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Council Meeting Minutes
November 17, 2014
1. Roll Call
Mayor Roe called
the meeting to order at approximately 6:00 p.m. Voting and Seating Order: McGehee,
Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, and Roe. City Manager Patrick Trudgeon and City
Attorney Mark Gaughan were also present; and Councilmember Willmus arrived at
approximately 6:09 p.m.; having previously advised that he would be arriving
late due to family commitments.
2. Approve Agenda
Trudgeon requested the addition of a business action 13a. item to tonight's
agenda to consider approval of a burn permit for 1894 Alta Vista Drive.
Etten seconded approval of the agenda as amended.
Laliberte, Etten, and Roe.
3. Public Comment
Mayor Roe called
for public comment by members of the audience on any non-agenda items. No one
appeared to speak.
Communications, Reports, and Announcements
announced a winter attire donation drive by the Roseville Visitors Association
(RVA) and OVALumination partnering with the Roseville School District, with donations
accepted at the Skating Center /OVAL anytime the buildings are open, and running
through the winter months, with clothing being distributed among students in
the Roseville Area School District. Additional information is available at the
announced the upcoming interactive presentation to meet Karen community
immigrants to the United States, on November 20, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. at the
Ramsey County Library - Roseville Branch, one of several events scheduled to
get to know diverse groups in the area, with a complete list available at:
announced dates and times for upcoming city-related meetings; and noted that
the City Offices would be closed on November 27 and 28, 2014 for the
Etten announced a "Walk to End Hunger" scheduled on Thanksgiving Day at 10:00
a.m. at the Mall of America, sponsored in part by area and local civic organizations.
Councilmember Etten noted that some of the monies collected would return to
Roseville area food programs, and that additional information was available on
the website: walktoendhunger.org.
Laliberte noted that she would be attending the Ramsey County League of Local
Governments (RCLLG) meeting later this week; with the agenda including
recognition of outgoing legislators, a recap of the election, and setting 2015
priorities for municipalities.
announced that CenturyLink tentatively planned to have representatives in attendance
at the December 4, 2014 North Suburban Cable Commission meeting at approximately
7:00 p.m. to discuss their potential role in a franchise for cable operations.
Mayor Roe advised that the public was invited to attend this public meeting, as
always, with the meetings held at C-TV offices at 2670 Arthur Street in Roseville.
Councilmember Willmus arrived at
approximately 6:09 p.m.; with apologies for being late.
Donations and Communications
6. Approve Minutes
7. Approve Consent Agenda
8. Consider Items
Removed from Consent
General Ordinances for
Mayor Roe recessed the meeting at
approximately 6:10 p.m., and reconvened at approximately 6:12 p.m.
Joint Meeting with Parks and Recreation Commission
Recreation Commission Chair Dave Holt, and Commissioners Lee Diedrick and Jerry
Stoner were present, along with Parks & Recreation Director Lonnie Brokke.
provided a brief recap of activities of the Commission since last meeting with
the City Council; and expressed the Commission's interest in meeting jointly on
a quarterly basis as agenda topics provide applicable.
addressed items as detailed in the Request for Council Action (RCA) dated
November 17, 2014.
Population in Roseville
Stoner advised that the Commission was seeking direction from the City Council on
specific issues with managing the deer population; with the Commission to-date
only exploring preliminary information on the logistics and process for a managed
hunt in Roseville. Commissioner Stoner noted that considerable more discussion
and direction would be needed prior to pursuing that option, with the range of
population densities of the deer in areas city-wide and not only in one area.
Commissioner Stoner offered to bring additional information, including costs,
control mechanism, and other options back to the City Council if that was their
Willmus noted that a neighborhood group had previously expressed interest in
some method of control; and noted the great deal of comment on this subject
that he'd heard during his recent campaign door knocking, and confirmed that
the deer population was not necessarily confined to one area of Roseville, but
remained an area of concern for residents. Councilmember Willmus expressed his
personal interest in finding out more about how other communities responded to
the deer population problem, including their successful and/or non-successful
methods, measures, and the possibility of partnering with other communities in
the area experiencing the same problem regionally, not just jurisdictionally. Councilmember
Willmus supported the Commission taking a look at the problem and providing options
to the City Council.
McGehee expressed her personal and definite opposition to a bow hunt within
limited open space in Roseville; noting that this was not a Roseville-specific
deer herd, but area-wide, and more tracking data and information would be
helpful, such as from the Cities of Little Canada and Shoreview. Councilmember
McGehee also suggested more information from the Commission on how the City
could help residents having considerable issues with deer devouring their
plantings, since the issue seemed to be less about vehicles and accidents and
more about eating shrubs or plantings. Councilmember McGehee suggested some
type of herd management option with less deadly results.
Etten expressed his interest in hearing a variety of methods; and stated he
could support bow and arrow hunting as that seemed to be a safe and successful
in other metropolitan communities, such as Little Canada. Councilmember Etten
also expressed interest in polling other municipalities to hear results of
their deer herd population control methods, both positive and negative results.
Laliberte spoke in support of determining the actions and results of other
metropolitan communities, and their current or ongoing programs. Councilmember
Laliberte offered to mention the issue at the upcoming RCLLG meeting.
noted, from his discussions and outreach from neighboring mayors, the need for
joint efforts to address this regional problem, and apologized to those mayors for
not following up on the issue. Mayor Roe suggested that the Commission and/or
staff look at the issue further, and suggested some of the partnering should involve
Ramsey County as well.
Chair Holt asked
for City Council direction on whether or not to pursue this issue in 2014/2015,
as the Commission had kept it on the back burner for a long time, even though
it was part of discussions and the whole process during the Park Renewal Program
and bonding consideration. Chair Holt advised that limited information was
available, but sought direction from the City Council on whether they wanted
more information or updates on the existing information, or no action at all by
McGehee stated that personally, she would say no, because the opportunity was
missed when the bonding and community survey went through; with the result of
six gathering spots or buildings, only supported by 6% of the residents surveyed,
with a considerable amount of public money already spent, and the decision
already made on how it would be spent. Councilmember McGehee stated that she
favored a community center first, but the choice was not made that way.
clarified that the Commission did not consider the gathering places to serve
the same purpose as a community center, with the public's vision consisting of
a much larger structure to serve multiple functions.
McGehee opined that the public had not supported upgraded buildings to replace
warming houses, and not six buildings supported by only 6% of the populace. Until
she observed how the Parks Renewal Program buildings were used and funded for
maintenance, she was not interested in pursuing other buildings.
Laliberte opined that it was always good to collect updated information to
assist in ongoing decision making over the short- and long-term, and supported
a limited amount of Commission time to be spent on the issue. Councilmember
Laliberte spoke in support of updated information on the Shoreview Community
Center and recent improvements they undertook and their justification of those
improvements and associated costs; improvements on the New Brighton Community
Center, if any; and any recent information available from the City of
Maplewood's facility. Councilmember Laliberte expressed her interest in
observing how the new Park Renewal Program buildings would be utilized over the
next year, and therefore, thought the earliest need for updated information by
the City Council would be in 2016.
Willmus noted that a Community Center was specifically and separately
identified in and throughout the Parks Master Plan process and supported by the
public for continue discussion and consideration. Councilmember Willmus noted
that past discussions had been primarily limited to potential partnership with
Roseville Area Schools, and suggested such a partnership could still be
pursued, whether through land, space, or simply the long tradition of working
cooperatively (e.g. gymnastics center). Councilmember Willmus expressed his
curiosity seeing how the new park buildings would fulfill the need and role for
gathering spaces, and should prove an interesting component to the overall
picture as they came on line. In monitoring that, and what was learned from
the Cities of Shoreview and Maplewood, and their operating deficits,
Councilmember Willmus opined that the public's comfort level could then be further
determined. Councilmember Willmus opined that, just like community centers in
other cities, the need to determine the public's willingness to expend dollars
for such a facility was something that needed consideration, but cautioned that
he was not yet ready to rush out and state that the City of Roseville had to
have a community center.
Etten agreed that a combined effort by the City and School District could prove
beneficial for both parties, as well as the community; even though it meant
there were more people involved who had to come to an agreement and work out
the details, such as where and when, which should be possible with leaders
working together as a whole. Councilmember Etten noted that this type of
facility was substantially different than those being constructed in area
parks, and as residents had recently asked him, there remained a need for a
facility to meet the needs from little children to the elderly. While in
agreement with many of the comments made by his colleagues, Councilmember Etten
opined that he was not ready to jump into the pool yet.
financial obligations undertaken by the City with Park Renewal Program
improvements and bonding, as well as utility and infrastructure improvement
upgrades and costs, Mayor Roe opined that right now he had little interest in
adding anything additional for taxpayers. However, Mayor Roe noted the continuing
comments he heard from residents about the things we still don't have in the
community from the standpoint of a community center, and therefore, it seemed a
reasonable approach was to determine a timeframe when such a facility would and
could make sense (e.g., if a local sales tax option was considered). Mayor Roe
suggested options, including how to adjust timing, should all be part of the
process; and to him, it seemed it was important to have key things in place
before moving forward, including the actual steps in the process, who to talk
to, and when those preliminary conversations should occur. Mayor Roe suggested
that the Commission move from the initial interest expressed by the community
in the Park Master Plan process as a starting point, including areas of
interest in such a facility, and then seek further feedback from the community
to determine their current level of support in pursuing a community center.
Mayor Roe noted the many different concepts for a community center, but also
noted the need for a realistic and specific discussion on costs for those
components as they related to the overall costs, and making a determination on
exactly what a community center concept is desired. After those discussions,
Mayor Roe suggested plans be put in place and a generic structure to guide a
future process, so when important decisions need to be made, the information is
available and they are Roseville specific.
In response to
the comments of Councilmember Willmus, Councilmember Laliberte requested market
data for Roseville, as well as surrounding communities with community centers
having private clubs or facilities, a better understanding of the negative
and/or positive impacts and competition from of those private facilities, and a
better understanding of operating deficits in community-owned facilities,
including competing choices.
As a long-time
supporter of a community center providing facilities to serve the entire
population year-round, Councilmember McGehee reiterated her support of a
community center. Councilmember McGehee advised that she had contacted the City
of Shoreview's Finance Department, and they informed her that the City planned
an annual deficit, setting aside 25% funding, in order to keep community center
fees within the reach of the entire community, even though they realized they
were subsidizing the operation from their tax levy to do so, but considered it
differently than an operating deficit. When a serious community center discussion
came forward, Councilmember McGhee opined that it would be nice to have that
type of format for a pricing structure; and while a market survey was fine, a
community center was not intended as a fitness center, but very different, and
should not be considered to be competitive with those private businesses.
duly noted the various information being requested by the City Council, and
also the consistency in requests for updated information on other community
centers, recent improvements, and updated financial data, and timing for the
Commission to gather that information during 2015.
advised that he was considering the information gathering toward the end of
2015, allowing information to be provided after Roseville facilities are in use
and then having more factual information available next fall to present to the
emphasized again the need for community input, similar to the listening
sessions for the Master Plan process, besides factual and financial information,
perhaps even with a small, statistically valid survey offering various choices
or components for a community center. Mayor Roe also emphasized the need for
putting a plan in place, with steps, to get there.
McGehee stated that she found that financing between the Maplewood and
Shoreview community centers were very different; with the City of Maplewood
offering lifetime memberships for initial contributors in building the
facility, and asked that options such as that be included by the Commission as
Golf Course and Clubhouse
Chair Holt noted
that the current clubhouse had been placed on the site in the late 1950's, and
had more than exceeded its useful life. Chair Holt noted the need to determine
how to plan for its replacement, as it seemed to be valued by the community.
In consideration of the City's overall budgeting, Chair Holt sought City
Council input on how they wanted the Commission to approach this major issue
and the information they wanted provided for their decision-making, whether the
Golf Course remained as an Enterprise Fund or was funded similar to the OVAL.
Laliberte opined that Cedarholm was an asset to the community, while expressing
varying degrees of willingness to pursue building a facility or making major
repairs on the existing building given its age and condition. Councilmember
Laliberte expressed her interest in receiving the facilities utilization data,
age, and demographics compared to state and national levels, whether private or
public facilities. Councilmember Laliberte recognized the ebbs and flows of
the industry, but sought additional information on where the Golf Course was on
that bell curve of utilization compared to other trends and nationwide utilization.
Moving forward, Councilmember Laliberte questioned if the Commission would feel
comfortable developing a plan for how to continue promoting the facility and
expand or increase use beyond the status quo.
McGehee opined that she considered this a capital improvement program (CIP)
issue versus an Enterprise Fund issue. Councilmember McGehee expressed her
frustration with the Commission being fully aware of this need, as well as that
of the skating center, and not including those needs as part of the substantial
amount of money allotted for CIP needs, but instead choosing to spend the money
elsewhere. Therefore, Councilmember McGehee stated that she wasn't feeling
very good about this issue, since she felt good about the existing park facilities,
and it was her understanding that those facilities would be improved and
maintained; and further stated that she was hearing that from the community as
well, that the new facilities being constructed were not what they had in mind
either. Councilmember McGehee sought information on whether fees could be
raised at the golf course to make the operation sustainable; and recognizing
that the City of Edina recently closed a golf course, and not wanting that to
happen here, she supported it as a good course for young kids and the elderly
in the community who were not semi-pros, but simply seeking a local community
golf course. Councilmember McGehee noted the desire of the public to see the
course well-maintained, and questioned why one of the park buildings could not
have been located on the site to replace the club house and serve various functions.
However, Councilmember McGehee opined that the Commission had not come to ask
about any of that and had therefore failed to set priorities. Councilmember
McGehee agreed with Mayor Roe's comments about not being interested in taking
on more major financial issues, since funds were not available to pursue everything.
Councilmember McGehee reiterated her disappointment that funds were not used to
build a nice club house for the community; and she was unsure what to do about
it now. Councilmember McGehee further opined that, if the Commission could
make a plan on how to fund a new club house, perhaps peoples could contribute
to make a good club and if offering lunches, perhaps it could draw a nice
golfing clientele, similar to other gathering buildings, and perhaps offer
cross-country skiing during winter months. Councilmember McGehee expressed her
interest in seeing the Commission come up with such a plan.
Mayor Roe clarified
that Cedarholm was not a Parks & Recreation Commission golf course, but
belonged to the community, and therefore it wasn't up to the Commission to
figure everything out. Mayor Roe expressed his disappointment with Councilmember
McGehee's attempts at lecturing the Commission, opining that if everything she
thought the Park Renewal bonds should have been used for was done, the bonds
would have been spent something like three times over. Mayor Roe further clarified
that it had been known from the onset that the Parks Renewal Program was only a
partial solution for the community, and it had been determined to address some
things first, and noted that Cedarholm and the Skating Center had not been excluded
or not recognized as needing work. Mayor Roe opined that, at this point, to
second guess how the bond funds should have been spent and reprioritizing the
decision-making was futile, and Councilmember McGehee needed to move past that
stated that he was looking for some sense from the Commission of what a
replacement would be, since there were multiple ways to replace it as well as
multiple uses it could serve. Councilmember Etten questioned whether renovating
the current building had validity, but requested information from the
Commission on that option: and whether to consider a higher-end club house or a
renovated club house, and pros and cons, and rough costs, for either choice. Councilmember
Etten further expressed his interest in looking at how the enterprise could
enhance revenues outside of golf, such as seeking revenue sources for that
space. While replacing the roof and other major repairs have been on the CIP
for several years, Councilmember Etten asked that those major repairs over $20,000
not be considered until a more robust community discussion is held. Councilmember
Etten stated that he was in agreement with Mayor Roe's comments, and opined
that there had been significant opportunities for the City Council, the
community and other interested parties to provide input for the Park Renewal
Program components, with choices and priorities made after significant
discussion. Councilmember Etten opined that to bring this issue up repeatedly after
3-4 years of that decision having been made was not helpful to the community
nor did it improve the future of the community in any way.
Laliberte echoed Councilmember Etten's request for additional information on
how to generate revenue for that space; and suggested that the Commission might
seek input from the Community Development Department with their new business
retention program to partner with local businesses to offer golfing during open
or less frequented tee times.
concurred with the comments of Councilmember Etten, on his desire for pursuing
additional revenue sources, usage ideas, and the type of clubhouse that the
City should consider; all to be included as part of Commission, or even a
potential future golf course task force discussion.
Etten suggested that the discussion should start at the Commission level for an
in-depth look, and if they determined after 3-6 months, that a more in-depth
analysis was needed, it could return to the City Council for appointment of a
task force. Councilmember Etten reminded the Commission that the City
Council's door was always open and expressed their willingness to listen to all
options that may or may not work, but asked that a format be developed by the
Commission to make a recommendation for decision-making purposes.
Willmus agreed that the golf course is certainly an asset to the community, and
given that, he asked that regional and national trends be reviewed for golfing,
recognizing that interest may be declining in that area. However, Councilmember
Willmus recognized that golf remained a lifelong activity for many, and
concurred with the requests of Mayor Roe and Councilmembers Laliberte and Etten
that the Commission spend some time evaluating the enterprise and ways to
generate additional interest in it, encourage more users, and potentially
increase revenues. Councilmember Willmus suggested partnering with the RVA as
an option. Regarding the current clubhouse, Councilmember Willmus noted that
it was a double-wide trailer brought onto the site, and as he reviewed some of
the maintenance and repair costs, including restrooms, he suggested it may be a
less expensive option to pull in a new mobile home versus repairing the current
one. Councilmember Willmus asked that the Commission focus on the various
aspects and suggest potential long-term solutions; even including a possible
repurposing of the area as part of that discussion, which may need to be a future
McGehee stated that she echoed all of those suggestions as good ideas; even
though she retained her position that discussions needed to consider
repurposing the clubhouse as well as providing new ways to use it and the
course. While unsure of the status of the roof leaks, Councilmember McGehee
noted past experience in having to replace buildings with similar leaks; and if
there were structural issues needing immediate attention rather than deferring
them, she suggested the task force be hastened along to avoid forcing the City
into a decision because of those delayed maintenance issues. On a personal
note and as an equal member of the City Council, Councilmember McGehee
expressed her disappointment in being lectured by others on the City Council
about her positions. Councilmember McGehee stated that the clubhouse asset was
there and expressed her interest in seeing it maintained or upgraded, opining
that it served the community well.
To avoid any
misconceptions regarding the current Enterprise Fund status of the facility and
golf course, Chair Holt emphasized that no tax dollars are being used for this
purpose, and it actually generated some revenue; but in looking at significant
capital improvements needed, there was insufficient revenue to account for
large capital expenditures such as a club house. Chair Holt advised that the
City Council that the Commission would return with the information as
suggested that those options provide multiple options, including pulling in a
new mobile home as contemplated by Councilmember Willmus to those suggestions
brought forward by Councilmember Etten. Mayor Roe asked that all components of
those options, including costs and any other operational aspects, be compiled
by the Commission and brought back to the City Council for further discussion.
thanked the City Council for hiring the City's Volunteer Coordinator Kelly
O'Brien, who had provided a volunteer update at their December 6th
Commission meeting. Commissioner Diedrick noted the value Ms. O'Brien had
already brought to the City's efforts, including receiving a grant for a database
and a volunteer to work with the database; and her tracking of volunteers,
their time, types of jobs available, and matching community volunteers skills
and preferences, as well as nurturing volunteers already being utilized by
various and multiple citywide departments. Commissioner Diedrick noted the
value in engaging the community volunteer force and Ms. O'Brien's connections
and networking with other state-wide volunteer coordinators.
Willmus thanked the Parks & Recreation Commission for their advocacy for
the Volunteer Coordinator and prompting the City Council to hire that position,
and the resulting positive city-wide implications. From his perspective, Councilmember
Willmus opined that the Commission got more things right than wrong; and
emphasized that it was not the Commission's job to worry about things, but to
bring them to the City Council's attention, at which time it was up to the City
Council to decide which way to go.
McGehee concurred with Councilmember Willmus' comments; and also thanked City
Manager Trudgeon for pursuing the hire of Ms. O'Brien; opining that she was serving
the community well.
ISD 623 Superintendent Dr. John Thein: State of the District
introduced and welcomed Dr. Thein to the meeting.
In turn, Dr.
Thein, as a Roseville citizen, expressed appreciation to individual City
Councilmembers for their service, and congratulated those recently re-elected.
Dr. Thein noted that, when moving to Roseville twenty-seven years ago, he was
the youngest administrator in the District at that time, and now as he moved toward
the end of his career, he considered himself the most experienced administrator
in the District, recognizing the many changes as the District had grown, along
with the community and student body much different than when he arrived.
presented an updated Demographic Report for Roseville Area Schools dated
October 2014, prepared by the Department of Teaching and Learning.
At the request
of Councilmember McGehee, Dr. Thein clarified that student population changes,
particularly students of color, remained fluid and was driven by students, with
students accepted from outside the district as space becomes available, with
residents served first, and open enrollment closed at many of the schools due
to their being full.
At the request
of Mayor Roe, Dr. Thein defined "racially isolated" meaning that each could
learn and grow from each so-designated school district other and the gift that
diversity is for students as they compete against the world, not just locally,
and run into various cultures and diversities.
At the request
of Councilmember Laliberte, and as he addressed in more detail later, Dr. Thein
noted that the District currently had sixty different home languages spoken.
Dr. Thein noted that the immigrant population understood well that to be successful,
education is the answers, and expressed his appreciation of those parents being
very involved and interested in their students' education.
presentation, Dr. Thein reviewed individualized technology offerings at two
sites for seventh and eighth graders (e.g. I-Pad Initiatives), and a pilot
program training teachers first and integrating that into the classroom,
providing an effective and positive return on that public money investment.
Dr. Thein further reviewed the success of year-round classes, dual immersion
classes and student interaction, and hopes to expand language offerings into
the middle school in the future.
McGehee personally thanked the District for offering the immersion program; and
asked for an update from Dr. Thein on implementing vocational training at the
high school level.
responded that a joint agreement was in place with Anoka/Ramsey as well as a
dual track and partnership with St. Paul College through a collaborative with
St. Louis Park, Fridley, Mounds View, Columbia Heights, and Centennial School
Districts, providing students from Roseville the same options as students from
those other districts. However, Dr. Thein noted that one of the challenges of
the program was in the distance; but gave kudos to Mounds View and the Anoka/Ramsey
District for making inroads in the program, with their staff willing and able
to accept high school staff and recognize their expertise in working hand in
hand. Dr. Thein noted that many Roseville District students had chosen offerings
closer to home through the University of Northwestern-St. Paul, Bethel University,
or the University of Minnesota for their post-secondary options; as well as the
District being partnered with other Districts for their vocational options as
well. Dr. Thein noted that this allows a student to get their credits for an Associate's
Degree (AA) while still in high school; and recognized that Irondale High
School in the Mounds View School District had initiated that concept.
advised that the goal was in finding students who were slipping through the
cracks; and noted that in a number of families, this may be the first
generation college student; and the District wanted to open all the doors and
available options to those students. Of the first group of "AVID" students,
Dr. Thein noted that of 44 graduates, 43 were enrolled in college; and the
efforts had started at middle school.
With distance a
problem, Councilmember McGehee asked if it was possible to offer similar
opportunities in the Roseville community.
responded that the District is in partnership for students to earn an AA
college degree through training during high school, and provided several examples
being housed through Roseville Area High School, and the success of some of
those students moving directly into the workforce. Dr. Thein also recognized
the staff and cooperation with District 916 and Century College where a
majority of Roseville Students attend and graduate.
At the request
of Councilmember Laliberte, Dr. Thein provided an update on the pressures on
facilities and staff with open enrollment, especially at the secondary level;
and the resulting closure of open enrollment at the high and middle school
levels, or when space and design is an issue. Dr. Thein noted that open enrollment
was driven by available staffing and as staffing/budget numbers are set annually,
with some consideration given for open enrollment options. However, once
enrollment reaches a certain level, Dr. Thein stated that open enrollment was
On behalf of
questions she'd received from residents on the School's Referendum,
Councilmember Laliberte asked for levy information, as set at the maximum for
the School District at 8.6%, with the understanding that the general levy would
not increase in the future.
responded that, with tax statements coming out today, most taxes remained flat,
depending on property valuation fluctuations, with levy increases for the
School District driven by student numbers. Dr. Thein noted that, with the District's
acquisition of the Harambee School, it now had 425 more students than in the
past, with those costs covered by tuition in the past, but no longer true;
along with full day/every day kindergarten classes as well. Dr. Thein assured
Councilmembers and Roseville District residents that the District had been and
continued to be careful about levying dollars; and clarified that they were in
the "kid business" not the "banking business;" and noted that the levy dollars
are received after the fact and after funds were already expended to educate
the students. Dr. Thein advised that the levy for the referendum actually
Laliberte questioned if the District was unaware of the consequences in
pursuing Harambee and the need to plan for that student influx.
responded that the District did plan for the students, but due to the legislature's
delay in approving the acquisition, the District had to pursue the only
available option. While the District would have preferred to handle things differently,
Dr. Thein noted that the acquisition of Harambee would still prove to be a good
return on the public's investment.
English proficient students and changing demographics, Councilmember Laliberte
asked for an update on District plans to address that achievement gap or equity
Dr. Thein noted
the improvements shown to-date in that gap, while recognizing the achievement
impacts in those classrooms, provided the students remain in the District from
K through 12. Dr. Thein noted that frequent moving by those families, or attendance
issues for students, drastically affected their proficiencies. From his
personal perspective, Dr. Thein noted that the District's ACT scores showed
students well prepared, and were holding steady for the most part, and still
remained above the state's average considering the diversity and background of
the District's students. Dr. Thein noted that closing that achievement gap remained
the District's number one priority and focus on student achievement.
encouraged ideas from individuals and hearing of other areas of expertise
available to the District and its students; with the goal of offering broad programming
and continuing to see students excel academically. Dr. Thein recognized the efforts
of the District's hard-working staff; and expressed his personal appreciation
and privilege in living and working in the community, offering his intent to
stay in Roseville even after his upcoming retirement.
Mayor Roe and
Councilmembers thanked Dr. Thein for his attendance and District update.
11. Public Hearings
12. Budget Items
Business Items (Action Items)
Approval of Burn Permit for 1894 Alta Vista Drive
At the request of Mayor Roe, City Manager Trudgeon briefly reviewed
this request, as detailed in the RCA dated November 17, 2014. City Manager
Trudgeon noted that the homeowners had reached out to their neighbors, and of
those they were able to contact, they were generally supportive.
At the request of Mayor Roe, and from a legal standpoint, City
Attorney Mark Gaughan spoke to whether the City would be setting a precedent or
creating a special exception if approving this burn permit. City Attorney
Gaughan reviewed the specifics of this request, and whether or not similar to
past practice, noted that staff reviewed each request on a case by case basis
for administrative approval, and not usually coming before the City Council for
Mayor Roe questioned if the City ordinance needed revised to
avoid such an occurrence in the future.
Gaughan opined that just because the City Council approved something once, it
didn't necessarily forge precedence and in this scenario, if the City Council
deemed the request appropriate, should an identical request come in the future,
they could still deny each case based on its own merits.
suggested considering approval of this request by identifying it as a "special"
Gaughan suggested that for the purposes of the record, the City Council could
list the reasons why in this particular case a burn permit is being granted.
City Manager Trudgeon noted that typically, prairie burns or
recreational type fires were approved administratively by the Fire Department,
as directed by the City Council a number of years ago.
In regards to
identifying findings as mentioned by the City Attorney, Councilmember McGehee
advised that she had visited this site earlier today, and finds the site
inaccessible for the removal of brush piles. In addition, the City's rules
differed than those of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Prairie
Restorations were unaware that they needed any permit approval beyond the DNR.
Finally, the company had prepared the piles for a burn and waited for winter to
arrive and then learned that the City was unable to grant a permit. For the
reasons just identified, Councilmember McGehee felt this case has a unique and
special set of circumstances and spoke in support of approval.
Mayor Roe noted
that his concern was that burning brush piles was not necessarily an urban
Laliberte sought an explanation as to why the homeowner was seeking to burn the
brush versus hauling it out.
McGehee, in her discussion with City Manager Trudgeon, noted the homeowner had
seen that the brush was stacked specifically for burning in very tight bundles
around their yard; and due to the steep grade of their property and potential
disturbance to the lot, in addition to their intent to restore the savannah in
the spring, they didn't want to break the bundles apart and spread it all over
in their attempt to get them off the property. Councilmember McGehee stated
that she had pushed that option rather hard, but didn't get too far with the
homeowner based on their future plans for prairie restoration on the lot.
McGehee moved, Willmus
seconded, moved to grant burn permit in this specific case based on the reasons
noted at 1894 Alta Vista Drive.
Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, and Roe.
At the request
of Councilmember Laliberte, City Manager Trudgeon confirmed that the neighbors
within 500' would be notified prior to the scheduled burn, in addition to
monitoring and stipulations by the Fire Department.
Consider the 2015 Utility Rate Adjustments
Director Chris Miller provided a presentation for City Council consideration of
2015 Utility Rate Adjustments, as previously presented to the City's Public
Works, Environment and Transportation Commission at their October meeting; and
as detailed in the presentation, attached to this report and dated November 17,
At the request
of Councilmember Laliberte, Finance Director Miller clarified that the Finance
Commission had not specifically discussed the proposed utility rates beyond the
At the request
of Councilmember Willmus, Finance Director Miller defined the annual income
thresholds needed to retain the revised utility rate discount as previously
determined by the City Council. To limit staff time needed to administer the
program, Mr. Miller advised that the income thresholds were set to mirror those
set by Ramsey County for their financial assistance programs, or 65% of federal
guidelines: $19,700 for a one-person household, and just under $27,000 for a
two-person household under their current adopted criteria. In seeking to address
how that compared to the discount program currently used by the City of Little
Canada for Councilmember Willmus' edification, Mr. Miller advised that theirs
was several thousand dollars above this threshold, at approximately 75% of
federal guidelines, in addition to adding for administrative costs for city
staff to perform the analysis; and further noted that he had found few cities
in the metropolitan area that offered a similar discount program other than
South St. Paul and Little Canada.
instances for communities using different criteria, Councilmember Laliberte
noted that residents were then required to submit their financial data to City
staff for verification; and reminded her colleagues that this was the rationale
in utilizing an existing county program for the City's discount utility rate program.
Councilmember Laliberte expressed her lack of support to ask Roseville residents
to submit their financial information to various agencies; even while
recognizing that the income thresholds were low.
some of the City of Roseville's rationale for its rate structure, Finance
Director Miller noted that residents were not assessed for water/sewer mainline
replacements, which was the practice of many other cities; but those costs were
covered in the base rates, while making Roseville's rates higher in comparison
with those other peer communities.
Willmus expressed his dislike of the annual comparison for other utility costs used
for the property tax and levy hearing; with Finance Director Miller offering to
remove it from the presentation if not of benefit to the community and/or City
advised that those nine peer communities used consistently for comparison
purposes were identified as first-ring suburbs with populations between 18,000
and 50,000 and with stand-alone utility systems. Mr. Miller noted that local
priorities and funding philosophies could create a wide disparity in rates;
with Roseville having chosen to capture direct and indirect costs through rates
rather than through the use of special assessments for its residents. Mr.
Miller noted that Roseville water rates were higher than the peer cities, but
noted that the water delivered to customers in Roseville was already softened,
and due to the new infrastructure replacement cycle enacted by the City Council
a few years ago, those higher funding levels were necessary. Mr. Miller
further noted that Roseville sewer rates were below those of the peer cities,
and while overall combined water and sewer rates were still on the high side,
that had not always been the case, with the gap widening after 2011, and when
the CIP needs were cycled into the rate structure to address long-deferred
infrastructure needs. Mr. Miller opined that he anticipated that gap to narrow
in 2015, and continue to do so over the next five years as rates stabilize for
the CIP, with no large increases foreseen in the near future. Mr. Miller
opined that this may not be a realistic picture for those peer cities depending
on if and how they address their infrastructure needs.
Director Miller briefly reviewed supplemental historical information provided by
staff after distribution of the agenda packet, and provided as bench handouts,
and incorporated in the final staff report. At the request of Councilmember
McGehee, Mr. Miller noted the inclusion of staff's analysis for other CIP
funding options via the tax levy versus water/sewer rates, and financial impacts
for a typical single-family home under both scenarios.
If using Option
B, by financing capital replacement needs by using tax levy bonds as proposed
by Councilmember McGehee, Councilmember Willmus asked Finance Director Miller
how he proposed capturing costs from non-profits or those with tax-exempt
properties in Roseville.
Director Miller stated that he had no immediate answer to that dilemma, but
recommended that if using that methodology, all non-profits or tax exempt
properties be required in some way to pay their fair share unless waived by the
City Council for some reason.
At the request
of Mayor Roe in identifying $3,398,000 as the amount needed annually for a tax
levy, Finance Director Miller advised that the interest on those bonds over a
term of fifteen years, if bonding were used, would be additional to the average
annual need projected under Option B.
observed that if moving to a partial tax based system, businesses would also be
charged, and with current median home value fluctuations, business owners of commercial
properties would need to pick up that differential. Finance Director Miller
concurred, noting that commercial properties pay higher tax rates than most
residential properties; and if using this option, some of the burden would
shift to them, generally representing a potential shift of 10% to 15% as part
of the inherent design of the current property tax system.
McGehee provided her rationale in asking for this comparison, opining that it
seemed unfair to her to tie the CIP needs to the base fee, especially for
residents using under 10,000 gallons of water per quarter ($7.56), with those
using over 50,000 gallons receiving a much smaller increase ($3.39), with many
of those lower water consumptions in lower valued homes and lower water users,
creating an unequal burden on them. If a uniform cost was applied across the
board for taxpayers as part of bond issue and subsequent tax levy, Councilmember
McGehee opined that her thought had been that this would be a fairer plan for
infrastructure over a twenty-year CIP program. However, Councilmember McGehee
admitted that, while not yet convinced that the current application of CIP improvements
to base rates is the appropriate way to fund it, she was still seeking an
alternative, and therefore, had asked staff to provide this information to
initiate a policy discussion and look seriously at alternatives. Councilmember
McGehee agreed with Councilmember Willmus' lack of interest in the annual review
of Roseville utility rates compared to other household expenses.
opened the discussion for public comment; with no one appearing to speak at
Etten stated that he was not ready to make any significant changes in how the
CIP was addressed in 2015; and asked that the Finance Commission review options
early in 2015, including cost-sharing among residential and/or commercial
properties as values shift and potential impacts on both classifications; and
how non-profits, schools, churches, and others could be included in the system
to pay their fair share, recognizing limited tax capacity over time depending
on legislative action. Councilmember Etten encouraged a robust discussion by
the Finance Commission, and subsequent submission of their thoughts and
recommendations to the City Council early in 2015.
Etten, Laliberte and Willmus spoke against making any shift in CIP financing in
At the request
of Councilmember Laliberte, Finance Director Miller advised that, when cities
assessed for this type of infrastructure improvement, it was typically done on
a linear footage basis.
the capital side, Councilmember McGehee requested that the City Council address
infiltration issues by reconsidering ownership between the main line and stub
joint. Councilmember McGehee also requested that consideration be given to
address those infiltration problems on the laterals when the main line was
being lined, whether through assessing property owners at that time or as part
of the overall project costs for the system; but not by the City necessarily accepting
responsibility, but just making sure the job was done.
suggested asking the Public Works, Environment and Transportation Commission
(PWETC) to revisit the delineation between private and public infrastructure,
as it came up during last winter's freeze-up issues, asking for feedback from
newly-appointed commissioners as well as those having served for some time.
Mayor Roe noted
that it was applicable to this discussion, and findings by staff at during the
freeze-up issue that 50% of cities took responsibility at the street while the
other 50% took responsibility at the property line. Mayor Roe noted there were
impacts to the City for its current philosophy as well as impacts to the City
if and when it considered a change. Mayor Roe asked that the PWETC review both
issues and make recommendations accordingly.
Trudgeon and Public Works Director Duane Schwartz both duly noted that request.
At the request
of Councilmember McGehee, she asked that the Finance Commission, when doing
their computations on options for funding the CIP, asked that they calculate
how much the City would lose by eliminating churches and schools, opining that
she had no big issue with that, with churches not being big water users, even
though schools would be, but they were all important to the community.
Councilmember McGehee opined that this would serve to put everyone on the same
playing field, and could add to the commodity itself, and pass it through in a
straightforward manner and provide an additional cushion through an increased
opined that it made sense to have those numbers, as well as how many non-profit
customers there were in the City. Mayor Roe noted that it did get into to the
fairness question; and whether it was fairer to have people pay on the value of
their property or frontage along the line, or on the basis of having a connection
to the water/sewer system in the first place. Mayor Roe further noted that another
consideration was the fairness in shifting costs from non-profits to those
affected by periodic legislative changes, or if a safer, more reliable funding
source was available when dealing with a regressive tax system versus a regressive
fee system. Mayor Roe asked that the Finance Commission provide their feedback
on the equity and fairness of any options; which from his perspective, all
entered into the picture. Mayor Roe opined that, if changes were made to fund
the CIP, they needed to make sense, and needed feedback from many public
voices, with the Finance Commission in a position to provide that analysis.
Rate Feedback for Staff
Willmus stated that he was not as concerned with the proposed rates as he was
with the discount program; opining that the City Council may have set the
threshold low, but didn't know what the threshold should be set at.
At the request
of Councilmember Willmus, Finance Director Miller advised that 2,300 Roseville
households currently received the senior discount; with staff projecting 50
households qualifying for the income-based discount based on review of census
data on household income, and subtracting those households who wouldn't apply
for the discount based on their financial need.
Laliberte questioned how much staff time would be required if there was an
appeal process in place.
Director Miller responded from staff's perspective to the proposed income-based
utility rate discount system, providing staff's findings and assumptions
to-date. Mr. Miller advised that, upon the City Council's decision to change
the senior discount program to an income-based program earlier this year, staff
had followed that up with an awareness campaign for residents. Mr. Miller advised
that the campaign included advertising the change in the City's newsletter and
other media sources, as well as a direct mailing to every single-family home last
spring. Of the 2,300 current senior discount recipients, Mr. Miller advised
that staff had heard from seventy of them. Mr. Miller reported that roughly
two-thirds of those contacts were for the purpose of gathering more information
about the change and how to become eligible, but generally supportive of the
change and expressing their thanks for having received the discount for many
years, but realizing why the City Council implemented the change at this
time. Of those seventy contacts, Mr. Miller reported that approximately
one-third of that group was upset that they would not be receiving the discount
or qualifying for it; and about half of that one-third basing their frustration
by stating, "I've always got it and I've earned it" by paying taxes into the
system and should continue to receive that entitlement. Mr. Miller reported
that others in that same one-third stated that "I think I qualify with the
financial need, but I'm not going to apply as I'm against welfare programs,"
even though both the senior and income-based programs were subsidy programs. While
recognizing the apparent disconnect, Mr. Miller noted that they were not
perceived as the same thing. Mr. Miller reiterated that of the 2,300 current
senior discount recipients, staff had only heard from seventy of those 2,300
reported that he had only received a fairly small number of calls or e-mails.
Willmus reported that, while it came up during his door-to-door re-election
campaign, it didn't appear to be a pressing issue, while still there.
Councilmember Willmus stated that this was his rationale in questioning if the
income qualification level was set too low.
suggested that, after implementing the program at that level for a period of time
and having experience on which to base future decision-making, the City Council
could then revisit the income thresholds.
re-election campaign, Councilmember McGehee reported that she had only heard
from two residents who thought it would be a hardship; with others falling into
the category of feeling they were entitled to a senior discount due to their
age. Councilmember McGehee advised that, once she explained the City Council's
rationale in making the program available to those most in need, her contacts
were fairly supportive of that basic concept.
Willmus opined that he anticipated hearing more once the first quarter bills
went out in 2015.
At the request
of Councilmember Laliberte, Finance Director Miller confirmed that the proposed
resolution assumed rates with increases as proposed at a 7.5% and 3.5%
increase, and had been incorporated into the 2015 City Manager's recommended
budget and rate analysis.
observed that the water purchase budget went up less than the rate increase realized
by the City from Saint Paul Regional Water.
Director Miller agreed, noting that the budget number gets refined annually,
and the City had previously built in a cushion, but rates were based on actual
Councilmember McGehee expressed her willingness to take action on this now,
Councilmember Laliberte expressed her preference to wait until after the public
hearing to allow residents an opportunity for feedback on this as well as the
proposed tax levy.
Mayor Roe and
Councilmember Willmus concurred with Councilmember Laliberte; and Mayor Roe
asked that staff make this part of their presentation at the public hearing
scheduled for December 1, 2014.
Mayor Roe recessed the meeting at
approximately 8:27 p.m., and reconvened at approximately 8:34 p.m.
Fire Department Organization Discussion
Fire Chief Tim
O'Neill presented the Fire Department's request for reorganization and a
full-time staffing transition plan, as detailed in the RCA and attachments
dated November 17, 2015, for the first steps and setting the future for the
Fire Department. Supplemental materials were provided as bench handouts and
incorporated into the final RCA.
At the next
presentation, Councilmember McGehee asked that staff provide an tabulated
chart for comparisons and with the end goal of reaching the City of Richfield
Fire Department model, and addressing any variables that were controllable and
1, 2 and 3 year transition options starting in 2015 and spread out to evaluate
responded to questions of the City Council including, the proposed shifts based
on the organizational charts presented and staff schedules and allotment of
responsibilities; offsetting overtime costs as positions transitioned; future
elimination of the designated Fire Inspector position by incorporating those
duties during shift hours; and staffing for large scale incidents and/or mutual
aid situations while ensuring the continuing safety of the Roseville community
and emergency situations.
discussion included current call-back responses of forty, and future projections
at a similar rate, anticipating no more than twenty calls annually for larger
fire responses and under auto aid agreements with the Cities of St. Paul and/or
Maplewood; and minimum wages paid according to contract for call backs when
officers are off duty.
discussion included shift times; responsibilities of battalion chiefs in the
future and those chores currently handled at night by part-time supervisors;
proposed change in command staff to three battalion chiefs under the reorganization
plan and the current inspector position eventually eliminated; and changes in
administrative duties and time compared to current call outs or training or
operational to fully administrative positions.
ensued regarding pros and cons for full-time and part-time, or a combination
model; changes through attrition and impacts on hiring for future firefighters;
and how to balance full- and part-time firefighters; with no hiring done of
firefighters over the last two years in anticipation of this changing staffing
discussion was held regarding the thirty-seven firefighters currently in the
Fire Relief Association, in addition to retirees; and potential financial impacts
as that sunsets in its current format and how those pension payouts would
impact funding of the program, and based on the timing for this discussion to
limit those liabilities through a minimum 3-4 year transition period with preliminary
discussions with the Relief Association and the Relief Fund funded in excess of
100% at this time; and new firefighters coming in under the Public Employees
Retirement Association (PERA) pension umbrella.
expressed appreciation for Chief O'Neill's explanation and discussion, noting
that the City could not unilaterally dissolve the Relief Association, and
recognized that under all three options, those numbers were built in, as well
as addressing how the 2% received from the state could and would be used, as
part of the 2% tax applied throughout Minnesota for property insurance and distributed
to Relief Associations.
expressed his support for Chief O'Neill's proposed transition timeline and
Laliberte expressed her appreciation to Chief O'Neill for coming prepared to
these meetings and in providing the information requested, under various
scenarios. Councilmember Laliberte advised that she was not prepared to make a
decision on this matter tonight.
Willmus expressed concern with the projected number of additional callbacks in
this transition model; and while noting that concern may be mitigated if phased
over a longer period of time, and as opportunities came forward to develop auto
aid agreements with other communities. However, as he considered the options
tonight, Councilmember Willmus stated that he was not yet ready to say which
option to pursue; seeking more time to explore the actual impact of calls for
service and transitions.
accepted those reservations; and based on the feedback from Councilmembers
tonight, advised that he now felt comfortable having those mutual aid
discussions with other departments, but had hesitated to do so before first bringing
it to the City Council for their preliminary discussions.
Willmus noted that there were concerns and impacts if the Cities of Maplewood
or St. Paul were not on board.
advised that this was part of the rationale for the 3-4 yea r transition timeframe
being what was the most realistic.
McGehee reiterated her request to see the base and auto aid agreements;
observing that as long as the City maintains its part-time firefighters, it was
adding more years to the Relief Association and pensions to which they were
entitled, but creating additional long-term costs the longer it took to phase
concurred that the longer it took to implement the reorganization model, the
higher the Relief Association liability was; however, he reiterated the steps
taken by the City Council in 2010 for new hires to go with the PERA pension
fund and reduce liability for the Relief Association, which was in the $10 million
range now, and would have probably been in excess of $13 million if that step
had not been taken, thereby creating a significant step in the right direction
as it related to that liability.
addressed actuarial assumptions tied to anticipating long-term liability and
based on retirement, deaths or other impacts in relationship with future known
Mayor Roe noted
that the City Manager's recommended 2015 budget included year one as the
concurred that the current commitment for six new full-time people was a good
start no matter the ultimate decision.
d. Discuss Metropolitan Council Housing and Redevelopment Authority
Family Affordable Housing Program
for this item included Community Development Director Paul Bilotta, Police
Department Community Relations Coordinator Corey Yunke, and Police Chief Rick
Mathwig; with the issue detailed in the RCA dated November 17, 2014.
Development Director Paul Bilotta
provided a status report and background of the Metropolitan Council Housing and
Redevelopment Authority Family Affordable Housing Program, with fifteen homes
currently in Roseville managed under that program (FAHP). At the request of
Mayor Roe, Mr. Bilotta clarified that there were 150 such homes in the entire
metropolitan area, and statistics he provided were metro-wide and not
Roseville-specific. Mr. Bilotta referenced and presented information by graph
and entitled, "Roseville Family Affordable Rental Housing Program -
2005-2014;." And presented Charts outlining reasons for turnovers during those
Of the fifteen
homes in Roseville, Mr. Bilotta noted one particular property on Belmont Lane
that had had continuing complaints by residents of that block, and numerous
code compliance issues and many police calls. Since 2004, Mr. Bilotta noted
that FAHP units in Roseville had turned over twenty-one units, based on the
various reasons identified for those turnovers; and noted that 29% of those
units turned over transferred to another FAHP property and were HRA forced
moves due to changes in family composition.
From the City's
perspective, Mr. Bilotta reviewed code enforcement issues. Mr. Bilotta noted
that of the fifteen units, the City had received no complaints on eight of
those units; and of the remaining seven units, staff's research indicated a
variety of scattered complaints, from trash in the yard that attributed to a
move out situation, long grass, but nothing considered to be of a serious
nature by staff. Mr. Bilotta advised that the unit in question on Belmont Lane
had repeat code enforcement instances. Mr. Bilotta advised that staff's
preference was to work with residents on prevention versus complaints; and
noted his impression that the staff of the Metropolitan Council was looking to
be more proactive with their residents. Mr. Bilotta noted neighborhood members
were in attendance at tonight's meeting.
Mr. Bilotta advised that staff had a meeting scheduled tomorrow with representatives
of the Metropolitan Council and several members of the City Council to discuss
ideas for the many issues with this property, with an attempted mediation
process initiated about a month ago. Mr. Bilotta opined that part of the
problem was with the neighborhood's attachment to each other and their concerns
with what was occurring at the how (e.g. safety and welfare of children in the
home); noting that this was a positive to have that supportive of a
neighborhood available and the unit located in such an environment, while also
creating frustration for the neighbors wondering what they can do and how to
interact with the residents. Mr. Bilotta further opined that part of that frustration
involved not knowing how to interact with the Metropolitan Council or City
staff, or which government entity to contact or which jurisdiction is responsible
when they observe situations of concern to them. Mr. Bilotta noted that
neighbors are concerned about the individuals in those homes, and desired to
get things moving toward a positive resolution, such as through the
Metropolitan Council's Habitat for Humanity models.
noted that the next step or level is the abatement side of code enforcement,
reporting that of the fifteen units, no abatements had been filed; and of the
City's 207 total abatements to-date, only seven had occurred in rental problems.
Therefore, Mr. Bilotta noted staff's perception that this was not a major
problem in Roseville; and opined that the problem from staff's perception was
of a more serious property rights and entitlement issue.
Department Community Relations Coordinator Corey Yunke
reviewed his role, since the spring of 2014, with the Neighborhood Watch
Program, and his contact with the block captain in this area and their concerns
with their perceptions of child safety in this unit. Mr. Yunke advised that
open dialogue and use o the repeat nuisance code was used to encourage better
uses of property, as well as working directly with apartment managers and
owners in building a liaison relationship with all parties.
advised that the referenced remediation session was an attempt to solve the
problem, with the opportunity used to air concerns, but not achieving
resolution of the root cause. Mr. Yunke opined that tomorrow's meeting would
be another good step toward resolution. During the process, Mr. Yunke noted Police
Chief Mathwig's attendance at the Night to Unite in that neighborhood, but
recognized the limited staffing available in the Police Department. Mr. Yunke
advised that he had reviewed statistics over the last four years for
Metropolitan Council units in Roseville, and had found 105 police calls, most
for welfare checks, noise or related incidents; and out of the fifteen units,
only one had reached the warning nuisance level and only one arrest as a
domestic call, and involving a juvenile. In his review of the previous record
system's 201 calls for service to those same units, Mr. Yunke reported those
involved medical assistance, and some disputes and were all prior to enactment
of the City's repeat nuisance code.
Rick Mathwig was present, as well as a representative of the Metropolitan
Council in the audience, with neither offering any additional comments.
and Laliberte had attended the previous meeting with residents; and both thought
it would be beneficial for neighbors to speak to this issue and make recommendation
for the City Council moving forward.
Mayor Roe invited
audience members to speak, briefly reviewing public comment protocol.
VanSanden, Belmont Lane West Block Captain
stated that over the last ten plus years she had seen families adjacent to
this home having their quality of life totally eroded at times. As block
captain and spokesperson, Ms. VanSanden opined that little success or positive
changes had been accomplished during that time and over the long-term with
Metropolitan Council staff, continuing neighborhood frustrations. Ms. VanSanden
noted that there were young children involved and expressed the neighbors'
empathy to the person living in the unit, and their interest in welcoming them
into the neighborhood; however, she expressed frustration that things seemed to
continue at an impasse.
opined that the Metropolitan Council was not preparing their clients well
before placing them in the units and in a totally different environment, value
and behavior system than they were used to, with those residents not knowing
how to "live in Rome, when in Rome." Ms. VanSanden expressed her disapproval
of the current orientation video used by the Metropolitan Council, which she
had viewed online, opining that it was done by a graduate student, and should
be viewed by the Council as an embarrassment. Ms. VanSanden questioned why
such a fairly funded program didn't have any social services available beyond
those offered by Ramsey County and their already-overloaded social workers.
Ms. VanSanden expressed her interest in the Metropolitan Council making some
Jackson, 1358 Belmont Lane
supported the comments of Ms. VanSanden in capturing a lot of the frustrations
of the neighborhood and ongoing issues with this Metropolitan Council-owned
home. Ms. Jackson noted one important thing that came from the meeting held a
few weeks ago, was that this was not exclusive to this one tenant or one past
tenant, but was repeated behavior of whomever happened to reside in that unit.
With so many repeat problem observed, Ms. Jackson noted their frustration with
the program and residents housed in that unit; opining that the problem was not
being fixed, but it appeared the Metropolitan Council was simply just filling
up the house without regard to resolving any issues or future ramifications.
With no one
else coming forward to speak on this issue, Mayor Roe closed public comments
and thanked residents for attending and providing their comments to staff and
the City Council. Mayor Roe noted that their frustration was shared by
questions for staff
Laliberte reported that she had been unable to remain for the entire mediation
meeting, but had left the meeting frustrated and concerned without any real
knowledge of what the City could do to resolve the situation. Based on the
rights of any homeowner or renter to live where they were entitled to live and
live how they chose to do so, Councilmember Laliberte recognized that things
could be put in place to track and monitor situations, and asked if staff could
identify those steps and which method could be used in tracking various nuisances;
as well as illuminating how to establish a baseline from which to proceed.
assured Councilmembers and residents that staff was using the repeat nuisance
ordinance to its full extent; and when it reached the point when fees were levied,
they would apply to the tenant and not simply absorbed by the Metropolitan
Council. Mr. Bilotta noted that this Metropolitan unit on Belmont Lane was
already at "strike two" by definition in the repeat nuisance ordinance. Mr.
Bilotta advised that City staff was committed to working harder with code enforcement
and police staff and was now cross checking their two separate and different
department-specific databases on a monthly basis now to ensure accountability.
Mr. Bilotta opined that the next piece was working with the Metropolitan
Council and neighborhood on issues, with the Metropolitan Council proposing
some ideas to facilitate resolution and perhaps using this unit as a test case
in achieving resolution and positive results more quickly.
anticipating that it would be the final step or resolution, Mr. Bilotta opined
that tomorrow's meeting would serve as the first step moving forward, and
included resources and input that he and Mr. Yunke had put together to
integrate into the Metropolitan Council's process, such as information that
would be contained in a new homeowner or welcome packet, but adjusted to be
suitable for these units. Mr. Bilotta suggested the information could contain
local community resources, using a Habitat for Humanity model, and things
residents should know before moving to their location; as well as possibly
identifying a neighborhood volunteer willing to adopt the house for a year to
mentor residents in how things were done in Roseville or norms for this area. Mr.
Bilotta advised that staff would be critically reviewing the existing
Metropolitan Council structures available for their residents to see what can
be accomplished from the perspective of all parties; with the understanding
that the problem and solution were shared by all.
Laliberte expressed her interest in making sure the burden didn't all lie with
the homeowners, but involved everyone as part of the solution. Councilmember
recognized that it was unfortunate that this process was late in coming for the
Belmont neighborhood, and expressed her sensitivity to that delay.
advised that staff had prepared a matrix of responsibility listing a number of
common occurrences and which agency was assigned, and contact information for each
agency that would be shared with block captains. Mr. Bilotta noted that the
majority of the Metropolitan Council homes were being operated in silence with
no problems, and adjacent residents unaware of their status. Mr. Bilotta
advised that it was staff's intent to solve outstanding problems without shining
a light or highlighting those who haven't been creating any issues; and sought
ideas on how to practically and realistic accomplish the goals without singling
Willmus reported on some concerns expressed at the November 9, 2014 meeting and
specific to property maintenance issues (e.g. lawn mowing or inoperable
vehicles in the driveway). Councilmember Willmus advised that, in his drive
through the neighborhood today, he had observed some positive steps in the
right direction (e.g. the microwave no longer sitting on top of the vehicle).
Councilmember Willmus opined that there were things that the Metropolitan
Council could do when a resident was unable to do yard maintenance; and suggested
they could be more proactive in taking care of some of those issues that had
been mentioned at the meeting. However, Councilmember Willmus noted that it
was mentioned at the meeting that there was only one maintenance person
available to service all Metropolitan Council homes, and it typically took them
a minimum of twenty days to make the rounds; and strongly suggested that situation
be improved upon, with more frequent checks done. Referencing Mr. Bilotta's
comments that most of the homes fit into their neighborhood quite well,
Councilmember Willmus opined that some of the code compliance issues should
serve as major flags of other issues (e.g. trash, debris strewn in the yard, or
lawn not mowed) and suggested a more proactive approach to a rental unit's
upkeep would prove beneficial.
advised that some of the reactive issues had already been resolved; and now the
focus was how to anticipate or be proactive with other issues.
At the request
of Mayor Roe, Chief Mathwig reviewed the assessment of fees to the Metropolitan
Council as owner and their tenant if the repeat nuisance code was applied.
Chief Mathwig noted good success to-date in using the ordinance with rental
companies and their tenants once things were brought to their attention and
since it had been initiated, with few fines actually imposed and most issues
resolved with only a warning letter. Chief Mathwig stated that he expected the
same situation with Metropolitan Council homes.
Specific to the
November 9, 2014 meeting, Councilmember Laliberte expressed her disturbance
with the insinuation and introduction that this was a racial issue; and sought
assurances that the meeting served as a learning experience and would not be on
the table or part of any future discussions.
noted that it was unfortunate and everyone was surprised and taken aback that
the facilitator at that meeting suggested that bias going in; and advised that
that facilitator would not be involved in any way as the process went forward.
In his discussions with Belmont Lane neighbors, Mr. Bilotta opined that he had
not gotten that impression, but instead had found heartfelt discussions and concerns
from neighbors who were trying to pull people back and hopefully could ignore
that insinuation and aspect and concentrate only on the positive elements resulting
from that initial meeting.
Willmus opined that, had that individual known the ethnic makeup of some of the
surrounding households, they would have had a different perception versus
prejudging individuals who happened to show up versus that overall makeup of
thanked staff and neighbors for their persistence and diligence; and expressed
his personal better understanding of the entire picture than he'd had several
months ago. Mayor Roe opined that this process will help the City Council do
their jobs better in the future.
Request by Community Development Department Staff to Discuss Potential
Amendments to City Code, Section 1011.04 (Tree Preservation)
Development Director Bilotta introduced this issue, as detailed in the RCA and
attachments dated November 17, 2014; and provided before and after pictorial
examples of several developments in Roseville and dramatic changes on those
sites under the City's current tree preservation ordinance. Mr. Bilotta noted
perceptions of aerial views and interior and exterior parcel observations,
without benefit of new plantings; opining that better and more informed
material needed to be provided for the City Council and public as development
plans came before the City. Two examples used by Mr. Bilotta were that of the
Owasso intersection and the old Countryside Restaurant location on Snelling
Avenue between County Road C-2 and C. Mr. Bilotta admitted that there were
challenges in both residential and residential uses and how a lot was designed
and could realize its maximum use, some not as acceptable as others. Mr.
Bilotta noted, with commercial development, the current code often was not
realistic when other considerations were taken into account, such as stormwater
management and replacement trees.
If the City
adopted the City Manager-recommended 2015 budget and inclusion of a full-time
forester position, Mr. Bilotta asked for City Council direction on when to
codify the current ordinance, now or later. Mr. Bilotta also requested general
direction for staff to consider going forward in revising that ordinance.
McGehee asked for several items, including a chart showing circumference rather
than diameter; avoiding the use of "undesirable" for Cottonwood and/or Boxelder
trees, since she considered them perfectly fine trees with good specimens already
in Roseville; and asked that trees be planned as part of any future landscaping
plans, paying attention to how they are planted and how maintained beyond
considering a urban tree having only a five-year lifespan. Councilmember
McGehee further requested that if larger or heritage trees were cut down, they
not be replaced with trees having a short lifespan, but that emphasis be placed
on saving heritage versus cutting them down and replacing them with a bunch of
opined that it was interesting to look at the classification of invasive and
non-invasive trees, and suggested that distinction needed to be reviewed by
staff. Councilmember Willmus further asked if the City's Tree Board, as a role
of the Parks & Recreation Commission, had weighed in on this issue yet, and
suggested they convene more frequently to do so during this process beyond the
Planning Commission's initial review. Councilmember Willmus suggested the Tree
Board and current part-time City Forester weigh in on this and any revised
document. On the other side, Councilmember Willmus sought to assure all that
he was not proposing to clear-cut Roseville; but when reviewing Roseville
history, it was largely agricultural space at its inception, and when going
back to the 1950's and 1960's, it not very heavily forested. Councilmember
Willmus noted that a lot of the cover seen today is fairly recent; and suggested
it be something to be aware of, and not as a solution by any means, but
supported some effort to protect what's occurred since the City's inception.
thanked staff for their time with this ordinance; and expressed his general
support of it and staff's suggestions. On page 2, line 62, Councilmember Etten
questioned what was appropriate for inches.
responded that there was currently one standard for conifers and one for deciduous
trees with the same formula used but addressing two different languages. Mr.
Bilotta suggested reclassifying that to address those different trees and tradeoffs
for whatever trees is appropriate versus being required to replace it with the
same type removed.
Etten noted the need to reduce diameter requirements if adding conifers; and
asked where the line was for tree preservation or replacement if the ordinance
required too many trees that would impede development to happen, or place them
in the easement, or other things that could dramatically increase the number of
trees to be replaced of preserved, and where could a balance be achieved (page
3, line 106).
Mr. Bilotta advised that staff was in discussions at this
point about ideas that made sense and recalibration of those standards. Mr.
Bilotta advised that part of that review would include staff reviewing approved
developments over the last few years and consider them under new scenarios,
including easements and rights-of-way issues, as well as other city regulations
On page 5
specific to the grading and tree preservation plans, Councilmember Etten
suggested an overlay that would provide better clarity and clearly show how
replanting may or may not impact a parcel and development.
concurred, noting that staff was considering three separate documents as part
of that effort, including construction and grading pieces.
On page 1 of
the Planning Commission minutes, Councilmember Etten noted the need to
realistically factor in tree preservation as it related to minor home additions
and how to balance that out.
Laliberte opined that having new drawings available at that stage of approval would
be helpful. As illustrated by the Owasso photos, Councilmember Laliberte
opined that residents needed to be aware of what they actually valued: whether
it was foliage or trees, and also needed to realize the positive benefits in
trimming or removing invasive brush; with a need to show those benefits. Councilmember
Laliberte expressed her agreement with some of the comments made during the Planning
Commission's discussion related to the rights of property owners and if
improvements on their property ere minor in nature, where the balance came in
with preserving trees and the use of their property as they desired versus a
more strict application for new development. Councilmember Laliberte echoed
comments of her colleagues that some trees were not invasive, but flagged as
undesirable, and questioned who the City Council was to make that judgment if a
large tree was providing cover, there should not be some blanket approval to remove
it whether it was invasive or not; and suggested the tree could be addressed
over time and those species not replanted.
expressed confidence that the city forester could help with those clarifications.
suggested undesirable trees could be addressed from a planting perspective, not
in preservation calculations, such as Ash Trees that were subject to emerald
ash borer diseases; but if one was on the property and deemed healthy, the
development should get credit for that tree.
possible addition of the full-time forester position, Councilmember Laliberte
questioned which department was responsible for that position.
Trudgeon advised that, at this time, staff was reviewing sharing the position
between the Parks & Recreation and Community Development Departments, with
the current part-time position under the Parks & Recreation Department. As
discussion continues if the position is expanded to full-time, Mr. Trudgeon
advised that he was leaning toward the Parks & Recreation Department being
the managing department, with the caveat as the job description continues to
develop, that development is an important consideration in that position as
well, and subject to seasonal scheduling adjustments. Mr. Trudgeon expressed
his confidence that the details could be worked out.
concurred, noting that he and Mr. Brokke had met about the position earlier
In terms of
terminology on a revised ordinance, Mayor Roe questioned the need to revise
diameter from circumference; and while not meant as a criticism of his
colleague, as an engineer, he hesitated to consider that change. In the commercial
situation at the former Countryside Restaurant site, Mayor Roe noted the need
to rectify that situation that allowed significant trees to be removed to accommodate
a parking lot; and sought suggestions from staff to deal with similar situations
in the future, or apply a penalty for not retaining heritage and/or significant
trees as part of any future ordinance.
As noted in
Councilmember Etten's comments, and specific to tree protection, Councilmember
McGehee noted the need to protect trees at their drip lines during construction
as well as in the planting phase. Councilmember McGehee also expressed her interest
in the PWETC providing their suggestions from their unique perspective, for
planting and maintenance, but at least some amount of involvement. Councilmember
McGehee asked that also requested an arrangement with the Tree Board to be more
involved in plan review, as well as the Planning Commission or others regarding
streets, parking lots, and the health and maintenance of trees in all situations.
At approximately 10:01 p.m.,
Willmus moved, Laliberte seconded, moving to extend the meeting curfew to the
conclusion of this item.
Trudgeon questioned if her intent was for an external board review or review by
McGehee suggested involving staff and commission members having particular
expertise with the issue, but involving all city departments as applicable.
suggested that Councilmember McGehee was seeking policy advice versus plan
McGehee responded that she wasn't necessarily considering their review of plans
but to also consider boulevard trees and consider the amount of root space
needed to keep them healthy long-term as well as protecting trees during construction.
replacement, Councilmember Willmus suggested a provision addressing a having a
variety of trees to avoid situations with one species developing a disease that
results in a bare streetscape or bare lots. Councilmember Willmus suggested spelling
out a maximum number for each variety for a development to provide a mix of
tree species. Regarding Mayor Roe's comments, Councilmember Willmus noted some
areas of town now heavily forested but not in densely populated areas; and
sought a plan that would not be so restrictive that it prohibited or limited
development of those sites or areas. Councilmember Willmus suggested steps to
accomplish the City's goals while not limiting property owners in developing
suggested, in business areas, that shared parking be encouraged for different
groups or uses as part of their development to reduce parking while allowing
them credit for space saved and/or trees preserved through working cooperatively
with neighboring property owners in preserving natural space.
concurred that the comments of Councilmembers Willmus and Etten were well
within the spirit of his comments as well.
McGehee spoke in support of diversity for new planting, and fully supported the
Conifer tree comment.
asked for Council feedback when situations arose where a variance was required,
which was currently heard before the Variance Board; and questioned the City
Council's interest in dealing with those situations versus the Variance Board,
which the Council would not now see unless an appeal was filed.
McGehee expressed her interest in seeing those cases as this process moved
Etten concurred, as long as the plan was in flux.
Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Status
Mayor Roe thanked staff for providing updated TIF information.
City Manager Future Agenda Review
Trudgeon provided preliminary City Council meeting agendas through year-end
Councilmember-Initiated Items for Future Meetings
Etten seconded adjournment of the meeting at approximately 10:08 p.m.
Willmus, Laliberte, Etten, and Roe.