City Council Meeting – Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Pursuant to due call and notice thereof, a regular meeting of the Redwood Falls City Council was called to order in the Municipal Chambers on Tuesday, January 17, 2017, at 5:01 p.m.

Roll call indicated Mayor Corey Theis, Council Members Matt Smith, John T. Buckley and Paul DeBlieck were present, constituting a quorum. Council Member Jim Sandgren was absent.

Also present were City Administrator Keith Muetzel, Director of Finance & Administrative Services Melissa Meyer, Public Works Project Coordinator Jim Doering and Council Secretary Amy Kerkhoff. City Attorney Amy Busse was absent.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Buckley approving the agenda with the following amendments: Move Consent Agenda Item 6.A. “Approve Copy Machine Purchase to the Regular Agenda as Item 9.D.  Move Regular Agenda Item 9.B. “2016 Archery Deer Hunt Report” before Old Business Agenda Item 8.A. “Resolution Adoption Assessments for Delinquent Accounts”.  Motion was carried by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Buckley and seconded by Council Member DeBlieck approving the January 3, 2017, Organizational/Regular City Council Meeting minutes as presented. Motion carried by unanimous vote.

Archery Deer Hunt Coordinator Paul Parsons presented the final 2016 Archery Deer Hunt Report.

Archery hunt participant Gordon Blomeke was present to give his perspective as a hunter.

Mr. Parsons summarized the 2016 deer hunt. The season coincided with the MN DNR archery season from September 17, 2016, to December 31, 2016.  Forty-nine hunters submitted an application, of which 21 were new applicants.  A proficiency test was conducted and the top 20 shooters were selected to participate in the hunt.  Two does per hunter were allowed to meet the goal of 40 deer to be harvested.  Double earn a buck tags were available for hunters who harvested two does.  Three hunters harvested two does and one hunter was able to harvest a buck.  Hunters harvested a total of 22 deer, 21 does and 1 buck.  Hunters spent a total of 655 hours in the stand with an average of 32 hours per hunter.

Public Works Project Coordinator Jim Doering stated a decision to continue the hunt for next fall needs to be made to meet the DNR’s application deadline in February. Staff is recommending the Deer Hunt Committee reconvene to review the results of the 2016 hunt and determine if future hunts are warranted.  The previous Committee consisted of Council Members Jim Sandgren and Paul DeBlieck, City Administrator Keith Muetzel, Public Works Project Coordinator Jim Doering, Police Chief Mark Dressen, Hunt Coordinator Paul Parsons, hunt participants Gordon Blomeke and Jerry Ludwig, and adjacent landowner Dr. Steve Medrud.

Resolution No. 2 of 2017 – Resolution Adopting Assessments for Delinquent Accounts was presented by Director of Finance & Administrative Services Melissa Meyer.

Ms. Meyer discussed the notification process of delinquent utility charges 30 days past due. A resolution is brought to the Council on a quarterly basis to improve the time between the delinquent utility bill and staff’s ability to disclose the information to new owners.

Ms. Meyer stated delinquent letters are mailed to the utility account holders on a quarterly basis. If the balances are not collected from the account holders, delinquent letters are then mailed to the property owners.  Delinquent balances meeting the assessment guideless are published as a requirement of the public hearing process.  Any unpaid balances are brought to the Council to be approved by resolution. The pending assessments already passed by resolution that remain outstanding as of November 1, 2017, will be charged an administrative fee of $50 and transferred to the Redwood County Assessor’s Office to be assessed on the tax rolls.

Ms. Meyer discussed the attendance of Steve Hammerschmidt at the Tuesday, January 3, 2017, public hearing regarding the resolution to adopt assessments for delinquent accounts.

Ms. Meyer stated on November 9, 2016, Mr. Hammerschmidt requested balance details on his utility account at 107 Driftwood Drive regarding parcel 88-610-0980, which staff informed him the account had a zero balance. Staff initially looked at the inactive property owner “landlord” account.  Mr. Hammerschmidt clarified that he was calling regarding the tenant’s utility account.  Staff explained that a final bill was not available for the tenant account.  On December 9, 2016, delinquent letters were mailed to both the tenant and the property owner.  Mr. Hammerschmidt’s first letter did not include the electrical balance because staff missed the joint account status notation.  On December 13, 2016, Mr. Hammerschmidt called regarding the assessment letter sent on December 9, 2016 and staff discovered that he held a joint account with his tenant. On December 14, 2016, a second letter was mailed with the correct balance due and included an apology for the error.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member Buckley to waive the reading of Resolution No. 2 of 2017 – Resolution Adopting Assessments for Delinquent Accounts. Motion was carried by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member DeBlieck approving Resolution No. 2 of 2017 – Resolution Adopting Assessments for Delinquent Accounts. Motion was carried by unanimous vote.

Brode Lydick was present to further discuss his December 6, 2016, request to amend the City Code to allow urban chickens.

Council Member John Buckley stated he had contacted a number of communities that allow chickens and found the cities he contacted did not have many problems with urban chickens.

A motion was made by Council Member DeBlieck and seconded by Council Member Smith directing staff to draft an Ordinance amending Section 10.12 of the City Code to allow urban chickens.  Motion was carried by unanimous vote.

Zoning Administrator Tim Hanna was present to discuss a variance request submitted by Scott Hammerschmidt.

Scott Hammerschmidt was present to discuss his request.

Mr. Hanna stated staff received an application from Scott Hammerschmidt requesting a variance for his property located at 1104 South Halvorson Street, Auditor Subdivision, Section 1, Township 112, Range 36 and Parcel 88-001-4126.

Mr. Hanna stated Mr. Hammerschmidt’s original request was to reduce the side yard setback on the south side of the property from 50’ to 30’.  No practical difficulty or hardship for this specific reduction were provided on the submittal documents.  The applicant did state it would allow him to build a larger building and install a driveway on the south side of the building.  The applicant withdrew the original request since it was not necessary due to the adoption of the 2014 Unified Development Zoning Ordinance.

 Mr. Hanna stated the second request was to reduce the side yard setback to the north from 20’ to 15’.  No practical difficulty or hardship were provided for this reduction on the submitted documents.  The applicant did state it would allow him to build the proposed building and have a larger driveway on the south side.  Without a specific practical difficulty or hardship, staff could not make a recommendation for approval to the Planning Commission or City Council.  Since the applicant did not provide a practical difficulty or a hardship on the submittal documents, he needed to demonstrate a practical difficulty at the public hearing.  On January 10, 2017, the applicant testified he felt his hardship is the building needs to be closer to the north property line to allow for a 30’ driveway allowing him to back out from the garage.

Mr. Hanna stated the Planning Commission did not feel the testimony of the Mr. Hammerschmidt provided a practical difficulty since there are alternatives to the size of the driveway and steepness of the grading on the slope.  The Commission felt the landowner created the practical difficulty, which was the basis for their denial.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member DeBlieck denying Scott Hammerschmidt’s request to reduce the side yard setback on the south side of the property from 20’ to 15’ for the parcel located at 1104 South Halvorson Street.  Motion was carried by unanimous vote.

Director of Finance & Administrative Services Melissa Meyer discussed a request to adjust water and sewer charges.

Ms. Meyer stated Francis Kaufenberg is requesting the water and sewer charges be averaged from the period of November 9, 2016, to January 9, 2017, for his property located at 120 West Chestnut Street. Mr. Kaufenberg is requesting $927.08 in water charges and $560.83 in sewer charges be waived due to a water leak in the basement.  According to Mr. Kaufenberg, the basement had a sump pump, which was utilized during the leak.

Ms. Meyer stated staff recommends denying the water request to be consistent with past practices.  The City incurred costs to treat the water for consumption.  The Council has waived sanitary sewer charges in the past when water did not enter the sanitary sewer for treatment.  Staff is unable to determine how much of the additional water was pumped into the street and did not enter the sanitary sewer system.

A motion was made by Council Member DeBlieck and seconded by Council Member Buckley to table Francis Kaufenberg’s request to waive the sanitary sewer charges totaling $560.83 from November 9, 2016, to January 9, 2017, and request staff to contact Mr. Kaufenberg to request he attend the February 7, 2017, meeting.  Motion was carried by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Council Member Buckley and seconded by Council Member Smith to deny Francis Kaufenberg’s request to waive the water charges totaling $927.08 from November 9, 2016, to January 9, 2017.  Motion was carried by unanimous vote.

Director of Finance & Administrative Services Melissa Meyer discussed a request to purchase a new copy machine.

Ms. Meyer stated the current copy machine at the Redwood Area Community Center was budgeted for replacement in 2017. The current machine was purchased in October of 2011 and the five year service contract with Marco expired in 2016.

Ms. Meyer stated Marco submitted a quote for a Konica Minolta Bizhub C368 Color Document Management System for $11,308 and Businessware Solutions submitted a quote for a Kyocera TASKalpha 3252 CI multifunction printer for $12,999. Staff recommends approval to purchase the Konica system from Marco.

A motion was made by Council Member Smith and seconded by Council Member DeBlieck to purchase the Konica Minolta Bizhub C368 Color Document Management System from Marco for $11,308, which includes a five year service contract. Motion was carried by unanimous vote.

City Administrator Keith Muetzel reminded Council of the joint meeting between the Redwood Falls City Council and the Redwood County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, at 5:30 p.m. in the County Board Room.

Bill and Claims were presented to the Council for informational purposes. No questions, comments or concerns were raised.

There being no further business, a motion was made by Council Member Buckley and seconded by Council Member Smith to adjourn the meeting at 6:19 p.m. Motion was carried by unanimous vote.

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