January 13, 2021 Regular City Council Meeting Minutes
Call to order:
Mayor Robert Appelgren
Council Members Sarah Podritz, Jacob Friedrich, and Jacob Toledo
Treasurer Sandy Nicolai and Clerk Mary Haro
Prior Meeting Minutes
A motion to approve the December 9, 2020 regular council meeting minutes with the correction on page 2 in the last paragraph of changing the number two to one as there is only one other owner of the properties for a total of three owners regarding the road was made by Podritz, seconded by Friedrich. All voting in favor, none opposed, motion passed 5:0.
Sandy indicated the water bills went sent out. She indicated the reading went well. We still have approximately 60 meters to be installed. Because of COVID we will hold off on installing them.
Sandy indicated she talked to Merchants Bank about moving our due date back a week for our loan on the water tower repairs and was told we have a 10 day grace period. They indicated we could have them automatically withdrawn from our account or she will move back the date. After discussion we decided it would best to have the due date moved back.
A motion to approve the Treasurer's Report was made by Friedrich, seconded by Podritz. All voting in favor, none opposed, motion passed 5:0.
Approval to Pay Bills
There was a discussion regarding the Bolton & Menk invoice if we can just have that come out of the sewer project money rather than us paying it. We have the money to pay it and they did the services so they should get paid. We are going to pay the invoice out of our account and will get reimbursed once we get the short term financing in place. It will take about 30 to 60 days to get the account in place.
It was also noted that we received donations from the Ferguson Foundation, one to the fire department and the other is for the city for general use which is much appreciated.
Motion to approve the payment of bills as written was made by Podritz, and seconded by Friedrich. All voting in favor, none opposed, motion passed 5:0.
Nothing this month
Oath of Office
Robert Appelgren, Mayor, Jacob Friedrich, council member. Todd D. Carlock, council member and Sandra Nicolai, treasurer were sworn into their various positions for the City of Randolph. They each read and signed an Oath of Office.
We thanked Jake Toledo for his service on the council.
List of Committees
Acting Mayor – Sarah Podritz
Parks - Mayor Robert Appelgren and Clerk Mary Haro
Sidewalks - Council members Jacob Friedrich and Sarah Podritz
Streets – Mayor Robert Appelgren and Council member Jacob Friedrich
Wellhead –Clerk Mary Haro and Council member Todd D. Carlock
Civil Defense - Reed Kosir
Building Inspector – Mark Ceminsky
City Attorney - Korine Land of Levander, Gillen & Miller
City Engineer - Bolton & Menk
Official Bank - Merchants Bank
Official Newspaper - Cannon Falls Beacon
Insurance - Kevin Rodgers - Northfield Insurance
We discussed moving to the Castle Rock Bank now that they are in town but will stay with Merchants Bank for 2021.
Motion to approve the appointments of the committees for the year 2021 was made by Mayor Appelgren, seconded by Podritz. All voting in favor, none opposed, motion passed 5:0.
A discussion regarding who should have access to the city email. Currently it is the Clerk and the Mayor. Councilmembers Podritz and Friedrich did have access previously due to the website but it does not require them to have it. Jake indicated it is not a role for council members to respond to emails but he thought it was a way to be informed of matters. Clerk Haro indicated she will forwarded emails that are informative to the council. If a council members wants access to the emails they can come to City Hall to read it. According to our legal counsel, she recommended that the clerk and one other member should have access to it and not all council members as it gets difficult to control the data. We will keep it as is at this time.
Ehlers, Financial Planner
Todd Hagen of Ehlers & Associates gave a presentation with a handout of what they offer. He works with a lot of cities in Minnesota. He assists with city finances. They structure the bond issue to our liking. They will give us options and then we decide. They have financial management planning and assist with water rates, sewer rates and tax levies They also have investment treasury management which are investment advisors. What we get from them is a full service financial advisor.
He is here for debt management regarding the bonds. We have to follow state law. He indicated that temporary bonds is the best option. This bond fits under the sewage disposal systems and there is no special plan needed. We don't need a public hearing. The higher the rating the lower the interest rate. Their fees goes down when its smaller and goes up when its larger – proportionate to the size of bond issue. We will have to hire a bond attorney to put all the paperwork together. The bank just needs to give us an interest rate. They will present a presale report and then we authorize the sale to proceed. Ehlers will then bring the sale to market and will bring the results of the sale to the council for approval whether they are bid tabulation form whether they go competitive or negotiated and they let us know how the negotiation went. We would close approximately 3 weeks after the sale and the entire process could take about 90 days.
The $13,000,000 would be a loan with the bank but has to be set as a bond issue. It could be a three year interest only or a two year but the temporary bond under state law allows to go up to the three years interest only and then balloons out. We are looking at .7%, There would be fees to pay to Ehlers and also the bond attorney. We would need to figure out the maximum that we would need to draw of payments to get reimbursed from the grant. See where the peak of the draw schedule would be which could be about $1.5 million (the highest amount that we would need) during construction part of the project. Matt can break down on working days and get it more targeted. Max would be $1.5 during the construction part of the project. Todd will do analysis for $80,000 the most for month and also $1.5 million for the draw of payments. We could do a draw down which is like a line of credit.
We also want help with financial planning and asked what the cost for financial planning would be. Todd will send a proposal to us. They do not have a contract - they are at will. If we are not happy with them we can always hire someone else.
We asked what Ehlers fee would approximately be and he indicated in the ballpark of $20,000 but we can also negotiate their fee. We would also need a bond attorney. He will recommend a few of them. We asked if we could get more fine tune numbers of
what Ehler’s fee would be and the bond attorney and the draw down payments. He may throw market rate interest rates so we know what the rates are currently. He will also give us a separate proposal for financial planning. We will send him our last three years of financial statements. The interest rate is not covered by the bond but it was asked if Ehlers fee would be covered by the bond. It will not be covered by the grant as their fee stays with the bond. We are responsible for their fee. Matt will check with PFA to make sure financial planning is covered.
Ehlers was recommended by Castle Rock Bank as well as our legal counsel.
Motion to approve hiring Ehlers as our municipal advisor for them to work on the sewer project made by Friedrich, seconded by Podritz. All voting in favor, none opposed, motion passed 5:0.
He will send the information to us for our next meeting.
Bolton & Menk Sewer Update
Matt Blazer of Bolton & Menk gave an update on what is happening with the sewer project. They are going to start with the boundary lines. He is compiling a list of questions he has been receiving from residents and will put that on the web page. Braun Intertec did the soil borings and that should be completed. He noted that he had a discussion with the county and they were planning on redoing Highway 88 through the city in the next few years and want to do a joint project. This is beneficial for two reasons – one would be the residents would have not to go through construction twice and second would be cash savings.
They are working with the Township and the Township is having a public meeting on February 2nd.
The item they are currently working on is where to put the ponds this is our first priority. They are reaching out to several property owners to see if any owner is interested in having the ponds and spray irrigation on their property. The costs is not yet determined and we have a representative working on talking with land owners.
It was noted that the area has changed with the interested landowner and is further out than the boundary that is set in the bonding bill at a mile and a half. If we wanted to expand that boundary we would need to go back to the legislature as they are the only ones who can change the language in the bill. We need 10 acres for the pond which we could either purchase or do a long term deal with the owner but it was suggested that we purchase the 10 acres. We would like land nearby to disperse by spray irrigation which would be done by an easement as the owner would still own the land. It is sprayed twice a year, late fall and early spring. It cannot be sprayed during the winter. It is clean affluent water and it does not jeopardize ground water.
We need to have a direction for the holding ponds before we should have an open house Jake will update our website to let residents know we are holding off on the open house at this time. Matt did comment that the survey is the best turnout that he has ever had. He indicated that he received at least half back from residents.
Equipment for Locating Water Lines
When there is any excavation a notification needs to be made to Gopher State One Call who sends out notices to locators to locate all utility lines which includes gas, electric, cable and water lines. It was noted that when a recent locate was sent out to the city to locate water lines that we do not have the equipment to locate the main water lines just
the curb stops. We are required to find the water lines. The cost is approximately $2,000 for equipment to find water mains. We do currently have a metal detector to locate curb stops but it does not work on the main lines.
We are still not absolutely sure that the water lines are plastic but we should check so we know for sure what they are. We could ask someone like Otte Excavating to look for a main line and pothole it when we get further down the line. Mayor Appelgren will talk to Otte’s to get a price on what they will charge to do this.
If lines are not marked or are marked incorrectly we are responsible if an excavator hits the line. Bryce does not have the time or employees to mark everything. We should look at the cost of paying $2,000 - $4,000 for a locator versus the cost of paying someone else to locate the lines then they would be held accountable if they do it incorrectly. Jake will talk to some people he knows that does locating pipelines and will do the research on this. If you hire someone else how does the liability work. It was asked when we need to do this and it was noted there is risk right now. Jake will take the lead on this project. He will send us information by next month’s meeting. He will get prices on locators.
Hereford Hills Development – Holding Pond
Matt indicated he sent an email to Dan Wenstrom and their engineer and has not received a response regarding the size of the holding pond. Hereford Hills has not been accepted yet because they sent us As Built and they were looked at them and they were not acceptable and was asked how they will remedy the situation which was in late October. We asked them to try to get a response and if not then we can get something set up to get it done and get it turned over to the city and use his money to do it. The swale is not correct either which is a liability to the city. They did the work and reinstalled the fence but it is not correct.
It was noted to Clerk Haro that some of the Firemen noted they had trouble finding parking spaces in the city lot when they had to respond to an emergency call. The lot was full of cars for patrons at the R Bar. It was discussed that we will purchase some signs as we need the firemen to have access to the lot so they can respond as quickly as possible to emergency calls.
We discussed the need for another check signer since Jake Toledo is no longer on the council. The acting mayor has done it in the past. Sarah has agreed to do it.
Motion by Appelgren to delete Jacob Toledo as a check signer and add Sarah Podritz as another check signer at Merchants Bank, seconded by Haro. All voting in favor, none opposed, motion passed 5:0.
Motion to adjourn the meeting made by Podritz, seconded by Appelgren, the meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m. All voting in favor, none opposed, motion passed 5:0.