1. Call to Order. The workshop session of the Council of the City of Rogers was called to order by Mayor Grimm on Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. at the Rogers Community Room, 21201 Memorial Drive, Rogers, MN, 55374.
Council present: Rob Bell, Jay Bunting, Jason Grimm, Rick Ihli, and Maureen Stanley.
Staff present: Stacy Doboszenski, Assistant City Administrator/Clerk; Brad Feist, Fire Chief; John Seifert, Public Works Supt., Steve Stahmer, City Administrator; John Thames, City Attorney, Lisa Wieland, Finance Director; and Bret Weiss, City Engineer.
2. Annexation Discussion on Memorandum of Understanding
Administrator Stahmer handed out documents to Council at the meeting. Stahmer provided a background of the memorandum of understanding and the items surrounding the purpose of the workshop session, highlighting the following points:
• Stahmer stated approximately up to $168,000 of additional MSA road funding would be available if the date were moved up earlier into December 2011. MSA funding is a moot point for the January to July change.
• Joint meetings of the Joint Annexation Task Force have largely surrounded taxes and tax rates; urban versus rural service districts. Grimm stated at the last meeting they heavily discussed TIF and the amount of debt in Rogers; not ranked number one in debt as stated by the Town Board.
• Purpose of the meeting is to discuss the MOU and the date change and the possibility of taking action.
• Some discussion regarding a resolution from the Hassan Board that would have discussed an impasse and the possibility of moving toward a mediation situation. To his understanding, the resolution was revised substantially at the town board meeting last night. Now the discussion of impasse and mediation are no longer in the resolution, but the process that it is laying out is a process that would first bring the Council and the Town Board to a joint meeting.
Stahmer read from the adopted Hassan resolution. In talking with Jeff Carson, staff would assume the Council would be open to an April joint meeting. What Carson and staff would recommend would be to postpone action on the MOU or date change based on the fact that we will be discussing the items listed in the Resolution at the joint meeting. Action can be taken on the MOU and date change at the joint meeting or subsequent joint meeting. The goal from staff’s view would be if everything is moving forward together, if the City and Township are in agreement of enough items, then approve the MOU and date change at the joint meeting.
Stahmer stated the focus of tonight’s workshop session has changed since last Friday and the resolution that was adopted by the Hassan Town Board at their meeting last night.
Ihli asked staff what the Board will say on not acting on the MOU until April. Ihli then asked the question of Steve Swanson (Hassan Board Member) in the audience.
Grimm asked what the concerns were.
Stahmer stated the concerns are that the City is not making piecemeal changes. Staff understands from the Hassan perspective, this has dragged on for quite a while. A matter of trying to make sure we are not dealing with the piecemeal.
Grimm asked the Council how they feel on changing the date. Bell stated he didn’t have an issue.
Ihli stated now that we know it doesn’t change the MSA dollars to do it either January or July, he is okay.
Grimm stated he never had an issue with the date change.
Bunting stated the date change gives Hassan residents more time to be managed by people they have voted into office.
Grimm asked Council if they had any other questions, comments, or concerns.
Stahmer stated his recommendation would be to wait until April, but one item that staff wants to make sure we get figured out that is in the MOU is the fund balance item of the MOU for Hassan’s General Fund. Stahmer stated he wants to verify the figure with Administrator Craig before having the Council take action.
Grimm asked if an update can be given on rural versus urban taxing districts. Staff stated some sort of differential of tax rate can be accomplished in tax rate in general, however it is not allowed under statute to happen in Hennepin or Ramsey County. Stahmer continued to discuss two tax rates and if the City were to adopt a phased in program; year one X, year two X + 10%, etc. phasing it in over a period of six years, the differential would take in to account those services that would not be provided to the Township. There are very few things where there is actually a service not being provided. Utilities are outside of taxation.
Grimm stated we can’t do what is being asked in Hennepin County or Ramsey County. The second item is a small number that could be accomplished through special legislation through the State.
Mark Dobberstein, 14180 Dehns Field Road
Mr. Dobberstein stated the phasing in of taxes is something that is very real.
Bell stated he would like to hear if something can be done; he is not in opposition to it, he was told early on that it can’t be done.
3. Update on adopting portions of Hassan land use portions.
Rose Lorsung addressed the Council stating the Joint planning board has been meeting and doing hard work of merging subdivision ordinances and zoning ordinances together. The previous planner started the process. Currently they are working on a subdivision ordinance draft. Lorsung stated a very rigorous schedule is proposed with a flow chart that will be presented at the regular meeting.
Lorsung commented on having open house meetings per task completion of merging the two ordinances
Administrator Stahmer concluded the meeting by stating if council does not set the date tonight – try to set another date around that same timeframe and have the Mayor and Town Chair call that meeting.
Dobberstein addressed the Council with his concerns of property tax; an 85% increase to his taxes for what? Dobberstein stated he is currently getting great police service, snow plow, and already paying for the fire. Not going to see incremental increases in service. Dobberstein continued to discuss the services he receives as a Hassan resident and the taxes he will pay as a Rogers resident. Dobberstein requested that Rogers respond to the questions raised by Hassan.
Mayor Grimm adjourned the budget meeting at 6:40 p.m.
Assistant City Administrator/Clerk