Tuesday, January 5th, 2021
Called To Order
President Carlsrud called the meeting to order at 2:30 PM.
Members present: President Carlsrud, Commissioner Magnuson, Commissioner Bishop, Commissioner Erickson, and Commissioner Gulmon.
Others present: City Administrator Crawford, City Attorney Martineck, Finance Director Richter, Deputy Auditor Klein, Public Works Accountant/Manager Jacobson, City Assessor Hansen, Police Chief Hatcher, Chad Petersen from KLJ, Operations Superintendent Klemisch, Fire Chief Magnuson (3:30), Gloria Swart (3:30)
1. Commission Topics
b. Discuss Incentives to Newly Built Homes Outside the Renaissance Zone.
Discussion took place around incentives for bringing people to Valley City.
a. Discuss City Engineer.
Discussion took place regarding the City Engineer position.
2. Department Reports:
Electrical Superintendent Senf reported there were 3 outages for this month, 2 squirrels and 1 primary jumper. We were at 99.99996% for the year, 40 total outages, and 43 hours out of power for about 1700 customers. Over half were animal related. There was also discussion about putting lights on the walk bridge. Cost estimate would be about $2500 per side and recommended only doing the one side due to the cost and since the other side is only seen by the Elks building and would like to do them so they are year round lights, not just for Christmas. Would also like to improve the Christmas decorations throughout town. We also received 5 quotes back for the transformers. Looking for approval for the lowest bids on the 9 transforms shown in the quote. $65,000 was previously budgeted for a Bobcat. They no longer make the model we were looking to purchase. Bobcat found us one in Iowa for under budget so that is on order along with attachments, still under budget.
Operations Superintendent Klemisch reported he was happy with the work the guys did after the first storm. We had some new people doing new things, so thanks to them for all their hard work. Made it through the holiday garbage schedule with limited bodies so thanks to those employees. The ND Department of Equality found additional funding to continue the waste water testing through January, maybe through the summer depending on the funding. RDO was out to do some maintenance on the motor grader and found a larger in the differential so we will be getting a loaner in town will the other one is serviced.
Gloria Swart reported that the cardboard dumpster is working great. The new garbage truck is going to Fargo Thursday for servicing. We made it through the holidays without to many hiccups.
Fire Chief Magnuson reported fire extinguisher services have been great. Geotech was out drilling holes where the addition will hopefully go. Those results were sent to the foundation people and it sounds like within the next 2 weeks we should get results from that. We are starting to get back to training while still practicing social distancing. Most of our team have had the first dose of the vaccine. By the time we go back to training they should have had their second dose. Fire Chief Magnuson stated he is training to be able to administer the rapid Covid tests so his team will be able to rapid test before drill.
2. Review monthly bills/reports.
Finance Director Richter reported $1.3 million in bills for the month. $365,000 in projects such as PFP or Infrastructure projects. There was also a 3rd payroll issued in December which is a little over $100,000. That puts us under the $1 million for operations. For revenue coming in we had a good month. We received the Prairie Dog funds which was about $2.5 million and we received November Cares for the salaries which was a little over $91,000. We also received a little over $300,000 for reimbursement from the State Water Commission.
3. Review proposed Public Works Capital and Operating Budgets for FY21.
Public Works Manager Jacobson explained the breakdown of the capital budget and summarized the operations budget.
4. Discuss Mobile Home Park Ordinance.
City Administrator Crawford reported that the way the Ordinance is worded an annual application is not needed, they do still have to turn in the fees. Looking at the properties the biggest issue we saw was Viking MHP. The roads are beyond the city’s standards. Per the Ordinance we will send a notice and inform them of the penalties. It states if nothing happens after that a Class B Misdemeanor is issued.
City Attorney Martineck stated that is one way to do it. Another way is to have it so if they aren’t in compliance their license isn’t renewed, another option is to add administrative penalties to the ordinance.
City Administrator Crawford recommends amending the ordinance so it states an application must be turned in annually and add any other changes they feel necessary.
Consensus was to send a letter regarding the streets.
5. Discuss Prairie Dog Funding and Options.
City Administrator Crawford stated in 2019 there was a plan put together for the funds and that was when we thought it was going to be $3.5 million, it was actually $2.5 million. We only have the streetscape project in 2021 so the 7th Ave NW and 2nd Ave NE could be completed. This project is shovel ready as it was supposed to be completed in 2019 but due to circumstances it was put on hold. On the project a large portion cannot be assessed so this would be a good option for the funds and using part of the R&R funds. We would have to update the bid package. The storm sewer would be replaced all the way and the water main would be from 2nd SW to 2nd NW and the alley between 2nd and 3rd up to 4th St.
Clint Klemisch added that the big thing with the water main is that it’s 4 inch cast iron and the minimum for fire protection is 6 inch, we would go with 8 inch. The 2nd Ave sanitary reline project-when they went to do that they weren’t table to reline 2 blocks because of the way it’s angled into the manhole. There’s a lot of difficulty cleaning that right now and there are some blockages there which is why this is a priority.
Consensus is to move to Commission agenda for action.
6. Discuss Curb Stop to Main Ownership.
City Administrator Crawford stated in most cities in ND has a rule that the city owns the curb stop to the main. In 2014 a policy was made to change that the homeowner owns it and that was entered into the Ordinances in 2016. This will be an issue whenever there are pipes that freeze.
Commissioner Erickson stated he thought the reasoning this was done was due to some new homes that were built with the mains not being buried deep enough and that was because of the homeowners decision. Due to this they put it back on the homeowner.
City Administrator Crawford stated in the ordinance is says that the main has to be buried 7-8 feet so anything less than that shouldn’t have been allowed.
Consensus is that the city should own curb stop to main and change the ordinance.
7. Discuss Valley City CARES Business Assistance Program.
Commissioner Gulmon stated the committee that consisted of himself, Commissioner Magnuson, City Administrator Crawford, Finance Director Richter and PW Accountant Jacobsen met to discuss ways to help businesses within the city during these difficult times. The proposal is to leverage $200,000 in CARES dollars for Chamber Bucks and receive a 25% benefit. There are some exclusions such as medical, dental, RXD, bills. The sales could begin on February 6th and would continue until out. The Chamber Bucks would be open to all businesses, not just Chamber members. If we committed $200,000 and another $12,000 for expenses and waive the remainder of the beer licenses for 2021 totaling $21,000. The total CARES expenditure would be $233,000.
8. Review Covid 19 Cares Act Relief Fund.
Finance Director Richter reported on the changes for the revenues we’ve received and the expenditures to date. We estimating $91,000 for the December CARES revenue. Prior to the Prairie Dog money we used $150,000 for Streetscape II. Now that we have Prairie Dog funds, that lightens up the load for R&R find and we would request to take the $150,000 extra for that out of the R&R instead of the CARES freeing up more of those funds for other items. The other item for $100,000 is for property tax reductions that our citizens did get, not intentionally, but they did. The mill levy was calculated differently this year than prior years and the city ended up with a 4 mill reduction than what was expected. The next item is the bars and restaurants Covid relief but that’s where the $233,000 would go leaving us with $28,000 in our CARES relief fund.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:45 PM.