1. Call to Order. The budget workshop session of the Council of the City of Rogers was called to order by Acting Mayor Davis on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 at 6:00 p.m. at the Rogers Community Room, 21201 Memorial Drive, Rogers, MN, 55374.
Council present: Jay Bunting, Rob Bell, Jamie Davis, and Steve Rauenhorst.
Council excused: Jason Grimm
Staff present: Gary Buysse, Liquor Manager; Stacy Doboszenski, Assistant City Administrator/Clerk; Steve Stahmer, City Administrator; and Lisa Wieland, Finance Director.
2. Discussion on Building Lease Proposal for Senior/Youth Center
Administrator Stahmer addressed the item regarding a dedicated senior/youth center. On tonight’s meeting for discussion if a senior/youth center should be included in the City’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) going forward. Stahmer explained the City received an unsolicited letter to lease a property on Main Street to the City for a senior/youth facility. Stahmer stated staff has not gone full steam ahead in looking at a facility, wanting to discuss that tonight as a council.
Bunting stated he initiated this discussion to some extent when the Fastenal building came up for sale.
Bunting discussed the issues with the Hassan Township building as the current senior center stressed the importance of having a facility in town. Sooner is better if the city can afford to do something like this. The letter proposes a lease to the city for the cost of taxes for a period of two years. Bunting stated he is interested if there were an agreed upon purchase price. Bunting furthers stated he has enlisted the help of Jack Hines and Chuck Christian to talk with Lefty (Schaber) on what he is willing to sell it for. The starting point would be the value on the tax rolls. Not a perfect building, but one we could make work keeping in mind redevelopment of downtown.
Davis discussed monthly payments in the neighborhood of $650 per month for rent.
Stahmer informed Council there is nothing included in the budget. Stahmer updated the Council on information he received from St. Michael, who does budget for rental space and programming. St. Michael’s budget is about $90 to $95,000 including a programmer. Stahmer also reminded Council that any change of use of the former Fastenal building would require sprinkling. At the time Dean’s Plumbing was considering moving into the building the cost was $40 to $50,000.
Bunting discussed a funds matching program the Lions club is looking into if they were able to use the building for their monthly meetings. Bunting stated the Rotary may also be interested in participating in the build-out of the building.
Stahmer stated staff has tried to put heads together in looking at other options of existing space and mentioned the use of the RAC and Muni, however there would be a lack of dedicated space and kitchen facilities.
Davis asked if anyone from the audience would like to comment.
Patricia Johnson addressed the Council. Johnson stated they visited the Fastenal building in May and reiterated what Bunting stated about the Lions club. Johnson stated she has planted seeds among the business community receiving verbal commitments. Johnson stated the RAC is not an option without running water and a restroom upstairs. The Muni would limit them severely to certain days at certain times. Johnson stated attendance has dropped to zero at the Hassan facility; people don’t want to drive out there, they are looking for a drop in site, with a noon meal served. Johnson spoke on potential income that could be generated from the Fastenal building and discussed the make-up of the interior of the facility. Funding from the Lions would handle the build-out with volunteer labor.
Bunting believes that the Lions would cover the build-out costs.
Harold Trombley addressed the Council as a 52 year area resident. Trombley stated he is not for the City spending money it does not have. Trombley then questioned the Council the financial status the City will be in when TIF districts drop off suggesting the Council could budget for the building when the districts are gone.
Stahmer addressed Trombley stating the figures are included with the financial management plan. The TIF being referred to coincides with the annexation of Hassan Township. To say there will be additional money for new programs without further growth is difficult to project. With the budget cuts done in 2009 and 2010 to respond to the current situation, it’s difficult to say what 2012 will look like.
Trombley commented on being a member of the Lions and referenced the money currently being dedicated for parks. Trombley said he doesn’t know if there is any way for those funds to be rededicated, if the club or the council would be in favor of that. Trombley then commended the council for getting things under reigns. Trombley suggested getting somebody like Norbert Zahler an idea of the building, let him draw up some plans. It would give a ballpark estimate of what we are looking at; cost of renovations and operations.
Judi Hanson, 15 year resident on Fawn Trail addressed the Council regarding where a senior center is going to be located recommending it be centrally located but within walking distance for a lot of our seniors. Our idea was to give a place for the folks who didn’t have someone to lean on and develop a community for them. Hanson also discussed transportation issues and by having a facility downtown within walking distance would be ideal. Hanson then thanked the Council for the sidewalk, stop lights, benches on Memorial Drive.
Pat Johnson suggested using the back room of the proposed facility as a place for a youth center stating the kids need a place to hang out that is supervised and use seniors as guidance counselors.
Davis agrees that downtown is the best location. Seems like the logical choice, but how to bridge the financial gap is the question. Davis stated he has no problem with being in that building, but how do we pay for it.
Rauenhorst stated he would prefer to see the lions improve it and would prefer seeing the seniors raise the money to pay for it. Rauenhorst stated when you are talking about kids in there, will we be hiring a director, or will the seniors supervise? Rauenhorst stated he believes we are all in favor of the idea, but we can’t afford it.
Bunting stated the $600 doesn’t worry him, stating there is enough in health insurance savings to cover the cost. Bunting commented on leasing the space and determining the impact in 2011 with staffing, utilities, programs, etc.
Wieland suggested incorporating this into the CIP, to see what happens to the overall picture. Wieland reminded Council in 2012 we start paying off interfund loans, we are still paying off church debt, and with the annexation need to have a staffing plan to work with. Wieland spoke on depreciation and replacement value.
Rauenhorst stated the fund raising needs to be there first.
Wieland spoke on the licensing for food. If the City were going to build this in it would be an operational department of the city.
Bunting stated those are some of the concerns he would like to see on paper. If this is feasible, what would we be giving up as far as loan repayment, other funding sources, or is it possible to use park money for this area? Could it be staffed by an FTE that would otherwise be lost due to the merger? From a capital point this is a minor purchase. Bunting stated he knows it is going to take some work to do this, but would like to see this.
Seniors are a large part of the community and the City has made an effort using TIF financing to bring them to the community. Bunting reiterated that he wants to see where the dollars are and what the cost would be going forward.
Scott Adams addressed the Council stating he thinks Bunting is making a good point. We are all in agreement that a senior center would be nice for the city, but provided a word of caution stating this is beginning to look exactly like what happened with the Word of Peace building. Adams stated it .needs to be looked at from all aspects necessary to get an exact figure of what the cost will be.
Bunting stated if it wasn’t for Schaber offering the lease, then the City wouldn’t be looking at it. It’s in the right part of town, one of those things we want to have in our community.
Rauenhorst stated wants to see how much it is going to cost and how much in matching funds will be donated. Adams brings up a good point, until we have everything in front of us, he doesn’t think we should make any attempt into entering into a lease agreement. Bunting agreed with Rauenhorst.
Council discussed directing staff or seniors to come up with their numbers and present them back to the Council.
Bunting stated he would like to have the work done in-house. Bunting stated finance is his background, if the Council wants him to do a financial analysis, then he would be willing to one or work with Wieland to prepare the financial analysis.
Wieland encouraged council to consider the cost effectiveness of doing a new facility in conjunction with other city buildings.
Bunting stated this is one of the properties he would be looking at purchasing anyway.
Irma Chamberlin addressed the Council stating she is appreciative for the Council looking at this so seriously. Hopes we can work it out some way…good luck to all of us.
Rauenhorst stated there will be a way to work this out somehow.
Bunting stated he and Wieland will be working on this together.
Stahmer addressed the workload placed on staff and stating we will be able to put the information together, just may take longer, stating Wieland’s to-do list never gets smaller. Stahmer stated staff can clearly pull the information together it just may take some time. Stahmer stated he did some quick math and if the City is looking at a $220,000 purchase price, and funding source was a bond, it would be a $20,000 annual bond payment. Stahmer stated it would equal a 1% levy increase on general fund levy for the building. To have the building and program, like St. Michael, it would be a 3-5% levy increase.
Council consensus was to direct staff to work on a financial analysis.
3. Discussion on Lodging Tax Proposal
Stahmer stated this item was on the last work session agenda, however time did not allow for it to be addressed. Stahmer stated the Chamber’s holiday event is tonight and they are not able to attend the meeting. Stahmer stated this will be set again at a future date at the Council’s discretion.
Motion by Rauenhorst, seconded by Bunting to adjourn the meeting at 6:50 p.m. Motion carried 4-0.
Assistant City Administrator/Clerk