1. Call to Order. The regular meeting of the Council of the City of Rogers was called to order by Mayor Grimm on Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. at Rogers Community Center, 21201 Memorial Drive, Rogers, MN, 55374.
Council present: Rob Bell, Jay Bunting, Jason Grimm, Rick Ihli, and Maureen Stanley.
Staff present: Jeff Carson, City Attorney; Stacy Doboszenski, Assistant City Administrator; Rose Lorsung, City Planner; John Seifert, Public Works Supt.; Steve Stahmer, City Administrator; Bret Weiss, City Engineer; and Lisa Wieland, Finance Director.
2. Open Forum.
Larry Maddox, 21875 129th Avenue
Mr. Maddox addressed the Council regarding the snow removal on the west side of Main Street stating several businesses don't do anything about snow removal. He was hoping the City can attach the cost of the snow removal to the utilities for those businesses.
Mr. Maddox also wanted an update on the 129th Avenue sidewalk project.
Bunting stated he agrees with Mr. Maddox and asked Public Works Supt. Seifert to address Mr. Maddox's concerns.
Seifert addressed the Council and discussed the areas the City presently maintains for snow removal. Seifert stated there is a nuisance ordinance and the work can be done and the cost can be certified against the property owners. The west side is more narrow and takes smaller equipment to move around the signs. Seifert stated the County plows curb to curb which ends up putting some snow back onto the sidewalks. Seifert stated, as time permits, the City has removed the snow from the downtown area. Seifert stated it's the Council's decision to change the policy on snow removal in the downtown area.
Bunting suggested sending the CSO to the business owners to discuss the importance of snow removal. Council concurred.
Seifert provided an update on the construction of the sidewalk for the ASI building to 129th Avenue.
3.01 Waste Water Treatment Plant Efficiency Study
Public Works Supt. Seifert provided a presentation on an efficiency study conducted by the University of Minnesota summer intern David Buck.
4. Approve agenda.
The following was added under Other Business:
8.01 Bunting – commentary about recent events
5. Consent Agenda.
5.01 Approval of Minutes from September 13, 2011 City Council Budget Workshop and September 13, 2011 City Council Meeting
5.02 Approval of Bills and Claims
5.03 Approval of Ordinance No. 2011-05, An Ordinance Amendment to Chapter 121 in its Entirety Relating to Subdivisions and Summary Ordinance No. 2011-05
5.04 Approval of Resolution No. 2011-42, A Request for Site Plan Approval by M&L Industries for a 6120 sq. ft. Warehouse with 600 sq. ft. of that to be a Show Room to Display Products they Manufacture
5.05 Approval of Resolution No. 2011- 43, A Resolution Setting the Assessment Hearing Date for the 129th Avenue Reconstruction Project
5.06 Approval of Resolution No. 2011-44, A Resolution Setting the Assessment Hearing Date for the South Diamond Lake Road and Brockton Lane Intersection Project
5.07 Approval of Resolution No. 2011-45, A Resolution Approving Lot Divisions for the John Deere Lane Extension Project
5.08 Approval of a 3.2 On-Sale Liquor License for the Rogers Lions Club, October 29, 2011 for the Bolduc Benefit
5.09 Minnesota Green Corps Grant Application
Bell pulled 5.04.
Bunting moved, Bell seconded a motion to approve the consent agenda less 5.04. Motion carried 5-0.
Bell stated we got an additional sheet at the beginning of the meeting and asked Planner Lorsung to explain the replacement of exhibit B for the developer's agreement for M & L Industries.
Lorsung proceeded to explain the project being done by M & L Industries.
Bell questioned if there is sufficient parking at the site now, or if more parking is being added. Lorsung stated there is enough parking.
Bell moved, Bunting seconded a motion to approve 5.04. Motion carried 5-0.
6. Public Hearings
6.01 Public Hearing to Consider Adoption of a Five Year Capital Improvement Plan (2011 to 2016) and Notice of intention to Issue Capital Improvement Plan Bonds (Resolution No. 2011-46)
Finance Director Wieland introduced the public hearing and Dave Callister of Ehlers Associates. Wieland stated, since calling for the public hearing, a pre-sale report has been run showing a savings of approximately $519,000.
Mr. Callister addressed the Council and clarified the CIP stating the CIP tonight is different than what is normally done under a finance management plan. The CIP tonight meets the requirements of the statute to facilitate the refinancing of the bonds to General Obligation bonds. The bond sale is scheduled for November 8th which is subject to the reverse referendum. The end of the 30 day period for the reverse referendum required under statute is October 28th.
Wieland stated the first week of November we will be having a rating call with Moody's.
There were no questions by Council.
Mayor Grimm opened the public hearing at 7:27 p.m.
There were no comments registered from the public.
Bell moved, Stanley seconded a motion to close the public hearing at 7:27 p.m. Motion carried 5-0.
Bunting moved, Stanley seconded a motion to approve Resolution No. 2011-45, A Resolution Giving Preliminary Approval for the Issuance of General Obligation Capital Improvement Plan Bonds in the Amount not to Exceed $5,000,000 and Adopting the City of Rogers, Minnesota, Capital Improvement Plan for 2011 Through 2016 Under Minnesota Statutes, Section 475.521. Motion carried 5-0.
7. General Business
7.01 Taxable G.O. Tax Increment Bonds, Series 2003 (TIF#13) & Taxable G.O. Tax Increment Bonds, Series 2004 (TIF#14) – Taxable General Obligation Tax Increment Refunding Bonds, Series 2011C (Resolution No. 2011-47)
Callister stated this issue is being considered at the same time in order to save on the cost of issuance. The Moody's rating costs will be split between the two issues with preferred rate. With legal and other bond costs, by doing them all at once, there is a savings. The two bonds being considered are the 2003 and 2004 GO Bonds with a savings of approximately $87,000. The additional savings could be used in TIF 13 and TIF 14. Wieland explained where the savings can be applied.
Callister stated the bonds will be 10 years non-callable with the same sale date of November 8, 2011. Callister recommended the adoption of the prepared resolution.
Bell thanked staff for continuing to look for savings for the City.
Bell moved, Bunting seconded a motion to approve Resolution 2011 – 47, A Resolution Providing for the Sale of $720,000 Taxable General obligation Tax Increment Refunding Bonds Series 2011C. Motion carried 5-0.
8. Other Business
8.01 Bunting – commentary about recent events
Bunting stated he felt it is important to give another perspective to those items circulating in the newspapers. Bunting stated these are his personal feelings; his personal statement and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Council or City staff.
Bunting read from his prepared statement:
Recently, the Rogers City Council was informed that the Hassan Town Board is considering a 1/4 million dollar payment to the Hennepin County Sheriff for police services in 2012. I want to make it clear that I am going on public record as saying this spending is wasteful and unnecessary, and services only to consume Hassan's limited reserves.
To illustrate my point, in 2010, Rogers' police responded to over 70% of calls originating in Hassan Township. Rogers' police officers have literally saved the lives of Hassan residents - lives that may have been lost had the Rogers' police department not reacted so quickly. These are irrefutable facts. In reality, Rogers' officers have been responding to many, if not most, emergency calls in Hassan since long before I was elected to the city council.
This is not to say that the sheriff's office has not been doing their job. To the contrary, their service has been exemplary. The city of Rogers and Hennepin County's Sheriff's office enjoy a good working relationship and often back up each other when calls have the potential to be dangerous or based on who has the fasted response time.
My point is that 1/4 million dollars spent by the town board will not significantly change the level of law enforcement that Hassan currently enjoys. According to figures I've received, if Hassan spends two hundred fifty thousand dollars, they will receive dedicated law enforcement to cover the former township's area for about 40% of the time with one deputy. I must ask, what is the point? Does the township board not want the two to four officers Rogers generally has on duty to cover their citizens, leaving them unprotected most of the time? Or, does the board want to augment our force, which seems odd since time and again I've heard from board members that our police force is too big. No one in Rogers has been filled in on the Board's reasoning for the additional spending.
An additional concern is that the unnecessary spending would originate from Hassan's reserve, forcing the residents of our new, combined community to pay back the money from our combined reserves. A repayment that must be done to insure our credit rating remains high. Let's not forget that both Rogers and Hassan have leveraged Rogers' sound reserves in acquiring better interest rates on the city's and township's debt. Roger's sound reserves have resulted in cost savings for both communities.
The people of Hassan recently elected to pass a levy for 2012 that cannot cover even a small minority of the costs of the services they currently enjoy. While I am disappointed in what I see as a very short-sighted action, I believe this is an issue that the people of Hassan must work through themselves. The Hassan Township majority should be recognized. That said, I want to remind those living in both communities that on this coming New Years' Day, 2012, we will be one community. In this age of Facebook, You Tube and camera phones, things that are said and done will not disappear. They are preserved for all time and for all to see. While we all have the first amendment right to free speech, that right does not protect us from the repercussions of its negligent use.
I ask that the Hassan Town Board give judicious consideration to the votes they make in the coming months. Handing over a bankrupt Hassan, as one board member admitted was his goal when he met with our staff, is in the worst interest of our combined community. Making financial decisions that are short-sighted or cavalier does not benefit our constituents and it does not uphold the fiduciary duty an elected official has to their community. With the "near zero" levy, every dollar spent, whether legitimate in nature or not, will have to be repaid by the current citizens of both Rogers and Hassan Township. Put another way, unnecessarily spending reserves will result in either higher taxes or fewer services for the people of our community.
The Rogers city council has been thoughtful of long-term implications to our future combined community and has considered the financial ramifications to insure we do not make irresponsible decisions. Our staff has worked tirelessly trying to look into the consequences of the many scenarios that have been presented so that we can make educated, intelligent decisions. For some, we have not worked fast enough. To them I say to bad. We will not be forced into making shoddy decisions when there is ample time to consider the best course of action. That is how this council operates. I am proud of the professionalism of both our council and administration. In my opinion, history will look kindly on our actions during this merger process.
Now is the time for all of us to act conscientiously and responsibly, not to act out of anger or misdirected passion. It is time to look forward to the future of our community, because at some point soon, our community will look inward at us and judge this council and the Hassan Town Board for our actions.
Grimm and Stanley thanked Bunting for his letter.
9. Correspondence and Reports
9.01 August, 2011 Financial Reports
No formal action was taken.
10. Adjourn to Closed Session to Discuss Easement Acquisition for the 129th Avenue Storm Water Outlet
Mayor Grimm adjourned the meeting to closed session at 7:40 p.m.
Council reconvened from closed session at 8:27 p.m.
Attorney Carson provided an update from closed session stating there was discussion about the negotiations for acquisition of easements for 129th Avenue Storm Water project.
Bunting moved, Ihli seconded a motion to adjourn at 8:30 p.m.
Assistant City Administrator/Clerk