2016 August 22 Council Minutes


August 22, 2016

 The meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m. by Mayor Werner.  The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by those in attendance.  Present for the meeting: Mayor John Werner, Councilors John Goman, Greg Andrews, Suzanne Herstad, and Bob Quade, Clerk Joan Jauss, Treasurer Holly Herstad, and City Attorney Mike Couri.  Public attendance list attached.



August 8, 2016 – Council meeting minutes

Correction to July 25, 2016 Council Minutes – Council Correspondence should be John W. not Joan W

Ordinance:  #42 – Opting Out of Requirements of Minnesota Statute, section 462.3593

Motion was made by John G. to approve items on the consent agenda with a second by Greg.   All vote in favor.  Motion passed.


General fund checks – 10992 – 11023

Utility fund checks – 717 – 724

Payroll checks – none

Fair Housing Authority – 204

A motion to execute above claims was made by Bob with a second by Suzanne.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed.                                               

COUNCIL CORRESPONDENCE: Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD) 2017 Budget and Notice – Joan shared WLSSD’s 2017 public hearing for capital budget and solid waste management fees will be held on September 12, 2016.  She would like to know if more than two Councilors are interested in going so she can post the meeting.  John W said he will be going and John G will let Joan know.  John W. stated to the councilors to let Joan know if they will be attending so she can post meeting if necessary.


Wavra Reimbursement from the Rice Lake Dam Road Improvements:  Bud (Barrett) Wavra 4957 Rice Lake Dam Road is here to discuss a resolution for reimbursement with the ongoing Rice Lake Dam Road project/clearing of the right-of-way.  Ray Peterson with Maki & Overom introduced himself as Wavra’s attorney.  City Attorney, Mike Couri read into the record a summary of the Wavra background for the Rice Lake Dam Road project which is attached.

John W. asked councilors if they had any questions.  Suzanne wanted to know what was meant by condemnation.  Mike Couri responded that condemnation is a statutory process that a City can use to obtain private property for public use.  John W. stated there was never a proposal from the City for condemnation, it was the County that stated the only way forward would be by condemnation.  Bud Wavra stated he met with Andy Plesha from the county and asked him what happens if we do not come to an agreement.  Bud stated, Andy used the words eminent domain, which he heard twice and is very similar to condemnation that is why he looked for legal representation.  Bud said the County valued the property at $300 and the rest of the $4,500 was for trees and moving lawn ornaments which he felt wasn’t enough so the County came back with $7,000.  Bud said he wanted the view of the public parking lot blocked to keep their privacy and looked into having a privacy fence put in place of the trees but the cost was about $12,000.  Bud was also concerned that if the five feet was taken it would prevent him from building a deck, would make the driveway steeper, and a perk test on the septic would not pass.  So he countered with $30,000 intending to make the City leave his five feet of property alone which was accomplished by the City moving the road.

Ray Peterson said he agrees the City did not file for condemnation but since the County’s statement condemnation would occur, the Wavra’s have a claim based on reliance because they believed their property was going to be taken and that there is a public purpose.  Ray stated his client just wants to get back to the way they were (financially) before this started as there are about $2,000 in legal fees.  John G. said he can understand the Wavra’s frustration with the process as he met with the Wavra’s and then met with the County to see what improvements could be made to the Wavra’s situation.  John G. stated after the meeting the County then revised their offer to $7,000.  This dragged on for many months with no correspondence from the Wavra’s.  Then the Wavra’s attorney sent their offer of $30,000 and that is when the City re-engineered the design of the road and received the state’s approval.  The City has also incurred additional cost for surveying and engineering due to the re-design.  John W. said the county had the lead on this project and the City stayed out of it until the project was given back to the City by the County.  The communication the City received from the Wavra’s, at that time, was to talk to their attorney.  Greg asked Mike Couri legally, what financial responsibilities the City has.  Mr. Couri stated the City is required to pay up to $1,500 for the Wavra’s appraisal, they have to give the City a copy of the invoice and appraisal.  Greg asked about the trees being damaged during construction.  Mr. Couri said there could be a financial responsibility if there are damages. Damages are based on the value of the property with trees minus the value of the property without trees.  Bud stated his frustration is that he was never given a Plan B option.  Ray Peterson commented that the $30,000 offer was a researched number and that the Wavra’s were right to ask for the $30,000 because of the eminent domain comments by the County.   Ray said this road is going to benefit the City so the costs they incurred goes to this benefit.  John G. said he takes exception to this being a benefit to the City because of how long it has been drawn out and the extra costs incurred.  Ray stated there is a legal claim for reliance.  Mr. Couri said with reliance you have to show some action on the City’s part indicating the attorney fees would be paid.  Motion was made by Greg to support our legal council’s recommendation to pay what the City is obligated to pay by State law with a second by John G.  Suzanne mentioned that she understands where the Wavra’s are coming from but she does not see where they have shown the public purpose piece of their argument and this is the part that is so vital.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed.


Storm debris road side pickup and debris site closing dates:  John W. said there is a draft copy of a postcard that will be mailed to all Rice Lake residents with proposed dates of when road side pick-up will stop and when the debris site will be closed.  John W. mentioned that it will take at least three weeks to close the site, two weeks to grind debris, and one week to clean up the land.  The last road side pickup for trees and brush (no stumps) will be September 6, 2016 and the debris site will close September 19th.  Greg wanted to know how much the charge to a resident will be for debris road side pick-up after the 6th.  Joan responded after September 6th residents will be charged $100 to $300 per hour for any trees/brush put on the roadside and she will modify the post card by adding the charges to it.  Joan asked when she should send the postcard to the residents.  Council suggested as soon as possible, and the information should go on the website and posting sites too.  John G. made a motion to approve the postcard with the modifications as noted and send as soon as possible with a second by Greg.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed.

Storm Costs to date:  Joan shared the storm expenses to date are $42,563.30.  John W. mentioned the City has not paid for the first grinding, contractor site-fees, and some debris pick-up yet.

Bi-monthly Council meetings:  John W. asked Council if there is a need going forward to hold a second council meeting each month.  Discussion was held that there should be a second council meeting in September due to the storm clean-up.  It was agreed to revisit bi-monthly council meetings in October.  John G. mentioned he thought a second council meeting each month has been beneficial.  Suzanne asked Joan how the second meeting was going.  Joan responded that with two council meetings a month communication is better, decisions can be made timelier, including claims being approved.  John G. made a motion to hold a second council meeting in September with a second by Suzanne.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed.


Resolution 16-08-22 Administration of the Minnesota Wetland Conservation Act:  Joan read resolution 16-08-22 into record.  John W. mentioned previously St. Louis County Soils handled the administration, now the City is responsible.  Greg asked how much additional work will be added to staff.  Joan responded basically none because all the work is done by St. Louis County Soils and Water and they give the City a “Notice of Decision” with their recommendation.  Mr. Couri said the Wetland Conservation Act states local authorities, including Cities, will enforce the Minnesota laws on wetlands.  All issues will go to St. Louis County Soil and Water for their recommendation then it goes back to the building administrator for the official/final decision.  Building administration decision can be appealed to the City Council.  Greg made a motion to adopt resolution 16-08-22 with a second by Bob.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed.

Liquor Compliance violations:  Joan said there are four establishments that serve liquor in the City.  Two did not pass their compliance check done by the St. Louis County sheriff department.   One establishment has already paid their fee, the other establishment has not.  They can reduce their penalty from $1,000 to $500 if employer and all employees who serve alcoholic beverages participate in a City approved training program.  The City has approved a class that is offered by the Minnesota Liquor Board.  The business has 90 days to choose training or pay the full fee to clear the penalty.

The Other Place request for 2:00 am closing:  John W stated the Council had table this discussion so neighbors could be contacted for their input.  John G. said the Other Place was going to contact neighbors too and wanted to know if they did, John W. said no.  Bob mentioned one of the main concerns was noise when the band was playing.  John W said when he was out talking to residences in the area and the people are against it, one person sleeps with earmuffs on.  Another concern of the residents have is Chicago Avenue is used as a thoroughfare after closing to evade driving the main roads.  Greg said he does not see the practicality of having a bar opened till 2 AM.  Suzanne said she too talked to some residence and she did not receive any support for a 2:00 AM closing.  Suzanne mentioned enforcement at 2:00 am was a major concern too.  Bob said owners of the Other Place were losing patrons to other bars that stayed opened until 2:00 am.  They were also concerned with getting people out the door at a legal closing time and home safely. Suzanne made a motion to reject the request for a 2:00 am closing with a second by Greg.  Vote was:  John W, John G, Suzanne and Greg in favor of the motion, Bob against.  Motion passed.

MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT: A motion was made by John G. with a second by Bob to adjourn the meeting.  All vote in favor.  Meeting was adjourned.