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City Council

City Council Special Meeting Minutes

June 1, 2015


1.         Roll Call

Mayor Roe called the meeting to order at approximately 6:00 p.m. for the purpose of 2016 Department Budget presentations.  Voting and Seating Order: Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, McGehee and Roe.  City Manager Patrick Trudgeon and was also present; along with several Department Heads for budget presentations during tonight's meeting. 


2.         Pledge of Allegiance


3.         Approve Agenda

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


                                                Roll Call

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

Nays: None.


4.         Public Comment

Mayor Roe called for public comment by members of the audience on any non-agenda items. 


a.            Sherry Sanders, S McCarron's Blvd.

As a resident of the SE area of Roseville, and connections with the Cities of Maplewood and St. Paul, as displayed by map, Ms. Sanders expressed concern with the encroachment of blight and crime in to that area of Roseville and her neighborhood, often from these adjacent communities. 


Ms. Sanders sited the former ICO gas station site, closed over 8-10 years, and its location serving as an entrance to the City of Roseville, but also a major source of blight as well.  Ms. Sanders questioned if contamination of the site, area ground water from underground tanks with a history of leaking, and leeching pollution into McCarron's Lake had been addressed by the City and/or the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).  Ms. Sanders noted her e-mail last year to the City Council, Community Development and Housing & Redevelopment Authority staff regarding some of these concerns, and her suggestion to condemn this commercial property or take it through Eminent Domain, and reiterated her request imploring that something be done by the City due to public safety concerns.


Ms. Sanders reviewed some of the area businesses along this corridor and the gamut of crimes they seemed to instigate, including home invasions, child kidnapping, sexual assault, shootings, armed robbery, mailbox thefts, and thefts from automobiles.  Ms. Sanders stated that she, along with many of the neighbors in this area, believed the increased crime was due in part to these establishments, and questioned how the City had granted a license for Pawn America when another pawn shop was already located just across the street. 


Ms. Sanders advised that the neighbors share her concerns for their safety; and while millions had been spent by the City on its parks system, opined that it wouldn't mean anything if people were afraid to use them due to public safety concerns. 


While in the past, comments had been made that 'crime in other cities was not our concern,' Ms. Sanders stated that the neighborhood did not want to hear that anymore, and continued to feel neglected by their City Council, and abandoned by City staff and employees.  Ms. Sanders opined that it was time for Roseville to work with other municipalities to address this concern, noting that crime didn't respect lines drawn on a map.


Ms. Sanders offered her willingness to help in any way needed; and asked for any updated information on the possibility of a police substation at the corner of Larpenteur and Lexington Avenues.


Mayor Roe responded that SE Roseville was a high priority for Roseville as identified by the City Council and staff earlier as one of those areas of focus in the Strategic Planning exercise.  While only preliminary conversations had been held to-date, Mayor Roe advised that he had just recently spoken to the Mayor of Maplewood offering their promise to step up enforcement, especially in light of the recent shooting at a nightclub in Maplewood in that area.  Mayor Roe noted a desire expressed by Mayor Slawik for broader involvement in the issues in this area, and an internal Roseville working group already in place and working through the various processes and issues.


City Manager Trudgeon concurred with Mayor Roe, noting discussions by the Roseville Police Foundation for a potential police substation design for that former ICO corner, and while still preliminary in nature and unsure of their schedule, expressed hope for involvement of the neighborhood going forward.


As far as using Eminent Domain, Mayor Roe noted law changes, however, he also noted the possibility of using the Dangerous Building Statute criteria if applicable in addressing the former ICO site.


City Manager Trudgeon advised that he would check into whether or not there was an apparent physical danger at the site; and also follow-up with the MPCA regarding environmental concerns.  Mr. Trudgeon stated he was under the impression that the tanks had been removed, but would review public documentation and share that information when available.


Councilmember McGehee clarified the ordinances on the books when the pawn shop was approved, and revisions made after the fact which could not be addressed at that time without further ordinance provisions.


If a police substation was being considered for that corner, Councilmember McGehee asked City Manager Trudgeon that it be a multi-jurisdictional effort.


City Manager Trudgeon clarified and reiterated that there had been no commitments made at this point, and only concepts discussed but included among several jurisdictions.


Mayor Roe thanked Ms. Sanders for bringing this back to the City Council's attention again, asking that the neighborhood recognize there were steps necessary in the process before they could take any formal action.


b.       Rick Sanders, 363 S McCarrons Blvd

Mr. Sanders echoed the concerns expressed by his wife for this area.  Mr. Sanders noted when he'd first moved to Roseville from California, he was excited to get away from the crime issues and happy about the quiet community and abundance of parks, trails and population diversity he observed.  However, Mr. Sanders noted his increasing concern with things happening in adjacent cities and spilling into Roseville, making those safety concerns much more personal; and he had not anticipated experiencing them in his neighborhood.   


Mr. Sanders recognized that the Roseville Police Department was not controlling the situation, but asked that formal communications be undertaken with those other jurisdictions advising them that this was not an acceptable situation and the City of Roseville did not want this occurring. 


While the idea of a police substation at the former ICO site may be better than nothing, Mr. Sanders questioned if that was the most desirable thing for people to first see at the gateway to Roseville, or something that was more representative of the City of Roseville.


Mr. Sanders offered his willingness to work with the City to accomplish this; and expressed his personal appreciation to Councilmember Etten for his recent communication, encouraging more such efforts even beyond that by the City Council to residents to avoid the blame game.


c.          Desiree Mueller, Bossart Drive

Ms. Mueller echoed the comment of previous speakers, expressing her pride in being a Roseville resident, and her love of the community.  However, Ms. Mueller noted the challenges in SE Roseville, including litter, violence and transients sleeping in parks.  Ms. Mueller also thanked Councilmember Etten for his communication efforts since she had until them been uncertain of the steps being taken to-date.  Ms. Mueller expressed her interest in being out and about in the community, and also expressed her desire to be more involved in driving this effort and meeting these initiatives, and offered her assistance to the City Council in achieving that goal.


Specific to litter, Ms. Mueller opined that this not just a situation in SE Roseville, but throughout the community, further opining that the battle also involved other bordering communities who may have different priorities than Roseville, but impacted Roseville's efforts also.  Ms. Mueller opined that she didn't feel safe when finding trash everywhere, since she felt that frequently spun out of control and made the overall situation worse, while also affecting water quality.  As an example, Ms. Mueller noted the litter at bus stops at Larpenteur Avenue and Rice Street, as well as at County Road B and Rice Street, and their lack of garbage cans and therefore litter issues.  Ms. Mueller advised that she had been battling different agencies to find the responsible party to address about his concern.


Ms. Mueller concluded by asking the City Council to please clean up the streets of Roseville literally and figuratively; and offered her assistance wherever and as needed.


d.            Lisa McCormick, Wheeler Street

Ms. McCormick offered her support of the previous speakers.


Ms. McCormick noted when the Pawn America business license renewal came forward last fall, she brought forward a model ordinance as a recommendation to help tie that license to its conditional use.  However, Ms. McCormick stated that she had heard nothing since that recommendation, and reminded the City Council of this and asked them to follow-up and report to the public on that issue.


e.            Frank Hess, 1907 Shady Beach Avenue

As a life-long resident of Roseville, Mr. Hess stated his feeling that their quadrant of the community was not taken into consideration, especially with the pawn shops and multi-family apartments surrounding their neighborhood.  Mr. Hess also offered his assistance to the City in addressing the situation.


f.             Diane Hilden, Bayview Drive

Ms. Hilden endorsed the comments of her neighbors, opining that this was a tacky gateway to the City of Roseville and was getting worse, with crime issues in that area for some time.  Ms. Hilden recognized the multiple jurisdictions involved, and long-term issues of the nightclub, offering some anecdotal history of negative happenings and activities throughout the years.  With serious issues, including suspected gang activity, Ms. Hilden admitted it was scary to live across from these businesses; and also noted previous problems at McCarron's Beach involving rival gang activity.  While recognizing some solutions found by multiple police agencies in the past, Ms. Hilden opined there remained work to do, including nagging ugliness that bred other issues.


In her career working with crime prevention for the City of St. Paul, Ms. Hilden noted the reputation of pawn shops in other adjacent jurisdictions and ongoing problems with fencing.


While recognizing that the City was now focusing on SE Roseville and its many issues, Ms. Hilden cautioned that the patience of residents was wearing thin; and also offered her willingness to assist in any way possible to resolve these issues.


Mayor Roe thanked residents for reminding the City Council of the issues and their concerns; and offered continued efforts by the City Council and staff on this end with the dialogue.  While also recognizing the need to make progress, Mayor Roe noted that it was a bigger issue than just the City of Roseville.  As he always found the interest and support indicative of those residents in Roseville, Mayor Roe expressed his appreciation for their interest in being involved in the solution.


In response to Mr. Sanders, Councilmember McGehee shared her anecdotal experience upon moving to Roseville and similar safety concerns and ultimate improvements made, offering him a light at the end of the tunnel.  Councilmember McGehee noted the ongoing efforts she would put forth to help resolve the situation.


5.         Council Communications, Reports, and Announcements

Mayor Roe announced the opportunity for community feedback from residents and businesses on the City Council's draft strategic priority policy / planning document, available on the City's website or by contacting City Hall.  Mayor Roe noted the identification of five key areas of focus by the City Council: Civic Engagement, Housing and Redevelopment; Effective Governance; Organizational Effectiveness; and Infrastructure Sustainability, with subarea targets identified for each of those focus areas.  Mayor Roe advised that at June 8 City Council meeting, City Council will be discussing the document again, and after receiving feedback, will take it up again at the June 22, 2015 City Council meeting.


Mayor Roe announced a vacancy on the Community Engagement Commission to fill a partial term (ending March of 2017), with the application deadline on June 10, interviews scheduled for June 15, and subsequent appointment, with information also available on the City's website or at City Hall.


Councilmember McGehee announced the 2015 State of MN Human Rights first place essay contest winner, Elite Thor, a 7th grader who volunteered for this writing assignment, opining this continued the City of Roseville's long history of winners at the City and State level.


Mayor Roe thanked Councilmember McGehee for serving in his place to welcome people to last Saturday's community event, as he was unable to attend due to a previous engagement.


Councilmember Laliberte thanked the Parks & Recreation Department staff and Volunteer Coordinator O'Brien, and Roseville residents, for participating in the Playground Build at Oasis Park last Saturday.  Councilmember Laliberte opined that a great time was had by all, and invited attendance at the next Playground Build scheduled on June 27, 2015.


6.         Recognitions, Donations and Communications


7.         Approve Minutes


8.         Approve Consent Agenda


9.            Consider Items Removed from Consent


10.         General Ordinances for Adoption


11.         Presentations


12.         Public Hearings


13.         Budget Items

City Manager Trudgeon briefly introduced the purpose of tonight's meeting as the initial step in developing the 2016 budget, beginning with department presentations to identify specific operational issues and priorities that will impact the 2016 budget.  Mr. Trudgeon advised that staff was seeking to present a fiscally responsible budget with limited impact to the taxpayer, as well as identifying other opportunities to provide services and/or identify any available cost savings.  Mr. Trudgeon advised that this was intended as a broad discussion of the 2016 budget in addressing the City Council's priorities, while providing a look at challenges for 2016 and beyond.


Mr. Trudgeon noted that the intent tonight was for each department to provide a general discussion with trends, areas of focus, and specific City Council feedback and/or requests for additional information from those departments. 


Mayor Roe noted that, in accordance with the 2016 Budget Calendar and process, Department Heads had now submitted their budget requests to the City Manager for consideration and recommendation to the City Council.


Mr. Trudgeon advised that he would use their information and solicited any additional feedback from the City Council, along with results of the priorities and initiatives outlined in the strategic planning exercise as he prepared his City Manager-recommended budget intended for presentation in July of 2015 for further discussion and refinement.


Mr. Trudgeon reviewed the budget process and next steps over the next few months, receipt of their reaction and comments by the City Council at their June 15 workshop; opportunities for public feedback throughout that process; and involvement of the Finance Commission in the process before preliminary levy and budget  adoption in September and a Final Budget and Levy  adoptedby December 8, 2015. 


a.            Police Department Budget Presentation

Chief Rick Mathwig, Police Services Manager Sarah Mahmud and Community Relations Coordinator Corey Yunke were present for the presentation.


As noted in his report, Chief Mathwig advised that ongoing pressures on the staff continued to stretch the necessary focus of the department.  However, Chief Mathwig advised that he was proposing basically a status quo budget for 2016, with the exception of one additional officer position with the specific focus on mental health, elder abuse and fraud cases.  Chief Mathwig noted the successful investigation and conviction rate, in cooperation with the Ramsey County and City Attorneys in bridging the gap for families of domestic abuse, above and beyond many other jurisdictions.  Chief Mathwig noted the continued challenges associated with densely populated multi-family apartment complexes within the community as well.


Councilmember McGehee asked if the intent for this preliminarily entitled new office position of 'Community Impact Officer' was intended as a combination social worker and sworn police officer was the intent.


Chief Mathwig responded that in a sense, this was accurate; however, he envisioned an officer in uniform versus plain clothes, based on their ability to facilitate the process and care of individuals needing such a presence and visible authority. 


Chief Mathwig reported that in the first eighteen days of May, the Roseville Police Department had responded to twenty-nine calls for service from residents in assisted living facilities who were in need of additional care within a particular multi-level care facility in the community.  Chief Mathwig provided examples of other situations in some of the more than fifty foster and/or group homes in the community in addressing the needs of those individuals. 


Chief Mathwig reviewed some of the other expectations of this new position in bridging the gap between government services and insurance, utilizing the Police Department as the first on arrival at a scene in multiple locations and reactions of various people responding.  Chief Mathwig anticipated one person focusing on these issues would prove more effective.

Chief Mathwig advised that another 2016 budget priority would be the conversion of squad cell phones to smart phone technology allowing officers to be more effective and efficient in their ability to capture considerable intelligence information and information on victims of crimes (e.g. serial number information) that is not currently available to them in the field via the squads.


At the request of Councilmember Willmus as to whether this would reduce an officer's need for relying on  laptop computers in the squad, Chief Mathwig responded that it would not and reviewed the information shared on air or radio traffic on the main channel through dispatch, and that information available on the computer screen for the officer alone to cross-reference information in a more confidential way.


At the request of Councilmember Laliberte, Chief Mathwig advised that currently investigators and administration had smart phones (two out of five units), and the need was to increase to a total of ten smart phones.


As noted in his report, Chief Mathwig briefly reviewed challenges for the department in 2016 and beyond.  Chief Mathwig reported on the continued pressure on police resources for commercial crime areas; and need to keep up with other technology needs and officer training to capture and manage the data available to them as they performed their public safety role.


At the request of Mayor Roe and in conjunction with the report from the IT Department, Chief Mathwig reported that improved laptops in squads are now in their fourth to fifth generation and increased law enforcement activity needs of the Roseville Department as well as other jurisdictions mandated the need for their ability to report, share and store data across the board with compatible software.


Councilmember Willmus questioned how traffic stops on Snelling Avenue were tied back to Wal-Mart related to calls for service there.


Chief Mathwig responded that officers had been tracking that activity specific to Wal-Mart as this area of new area of the community developed from its previous uses and/or vacant land requiring little police presence.  Chief Mathwig advised that they did not track calls in this detail for those more-developed retail areas in the community at this time.


At the request of Councilmember Laliberte, Chief Mathwig and Mayor Roe clarified the different budgetary needs outlined by the Police and IT Departments for laptops and software upgrades; with the expenses projected in the Police Department as a line item in their CIP, while the IT Department costs would involve support of that technology.


At the request of Councilmember Laliberte, Chief Mathwig responded that recent changes in State Task Force legislation and mandates would not require additional follow-up for the department, as it involved the front-end of reporting.  Chief Mathwig advised that they could possibly see more cases as people became aware of the legislation, but he didn't see any significant impacts.


Councilmember Etten questioned how the proposed new officer position differed than the work being done by Ramsey County Social Services.


Chief Mathwig assured all that the Roseville Police Department had wonderful interaction with Ramsey County; however, he also noted that the County was responsible for the City of St. Paul, and most of their available resources were taken up there.  Chief Mathwig advised that this position was intended to fill the obvious gap and bridge coordinating families with appropriate assistance, based on the limited availability of the County's resources.


Councilmember Etten questioned if this work could be performed by a lower-grade employee versus a sworn officer.


Chief Mathwig responded that this would not be feasible, as an example in fraud cases, an important piece of the legislation involved emergency transport holds to get a person to the hospital to make sure they're okay to be out in society.  If a sworn officer is available at the scene, Chief Mathwig advised they could perform that transport, required by Minnesota State Statutes to be a Peace or Health Officer only.


At the request of Councilmember McGehee, Chief Mathwig explained that a Health Officer did not apply to or involve Roseville staffing, but referred to someone such as a Ramsey County Mental Health Officer.  With the suggestion by Councilmember McGehee that if a Social Worker was available within the Police Department, some of that work could be done in-house, Chief Mathwig reminded her and Councilmembers of the stretched rope comparison for staff.


Councilmember McGehee expressed appreciation for the department's up-tick in community policing, which she'd observed; and suggested expanding that even further to allow officers within the community to know their residents and where they live.


While supporting the majority of the important work of the department, Councilmember McGehee opined that she saw no need for SWAT; and suggested that funds used for that could be transferred to community functions.


Mayor Roe sought an update on the grant received for the Family Violence Investigator, and how the department had absorbed funding after grant funds were expended, and how that impacted current budgets.


Chief Mathwig reported the position had been absorbed in previous budgets (2010) after the grant funds for three years had been expended with changes in the program depending on administration changes in Washington, D.C.


From his perspective as the Police Chief, Councilmember Willmus asked what inter-jurisdictional cooperation was being undertaken to address the concerns raised during public comment tonight, and in furthering those common goals.


Chief Mathwig noted the great working relationship currently among jurisdictions, particularly highlighted that of the Cities of Little Canada, Maplewood and St. Paul, and Ramsey County.  Chief Mathwig advised that discussions were underway about additional resources for regulatory enforcement by the Maplewood Police Department.  Chief Mathwig agreed with the validity of the concerns expressed by Roseville residents, which he had been working to address and make other jurisdictions aware of since 2003.  Chief Mathwig assured the public and Councilmembers that he would continue to monitor and do his best to try to gain more traction with neighboring communities to prevent this crime wave from bleeding into Roseville, and more specifically in working with the Maplewood Police Department.


With continued discussions over the last 5-10 years for the former ICO site, and preliminary consideration by the Roseville Police Foundation for a small community center and police substation for multiple jurisdictions, Councilmember Willmus asked what could be fit on that small lot that would assist residents.  Councilmember Willmus noted that this SE area represented some of the community's most economically distressed population, along with problems experienced with the adjacent multi-family apartment building, as well as immediate adjacency to the north end of St. Paul and their problems that acerbated the problem.


Ms. Mahmud noted business owners involved in the Roseville Police Foundation and their interest in finding solutions; with Chief Mathwig opining that the solution started with the north end of St. Paul to keep the problem from bleeding into Roseville.


Councilmember McGehee opined that a community center would be nice at the former ICO site, along with a police substation.  However, Councilmember McGehee also observed that the City of St. Paul could contribute the huge block formerly housing the Lenders' Greenhouse facility that would prove very amenable and close to the problem area and resolution.


Chief Mathwig noted that, while it was nice to talk about the potential for a police substation, it was only intended as a small piece of a community center with squad parking and a small office.


Mayor Roe noted the need for community leaders representing and involving multiple jurisdictions and residents, businesses and other stakeholders, requiring considerable coordination.  Mayor Roe noted the need to make sure everyone had a voice in the matter, opined that any team efforts from a law enforcement perspective that could be addressed beyond current efforts would be beneficial and welcomed.


b.            Community Development Department Budget Presentation

Community Development Director Paul Bilotta summarized the make-up and 2016 budget priorities and challenges for the various areas of the Department, as detailed in his written report.  Mr. Bilotta advised that he wasn't proposing anything much different than in 2015.


Mr. Bilotta advised that 2014 had proven to be a challenging year for the department with the initiation of multi-family apartment inspections that had stressed staff, in addition to redevelopment in the Twin Lakes Redevelopment Area and ongoing issues being addressed in SE Roseville.  Mr. Bilotta noted his anticipation of challenges similar to those found in 2014 within the 2016 budget, with SE Roseville at the top of the Department's budget priorities as noted.


Mr. Bilotta advised that the  2040 Comprehensive Plan update period would kick off in 2016; however, he noted some built in flexibility in that schedule, with staff anticipating major efforts and expenditures in 2017 due to current anticipated work loads.  Understanding that the multi-family issue was a macro issue to the Comprehensive Plan, Mr. Bilotta suggested if the City Council chose to push that component forward, he would need to incorporate that into the 2016 budget which he had not done at this time.


Mr. Bilotta suggested economic development initiatives should be a topic of discussion for the upcoming joint meeting of the City Council and HRA.


As for budget challenges, Mr. Bilotta noted the nature of the Department's budget being permit fee driven in accordance with Minnesota State Statute and Rules; and unknowns regarding potential litigation specific to land use as areas continue to develop throughout the community.  Mr. Bilotta noted that economic development and long-range planning were not currently funded, other than a few small area studies and the comprehensive plan, as those other areas are not included in fee revenue.


Mr. Bilotta commended his staff in their entrepreneurial spirit as they adjusted their spending and activities and reorganized efforts based on workloads and available revenue rather than seeking additional funding.  Mr. Bilotta noted the significant increase in social engineering required as new building codes went into effect, and increased complexity and review times, while still requiring that additional work without any increase in fees to support it.

Mr. Bilotta noted the department's aggressive use of grant funding to address additional operational costs, as well as continually reviewing different delivery methods.  Mr. Bilotta advised that staff was currently, with the assistance of their Financial Consultant Springsted, performing a deep review of all tax increment financing districts (TIF) within the City to determine ways to utilize that funding or take them off line to bring properties back into play for the tax base.


Mr. Bilotta advised that planning fees held at their current level as directed by the City Council did not necessarily cover costs, and with staff involved in more steps required in the review process, the money needed to be found elsewhere (e.g. Conditional Uses, Vogel Sheetmetal, etc.).  While not requested an increase in those fees, Mr. Bilotta noted the need to balance staff's time accordingly.


While the department is extremely efficiency-oriented in its operations, Mr. Bilotta noted that it also remained citizen-focused, particularly involving initiatives involved in strategic planning efforts.


While not proposing much difference in 2016 from the 2015 budget, Mr. Bilotta noted as additional community engagement and neighborhood association efforts increase, there would be impacts at current staffing levels.  In comparison, if additional redevelopment occurs (e.g. Har Mar Mall area), Mr. Bilotta advised that St. Louis Park had twenty-four employees compared to Roseville's thirteen employees in the Community Development Department, and asked that the City Council be cognizant of that limited staff resource going forward.


Councilmember Willmus requested additional information from Mr. Bilotta on comparisons of permit revenue or dollar projects generated annually for the Cities of Roseville and St. Louis Park.


As to succession planning challenges, Mr. Bilotta noted potential retirements in the code enforcement department within the next five years and the need to address that transition to maintain an effective team, opining that they drove the efficiencies of the entire department.  Mr. Bilotta opined that he wanted to duplicate the successful transition efforts performed most recently by the Public Works Department.


Noting the age and limitations of the current permit software, Mr. Bilotta cautioned the City Council on the increasing potential for a catastrophic failure of that system.  Mr. Bilotta noted that it was an old, locally-produced product, and support for the system continued to deteriorate; as well as not allowing historic data comparisons, especially with recent Microsoft software upgrades, creasing considerable delays in obtaining information for applicants.  Mr. Bilotta noted that replacing this software would be a significant cost, even though it would be a great advance with a more compatible product.  Mr. Bilotta advised that it was preferable that the City of Roseville wasn't the last customer for this outdated software, given the few local users yet on that system.


At the request of Councilmember McGehee, Mr. Bilotta clarified that new software would allow more online availability and more efficiencies (e.g. applying for building permits online) and freeing staff time for other duties.  Mr. Bilotta advised that staff was working with the IT Department on whether or not capital costs could be leveraged across the entire organization rather than in the department itself.


Councilmember Willmus asked for a review of escrow accounts for various permit fees and what they could be used for had been revised recently, or their threshold. 


Mayor Roe noted that had been accomplished in some areas already; however, Councilmember Willmus suggested there may be some remedies for issues or areas of concern being experienced now.


Councilmember Willmus advised that he wanted to address the current comprehensive plan and areas zoned as high density residential (HDR) and an issue that continued to come up in various areas of the community.  Councilmember Willmus questioned if something had been overlooked in that previous plan, and asked that the HDR component for the future update be done sooner rather than later.


From his perspective, Mayor Roe suggested disengaging that review from the comprehensive plan process and begun sooner as a stand alone issue. 


Councilmember Laliberte echoed the comments of Councilmember Willmus regarding looking at multi-family housing sooner than later, expressing her hope that it could be done before beginning the comprehensive plan process.  Councilmember Laliberte also spoke in support of escrow requirements and inconsistencies in amounts for projects, and asked that costs be covered in all of those situations.  Councilmember Laliberte questioned where discrepancies were coming from with staff time for review.


Mr. Bilotta responded that meetings ahead of time, changes in plans, and other parts of the process requiring additional staff time in multiple meetings and personnel from the engineer, building official and/or planner, all with a cost.


Councilmember Laliberte asked staff to look at things from a black and white perspective versus an interpretation of conditions.


Specific to any potential redevelopment in the Har Mar Mall area comparable to the West End Development in St. Louis Park, Councilmember Laliberte noted this was not discussed as part of the focus for strategic planning of the City Council, and therefore, she wasn't sure it was a necessary component for the department's budget.


Mayor Roe clarified that was brought up by HRA members, and could be part of upcoming discussions at the joint meeting of the City Council and HRA.


Councilmember McGehee opined that additional funding was needed, beyond that realized from permit fees, for major projects occurring citywide, with past failures attributable to a lack of willingness for sufficient planning time to get the job done.  While not proposing additional staff specific to those efforts, Councilmember McGehee suggested hiring a consultant to provide efficient focus for the City, and work with residents and businesses willing to work and share their ideas.  Councilmember McGehee also noted the need for outside assistance in finalizing ordinance revisions, along with preparing for the comprehensive plan update.  Councilmember McGehee opined that the City Council would be remiss in overlooking this need and not funding it by the entire community, since the department served the community and had a stake in supporting this department (e.g. nuisance ordinance affecting all).


Councilmember Willmus asked a similar question of Mr. Bilotta from a Community Development perspective regarding what he envisioned for SE Roseville in the next 6-10 years, and the department's role or Roseville's role compared to other jurisdictions.


Mr. Bilotta opined that the  ICO parcel is a critical piece, and whatever went in there, the design element would be critical in identifying it as the gateway to Roseville, emphasizing that Roseville was different, and any design should provide a hard edge as a viable asset.  While some of this branding may be Chamber of Commerce related, Mr. Bilotta noted the same statement would be made with that hard edge for that area by indicating that you can commit your crime over there, but in Roseville, we'll be watching closer.  Mr. Bilotta noted  the significant amount of tired retail along that corridor, even though the lots are structurally difficult along such a linear corridor with shallow versus deeper lots; and the desire to keep residential properties where they are and address the retail frontages in some positive manner.


Mr. Bilotta addressed other areas not yet developed that may provide potential recreation areas and green space for adjacent multi-family apartment buildings; and other areas providing buffers between commercial and lakeshore residential, each requiring thought to achieve the most appropriate use and amenity for the community as a whole.  Mr. Bilotta advised that Roseville staff continued to approach the City of St. Paul staff to address future redevelopment of the Margolis and Linders sites, since they had strong impacts for Roseville, and the goal was to get all the communities working together for the common good with that future use.


Councilmember Willmus noted this was what he was getting at, to continue working with other local government units to find responsible solutions and have broader conversations with partner cities. 


Mr. Bilotta advised that Roseville staff was using Ramsey County Commissioners to push the area profile for these efforts, particularly on the St. Paul side. 


At the request of Councilmember Laliberte, Mr. Bilotta reviewed efforts for various properties and future recreational uses, as well as efforts in working with other organizations within the community, including the HRA's involvement in SE Roseville and the layers available in working with Ramsey County, as well as the school district and Metropolitan Transit.  Mr. Bilotta advised that there were other underutilized sites and potential opportunities; but there needed to be discussions on balancing resources and needs, and matching thing appropriately.  Mr. Bilotta stated that he was encouraged to see increasing cooperation and involvement among jurisdictions.


Mayor Roe suggested looking broader for all four corners of Larpenteur Avenue and Rice Street and not limit future visions by picking sites for little redevelopment that  may or may not by themselves address the major impacts needed.  Mayor Roe reiterated his desire to get all parties at the table to discuss that future vision.


Specific to the TIF review, Mayor Roe noted two aspects: if a district was closed, it represented a one-time cash windfall of remaining funds that would benefit all taxing jurisdictions.  Mayor Roe asked consideration by staff and Councilmembers on how best to use that one-time balance.  Regarding decertification, Mayor Roe also noted that those properties would be added to the tax base, increasing taxable property, and thus increasing the ability to divide levy increases among more payers, which limits the impact on the average taxpayer.


At the request of Mayor Roe, Mr. Bilotta clarified that, while TIF continued to a complex issue, the analysis being performed by Springsted would provide sufficient documentation on the limitations of and how or how not  those remaining funds or districts could be utilized of items paid out of.  Mr. Bilotta noted that this involved legislation in place when the districts were created; and would involved future policy decisions for the City Council as to whether to leave larger districts open or create new districts if and when needed.  Mr. Bilotta advised that new TIF legislation was much more specific in nature and easier to interpret.


City Manager Trudgeon reiterated the need for policy decisions by the City Council as that report comes forward and amounts are identified.  While staff may have some recommendations to offer, Mr. Trudgeon noted it would be up to the City Council as a whole to determine the best approach for  use of this one-time money.


Councilmember McGehee agreed with the comments of Mayor Roe about all four corners in SE Roseville being considered.  However, Councilmember McGehee also noted the limitations of staff time, particularly that of the City Manager and Community Development Director and additional efforts in orchestrating interaction and planning across jurisdictions.  In order to do things right, Councilmember McGehee opined it may be necessary to seek outside assistance in those efforts.


c.            Public Works Department Budget Presentation

Public Works Director Marc Culver briefly summarized the priorities and challenges he saw for the 2016 budget as outlined in his written report.  Mr. Culver highlighted the recent department reorganization and addition of one FTE, as approved by the City Council earlier this year and building on the initiatives implemented by former Director Duane Schwartz and in succession planning efforts.  Mr. Culver thanked the City Council for their support of these endeavors, allowing a needed shift as staff retirements were taken advantage of and shifting concentration to management and asset management support, along with hiring an outside firm for facility maintenance versus in-house staffing.  Due to the work of former Director Schwartz, Mr. Culver advised that he was seeking no additional increases in staffing for 2016, opining that the department was in a good place in the short-term.


Mr. Culver noted increased maintenance costs as the Pavement Management Program (PMP) funding was shifted from sealcoating to mill and overlay, and the potential for additional costs for short-term maintenance based on delamination issues, and more time and money spent on patching.  Mr. Culver advised that he anticipated increases in material costs with his proposed budget submitted to City Manager Trudgeon showing a slight increase accordingly, and alerting the City Council to potential risks with those cost projections in 2016.


Mr. Culver advised that he also anticipated some increases in infrastructure replacement and management costs due to experiences in higher bids coming in for Roseville as well as its colleagues, even though long-term CIP projections had positioned the enterprise funds well to assist in those endeavors.  However, Mr. Culver suggested there may be a need to adjust the CIP and enterprise funds accordingly, as well as the street maintenance fund supported from the general fund levy.  Mr. Culver noted that this current bidding climate impacted smaller contracts as well (e.g. patching, sidewalk installations, and water main breaks). 


Mr. Culver noted that, while increased pathways were always good as requested by citizens, it also created a need to address those additional maintenance costs.  Based on that, Mr. Culver noted the need to revisit how that was annually funded and how much was needed to sustain that maintenance fund.  Mr. Culver further noted that parking lot improvements and retaining walls were also part of pathway projects, and also needed analysis and adjustments accordingly.


One of the department's highest priorities, snow and ice operations, Mr. Culver reported continued to be unpredictable from year to year.  However, Mr. Culver noted that staff had committed to build a reserve of salt and ice removal materials, but was unable to predict cost impacts on future purchases.


While from a staffing perspective, Mr. Culver considered the department to be in a good place, he anticipated continuing to see significant turnover with retirements in addition to that.  As that continued, Mr. Culver advised that he would continue to monitor the organizational structure and changes as they occur.


In the near future, and in reviewing the long-term organizational chart, Mr. Culver advised that he saw the need for a third maintenance worker,  since the two current mechanics, maintaining in excess of 150 vehicles in the fleet, were having difficulty keeping up without added overtime and longer delays in accomplishing those repairs.  While those overtime requests are not always granted, Mr. Culver noted negative impacts on operations with delayed repairs and causing other maintenance workers to perform their own maintenance or minor repairs of vehicles or equipment, further detracting from their main duties.  Since this creates issues with union rules as well, Mr. Culver noted the need to address this in the near future.


Mr. Culver address potential losses in the future for both indoor and outdoor materials and equipment storage facilities and the need to accommodate that shortage with a potential cost to address it long-term.


With the higher commodity demand and costs for salt and oil creating significant material cost volatility, Mr. Culver noted the need to continue pursuing annual and/or purchasing opportunities and use of state contracts.


Specific to water main breaks, Councilmember Willmus asked if those were repaired in-house or using an outside vendor; and where materials removed from those sites are stockpiled.


Mr. Culver advised that both in-house and outside vendors are used, depending on the complexity and location of the breaks; and storage of soils removed depended on the particular situation and time of year as well.


Regarding pathway and parking lot issues and costs, Mayor Roe noted modeling and projections used by the CIP Task Force accounting for additional mileage going into the system annually, estimating a levy increase of $80,000 for the CIP to cover costs in that projected timeframe; and intended to be programmed in as part of the 2016 budget.  Likewise, Mayor Roe noted the addition in 2016 for the park CIP increasing the levy by  $160,000 for those costs.  While not a complete solution, Mayor Roe noted that they addressed short-term needs until repurposing City Hall bonds in 2021.


Councilmember McGehee stated that former Director Schwartz, following his findings and study of other metropolitan communities, consistently addressed the need to set aside $5,000 per year for every mile of pathway.  When reviewing that based on the 75 miles of pathway, Councilmember McGehee opined that the allotted $185,000 wouldn't meet that need.  Councilmember McGehee advised that she had asked Mr. Culver to review those projections.


Mayor Roe briefly clarified total cost projections versus current allocations.


Mayor Roe noted the continual reductions in Minnesota State Aid (MSA) funding available and the PMP endowment no longer supporting higher construction and maintenance costs.  Mayor Roe expressed his personal concern that this was an infrastructure crisis going forward.


Mr. Culver noted recent discussions by the Public Works, Environment and Transportation Commission (PWETC) and whether or not current pavement condition index (PCI) calculations were appropriate or should be financed at a lower level.  Mr. Culver noted the need for further analysis and consideration.  However, he also noted the ramifications in lowering that PCI and whether or not the public would accept a lower rating and roadway condition standard.


Specific to MSA funding, Mr. Culver advised that he foresaw no increases coming forward in that funding, and the City may need to consider using those funds for street maintenance, but noted this would serve to only further compromise that fund.


Councilmember Willmus noted another discussion  for the PCI was the public was willing to pay for a higher index in addition to consideration of revising the current assessment policy citywide.


Mayor Roe noted that potential revision to the current assessment policy had been on the radar for some time.


Mayor Roe thanked Finance Commission members for their attendance for these discussions; and thanked Department Heads and their respective staff for providing this background information at this point to assist the City Council in their decision-making process.


14.         Business Items (Action Items)


15.         Business Items - Presentations/Discussions


16.         City Manager Future Agenda Review


17.         Councilmember-Initiated Items for Future Meetings



19.         Adjourn

Laliberte moved, Etten seconded, adjournment of the meeting at approximately 7:55 p.m.


                                    Roll Call

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

Nays: None.