CITY OF NOWTHEN
AND REGULAR CITY COUNCIL MEETING
TUESDAY, JUNE 9th @ 6:30 PM
(Meeting will be taped for transcribing purposes only.)
Present: Bill Schulz Jeff Pilon Harlan Meyer
Laurie Olmon Orval Leistico
Others: Christian Peterson, Attorney Shane Nelson, Engineer
Public Hearings –
1. Basalt Street Public Improvement Hearing – Nelson stated that the
city received a petition from the residents indicating an interest in paving
the road. The council then directed Nelson to complete a feasibility
report, which is the first step of a public improvement project. It is the
first of two hearings that are required per State Statute 429.
Nelson stated that this is a gravel surface, rural section, generally known
to be stable, with a width of 23’-25’, with one known soft spot. The thproject would start just south of 207 street. Nelson indicated that there
are some wetlands on both sides of the road. He was directed to study ththimproving Basalt Street from 213 Ave to 207 Ave. If the City Council
moves ahead and approves the feasibility report there will be nine (9)
properties that will be assessed on a per unit basis. There are two (2)
properties that directly abut Basalt Street, but do not access onto it. thTheir driveways access onto 213 Ave, so they were not included in the
report and will not be assessed. Nelson stated that the study was done
using a per unit assessment, which is what the city (township) has done
in the past. There area other ways of assessing projects. Optional ways
to assess is per frontage footage or assess benefiting properties.
Benefiting properties are ones that are large with the potential of
developing the land. The reason this is not an option used a lot is
because the city does not know when the property may be developed.
Nelson stated that the proposed improvements consist of two travel
lanes with a 22 ft top with a shoulder varying from no shoulder to a 1 foot
shoulder. There probably would not be a shoulder in the area where the
wetlands are because we cannot fill in the wetlands. The improvement
would consist of shaping the existing gravel base, add 2” of class 5, and
receive a 2” base coat and 1 ?” of wear course. The new road will be 5
? “higher than the existing road, which means that the slopes are going to be steeper through most of the project except in the wetland area.
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Public Hearings and Regular City Council Meeting June 9, 2009 Page 2
Nelson stated that the estimated cost for this improvement as studied $194,800.00. This figure does not include removing the soft or organic soils that currently exist. Some of the soft or organic soils are down deep enough that they should not influence the stability of the road. Soil boring no. 3, which was taken in the vicinity of the wetlands, had peat starting at 2 ft and extending down from there. Under this option the existing organic or possible compressible soils would not be removed.
The assessment is based on a per unit assessment method with nine benefiting properties = $21,644.00 per unit. Nelson stated that this is an estimate, not an exact number. There are a couple of residents that said that they are willing to pay more than their fair share or make a contribution to the city. That money could then be applied towards the project and the assessments would be reduced proportionally. The assessments are assessed over time, typically over a 10 year time period. Nelson stated that on May 12 the council ordered the Feasibility Study and called a Public Improvement Hearing. In order to move forward the city would have to approve the Feasibility Report and order preparation of Plans and Specifications. In order to proceed as scheduled, the city would have to have a Special City Council Meeting to approve the Plans and Specifications and advertise for bids. The bid thopening would then be at the council meeting on August 11, When thapproved the construction could start as soon as August 24 and be thcompleted by September 4.
Nelson indicated that the city requires all developments to improve roads with 12 ft lanes, a 24 ft top and 4 ft shoulders on both sides. That is the city standard width and the Municipal State Aid standard minimal width for roads that have traffic of less than 1499 adt. Nelson showed the Nowthen MSA Map and indicated that Basalt Street is a future MSA Route. After Nowthen reaches a population of 5000 it will be eligible for Municipal State Aid Program (MSA) which is a portion of the states gas tax. We can use that money to improve the roads in the MSA Route. Nelson did a second estimate of what it would cost to bring Basalt Street up to MSA standards; that total cost came to $441,700.00. Part of the reason it is not a feasible option at this time is because the assessment amounts would be too high and the project would be unfeasible. He just provided this information for discussion purposes. Exhibit I shows what would have to be done if we were to widen the road to MSA Standards and that would include moving the ditch over and replacing all the driveway culverts, so it becomes a pretty extensive project.
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Public Hearing and Regular City Council Meeting June 9, 2009 Page 3
Nelson stated that the proposed improvement is a good interim solution to reduce city maintenance costs. The city can move forward and improve the road, but continue to draw needs as our population increases. The city will draw more needs or more funding on an annual basis if we have more miles of unimproved roads. After we reach 5000 population the city could receive typically 250k to 300k per year for MSA improvements.
The conclusion is that the interim solution would overall benefit the city by reducing maintenance costs. It is favorable timing. There is about a 10% savings from what they estimated. In order for the city to move forward with any assessment project they have to define 3 things with the Feasibility Report. That the project is necessary, cost effective and feasible from a technical and engineering standpoint, and benefits the properties proposed to be assessed. Nelson stated that they do find that the project is necessary, cost effective and feasible and he recommends that the City Council accepts the Feasibility Report.
Bill Ulwelling stated that they have wanted this improvement for several years and they would upfront 30% of the cost based on a price of $118,000. Now with the cost up to $194,800 they are willing to pick up more money to lighten the burden on the neighbors. They are not here to create a problem. They want to get the cheapest, best road done. Ulwelling said that they would be willing to kick in 45% of the cost. Five years from now it is going to cost more. He thinks that if he is going to be assessed for the improvement that the paving should go to his south property line. If we are looking at frontage we should be going to the corner of his property.
Pilon asked if he is now willing to go to 45% of the cost. Ulwelling said that they are willing to go to 45% as he doesn’t want the burden on the
residents. Pilon said that we should jump on this at the price. He said that they were here two years and since that time he doesn’t think that we have spent $50 dollars on any improvements since he was in before. Whether the city shares some of the cost; that is something that the city can talk about because this improvement we will be saving on the maintenance of grading it.
Nelson said that we did receive an estimate from Olmon Bros. and he thinks that the estimate was based on 3900 feet of paving. What he measured was 4200 feet. The estimate also didn’t include the engineer or administrative fees. That is where the discrepancy comes from.
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Public Hearings and Regular City Council Meeting June 9, 2009 Page 4
Nelson stated that the city is going to incur some additional costs with the project other than just construction. Those additional costs are typically 20% - 30% of the total construction costs. On this project those costs will probably be closer to the 20% since the Ulwelling’s are willing
to put in front 45%.
Nelson stated that he is not sure how accurate the GIS maps are, but it appears that the road has shifted from center line. A lot of times, in order to pave a road you have to get it back on center line. Considering this is a MSA road and would need to meet the standards in the future, Nelson thought it made sense not to realign the road on center line. We could essentially save some money. The total estimated construction costs are $162,400. Pilon asked if we would be putting in the breakaway mailboxes at that point. Nelson stated that in the past they typically installed the breakaway mailboxes.
Pilon asked if the city chose not to realign to the center line would there be liability issues. Nelson said that it is hard to judge just how far off it is because he is using the GIS data and it cannot be relied upon. Through the area of the wetlands, you will see that the road is close to the east right of way line. Ulwelling said that we still have an easement of 33 ft to the center of the road and if we are talking about widening the road in the future, why spend the money now.
Jeff Dahlquist asked how the Ulwellings are going to donate into the project. Al Ulwelling said that they would pay 45% of the total project costs, plus be assessed their unit assessments on all 3 parcels. So they are paying most of the cost of the improvement. They will be willing to pay as long as the costs remain low and they will still have the option to back out if the costs go up. He asked how much money the city is going to spend to get up to the point of the public hearing because at that point Ulwelling can still back out if the costs are different than what he expected. After we do all the preliminary work, how much cost is going to be involved? Nelson said that the city has spent about $3,000 to date for the Feasibility Report, Resolutions, etc. If the city moves forward and authorizes the plans and specs there is going to be some more costs depending on what level of detail they request. Nelson said that if the city moves forward we will be hiring someone to discuss the bonding and there will be costs involved with that as well.
Rick Brand said that he cannot afford this and when it was brought up a few years ago he could not afford it then either.
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Public Hearings and Regular City Council Meeting June 9, 2009 Page 5
Schulz asked if Nelson has figured out a cost per parcel. Nelson said that 45% of the total project cost would total $87,660, so the total assessed cost would be reduced to $107,140. Dividing that by the nine (9) parcels would result in an assessed cost of $11,904. That is based of the estimates. If the project costs are lower it would reduce the cost of the assessments, but the same holds true that if the city decided to do additional work the costs would go up and so would the assessments.
thPilon questions the property on the north end that access off onto 213.
There is certainly a lot of potential to develop on Basalt Street. On the property in the North West corner there is a access being used on Basalt Street. Leon Olmon said that there is not a driveway there. It is just a field access area to cut down trees. A resident stated that they have 7 acres there and it could not be developed unless the lot sizes were reduced. Nelson stated that with a per unit basis assessment it would be 9 parcels. If the council wants to move forward they can accept the Feasibility Report as presented then the per unit assessment would be set in stone and the only way to change it after that would be to have another public hearing.
Nelson said that in looking at possible development scenarios one concern is if you have a 20 year improvement and you don’t know when
the property may be developing you may be putting an assessment on a parcel that may not develop and benefit from it within the next 20 years. If you look at a per foot assessment then parcels 4 and 8 would be hit pretty hard.
Harlan asked what the load limit would be on Basalt St. Nelson said that it is not known at this time. The project is similar as to what they did not th213 Ave and Gypsy Valley Road. The 9 ton recommendation for the
road is 10” of gravel and 5 ? “of bituminous. We would not be getting up
to the 9 ton design. In his opinion the 10” of gravel is very substantial.
Nelson thinks that it is probably somewhere in between. They have local knowledge that the road is generally stable in nature with the exception of one low soft spot. They did do a soil boring in the soft spot and the soil there is actually really good. In that area they think it is more of a drainage related problem than a soil problem. They did include a line item to construct the ditch in the one isolated area. As part of the project they would ask to excavate a ditch and get the water out of the one location.
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Public Hearings and Regular City Council Meeting June 9, 2009 Page 6
Kim Koehnen said that they have lived there for 25 years and they feel that it will be an improvement to their land.
Schulz said that the council will now need to decide if they want to contribute something to the project. Pilon thinks that the city is going to contribute 20 – 30%. Schulz is talking about $40,000 to $60,000 from
the city. Nelson said that other cities look at what they would have spent on gravel and consider those costs towards the project. Schulz said that we would then be contributing so much and figuring that as the cost that we would be paying for maintaining it as a gravel road. Nelson said that if the city does decide to move forward with this the city would have to finance the project for a short term until the bonds are sold and we get the proceeds.
One resident of Basalt Street asked if his culvert and driveway could get done at the same time. Nelson said that if the residents are interested in getting their driveways paved or repaved then there is a substantial cost savings. Normally after the project goes out for bids and we have a contractor the first step is to ask the contractor if they are willing to do the additional work for the private homeowners. If they are, typically the city just provides the contact information to the residents and they contact them directly. He said that it is a little bit tricky because under Statute 429 once we get to the assessment portion of the project all the parcels have to be treated the same. If we are doing a per unit assessment all assessments have to be the same amount. There are two ways of doing it. One is to give the resident the contact information or the city can assist on getting the bids for the work and the resident can come in and give the city a check before the work is done and that check can be applied directly to the payments.
Ulwelling said that if he is paying a unit assessed then he would like to extend the project to the end of his lot. Nelson said that if the city wants to do that they can direct him to do so. They can approve the report with the project limits being extended to the south property line. He would prefer to go that way since they are willing to pay such a substantial cost.
Don Eldridge asked the Ulwelling if they are going to be driving their cranes down Basalt Street. Ulwelling said that they will not be running their cranes there because their business is in town.
Public hearing closed at 7:25 PM
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Public Hearings and Regular City Council Meeting June 9, 2009 Page 7
2. Storm Water Pollution Prevention Program – The purpose of the
Public Hearing is to receive comments on the Storm Water Pollution
Prevention Plan (SWPPP). As an annual requirement of the National
Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Storm Water
Permit for Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s), the
City of Nowthen must receive public comment and opinion on the
adequacy of their Storm Water Pollution Prevention Program. The public
hearing is offered to solicit that input and to provide the public with an
opportunity to participate in the development and implementation of the
program. No comments were made; public hearing was closed at 7:28
3. Ordinance No. 30 – An ordinance pertaining to the licensing of the
retail sale of tobacco products – Schulz read the purpose and Intent of
the Ordinance. No public comments were made; public hearing was
closed at 7:30 PM.
Regular City Council Meeting -
? Approve/amend the meeting agenda – Schulz added Item No. L., Anoka Area
Chamber of Commerce City Profile. Pilon made a motion to approve the amended agenda; Meyer seconded. All in favor; motion carried.
1). Basalt Street Public Improvement – Pilon said that it does not include
excavating soft or unsuitable soils, widening roads to city standards or
realigning the road to centerline right of way. It is believed that when MSA
funding becomes available an option would be to upgrade Basalt St. to MSA
standards. This would be a suitable road for current traffic and would save us
on gravel replacement and gravel maintenance. Nelson said that there is a little
bit of risk assumed with the area that has peat. There may be some
maintenance required in the future. It is really hard to judge because there is 2
feet of sand. Pilon asked if Nelson is aware of any issues in the area with the
gravel section. Nelson said that the maintenance staff has only one concern
and that is where it is. The approach that he recommended for that area is that
the existing gravel be stripped off about 30 feet in length on either side of where
the soft spot is and take a loaded dump truck and do a test roll. Pilon wonders
what the cost would be if the problem is related to the soil. Nelson said that
according to the maintenance department the spot is very small 3 to 5 feet long.
To dig out soil and replace it would be about $1,000 if they know exactly where
the spot is. That is part of the problem; gage exactly where the soft spot is
located. The ditching is also included in the figure.
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Public Hearings and Regular City Council Meeting June 9, 2009 Page 8
Pilon said that in the tentative schedule if they were to go with bonding on this,
he understands that we are looking at about $175,000 plus, and depending on how much the Ulwelling’s are willing to pay up front were does the bonding fall in the schedule. Nelson said that the bonding is not engineering related. It is not included in the report. Normally projects are funded for a short term by the city. The bonding is then completed towards the end of the project. The city would have to have enough funds to cover the project costs in the meantime.
Nelson stated that tonight was the first public hearing required under statute
429. There is one other hearing that is required and that is the assessment hearing. The city has the option of choosing when to hold the assessment hearing. Some cities chose to hold the hearing before the project starts so they are confident that the residents are going to pay for the assessment. The disadvantage to holding the public hearing first is if the cost of the project goes up the cities cannot raise the per unit assessment about, it can only be lowered.
Schulz said that even with the extra help it could be quite an amount for the residents to have to pay. Pilon asked what effect it has on property values when you compare the value from a paved road vs a gravel road. Nelson said that the only person to answer that is a property appraisal. Generally you will see the value, but it is not a guaranteed. Olmon said that it would save us maintenance dollars so it is a win for them and for the city. It will need to be done eventually and there are participants willing to do it. Schulz said that we are not going to find any situations in which someone is willing to pay.
Olmon made a motion to proceed with the project. Meyer wonders if they
want to put in the motion that the city will cover the cost of engineering, legal and administrative costs. Leistico asked how much money the city would save on gravel. Nelson did not know. Schulz said that it isn’t so much on how much
gravel will be saved, but how much we will save on the general maintenance of the road. Don Eldridge said that there were some studies done and during a 30 year period it is actually cheaper to keep a gravel road than a paved road and during 10-15 years it is actually cheaper to have a paved road. Over 30 years it is actually more expensive to maintain a paved road. Nelson said that 2” of gravel 22 ft wide will be roughly 1000 tons. Typical bid prices for placed gravel is around $12.00 per ton. We are talking about $12,000 to $15,000 per time to gravel the road. The city gravels on a 5 year cycle.
Olmon amended her motion to move forward with the project and that the
city will pay the engineering, legal and administrative costs associated with the project. Pilon seconded. All in favor; motion carried.
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Public Hearings and Regular City Council Meeting June 9, 2009 Page 9
Adopt Resolution 09-10 – Schulz made the motion to adopt Resolution 09-
10, a Resolution Ordering Preparation of a Feasibility Report; Olmon
seconded. All in favor; motion carried.
Adopt Resolution 09-11 – Meyer made a motion to adopt Resolution 09-11,
a Resolution Calling Hearing on Improvement; Schulz seconded. All in
favor; motion carried.
Adopt Resolution 09-12 – Nelson recommends amending the resolution to
include the extending the improvement to the Ulwelling’s property line. Meyer
made a motion to adopt Resolution 09-12, a Resolution Accepting
Feasibility Study, and Directing Preparation of Plans and Specifications for thththe Improvement of Basalt Street NW from 207 Ave to 213 Ave, with the
condition that the feasibility report be amended as such as that the project
limits extends to the south property line of 20731 Basalt St. (15-33-25-41-
0010); Olmon seconded. All in favor; motion carried.
2). Adopt Ordinance No. 30 – Schulz made a motion to adopt Ordinance No
30; An Ordinance Pertaining to the Licensing of the Retail Sale of Tobacco
Products; Meyer seconded. All in favor; motion carried.
3). Consent Agenda
1.1 Approve the May 12, 2009 Meeting Minutes.
1.2 Approve All Audited Bills Claim #5685 through Claim #5725, plus
Net Distribution reports dated May 12, May 21, 2009
1.3 Financial Report
Meyer made a motion to approve the Consent Agenda; Leistico seconded.
All in favor; motion carried.
4). Floor Items: Dan Williams said that Nowthen Alliance Youth Church Group’s
annual budget is $200. When they rent or use the field they also need to
concession stand, but the city charges $50 for the concession stand. Williams
wonders if the city can let the youth group use free of charge with the use of the
Dan Williams stated that all the meeting should be video taped and there should
be 3 or 4 copies. One should be locked up and another copy archived for future
reference. Most cities have them video taped and run them over and over
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Public Hearings and Regular City Council Meeting June 9, 2009 Page 10
a). Milestone Ponds – Peterson said that when he called he was told that
the check was not coming and they referred this to their attorney. He is
looking for authority to start a law suit against the bank and will request
the attorney fees be paid in the suit as well. One avenue is to personally
go there and demand the money. Peterson said that he last spoke to the
bank at the end of May. The developer is in default of the Development
Contract, so we can draw on the Letter of Credit (LOC) at any time.
Meyer asked if Peterson feels that the city has a solid case. Peterson
said that he does believe that we do since the developer is in default and
we have the rights to draw on the LOC. Peterson would like to ask for
authorization today then he could use it as leverage. Schulz made a
motion to allow Attorney Peterson to move forward with a law suit
against Community National Bank to release the Letter Of Credit for
the Milestone Ponds Development. Nelson said that one additional option is to the do project as an assessment project so the bank would
have to pay this through an assessment. The disadvantage is because
there is one house in that property and you have to assess the project
the same. Meyer seconded. All in favor; motion carried.
b). Adopt Resolution 09-13 to approve adding meeting date – Peterson
stated that in addition of just having an additional meeting date other
cities have workshops prior to the meetings to discuss items, then they
put those items on the meeting agendas. The work session is another
option and it is open to the public. If they adopt the resolution it is setting
a specific date. Schulz would be in favor with going with a longer
meeting, with a workshop ahead of the time. Orval and Olmon would like
to start an hour ? earlier. Meyer made a motion to have a work session prior to the council meetings on the second Tuesday of the
month at 6:00 PM and the meetings to start at 7:30 PM; Leistico
seconded. All in favor; motion carried.
c). Polly Carlson – Kennel License Renewal – Peterson said that he was
contacted by city staff that the conditions at Polly Carlson’s kennel is
poor. Under the ordinance kennel owners are required to provide access
to the property, but she would not allow access. Peterson said that we
are trying to get her back into compliance. One option is to deny
renewing her kennel license unless she cleans up the property and then
require a site visit to ensure the clean up has been taken care of. There
is also the option of obtaining an administrative search warrant to gain