City Council Meeting Minutes
March 20, 2017
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 Trudgeon and City Attorney Mark Gaughan were also present. Mayor Roe announced that Councilmember Etten had previously indicated his inability to attend tonight’s meeting due to travel.
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Approve Agenda
McGehee moved, Willmus seconded, approval of the agenda as presented.
Ayes: McGehee, Willmus, Laliberte and Roe.
4. Public Comment
5. Recognitions, Donations and Communications
6. Items Removed from Consent Agenda
7. Business Items
a. Northeast Youth and Family Services (NYFS) Presentation
Mayor Roe welcomed President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NYFS Jerry Hromatka.
Mr. Hromatka thanked Mayor Roe and the City Council for providing this opportunity for an annual update to member communities and agencies on this fortieth anniversary of NYFS. Mr. Hromatka recognized the organization’s three-pronged approach for success: Partnership, Respect, and Innovation; and proceeded to highlight activities over the last year that served to enhance that philosophy. Mr. Hromatka thanked Mayor Roe for his participation on the NYFS Board as well as his support and promotion of the annual Mayor’s Golf Challenge Tournament as a fundraiser for the organization.
Councilmember McGehee thanked Mr. Hromatka for his continued work at NYFS and asked if potential changes in health care legislation would impact the organization.
Mr. Hromatka responded that the organization would continue moving ahead with what was now known and hold its breath pending additional or repealed legislation. Mr. Hromatka noted that mental health was a bi-partisan issue and stated his confidence that the State of MN would not turn its back on school-based mental health services and programs.
Councilmember Laliberte stated that, as always, it was good to have this annual update on NYFS from Mr. Hromatka; and expressed the city’s pleasure in being able to participate in the organization.
Specific to the NETS Program, Mayor Roe noted that more people could be served if there was a greater capacity to do so; further noting that the need was obviously there and NYFS a unique supplier of that service. While the NYFS Board has strong interests in expanding the program, Mayor Roe noted the limitations due to unavailable resources. Mayor Roe asked Mr. Hromatka for his thoughts on how not just to grow the organization to become bigger as its accomplishment, but how best to wisely and best serve the community. Mayor Roe noted that this continued to be a goal of the Board in developing a strategic plan for the NYFS organization.
Mr. Hromatka concurred, advising that NYFS did well now with the Roseville Area Middle School Day Program. However, while requests have been received for a similar Elementary Program, Mr. Hromatka stated his belief that it couldn’t work under that business model, as the ratio for Middle School was 8 kids for 1 adult verses 2 to 1 required for elementary kids. Until the industry found a way was fund such a program, Mr. Hromatka noted how difficult it would be to address that need.
Mayor Roe noted that the success of NYFS in being on the leading edge was not only in addressing mental health issues but also in development of the individual as well. Mayor Roe stated that he couldn’t emphasize enough the uniqueness of NYFS, anticipating a continued successful model going forward.
Noting the attendance in tonight’s audience of Roseville Police Chief Mathwig, Mr. Hromatka thanked him and his department for their participation in a basketball league for Diversion and Mental Health recipients from NYFS and their interaction with them.
Mr. Hromatka thanked the city for their willingness to partner with NYFS in those efforts.
b. Receive Update on Rental Licensing Program
Community Development Director Kari Collins referenced the staff report of today’s date, providing an overview of the city’s 3.5 years of operation with its multi-family rental license program. Ms. Collins also provided a report on the recent first annual meeting of those multi-family property owners, including comments from property owners. In reporting on the meeting held with property owners/managers on program implementation and inspections to-date, Ms. Collins and Mr. Englund reported on collected suggestions, comments and staff observations that prompted some of these proposed text amendments for City Council consideration (Attachment B) beyond the overview of the program as provided by staff (Attachment A).
Based on the first 3+ years of the operation of the program, Codes Coordinator Dave Englund outlined staff’s recommended text amendments and process changes for the program (Attachment B). Ms. Collins and Mr. Englund noted that the overarching recommendation by staff was that the Roseville Fire Department takes on administration of the inspection responsibility, as outlined in the staff report (lines 33 - 45) and related fee revisions as outlined (Attachment C).
Ms. Collins reported that part of staff’s rationale in proposing this change in inspection personnel was in noting that staff heard loud and clear that property were inundated with inspections by the city and other entities (e.g. Department of Health); and asked that those inspections be consolidated. Ms. Collins further reported that this would address the perception of inspections for the city’s immigrant population, based in part on the successes of the Police and Fire Departments in their public safety efforts to-date and good, legitimate outreach done with those rental communities.
Ms. Collins reported that the Fire Department was receptive to this shift in inspection leadership and would allude to that possible undertaking later this evening as part of their staffing update presentation to the City Council. In the event that the City Council was receptive to this proposed transition, Ms. Collins advised that she and Mr. Englund would then prepare ideas to expand the rental registration program and other elements to improve this program.
Rental Licensing Program
In her consideration of this proposal, Councilmember McGehee stated the need for her to make sure that the mechanicals (e.g. plumbing, electrical, etc.) in individual rental units not typically inspected by the Fire Department, nor within their areas of expertise, would still be regularly inspected by other city staff if and when issues were brought to their attention. Also, Councilmember McGehee asked if a real effort on the part of city staff would continue to make renters in Roseville aware of direct contacts at the city level if and when problems occurred with safety issues, such as those on the six-month checklist needing attention by a landlord or property manager. If staff could assure that safety issues would be adequately addressed by the city, Councilmember McGehee spoke in support of the proposal, provided the City of Roseville and rental properties in the community didn’t end up as a news item such as recently occurred with the City of Minneapolis.
Ms. Collins duly noted that concern, advising that the Fire and Community Development Departments had discussed this partnership, and intended that for the first year or two as the program was realigned, increased collaboration between those departments for assistance and to continue supporting each other.
Fire Chief Tim O’Neill advised that the Fire Department had worked throughout last fall on a trial basis and as a learning experience with the Community Development Department to determine how it would impact the Fire Department beyond the public safety aspect. Chief O’Neill advised that the intent was to make sure everyone fully understood what it would entail. However, since the two departments already worked together on an almost daily basis through the proactive inspections process, Chief O’Neill noted that most of those inspections went beyond just a fire safety issues; and noted that typically if a unit or building was not meeting fire code, it wasn’t meeting building codes either. In those circumstances, Chief O’Neill reported that the Fire and Code Enforcement personnel returned to a property as a team, specifically in those six-month re-inspection situations. While the rental licensing program continued to evolve, and considering the time involved over the next 3-5 years to complete inspections of all units, Chief O’Neill advised it would be necessarily to rely on each others expertise.
Councilmember Willmus stated that he didn’t object to this inspection proposal and frequency for buildings with five or more units; but stated his concern with buildings with five or fewer units.
Mayor Roe advised that the discussion on buildings with fewer units would be addressed later tonight.
Specific to the proposed annual fees (Attachment C), Mayor Roe sought clarification on how they related to current license categories and how they were intended to transition under this new proposal. In other words, Mayor Roe asked if the three-year licenses would still pay annually; and how the roughly one-third of the buildings currently in the six-month category would compare; whether it represented a downward trend or up-tick. Mayor Roe opined that it seemed a high number if inspections were only done once every three years.
Regarding the fee schedule, Mr. Englund clarified that it was based on a three-year inspection cycle, but would still be paid annually as the cost of an annual fire inspection. However, Mr. Englund advised that his recommendation was to remove the ratings system, with each building eventually inspected annually, and individual units inspected every three years. With the proposal to remove categories as they are listed under the current rental licensing process, Mr. Englund noted that scheduling was the hardest component of the program. For example, Mr. Englund noted that as of December 2016, thirty-five buildings had been inspected, but next year there were ninety-two buildings scheduled for inspection; and noted that delegating and devoting that much staff time was problematic. Also with the six-month licenses affecting this group, some with new property owners and outstanding criteria yet to be met, it also required time. As another example, Mr. Englund noted one situation where there were five buildings currently being sold that remained under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for completion of checklist items from their last inspection, causing those buildings to be categorized at a lower rating until those issues had been addressed. Mr. Englund advised that staff was working with the new property owner to address the issues.
Mayor Roe asked for confirmation that after the first round of inspections and follow-up with staff, those buildings would likely transition out of the need for a six-month inspection cycle.
Ms. Collins concurred, noting that staff was finding a MOU much more effective when a property owner agreed to make improvements within a certain timeline versus using a shame scenario element on a six-month cycle. Assuming the City Council approves making this transition, Ms. Collins reported that it would free up code compliance staff, which can fluctuate depending on the season, but typically 1/3 of that staff person’s time was spent on inspections. Ms. Collins noted that this transition would allow staff to explore expanding the rental registration program, proposed to include those rentals of four or fewer units. For those reporting their rentals of those smaller units, Ms. Collins advised that they are only required to pay an annual fee of $35. Since most cities include an initial inspection of those smaller units as well, Ms. Collins advised that staff supported affording the same review and inspection of those units to address safety concerns for those single-family homes, duplexes and four-plexes as well.
Ms. Collins reported that there are currently 830 registered rentals for those smaller units, with approximately one-fourth of them condominiums that staff was not sure should be included in this proposed program. Depending on the City Council’s direction, Ms. Collins advised that staff could explore inspecting a third of those smaller rentals annually; further reporting that staff had heard that some are looking forward to such an opportunity and other concerns expressed about single-family homes turning into rentals and renters moving in and out and not maintaining the property as they should or homes ending up in disrepair when occupied as rentals.
When the rental registration concept was kicked-off, Councilmember Willmus noted that there had been significant outreach and discussion, with considerable feedback from residents and small property owners (e.g. duplexes) and a desire not to license or inspect those smaller units. Councilmember Willmus stated that he hadn’t seen any significant shift to lead him in the direction proposed by staff. Councilmember Willmus opined that the city’s nuisance code had proven quite effective and he supported continuing those efforts for smaller properties, including those rentals. Councilmember Willmus questioned whether this idea about smaller unit inspections had come from, such as from the recent property manager’s meeting.
Ms. Collins responded that inspection of smaller rental properties had been internally discussed by staff for some time, and clarified that it had not come about as a result of the recent property manager’s meeting, since that was held for multi-family property owners. Ms. Collins noted that it had often been discussed and explored by staff; with equal feedback from those smaller rental property owners who were happy they didn’t need inspections; balanced by the interest by the city in having a registration/contact list available, and interest in providing equity of services to renters similar to those multi-family buildings.
Councilmember McGehee stated that a number of residents had come to the city about some of those single-family rental properties in residential areas that were problematic. Therefore, Councilmember McGehee questioned if the current rental registration and/or nuisance code were addressing that issue. Councilmember McGehee questioned the need to inspect condominiums, or in those smaller rentals (e.g. duplexes) where the owner occupied one unit and rented out the other unit. However, for single-family homes being rented out or used as investment properties, Councilmember McGehee stated her support for having them inspected.
Councilmember Laliberte stated that she had some concerns about this proposal for smaller rentals, opining that it didn’t seem to her to be a solution to the problems she was hearing about with pockets of single-family homes being rented, which this proposal would not change at all. With the registration system for those smaller rentals done on an honor system, Councilmember Laliberte stated that the proposal wouldn’t serve to change that either. Councilmember Laliberte stated that she wouldn’t be prepared to go the route of inspecting smaller rentals; and opined that if carving out rentals other than duplexes with one side owner-occupied and/or condominiums, it simply created a different equity discussion.
Mayor Roe agreed that he continued to have concerns in inspecting rental properties of less than five units until he more clearly understood if they created a problem related to other single-family properties in the community. Mayor Roe also agreed that the city’s nuisance ordinance and other code enforcement options were available if there were nefarious activities going on in any rental property, with similar recourses available as for owner-occupied homes as well. Mayor Roe noted that one concern was that he was conscious of different levels of investment for single-family property owners and their ability to pay licensing fees and handle the complexities of that system, also heard about when initially addressing the program several years ago. Mayor Roe noted that, after the pushback received from those property owners at that time, the task force created at that time had reviewed the proposed program with the outcome being for a registration versus inspection/licensing program for those smaller rental properties. For him to consider a change at this point, Mayor Roe advised that he’d need a clear indication of the circumstances creating a need for change.
Councilmember Willmus questioned how to distinguish smaller rentals from those of five or more units, including those leasing a room in their home. Of the 830 units known at this time, Councilmember Willmus opined that there were substantially more than that in the community; and while it would be nice to have them register and know their location, if the attempt was made for staff to go with a licensing program, it would be futile. Councilmember Willmus opined that people still wouldn’t register and it would simply burn considerable staff time to track rentals down, creating additional concerns on that side as well. Councilmember Willmus stated that he hadn’t seen any shift since the rental registration program had been instituted that would necessitate going beyond the current registration process.
As an example, Councilmember McGehee stated her experience with a rental in the City of St. Paul and her personal participation in the home’s inspection, noting many things a typical homeowner may not be aware of (e.g. carbon monoxide and smoke detectors and their locations, lower level egress windows, or flex pipe used to vent dryers) that may create a fire hazard. Councilmember McGehee noted the importance for public safety of single-family homes as well as when they were used as rentals. Councilmember McGehee suggested that a simple research of rentals for single-family homes in Roseville could be whether or not they qualified for Homestead Credits.
Councilmember Willmus clarified that Homestead Credits did not have a 100% correlation with rentals, when it could also indicate a Trust, Joint Tenancy or other situation that may not qualify for the credit. Therefore, Councilmember Willmus noted that this served his example of the amount of staff time involved to track those properties.
As one of the Roseville properties that didn’t receive Homestead Credits, Councilmember McGehee advised that when asked about it by the city, she had signed an affidavit clarifying that it was not a rental property.
Mayor Roe noted that this was already part of the process used in Roseville. Mayor Roe stated thatclearly there were some issues that still needed to be resolved; and opined that the challenge was “where to stop” by providing affordable single-family homes used as rentals and seeking a safety inspection for them.
Ms. Collins clarified that staff was not advocating inspections of single-family homes not used as rental property.
Mayor Roe stated that the city needed to address some philosophical questions, including whether to inspect rentals only or owner-occupied properties. Mayor Roe asked staff to provide some of that additional information to help inform the City Council’s decision-making.
Ms. Collins suggested one option, if the City Council had any interest in pursuing it, would be for staff to identify properties where it was a primary residence with a variety of rooms rented out versus those used for rentals simply as an investment and in non-resident situations.
Ordinance (Attachment B)
Mayor Roe stated several items in the draft code language of concern or confusion from his perspective.
§ Purpose Statement (lines 22-30): change in language from “rental dwellings“ to “rental property” needed to change the “MRD” acronym as well if still applicable.
§ If that language is used as a definition that language should match defined terms in other city code as well.
§ Licensing Requirement (page 3, line 124): “city” reference needs clarity.
Mr. Englund advised that the intent of line 124 was that the “city” determined the expiration of a license.
§ Lease (page 2, lines 62-63): With a written agreement in place for use of a rental unit, whether this was usually in exchange for rent or if also related to bartering services.
Mr. Englund clarified that this language was copied from the current rental registration ordinance.
On page 1, lines (20-23), Councilmember McGehee pointed out a grammatical error in verb tense.
c. Fire Department Staffing Presentation
Fire Chief Tim O’Neill advised that during last fall’s annual budget process, the City Council requested that the Fire Department return with an update on the conversion from a part-time to full-time department. Chief O’Neill advised that staff would summarize that transition in tonight’s presentation, with more detailed information available in meeting materials.
Assistant Fire Chief Dave Brosnahan provided the staffing update, and efficiencies from the downsizing of the fleet and capital purchases, to fewer fire stations and their reduced maintenance and upkeep. Chief Brosnahan noted that this included the proposal as discussed by the City Council with Ms. Collins and Mr. Englund that would be addressed from the Fire Department’s perspective shortly.
Chief Brosnahan reported on the department’s increased training in Advanced Life Support services, and work with Regions Hospital’s Medical Director in being able to provide additional medicines and skills for critical patients and thereby better serving the community. Chief Brosnahan also noted that a practice being used by many communities throughout the metropolitan area and State of Minnesota was for medic or EMT programs, similar to doctor home visits, to follow-up on patients upon their release from the hospital and to avoid readmissions to make sure such an agency visited the patient at home after their discharge to monitor their medications, nutrition and other areas prompting concern. Chief Brosnahan stated the department’s interest in pursuing this further in the future.
Rental Licensing and Inspection
If approved by the City Council, Chief O’Neill advised that the Fire Department was prepared to transition these inspections into their current fire safety perspective inspections. Chief O’Neill reported that Fire Department staff typically kept an eye on buildings even when not on safety inspections, as an ongoing effort, as well as having the ability to access the buildings when observing something needing attention. Chief O’Neill opined that a one-person contact for the buildings would be a positive step rather than having property owners bounced from one staff person to another and not having clear contact information.
Chief O’Neill recognized that, obviously there would be a learning curve for the department and on-the-job training involved during 2017, with the intent to fully implement the program, at the City Council’s direction, on January 1, 2018.
Lodging Licensing and Inspection
Chief O’Neill advised that staff was seeking the City Council’s interest in the city taking back lodging inspections from the state, in 2017 or starting in 2018. Chief O’Neill reported that all full-time fire staff had conducted training over the last few months for certification in lodging inspections. Chief O’Neill advised that he had approached the State Fire Marshal’s Office indicating the City of Roseville’s preliminary interest, but advised that it would require agreement between the State and City if the City Council was interested in pursuing it. If so, Chief O’Neill advised that the Roseville Fire Department would like to start immediately in 2017, allowing them access to buildings to perform fire and life safety inspections sooner rather than later. Chief O’Neill also noted that this would provide a pronged inspection approach between the Police, Fire and Community Development Departments; along with the Roseville Visitors’ Association (RVA).
Chief O’Neill referenced a bench handout in support and provided by the RVA’s Chief Executive Officer Julie Wearn, , and would include some of the RVA’s ideas in how to deal with some of the issues currently found in Roseville’s lodging industry. Chief O’Neill noted that many of the lodging operators in Roseville were very good, but some needed more care moving forward, and consideration given in how best to accomplish that. Chief O’Neill reported that Roseville was not unique to that problem, with many communities fighting similar battles, referencing House File No. 777, and a companion Senate bill. Chief O’Neill noted that both of these bills would allow municipalities to take back basic rights from the state to the city’s ability to license hotels, if passed; and sought City Council interest over the next 6-8 months in developing a building ordinance similar to that of the rental licensing and inspection program to incorporate those same things being found in lodging units (e.g. drugs, safety, smoke detectors) and frequent complaints from customers via the RVA’s comment line.
While the Fire, Police and Community Development Departments currently attempt to follow-up, Chief O’Neill noted it would be easier if they were all incorporated with an ordinance and licensing program that provided enforcement capability (e.g. limited length of stay, background checks on managers having access to individual rooms) and other nuisance things already addressed in city code, but further incorporated into this area and directly tied to licensure of the facility. Chief O’Neill noted that this would involve feedback from those properties involving the lodging establishment and how the city could best help them. As long as the municipality could take back basic fire and life safety, Chief O’Neill advised that there would also then be a way to incorporate other areas and package them into one section, based on several options available.
Chief O’Neill advised that there would be many steps involved, if the legislation is successful allowing municipalities to license and/or inspect an establishment. Chief O’Neill reported that another option, similar to a Board of Health, that staff would want to take a look at if the legislation failed. However, Chief O’Neill noted that a Board of Health goes beyond those items touched upon today and would expand it (e.g. food and pool inspections) from current practice and not currently being suggested by staff to the City Council for consideration. Chief O’Neill reiterated that staff had found many municipalities across the state looking for similar resolution of this type of predicament.
Mayor Roe suggested further research by staff from an inspection standpoint, but stating that he was not interested in the City becoming a Health department; with agreement by Councilmembers McGehee and Willmus, with additional information requested on budget and levy implications beyond inspection aspects.
While agreeing with her colleagues and interested in further investigation, Councilmember Laliberte asked if the State had a checklist they used and if the City would have a similar checklist or if that involved other thins the municipality may not or could not have the ability to inspect and whether that would involved any perceived gaps between the two.
Chief O’Neill reported that the municipality would immediately step into the same type of inspection done by the State of MN and as done today for apartments or multi-family rental properties. Chief O’Neill reported that this would involve a percentage of units or rooms being inspected, including common areas and involve life safety issues, but not those involved with from a licensing perspective (e.g. exterior condition, parking lots, etc.). However, Chief O’Neill advised, if that were to occur, staff would be coming back to the City Council with a program for annual versus every three year inspections. Based on the condition of some of the city’s current lodging facilities, Chief O’Neill advised that there was a need for annual inspections allowing more opportunities to mitigate some things that were currently happing, and involving a structured fee program that would be no more expensive than that used today, but just providing the ability to interact with those properties more frequently.
Councilmember Laliberte asked if exterior issues and other areas not affected by this program would be continued under agreement with the State of MN.
Chief O’Neill advised that the municipality’s immediate takeover was concerned only with life safety and fire aspects; while staff would hope to then design a program to come back with the licensure portion of the entire piece.
Mayor Roe noted that the complaints or information he’d seen related to Roseville hotels had come through the Ramsey County Health Department and were related to temperature controls for food and/or pools; and questioned if that would come under this municipal inspection proposal.
Chief O’Neill clarified that those issues would fall under Ramsey County Health.
Councilmember McGehee noted that had been one of her concerns that she didn’t want the city to take responsibility for.
Mr. Englund further clarified that building exteriors would continue to fall under the city’s Business Enhancement Program (BEP) with those annual inspections continuing.
As stakeholders, Chief O’Neill noted that staff from the Police, Fire, Community Development Departments, and the RVA had spent considerable time over the last few months evaluating this proposal. However, before moving ahead further, Chief O’Neill noted the need to be assured that the City Council was supportive of staff putting things together for potential launch with legislation in 2018 unless the legislation fails. Chief O’Neill noted that, with City Council approval to pursue this service, staff would then work out the details over the next few months and again present a more formal recommendation to the City Council. However, in the best interest of the community and in the near future, Chief O’Neill spoke in support of taking back the fire and life safety modules at a minimum.
At the request of individual Councilmembers, staff was asked to email information on the bills as referenced by Chief O’Neill; with Chief O’Neill advising that the City of Waite Park, MN had initiated the legislation.
If the City Council was interested, Mayor Roe suggested City staff and/or councilmembers being available to testify or provide additional support for the legislation, once they had reviewed it.
2018 Fire Department Projected Budget and Staffing Plan
Chief Brosnahan reviewed proposed 2018 staffing and budget implications for an additional projected $78,000 as the levy impact. Chief Brosnahan further reviewed the organizational chart for the Fire Department; full-time staffing projected at 22-24 as the long-range goal and involving the attrition plan anticipated since 2014; with a goal of 15 full-time employees by 2018 as a huge step in transitioning the department as an organization.
As a point of reference, Chief O’Neill compared the Fire Budget to other cities, call volume and cost per resident as provided in presentation materials.
At the request of Councilmember Willmus, Chief O’Neill clarified that he had not compared other city budgets and levies at the level of debt service.
At the request of Mayor Roe, Chief O’Neill further clarified that he did not separate out other cities that operated ambulance services (e.g. Maplewood or Edina).
Councilmember McGehee addressed her concerns in the long-term operation of the Fire Relief Fund and those part-time firefighters still involved at this point; and transition to the Public Employees Retirement Fund (PERA) instead.
Chief O’Neill clarified that based on the direction of the City Manager and City Council, no additional part-time firefighters had been hired, nor was there any intention to do so. Through attrition, Chief O’Neill opined that the number would eventually reach zero, but depending on other variables, he was unable to anticipate how many may be involved at any one time. Typically of the current thirty remaining part-time firefighters, Chief O’Neill advised that approximately half would respond to a call back situation and he assumed the same number would equate moving forward. Chief O’Neill advised that he was watching the part-time staffing level closely and this would most likely involve looking for three additional firefighters in 2018, bringing the department to its final stage of stability. Chief O’Neill clarified that the department was not nor would it be reliant on part-time firefighters, but that it would benefit the department at a $15 per hour part-time salary versus that of a full-time $35 per hour overtime rate per employee; and continued to keep the staffing level up and involved, but would eventually come to none.
Specific to the Fire Relief Association, of the thirty remaining, Chief O’Neill reported that about twenty-three part-time firefighters remain. Given the City Council’s past decision to move from the Relief Association to PERA, Chief O’Neill noted that this allowed the transfer by the current Relief Association members and positioned the fund well, with it now being 108% funded. Unless there was a market adjustment not under the city’s control, Chief O’Neill expressed his confidence that things would continue on a positive note.
Chief O’Neill alerted the City Council that the Fire Relief Association would be bringing forward a requested Cost of Living Adjustment based on Social Security indexes and based on the agreement made approximately ten years ago. Chief O’Neill estimated that 5-10 of these recipients would leave through attrition over the next 5-8 years; with the result eventually sun-setting the Relief Association.
At the request of Councilmember McGehee, Chief O’Neill provided more specifics related to vesting for part-time employees in their retirement fund; and potential liability to the city for those remaining in the Relief Association. Chief O’Neill also clarified that the city could not and would not terminate anyone from the Relief Association, and under legal obligation to continue those benefits for the duration.
Chief O’Neill spoke confidently that while there was some risk for the city, the steps taking in 2010 by the City Council had capped that liability and moved things in a different direction (PERA) through making those good choices.
d. Discuss the Annotated Outline Illustrating Present Structure of the Subdivision Code and How a Rewritten Code Might Differ; Provide Input to Guide the Drafted of an Updated Ordinance (PROJ-0042)
Senior Planner Bryan Lloyd introduced Mike Lamb, consultant with Kimley-Horn, undertaking the rewrite of the city’s subdivision code as detailed in the staff report and related attachments.
Title 11 (Exhibit A), Subdivisions and his Memorandum dated February 23, 2017 (Exhibit B)
Mr. Lamb provided an overview of the five major topics needing review: language in code (definitions) and their consistency with other city code; minor subdivision process as discussed by the Planning Commission and of interest to the City Council; Park Dedication mechanism and how to address that moving forward; Design Standards and any revisions of those standards embedded in code; and those areas for reliance on the Public Works Design Standards Manual currently in process.
In the City Council’s review of Attachment A, Mr. Lamb clarified that the first column represented current code and right hand column provided suggestions from his office and staff. Mr. Lamb further clarified that those are just suggestions, and not recommendations, but simply based on experience and requiring City Council feedback. Mr. Lamb also referenced excerpts provided from the subdivision ordinances in the metropolitan area and language from those that might make sense for Roseville as the basis for edits. Mr. Lamb further referenced some case studies provided from other metropolitan communities and other first-ring suburbs from out-of-state and staff conversations with those cities as well. Mr. Lamb concluded by stating the intent for this to be an outline review only to help staff and his firm determine the proper direction to pursue from the City Council’s perspective.
Exhibit A – Title 11
In terms of definitions, Mayor Roe suggested the fewer the better in this portion of code; whether by referencing the Public Works Design Standards Manual or through existing code (e.g. street or design standard components) where those definitions would come out.
Mayor Roe also suggested a general reference to other city documents (e.g. Pathway Master Plan) rather than specifically referencing them in the subdivision code; with agreement by Councilmember Willmus.
Pages 2 &3
Along with Mayor Roe, Councilmembers McGehee, Willmus and Laliberte were in agreement that they did not want to consider an administrative review process; preferring the approval process through the Planning Commission and City Council or just the City Council as per current practice.
At the request of Councilmember McGehee, Mr. Lloyd confirmed that any and all application forms and instructions would be revised based on new processes or checklists.
Councilmember McGehee stated her intent that everything, including those minor lot splits, be put back on the table, opining that the checklist should be presented to the City Council in agenda packets indicating any or all items checked off, especially related to drainage, sewer and tree preservation.
Even with minor subdivisions, Councilmember Willmus noted one area of struggle was an informal sketch provided (e.g. on the back of a napkin) versus a more detailed and formal application and information process, showing established locations for lot lines, drainage easements, and any other work that would be done on the front end before being brought to the City Council for approval.
As suggested by City Manager Trudgeon, and confirmed by Councilmember Willmus, this would include a survey.
As decision makers, Councilmember Willmus noted that the additional information could have a significant impact on a decision one way or another based on that level of detail provided; and opined that a survey shouldn’t create an excessive burden for a property owner looking to divide their lot; and he preferred having that detail available. Councilmember Willmus stated that from his perspective, that detail did not include being advised that the watershed district had yet to sign off, especially if and when those properties may involve part of a larger drainage system or issue within the community. With not receiving that information upfront, Councilmember Willmus noted that it left out part of the picture, and stated his interest in having that broader picture from materials presented to the City Council , whether or not it created a financial burden on a property owner.
Ms. Collins sought clarification on the current process used for minor subdivisions and plats, asking if the City Council was okay with that as long as additional information was provided upfront.
Mayor Roe agreed, referencing recent examples of plats coming before the City Council.
Without objection, and confirmed by Mr. Lamb, the City Council did not support any administrative process for minor subdivisions; with an up-to-date checklist included at the Planning Commission and/or City Council levels.
With confirmation by staff, Mayor Roe clarified that open house language would parallel that approved in other sections of code.
Councilmember Willmus addressed plat requirements for lots on existing streets and requiring municipal services, and whether some accommodation was needed for private drives built to city street specifications but privately maintained.
Mr. Lloyd advised that there was nothing in the subdivision code; and noted that delved into the area of uncertainty as to whether a subdivision created a flag lot to access properties behind one street or a private street with public streets minus a right-of-way; seeking City Council direction on that point.
Councilmember Willmus stated that he didn’t want to revert to flag lots, but recognized situations where larger lots are subdivided and become smaller, this may be a tool that could help accommodate it and create less expense for surrounding property owners and the broader community as well. Councilmember Willmus opined that the city had it within its purview and public works specifications for those situations.
Mayor Roe stated that he wasn’t against private drives as a solution.
Councilmember Willmus noted that there was no language so specific that it would exclude private drives by calling it a street.
Mayor Roe sought clarification whether platting wasn’t required for a minor subdivision if other requirements were met, with the current process not requiring plats for minor subdivisions.
City Manager Trudgeon noted that it involved a process for document and layout approval, but was not a formal plat.
Regarding item 4, Mayor Roe noted that it seemed obvious from language providing that a subdivision should not create lots that don’t meet minimum standards.
Mr. Lamb clarified that the excerpt from the City of St. Paul could be edited accordingly for further consideration by the City Council. Mr. Lamb noted the need for placing the burden on public works when changing slopes to address any water/sewer issues, or frozen pipes or water being pumped up hill creating low water pressure.
Mayor Roe noted the need to ensure the close attention of the Public Works staff on those specific issues.
Mr. Lamb noted some design standards that would be unique to code.
At the request of Mayor Roe, Mr. Lamb confirmed the need to address them in the subdivision code versus in the zoning code (e.g. block sizes).
Mayor Roe clarified that lot sizes were addressed in the city’s zoning code, not its subdivision code.
Page 6 (Park Dedication)
Mr. Lamb clarified some of this section, noting that references to more formal plans and policies the city had adopted specifically or as part of comprehensive plan updates superceded the subdivision code language developed in 1980. Mr. Lamb noted that he had found only three occasions since that inception of land dedication for park or open space, with the remainder of the situations resulting in cash in lieu of land.
Mr. Lamb suggested consideration of a way that the subdivision code could help support larger connectivity of the city itself (e.g. connecting trails or sidewalks) in a broader nature than by simply setting a process and approach for cash applied to a park or requiring additional recreation maintenance. Mr. Lamb noted that the idea was to consider that larger picture and use the subdivision as a tool to achieve that larger connectivity.
Mayor Roe suggested the intent may be to expand the definition of land contribution that could be beyond a specific plot of land, but involve trail connections.
Mr. Lamb agreed that was the intent, and used several examples in Roseville (e.g. McCarron’s Lake area or Old National Guard Armory parcel) as examples of larger tracts of land that could be subdivided, and possibly include another street with a possible trail to connect with the existing system.
Councilmember Willmus questioned if that didn’t lead to situations with additional land being donated to areas of the city that already have built-out park and trail infrastructure, limiting the ability to capture dollars to use in areas of the city without as many amenities available.
While each would be considered on a case by case basis, Mr. Lamb advised that the focus using existing policies, would be to determine how this code as one of many city tools, could be used to improve connectivity throughout the community. Mr. Lamb noted that the comprehensive plan now separated the city into sixteen districts, some of which had no park, and others having limited park space (e.g. Twin Lakes Redevelopment Area). Mr. Lamb noted the need for more sidewalks and amenities to provide synergy in connecting around lakes and development parcels. While agreeing that it differed by location, Mr. Lamb suggested a guiding master plan or park/trail document to help the city code reach its purpose.
Councilmember Willmus spoke against such guiding documents; opining that there were areas in the community without that infrastructure, but could allow them to acquire property on the other side of town.
Mayor Roe noted that the dollars could still be part of this; with Mr. Lamb concurring that it was intended as one other option.
Councilmember Willmus stated that he didn’t want to eliminate steering each application to the Parks & Recreation Commission for a recommendation, which he considered being set in place if this was pursued.
Mayor Roe opined that this simply provided more options on the land side of the equation, and clarified that ultimately land decisions lay with the city, noting that the city didn’t need to approve any land donations that it didn’t want.
Councilmember McGehee spoke in support of having more options available, and therefore including that as a tool in the subdivision ordinance.
Mayor Roe noted that it didn’t need to be an either/or situation, but could be a combination. Mayor Roe further clarified that there were limits on how money in the Park Dedication fund could be used that needed to be adhered to in any situation.
Mayor Roe agreed with the suggestion to remove any references to city staff salaries and refer to the fee schedule.
At the request of Mayor Roe, Mr. Lloyd advised that this suggestion was as a result of the recent Ramsey County Survey workshop attended by staff related to appropriate signature lines for plats being recorded and the need to allow for property owner signatures sufficient for those being sold between preliminary and final plat recording.
After further discussion and deliberation, it was determined that the subdivision code reference this requirement, but clarified that the City was not responsible for the property owner’s recording of documents.
Under advice by City Attorney Gaughan, while the city has the responsibility to make sure properties transfer legally and not trip up transactions, he noted it was an issue for the property owner. City Attorney Gaughan stated support for reference to Ramsey County in code to this affect, but not to specifically address it beyond protecting the city to make sure plats are recorded properly.
Page 8 (other)
Councilmember McGehee noted her natural interest in tree preservation that she continued to find amazingly unsuccessful to-date.
At the request of Councilmember McGehee specific to solar orientation, Mr. Lamb referenced some of the ideas provided form other communities, while recognizing that green infrastructure continued to evolve. Mr. Lamb provided some examples from the City of St. Paul toward those efforts (e.g. stormwater park) and how parks and open space continued to change, as well as solar orientation as an owner issue. Mr. Lamb noted the differences for Roseville as a fully-developed community versus a newer community with those things more challenging to be addressed accordingly (e.g. solar orientation and existing tree canopies).
Councilmember McGehee stated her interest in green infrastructure and use of stormwater ponding to provide for space versus underground tank installation, creating amenities for parks and open space.
Mr. Lamb recognized that this subdivision code was a revision and intended as an update, and could not do everything for everybody. However, Mr. Lamb suggested that is could be more active in focusing on redevelopment and connectivity, including rethinking stormwater requirements as a public amenity.
Mayor Roe suggested their consideration under the “other” park dedication side; while being careful not to mix too many things together.
Discussion ensued on the triggers for tree preservation at this time under current ordinance and related to preliminary plat, but not triggered by the minor subdivision process as currently written, but through the trigger of new home construction.
Councilmember McGehee stated her interest in making that tree preservation trigger part of the minor subdivision process to avoid clear cutting.
Councilmember Willmus stated that he wasn’t interested in having that discussion now and was not prepared to make that change tonight, noting that this had been discussed when adopting the tree preservation ordinance at which time it was decided by the City Council to leave minor subdivisions out of the picture.
Councilmember Laliberte concurred, advising that she also did not come prepared tonight to consider that issue.
Mayor Roe suggested additional rationale and a better understanding of that issue when this returns to the City Council in its next draft.
Mr. Lloyd clarified that with larger plats, street infrastructure and existing house pads often determined tree preservation and placement versus minor subdivisions with one large lot and tree preservation not kicking in until new construction of a new home.
Ms. Collins noted that while there may be no plans upfront for tree preservation, at the final stage of new home development, the parcel would become subject to it.
Councilmember Laliberte stated that she still considered that the right way to go, opining that the person initially subdividing the lot may have insufficient information to make a prudent decision.
As part of that discussion, Councilmember McGehee noted the need to avoid clear-cut situations developing under some subdivisions, creating neighborhood issues at that point and not providing them with any protection.
Mr. Lamb thanked the City Council for their good feedback, advising that he and staff anticipated returning to the April 24, 2017 City Council meeting with the first draft of a new subdivision ordinance.
Mayor Roe recessed the meeting at approximately 8:09 p.m., and reconvened at approximately 8:16 p.m.
e. Update on the Information Technology Department’s Strategic Plan
Finance Director Chris Miller introduced Ms. Veronica Koes and Mark Mayfield and their respective titles; and noted preparation of a short video about the “why” of information technology (IT) collaboration to make sure the City Council and public understood the implementation of a Strategic Plan (Attachment A) and next action steps for customers and employees with IT support functions. Mr. Miller noted the limitations realized without additional resources, and the IT Department’s interest in gauging City Council support and acceptance of additional staffing resources that would be a cost-share for all participants in the consortium, but adding to the city’s projected budget. Mr. Miller advised that staff would provide more detail, but were seeking City Council guidance prior to pursuing it further.
Ms. Koes introduced the video, advising that it had been a capstone project of hers while pursuing a two-year Masters Degree in technology at which time she shared the business model developed by the City of Roseville. Ms. Koes noted that is had become glaringly obvious that Roseville was the only municipality in the country using such a model, making it very unique, and allowing for ways to extend IT support to the city’s Fire and Police Departments. Ms. Koes noted that staff was often asked to explain how the business model worked, and this had prompted creation of the video meant to provide a broad overview of what the IT Department did and why they did it.
Based on the detail provided in packet materials and the video, Finance Director Miller sought City Council concerns and thoughts about the business model. Mr. Miller advised that in talking with the I-NET Consortium at length and other Roseville departments, the user group noted recurring and remaining unmet staffing needs with current staff. As a next step, Mr. Miller stated that the need was to add three new positions at a lower level, basically two help desk positions and one customer support positions. By adding these types of new jobs, Mr. Miller noted that it would provide those entrants into the IT field with opportunities for professional growth, and allow them to advance their skill levels accordingly.
Councilmember McGehee opined this appeared to be a simple model with communities getting together to solve issues.
Ms. Koes advised that, under the current business model, computer support staff responds 24/7 to a high frequency of calls that don’t necessarily require a high-level experience person (e.g. rebooting a computer). By establishing a help desk, Ms. Koes advised that if freed up current higher-level staff to work on more advanced or complex issues. Ms. Koes noted that another situation occurring is that cities want more on-site assistance to address questions, now taking time for systems engineers to respond to; but with that help desk and support specialist in place, network engineers could work on network issues versus troubleshooting desk top users.
Finance Director Miller noted that system engineers performed many proactive tasks to avoid system failures, and the more time they could spend on that versus troubleshooting for end users, the better the overall system’s uptime became.
Mr. Mayfield concurred, noting that by keeping that high level staff at Roseville, the better benefit to the City of Roseville as well.
At its very function, Finance Director Miller noted that the collaboration created and partnering agencies involved in the consortium were all impacted by and sensitive to their respective taxpayers. In Roseville, Mr. Miller noted that this created an opportunity to add three new positions without any tax increase, with the funding provided through tower rentals; and further improving internet service connection sharing and the economies of scale created with these opportunities. Mr. Miller reported that each of the partnering agencies had already agreed to move forward in supporting this additional staffing and paying their proportionate share of the three positions. Mr. Miller advised that the Roseville share would amount to $45,000, fully covered through existing funding sources for the IT function.
With tower fees going into the IT capital funding stream, Mayor Roe noted the need to make sure the city remained conscious that it not deplete funding for its own capital needs.
Finance Director Miller concurred, noting that the hardware share for Roseville amounted to $200,000 annually, with the levy not impacted for non-equipment expenses paid by tower rental fees.
At the request of Mayor Roe, Finance Director Miller confirmed that the $45,000 constituted reserves in tower fees, since inflators were built into each of those agreements, with the increases greater than inflation rates to-date.
At the request of Councilmember Willmus, Mr. Miller advised that funding, if not available from tower fees in the future, would come from other funds and charge-backs.
Referencing the charts on page 3 of the staff report, Councilmember Willmus sought clarification on the 5.6 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees spending 67% of their time on Roseville needs.
Finance Director Miller clarified that chart, based on the total number of employees and percentage of time spent in Roseville or on other agencies; and actual payments allocated and personnel savings realized through the partnership versus equipment and other costs if the IT function was a standalone option.
Mayor Roe noted the staffing allocation was based on a formula based on the number of users; based on the current business model.
Continued discussion ensued to clarify and reconcile the business model staffing, resources, and cost sharing allocations as detailed in the staff report and attachments; IT coverage now and as proposed; and variables based on staff and equipment; and variables between stand alone versus consortium level of equipment and complexity.
In conclusion, Finance Director Miller reported that the model continued to work in the City of Roseville’s favor, as the recipient of three employees at the cost of one.
At the request of Councilmember Laliberte, Ms. Koes clarified what partners were most concerned with as unmet needs; including training and quicker service response times, and on-site availability versus remote assistance.
Discussion ensued regarding staffing levels; training requested by partner cities and agencies; matching customer service/help desk with job tasks; annual revising of cost share allocations or if an agency should leave and adjustments made accordingly; and adjustments in the future if the collaboration moves in a different direction based on new technologies or other unforeseen events.
Mayor Roe requested staff to return with a formal request for City Council consideration in the near future.
Councilmember Willmus requested additional information from a citywide perspective on staffing levels and projections for the coming budget cycle.
At the request of Mayor Roe, Finance Director Miller clarified that funding was already in place for Roseville and other agencies in 2017 budgets now, and this was seeking approval for the creation of the positions.
City Manager Trudgeon clarified that this fell outside normal budget cycles, and represented a more immediate need not fitting that budget process, creating the need to confirm support of these additional positions to avoid them showing up in the budget as a surprise. While this did fit into the bigger picture, Mr. Trudgeon reiterated that it did come at a time outside the budget process.
In ongoing and periodic meetings with other cities and agencies, Finance Director Miller noted the struggles being faced by each entity seeking additional services, creating challenges for each. However, with some needing to wait until December and final budget negotiations to confirm their involvement and approvals, Mr. Miller noted this threw timing off for staff to approach the Roseville City Council before now.
Mayor Roe noted the need for more advance notice, duly noted by City Manager Trudgeon, even if things were pending with other agency funding.
f. Receive Finance Commission Recommendations
Finance Director Chris Miller provided a brief overview, turning the discussion over to representatives of the Finance Commission present tonight and their recommendations for changes to Chapter 208 related to the Finance Commission (Attachment A0 and Capital Investment Policy (Attachment B) and priority ranking system language for the city’s capital improvement program (CIP) on page five.
Five members of the Commission were present, with Chair Robin Schroeder, Matt Harold, and Pete Zeller speaking on their behalf.
Commissioner Harold read a memorandum dated March 19, 2017 from the Commission to the City Council entitled, “Finance Commission recommendation to establish a CIP Priority Ranking System.” Criteria for the ranking system was displayed, identifying four criteria for the CIP policy (page 5, lines 157 – 162) to draw the broader CIP together and better justify items in the budget cycle.
Mayor Roe noted that this would provide another option for sorting CIP assets beyond their function, department or fund, by sorting them by priority and further analyze the financial strength of the bigger picture. Mayor Roe sought clarification that the intent was to aggregate reporting for the overall picture without eliminating or consolidating individual funds for each CIP area.
Chair Schroeder advised, if this recommendation was supported by the City Council, the Finance Commission’s next step would be to get into more detail and provide additional information to the City Council.
Given the current needs represented in the CIP and their priority level, Chair Schroeder noted that this delved into the justification part, not currently part of tonight’s recommendation, but overarching consideration at which time the Finance Commission would assist in defining guidance without categories and how best to apply it. As part of that, Commissioner Harold noted the Commission’s interest in reviewing the Cedarholm Golf Course as part of the bigger picture and entire city CIP versus having each request come before the city in a piecemeal fashion but all included in that bigger picture.
Mayor Roe noted his hesitation in any perception that the CIP is adopted piecemeal when considerable thought was given to its summary form and fund by fund approval of the entire CIP as a full picture.
Councilmember McGehee spoke in support of these recommendations from the Finance Commission, specifically its tie to addressing maintenance of existing assets and not adding new assets without accounting for their maintenance and/or replacement. Councilmember McGehee stated her preference that the Commission review the CIP for the next year or two on an annual basis and provide their written suggestions following that review and their options and opinions of what was coming before the City Council. Councilmember McGehee opined that she found the CIP as a continuing problem area needing to be addressed, and expressed her confidence in the Commission’s ability to provide additional information and assistance in addressing this area.
As a body, Councilmember Willmus clarified that the City Council reviewed the CIP on an annual basis. Regarding prioritization, Councilmember Willmus agreed with a more detailed and specific look on an annual basis and allocation of those dollars in line with recommendations of the Commission in their memorandum.
Councilmember Laliberte agreed, opining the recommendation was a good one and helped provide clarification as the City Council drilled down, including this piece related to the CIP. Councilmember Laliberte stated that she had already asked for a deeper dive into the short-term look and needs projected; and that combined with a “why” as to an expenditure need, would only serve to help, and therefore, would receive her support.
Mayor Roe spoke in support of the recommendations, especially now that he understood the process better. Additionally, noting the previously discussed the “condition index” concept, Mayor Roe opined that was a good idea and suggested an added column to the CIP listing that current year condition index and allowing for a consistent scaling system across all different city assets to help staff and the City Council better perform their analysis and move CIP items around from year to year and adjust funding accordingly as part of the overall CIP listing.
On behalf of the City Council, Mayor Roe thanked the Finance Commission for these good ideas, without objection, staff was directed to proceed in bringing this back for formal action.
g. Establish a 2018 Budget Process Timeline
Finance Director Chris Miller briefly summarized the proposed 2018 budget process timeline as detailed in the staff report, providing key discussion topics and their potential dates. Mr. Miller sought guidance on these milestone dates, tightened up from past schedules in the interest of “quality” versus “quantity” and recognizing other City Council responsibilities and business while keeping the budget process on task.
Mr. Miller noted ten dates for the remainder of 2017 as part of the 2018 budget process. Depending on potential legislative changes related to statutory deadlines for Economic Development Authorities, Mr. Miller advised that it was possible consideration of that preliminary levy could be moved consistent with that for the city’s preliminary levy adoption date.
Mr. Miller also noted that, while the City Council typically met with the Finance Commission in August, the City Council may wish to delay that meeting until September and closer to preliminary tax levy adoption. As discussed in January of 2017, Mr. Miller noted the City Council’s approval of pushing back the City Manager’s recommended budget to July rather than May, allowing the advantage of additional information as part of the information available to inform the budget. While there may be several dates that could be eliminated or further compressed in the timeline, Mr. Miller clarified that the intent was not to rush the process but instead to make the process more effective and time-sensitive.
As part of the guidance being sought by staff from the City Council related to the timeline, Mr. Miller also requested feedback from individual Councilmembers on the kinds of information packages they preferred for the process. Over the last few years, Mr. Miller referenced the budget summary (Attachment A) and asked if that sufficiently met information needs or if they preferred a different format.
Councilmember Willmus stated his comfort level with the proposed 2018 timeline, especially with the additional December meeting scheduled. Specific to Attachment A and information needs, Councilmember Willmus noted his previous requests for a “cash carry forward” fund balance or some method to track those dollars consistently on an annualized basis at any point in time. When talking about capital needs, Councilmember Willmus opined that it would provide a better picture if the amount of those carryover funds was known for possible reallocation to the CIP; and therefore he would like a fund created to track those surpluses annually.
Mayor Roe noted it could provide a corresponding report on the balance in the fund whenever known.
Councilmember Laliberte agreed with the cash carry forward fund and creating a specific look at what was available and it weighing into decision-making, also making it clear and transparent for the City Council and the public. Councilmember Laliberte stated that she was comfortable with the timeline, as long as it provided as many opportunities as possible for the public to weigh in. Councilmember Laliberte also spoke in support of staff’s suggestion to push this to August and September rather than mid-year, including meeting with the Finance Commission in September representing a great time to receive their timely recommendations.
Councilmember McGehee stated that she was happy with those two changes.
At the request of Mayor Roe, Mr. Miller advised that the Finance Commission had yet to review this proposed schedule. Mayor Roe suggested that they plug any additional thoughts into the process, especially when they preferred to provide their feedback, whether in September or at an earlier opportunity as well that might inform the budgetary goals scheduled for July 17, 2017. Mayor Roe clarified that the CIP review in May was intended only as its initial presentation and not its adoption. Mayor Roe suggested an added item before year-end to adopt the final budget, tax levy and CIP and utility rates.
Councilmember McGehee suggested eliminating the additional December meeting, with Mayor Roe suggesting that the schedule could be adjusted as the year progressed and based on business to be conducted.
Specific to information needs, Mayor Roe stated his preference for Attachment A as well as the previously provided additional detail, and as included in last year’s City Manager recommended budget and its schedules A through G providing a citywide look for tax-supported and non-tax supported funds, and a more detailed breakdown of each.
For easier reading, Councilmember McGehee asked for reports in larger print if and when possible, especially referencing CIP schedules.
Staff confirmed the annual budget feedback post card intended for the May edition of the City News newsletter. Mayor Roe referenced, in addition to Attachment A, short-term CIP information about those things moving in or out from one year to the next as well as the broader 5-20 year CIP.
Mr. Miller advised that staff was prepared to tee up discussion on carryover funds as requested by Councilmember Willmus at the April 10, 2017 regular City Council meeting, duly noted by Mayor Roe. Mayor Roe noted that any further recommendations from the Finance Commission before that date would be welcomed.
h. Cedarholm Golf Course Clubhouse/Community Building Replacement Discussion
Parks & Recreation Director Lonnie Brokke summarized information provided in the staff report and attachments and presented advisory team recommendations and three options and cost projections as outlined for building placement and possible parking diagrams if expanded. For potential funding, Mr. Brokke advised that it included existing funds, available park dedication and park renewal funds, along with a Golf Course Fund balance of $200,000 for a total projected cost of $1,900,000.
As part of the presentation, Mr. Brokke reviewed two versions from the consulting architectural firm: one for a 3,200 square foot building similar to the existing size and function, and an alternate 5,000 square foot building and associated costs for each. Mr. Brokke noted that Roseville Historical Society and golf course maintenance cost estimates were approximately $400,000 allotted for the maintenance facility and $600,000 for the Historical Society.
Depending on City Council guidance, Mr. Brokke reviewed next steps involving selection of an architectural firm to provide building images/orientation; plans/specifications for a project; advertising for proposals; selection if a contractor; and determination of project timing.
At the request of Mayor Roe, Mr. Brokke confirmed that those next steps in developing building images and deciding on orientation would provide more information than currently known. Mr. Brokke advised that the current estimates were only based on similar buildings and square footage as being built today, with any further refinement of those cost estimates requiring a specific plan set.
Discussion ensued regarding new park buildings in the system, their use and functions, and groups being served with them. Mr. Brokke reported on their use since opening in 2015, and expanded use to 994 occasions, detailing paid rentals, skating rinks and warming areas, general recreation program use, community meetings, city meetings and other uses as detailed in the annual report. Mr. Brokke noted that revenue generated was approximately $66,000 in 2016 compared to total revenue of approximately $15,000 in 2015.
Further discussion included capacity of existing buildings, with Mr. Brokke estimating seating of 50-60 people in the larger buildings (Autumn Grove and Lexington) with seating in banquet style; with the smaller buildings (Oasis, Villa and Sandcastle) comfortably seating 25-30 and Rosebrook at an approximately 45 capacity. Mr. Brokke stated current capacity of the community space at the existing clubhouse available for rental was approximately 60 in capacity; and total capacity of the Oval being 220 in the Rose Room and 60 in the Fireside Room for a total of 280 capacity.
Councilmember Willmus stated that he didn’t want to duplicate space that was already available, but preferred mid-range to accommodate gathering space for approximately 100 capacity between that available at Autumn Grove/Lexington and the Oval. Councilmember Willmus stated that a large part of his consideration went beyond whether to seek space for other uses beyond that of a club house or to specifically keep dollars involved only to replace the clubhouse and its function and limited role. Councilmember Willmus stated that this was difficult for him to decide, but his interest was geared toward a facility to serve the year-round and beyond golf, since there was no guarantee the golf course would remain a viable use 5-15 years from now or if golf would still be at that location. However, Councilmember Willmus stated that he certainly wanted to keep the green space at that location; and therefore noted his interest in how this fit with the master plan and providing community gathering space and whether or not it filled the need for seating capacity or group use. Councilmember Willmus stated his preference to have the Historical Society located on the city campus rather than in the golf course facility. Living by Autumn Grove and seeing the number of people flowing in and out of the facility, Councilmember Willmus noted that entered into his consideration, while at the same time he struggled with the architect’s estimates without having any real dollars on the table, seeking additional information on what would be involved in getting more refined numbers.
Mr. Brokke reiterated that it would require having an actual project identified, and developing plans and specifications to send out for proposals.
Councilmember McGehee shared Councilmember Willmus’ desire to locate the Historical Society on the city campus and not part of the golf course location, opining it was more logical. From her personal perspective, Councilmember McGehee opined that she saw no pressing need for a larger space given the size of the golf course itself and limited opportunities (cross country skiing), and its size compared to that of Midland Hills and the U of MN courses in wintertime. While it remained a nice public amenity for its size, Councilmember McGehee recognized that there was no way to expand it and therefore, to build something larger on the site seemed unreasonable to her and didn’t necessitate building beyond that need. Councilmember McGehee noted that additional needs crossing the budget; and without a massive increase in rental fees, noted that she had not seen any other form for sustainability of the facility yet presented. Councilmember McGehee further questioned the lack of information on energy efficiency considerations for a building, its orientation related to potential use of solar panels; and concurred with Councilmember Willmus in keeping the site as green space. Councilmember McGehee spoke in support of a structure that was efficient, well-built, and well thought out and appropriate for the size and type of venue currently in use and in the foreseeable future. Councilmember McGehee stated that she liked the potential parking changes, as long as there weren’t too many challenges, but allowing for reasonable expansion.
Councilmember Laliberte thanked the advisory team and staff for the presentation and their work to-date. As part of the task force, Councilmember Laliberte noted that housing the Historical Society was an integral part of the consideration. However, Councilmember Laliberte agreed with her colleagues that it should be housed in a natural site like the city hall campus; since she didn’t think it was natural for most people to seek out a historical society at a golf course location; and she was even concerned that this may impede the growth and interest for the society itself. However, Councilmember Laliberte also opined that it was time to stop talking about it and get them housed as appropriate. Regarding the golf course building itself, Councilmember Laliberte stated her interest in redoing the building as part of the overall expansion of the system that fills a community need. While current spaces don’t adequately address customer flow and check-in and pieces pertaining to the golf use and golf customers, Councilmember Laliberte noted the additional need for the space to be flexible for future use over the next 5-15 years as well; and within that same location for long-term needs and rentals. Councilmember Laliberte stated that she was not supportive of a building of the same footprint and capacity for 60 people but preferred filling the immediate need for a capacity of 100-120 people as another option, especially given the scenic views and patio space, and potential interested groups in renting such a space.
At approximately 10:00 p.m., Willmus moved, Laliberte seconded, extension of the meeting curfew to include this item and the closed session.
Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte and Roe.
Councilmember Laliberte stated the importance of having real numbers available to make these hard decisions; and in relation to disrupting the area with two different building projects (separate maintenance facility) versus doing all now and considering expansion of the site to include the Historical Society. Councilmember Laliberte stated that she found the current estimates to be high, but without more specificity, she was unable to make an informed decision. As a member of the task force, Councilmember Laliberte stated her keen interest in staying involved, and if there was any additional subcommittee to be created, volunteered to serve in that capacity.
Mayor Roe agreed that he was more inclined toward a 100 person capacity facility; and suggested it may be more prudent to defer the maintenance facility at this point and extend its life with a new roof and minor repairs versus new construction to buy some additional time. Mayor Roe agreed with his colleagues about housing the Historical Society at a location other than at the golf course. Regarding funding sources, Mayor Roe stated that he was concerned with completely depleting the Park Dedication or Golf Course Funds, as well as in dedicating the entire $400,000 remaining form the Park Renewal process. Mayor Roe noted additional needs already in play (e.g. Southwest Roseville park and way-finding signage as requested by the RVA) and having identified those possibly be funded from those remaining Park Renewal funds, and asked that the larger discussion remain at the forefront as well. In terms of park dedication funding, Mayor Roe noted that he had already identified CIP uses for that money. Mayor Roe noted that it was reasonable to say that this would not come under revenue bond funding as an option, leaving levy support that he didn’t want to be flippant about an increase in the tax levy to support this. However, as with consideration of other city property acquisition during tonight’s closed session, Mayor Roe noted the need to look at the full picture as well as this piece.
Specific to the Historical Society and pod displayed, Councilmember McGehee suggested removal, making a larger sized community room instead.
Specific to the maintenance facility, Councilmember Willmus suggested removal of it at this time and leave it largely as is with the exception of some cosmetic improvements, but not consider construction of a new maintenance facility,
Mayor Roe noted the need for further review of the condition of the maintenance facility before making that decision.
Before moving forward, Councilmember Willmus stated the importance for him in having real numbers to work with sooner rather than later to inform a factual discussion versus projections.
Mayor Roe noted that the staff recommendation was to go out for bids, but questioned if that was the same path suggested by Councilmember Willmus.
Specific to the maintenance building, Councilmember Laliberte pointed out that any improvements to the building may trigger the need to meet building code regulations that may make replacement more prudent than renovation.
Mr. Brokke concurred with Councilmember Laliberte, advising that the maintenance facility did not meet today’s standards, since it was simply a garage and had no potable water or restroom facilities; things for the City Council to consider in its decision-making. Mr. Brokke advised that maintenance staff had replaced roof shingles several years ago.
Further discussion included cart storage and proposed location; and the quality and efficiency of the club house – current or new.
In summary, Mayor Roe noted a consensus, while not necessarily unanimous, was moving toward a larger facility (100-120 capacity) excluding housing the Historical Society.
Mr. Brokke reviewed the next steps as previously noted, seeking City Council direction and its additional cost. Mr. Brokke noted that this would involve using the existing architect to quote for those services; with City Manager Trudgeon noting it would come back to the City Council for formal approval.
For clarity, and without objection, staff was directed to ask for a quote from the architect for the cost of their services to develop plans and specifications,
Mr. Brokke suggested several members of the City Council to assist with further discussion on orientation and other details.
Councilmembers Laliberte, Willmus and McGehee all volunteered to serve in that capacity. However, Mayor Roe, recognizing that all council members would have additional feedback, suggested those questions be brought to the City Council as a whole.
8. Approve Minutes
9. Approve Consent Agenda
10. Council & City Manager Communications, Reports, and Announcements
Councilmember Laliberte announced an upcoming Community Health Awareness Team (CHAT) event entitled, “Managing Your Medications,” encouraging residents to attend.
11. Councilmember Initiated Future Agenda Items and Future Agenda Review
Mayor Roe announced that, in accordance with Minnesota State Statutes Chapter 13.D.03 and exceptions to Open Meeting Laws, he would entertain a motion to move into Closed Executive Session for the purpose of discussing development of a potential offer for acquisition of property located at 2719 Lexington Avenue.
Willmus moved, Laliberte seconded, recessing the City Council meeting at approximately 10:16 p.m. and convening in Closed Executive Session, per State Statute.
Ayes: McGehee, Willmus, Laliberte and Roe.
Mayor Roe convened the City Council in Closed Executive Session at approximately 10:19 p.m.
In addition to the Councilmembers, City Manager Trudgeon, City Attorney Gaughan and Finance Director Chris Miller were also present.
Councilmember McGehee left at 10:35 p.m.
RECONVENE OPEN SESSION
At approximately 10:41 p.m., Laliberte moved, Roe seconded, adjourning the Closed Executive Session and reconvening in Open Session.
Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte and Roe.
Willmus moved, Laliberte seconded, adjournment of the meeting at approximately 10:41 p.m.
Ayes: Willmus, Laliberte and Roe.