieved (page 3, line 106).


          Mr. Bilotta advised that staff was in discussions at this point about ideas that made sense and recalibration of those standards.  Mr. Bilotta advised that part of that review would include staff reviewing approved developments over the last few years and consider them under new scenarios, including easements and rights-of-way issues, as well as other city regulations comparisons.


On page 5 specific to the grading and tree preservation plans, Councilmember Etten suggested an overlay that would provide better clarity and clearly show how replanting may or may not impact a parcel and development.


Mr. Bilotta concurred, noting that staff was considering three separate documents as part of that effort, including construction and grading pieces.


On page 1 of the Planning Commission minutes, Councilmember Etten noted the need to realistically factor in tree preservation as it related to minor home additions and how to balance that out.


Councilmember Laliberte opined that having new drawings available at that stage of approval would be helpful.  As illustrated by the Owasso photos, Councilmember Laliberte opined that residents needed to be aware of what they actually valued: whether it was foliage or trees, and also needed to realize the positive benefits in trimming or removing invasive brush; with a need to show those benefits.  Councilmember Laliberte expressed her agreement with some of the comments made during the Planning Commission's discussion related to the rights of property owners and if improvements on their property ere minor in nature, where the balance came in with preserving trees and the use of their property as they desired versus a more strict application for new development.  Councilmember Laliberte echoed comments of her colleagues that some trees were not invasive, but flagged as undesirable, and questioned who the City Council was to make that judgment if a large tree was providing cover, there should not be some blanket approval to remove it whether it was invasive or not; and suggested the tree could be addressed over time and those species not replanted. 


Mayor Roe expressed confidence that the city forester could help with those clarifications.


Mr. Bilotta suggested undesirable trees could be addressed from a planting perspective, not in preservation calculations, such as Ash Trees that were subject to emerald ash borer diseases; but if one was on the property and deemed healthy, the development should get credit for that tree.


Regarding the possible addition of the full-time forester position, Councilmember Laliberte questioned which department was responsible for that position.


City Manager Trudgeon advised that, at this time, staff was reviewing sharing the position between the Parks & Recreation and Community Development Departments, with the current part-time position under the Parks & Recreation Department.  As discussion continues if the position is expanded to full-time, Mr. Trudgeon advised that he was leaning toward the Parks & Recreation Department being the managing department, with the caveat as the job description continues to develop, that development is an important consideration in that position as well, and subject to seasonal scheduling adjustments.  Mr. Trudgeon expressed his confidence that the details could be worked out.


Mr. Bilotta concurred, noting that he and Mr. Brokke had met about the position earlier today.


In terms of terminology on a revised ordinance, Mayor Roe questioned the need to revise diameter from circumference; and while not meant as a criticism of his colleague, as an engineer, he hesitated to consider that change.  In the commercial situation at the former Countryside Restaurant site, Mayor Roe noted the need to rectify that situation that allowed significant trees to be removed to accommodate a parking lot; and sought suggestions from staff to deal with similar situations in the future, or apply a penalty for not retaining heritage and/or significant trees as part of any future ordinance.


As noted in Councilmember Etten's comments, and specific to tree protection, Councilmember McGehee noted the need to protect trees at their drip lines during construction as well as in the planting phase.  Councilmember McGehee also expressed her interest in the PWETC providing their suggestions from their unique perspective, for planting and maintenance, but at least some amount of involvement.  Councilmember McGehee asked that also requested an arrangement with the Tree Board to be more involved in plan review, as well as the Planning Commission or others regarding streets, parking lots, and the health and maintenance of trees in all situations.


At approximately 10:01 p.m., Willmus moved, Laliberte seconded, moving to extend the meeting curfew to the conclusion of this item.


City Manager Trudgeon questioned if her intent was for an external board review or review by staff.


Councilmember McGehee suggested involving staff and commission members having particular expertise with the issue, but involving all city departments as applicable.


Mayor Roe suggested that Councilmember McGehee was seeking policy advice versus plan review.


Councilmember McGehee responded that she wasn't necessarily considering their review of plans but to also consider boulevard trees and consider the amount of root space needed to keep them healthy long-term as well as protecting trees during construction.


Regarding tree replacement, Councilmember Willmus suggested a provision addressing a having a variety of trees to avoid situations with one species developing a disease that results in a bare streetscape or bare lots.  Councilmember Willmus suggested spelling out a maximum number for each variety for a development to provide a mix of tree species.  Regarding Mayor Roe's comments, Councilmember Willmus noted some areas of town now heavily forested but not in densely populated areas; and sought a plan that would not be so restrictive that it prohibited or limited development of those sites or areas.  Councilmember Willmus suggested steps to accomplish the City's goals while not limiting property owners in developing their property.


Councilmember Etten suggested, in business areas, that shared parking be encouraged for different groups or uses as part of their development to reduce parking while allowing them credit for space saved and/or trees preserved through working cooperatively with neighboring property owners in preserving natural space.


Mayor Roe concurred that the comments of Councilmembers Willmus and Etten were well within the spirit of his comments as well.


Councilmember McGehee spoke in support of diversity for new planting, and fully supported the Conifer tree comment.


Mr. Bilotta asked for Council feedback when situations arose where a variance was required, which was currently heard before the Variance Board; and questioned the City Council's interest in dealing with those situations versus the Variance Board, which the Council would not now see unless an appeal was filed.


Councilmember McGehee expressed her interest in seeing those cases as this process moved forward.


Councilmember Etten concurred, as long as the plan was in flux.


e.            Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Status

          Mayor Roe thanked staff for providing updated TIF information.


15.         City Manager Future Agenda Review

City Manager Trudgeon provided preliminary City Council meeting agendas through year-end 2014.


16.         Councilmember-Initiated Items for Future Meetings


17.         Adjourn

Willmus moved, Etten seconded adjournment of the meeting at approximately 10:08 p.m.


                                    Roll Call

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

Nays: None.