1. Call to Order. The workshop session of the Council of the City of Rogers was called to order by Acting Mayor Bell on Tuesday, May 24, 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.
Council excused: Jason Grimm.
Staff present: Gary Buysse, Liquor Operations Manager; Jeff Carson, City Attorney; Stacy Doboszenski, Assistant City Administrator/Clerk; Brad Feist, Fire Chief; Rose Lorsung, City Planner; John Seifert, Public Works Supt., Steve Stahmer, City Administrator; Lisa Wieland, Finance Director; and Bret Weiss, City Engineer.
Administrator Stahmer updated the Council on the staff’s activity since the last joint meeting. Stahmer stated after the last work session, staff met with Hassan’s Administrator and Attorney. Rogers presented a 3 year phase in as Rogers’ starting point and Hassan’s staff communication their initial response is a full 6 year phase-in for residential and agricultural properties and 4 year phase-in on the commercial/industrial properties. Stahmer stated that staff could recommend a 4 year phase-in only on the residential and agricultural properties but holding firm on the commercial/industrial properties coming in immediately.
Stahmer read from the worksheets provided by Finance Director Wieland stating the four year phase-in is a $552,838 impact.
Another item from the Hassan perspective was the two Hassan full-time employees; to keep them on for the six months following the merger in a similar capacity. At the end of the six months then it is Rogers’ discretion to determine the need for the continued employment.
Wieland stated one thing discussed at the last workshop is the need to translate the tax rate into the tax levy dollar amount. While using the differential in tax rate for 2011, we may need to translate that to a levy dollar amount depending on what Hennepin County requests from us. At the point the same tax rate is reached, if fewer than the years negotiated, then the phase-in agreement is void.
Wieland stated once there is an agreement, then any future negotiations are over and staff can work on the items that need to be accomplished to achieve the annexation.
Wieland also addressed Bell’s concerns of wanting a list to quantify the items that are not being achieved on day one for a basis of phasing in the tax rate/levy.
Bunting questioned, won’t we have to justify the phase-in?
Carson stated the State will accept whatever the two communities decide to do with the phase-in agreement. Carson referenced the statute. Carson stated he is not aware of any case where they monitored the basis for the phase-in. Carson believes there should be a statement to the effect of why the phase-in was agreed to. Carson stated it is hard to quantify a list. Hassan Attorney Ruppe pointed out in the statute the last sentence that speaks to including the phase-in language. The interpretation is you don’t necessarily legally need to have the quantified list.
Wieland stated Shelly Eldrige from Ehlers made a call into Hennepin County taxpayer division and discussed some valuations and fiscal disparities. Hennepin County requested a copy of the statute; wanting to see where they would be required to phase in the taxes.
Staff discussed the difference between certifying a levy versus certifying a rate; whatever Hennepin County needs to accomplish the tax phase-in.
Stahmer stated what the City is trying to accomplish is to get the Board and the Council close enough together so that some type of decision can be made tomorrow night to get the attorneys to the point where they can draw up some language for an amendment to the OAA.
Staff believes the Council and Board are as close as they can be now prior to going into tomorrow night’s meeting.
Carson stated staff believes there is no justification as to why C/I should not be immediately considered.
Bunting concurred with Attorney Carson’s assessment of the C/I properties.
The two staffs will talk tomorrow prior to the meeting. Stahmer asked if there is anything from the Council’s perspective to bring back to Hassan’s staff tomorrow.
Ihli stated if adding an additional year gets the two communities together, he would not have an issue with that.
Stahmer stated there are adjustments that will need to be made to the FMP in order to accommodate the phase-in agreement.
Bell said he stated at the work session, and still feels, that getting to the three year change was departure from where he thought it should be. Going to 4 or 5 years has a significant effect on things; a lot of money for those years and doesn’t know if he is comfortable with extending the years.
Council and staff discussed the impact to future budgets and the FMP to phase-in the Hassan properties.
Bell stated he sees the difference between 3 and 4 years; the impact or dollar amount on a residence isn’t that dramatic of a difference. Bell wonders how much actual relief it provides to the homeowners versus what it does collectively overall to the City.
Bunting stated he thought three years was a fair compromise. There was not a step-in plan decided for the OAA and though meeting them in the middle was more than fair. To go more than 3 years will require a fair amount of explaining to the residents of Rogers. Bunting is in favor of a three year phase-in.
Carson stated what staff will do is discuss this with Hassan staff tomorrow morning. Carson stated he will explain to their attorney the discussion that took place tonight.
Stanley agrees with the consensus on the C/I properties and is somewhat torn on going with 3 or 4 years.
Carson asked if there is any sense on the employment question? Bell clarified that they would stay employed through the end of 2012.
Stahmer stated it would not be an employment contract. Stanley asked the dollar amount and if it would be written into the contract.
Staff explained the salaries would be budgeted through Hassan’s 2012 budget.
Bunting stated he is fine with it as long as it is not an employment contract.
Bell stated he does not have a problem with extending the employment through the end of the year.
Stahmer asked if it is fair to characterize that there is a split between 3 and 4 years. Council stated yes.
Bunting moved, Ihli seconded a motion to adjourn at 6:59 p.m. Motion carried 4-0.
Assistant City Administrator/Clerk