1. Call to Order. The Joint Meeting of the Council of the City of Rogers and Hassan Town Board was called to order by Mayor Grimm on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. at the Public Works Break Room, 22350 South Diamond Lake Road, Rogers, MN.
Council present: Jay Bunting, Jason Grimm, Rick Ihli, and Maureen Stanley.
Council absent: Rob Bell.
Hassan Board present: Bob Ivey, Jim Kelly, Dan Hunt, Mark Eiden, and Steve Swanson
Rogers Staff present: Jeff Carson, City Attorney; Stacy Doboszenski, Assistant City Administrator/Clerk; Brad Feist, Fire Chief; Bob Shellum, Police Chief; Steve Stahmer, City Administrator; and Lisa Wieland, Finance Director.
Hassan Staff present: Bill Boettner, Bill Craig, and Shawna Jenkins.
1. Overview and Discussion of City Services Post Merger
a. Police and Fire
Bob Shellum introduced himself to the Council and Hassan Board. Shellum expressed his confidence in the ability of the Rogers Police Department to provide services to Hassan. Shellum provided some statistics on the number of people who commute through Rogers, live in Rogers, and work in Rogers. Shellum stated he has been meeting with neighboring police departments, County, and State Patrol to make sure all services are provided. Shellum stated he has a pretty good idea of what the volume of services will be.
Chief Feist stated since 1931 the Rogers Fire Department has provided service to Hassan and Rogers and on January 1st that same level of service will continue to be there. Feist stated he doesn't foresee any big changes on January 1st.
Grimm asked if any board members have questions.
Jim Kelly stated one of the big sore points for Hassan is the budget for the police department. Kelly stated they think they have too many police officers right now. Kelly also expressed having a problem with having a full-time police officer in the school. Kelly stated he realizes the officer does good work, but thinks the principal should be handling the school.
Grimm stated the school pays for a portion of the salary. Hassan commented on the service previously provided by the County in the schools. Grimm stated the school also paid the County.
Kelly continued to express frustration with the Rogers Police Department.
Shellum talked about his experience in Centennial Lakes about providing safety and security for residents.
Shellum stated there are only two uniform patrol cars working the County during the day. Shellum discussed the large daytime population in Rogers with all the businesses and commuters.
The discussion turned to commentary from Bob Ivey and his dislike for the police.
Jim Kelly continued to discuss his dislike for the number of offices within the police department.
Administrator Stahmer discussed officers per thousand and officers per square mile. Stahmer stated we were at 1.8 to 1.9 officers per thousand and today we are at 1.25 officers per thousand. The metro average is 1.22. If you hired one officer you would be at 1.34. Per square mile is tougher than officers per thousand. Maple Grove has 1.8 per square mile, Rogers would have .53 per square mile.
Bob Ivey stated Stahmer is claiming you need more officers. Stahmer stated he is not making that claim at all.
Grimm asked if they were making the claim by offering Stanek $250,000.
Ivey then commented on the Rogers Police Department being dysfunctional.
Grimm talked about the Rogers residents wanting the local police department. Grimm discussed the benefits of having an officer in the Rogers school.
There was continued discussion between Ivey and Shellum about police services and police enforcement levels.
Eiden stepped in and stated the topic they have in mind to discuss is the zero levy; where that puts us now and the level of services than can be expected. Fire and police have been discussed enough. Not only was the board split on the decision, but the people in the room were also split on the decision. Eiden stated we need to talk about where that puts Hassan for the year 2012 and what to expect. Get it on the record and talk about it.
Jim Kelly stated he has one more question, was there a cost study done at the time (12 years ago) about the County versus local police?
Grimm stated he has talked with Stanek and he has offered to help cover Rogers in special circumstances.
Administrator Stahmer stated he can speak to what Mark Eiden wants to discuss.
Stahmer stated the zero levy had two big impacts; pushing out some debt repayment to points farther into the future and Hassan road projects line items between $200,000 and $250,000 not being budgeted for. Stahmer clarified these are improvement dollars, not maintenance dollars. That accounts for a large portion of the $1M hole in the combined cities' finances.
Stahmer informed the council and board that staff met and specifically discussed the topic about giving a level of service out of pride. Stahmer stated we have to provide excellent service to both the folks who voted for a zero levy and those who voted for a normal levy.
b. Public Works
Stahmer read from the memo prepared by Public Works Supt. Seifert, highlighting the following:
• Both communities currently operate under a written snow plowing and ice control policy.
• The City of Rogers updates its policy on an annual basis to add additional lane miles of street sections as well as any new sidewalk or trails within the community. The Public Works Department is in the process of updating the 2012 Snow Plow Policy and accompanying Snow Plow Route Map for the council's consideration prior to January 2012 merger date.
• A draft plow route map incorporating township equipment has been created for maintaining the newly acquired lane miles of paved and unpaved streets in addition to existing City roadways.
• The combined community will possess the necessary equipment to adequately maintain the entire street system and public properties during any snow emergencies.
• The Public Works Department has reviewed the current plow routes and made a few additions to the existing City of Rogers plow routes to include street sections that are adjacent to existing Rogers street sections that will accomplish a clear improvement to service while reducing long trips by other Township plow equipment to perform the same maintenance.
Stahmer discussed the likelihood of having 2 to 3 part-time employees to continue with the Hassan streets that are not efficiently plowed by a Rogers employee/driver.
c. Other - Transitional Issues Through December 2011
Grimm asked Eiden if he had any other questions.
Shellum commented that he has asked his officers to spend some time now in the daylight to familiarize themselves with the Hassan roads.
Grimm talked about wanting two officers on at all times. He stated he is personally committed to that.
Stahmer asked Shellum to discuss the responsibilities of our department for the interstate. Shellum stated there is a responsibility for I94. Shellum stated he is working on new protocols to be established with the State Patrol.
Eiden asked Grimm if there are any questions of Hassan. Grimm stated staff will be looking into those. Other than a zero levy, he doesn't have a lot of concerns. Grimm stated it is what it is and he hopes we can all get through this as calmly as possible.
Ivey commented on the zero levy and his ability to do a budget which shows 18 months of cash flow. Other Board members told Ivey their own finance director stated they have 10 months, that's it.
Dan Hunt wanted to comment on something Jim said regarding police. Hunt stated the merger is a great thing. He stated the residents don't know what it is like to have cops in the neighborhood. We are rural and moved here to be rural. He stated he thinks it can happen okay.
Kelly asked Stahmer if there is any chance they can use any of the employees. Stahmer stated from a full-time perspective, the City is not looking at hiring any full-time employees, but may absorb part-time employees. The City's need for a full-time position is in a storm water capacity. Once the city hits 10,000 population, there are mandates for reporting and monitoring of storm water. Stahmer stated the storm water position is not a tax funded position, but an enterprise fund position.
There was discussion between Rogers staff and Hassan Board members regarding the Rogers staff's commitment to provide the same level of service to any resident regardless of whether they were former Hassan residents. Also discussed was a spreadsheet/checklist of items that need to be addressed as part of the annexation; something the staffs from both communities can work on together.
Eiden stated that is the information he needed to hear.
Swanson moved to adjourn at 7:55.
Bunting moved, Ihli seconded a motion to adjourn at 7:55.
Assistant City Administrator/Clerk