2017 March Agenda Minutes

Agenda Meeting Minutes

March 6, 2017

The meeting was called to order by Mayor John Werner at 6:00 p.m.  Present for the meeting; Mayor John Werner; Councilors John Goman, Greg Andrews, Suzanne Herstad, and Bob Quade; Treasurer Holly Herstad; Clerk Joan Jauss; John Klaers, City Planner from Klaers and Associates, and guest list attached.

A motion was made by Greg to approve the February 6, 2017 Agenda Meeting Minutes with a second by Bob.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed

Correspondence: None

AirFiber presentation: Steve Goldschmidt from AirFiber stated AirFiber provides high speed internet to rural areas.  Currently they are providing coverage in Cloquet, West Duluth, Superior, Proctor, Esko, Hermantown, they are also on MNDOT towers, they lease space on the towers for $200 – $500 per month.  John G. said that Rice Lake leases space for $1,000 or more a month to other companies and does not think it would be fair to allow AirFiber to pay a lower price.  John W. asked how far would AirFiber’s service reach if antennas were installed on the water tower, Steve noted a couple of miles depending on the topography of the land.  John W. said he does not think the City should subsidize any business and AirFiber would be overlapping service areas of other companies that pay a higher lease amount to the City.  He stated Century Link is expanding into the City under the broadband mandate.  John K. said AirFiber put their own antenna up in Hermantown and many residents could get service in areas that previously did not have coverage.  Steve mentioned that AirFiber is small and has a tight budget, nor do they have the customers that the big cell phone providers have, thus they could not afford $1,000 but could pay $200.  Greg said he likes that AirFiber would provide service to people who do not have any or cannot afford current services.  Council was not in support of $200 per month because it was lower than what is currently being charged other providers.

Small Area Project Planning: Suzanne stated that the City’s current Comprehensive Plan is in need of an update but it does not have to be redone all at once, we could do updates for current and future development sections of the plan.  Updating the plan, instead of creating a new one, would save the City money.  The objective is to be ready for commercial development, that way, the City will drive where these developments will go and what types of developments will be permitted.  Suzanne stated she is in support of the proposal.  This proposal is included in the current budget for Mr. Klaers and he is going to use the Planning and Zoning Commission at the regular monthly meetings.  John K. said that the Comprehensive Plan was done in 1998 and updated in 2007.  John K.  is suggesting Rice Lake undertake three areas for updating; the Rice Lake Road corridor, including the Martin Road corridor west of Rice Lake Road, the area East of the Rice Lake Road Corridor from Gothenburg Road South to the City limits, and the East Calvary Road for commercial/industrial district.  The proposal includes updating our zoning code as needed.  After gathering the information, a public hearing would be held to get the public feedback.  Suzanne asked if there is a time frame for completing the Rice Lake Road Corridor plan.  John K. said work could start as soon as April and be completed by the end of the year.  John W. asked about the cost breakdown and if the cost is for all three projects, John K. stated his budget of $4,160 is for one of the plans, he suggests starting with the Rice Lake Road Corridor.  The cost gets us a small area development plan for the Rice Lake Corridor and make the zoning codes better to achieve that.

John G. clarified and John K. agreed, the proposal is to update the Comprehensive Plan, specifically updating the Rice Lake Corridor, and the zoning changes as needed to achieve this.  John G. said that his initial thought is in support of the concept but would like to review the proposal before making a decision.  John W. said to postpone any further discussion until the next Council meeting so Councilors have time to review proposal.

Fire equipment investment update: Joan stated the two CDs that would have matured in 2019 and 2020, from the fire equipment investment account, were cashed out at $35,466.41 and $65,700.24, the money will be reinvested for six months.  Joan asked if the money from the sale of the old brush truck can be deposited into the fire equipment investment account.  Council said yes.

North fire hall roof: Joan shared the information from Joe at MSA on the North Fire Hall roof.  The roof is a pre-engineered building and the City would need to find out from the manufacture of the support beams what the load rate is for the roof.  Joe informed Joan the cost to do so will be more than $800.  John W. recommended to do nothing and to file the information so it could be referred to in the future.

Resolution 17-03-10 Minnesota Government Data Practices Act: Joan shared the City is legally required to have a Data Practice Act policy.  Joan asked the Council to review the attached policy.  Joan will bring to the Council meeting for action.

Storm bond: Joan made a request to move $4,684.37 from general checking to project investment for storm bond payment.  Joan said the additional funds were received from St Louis County for a tax break given to property owners who incurred damages due to the July 2016 storm.  John G. made a motion to move the $4,684.37 to investments with a second by Greg.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed.

Tablets: Discussion was held by Council about various tablets available to purchase.  Support was for the Microsoft Surface with 64 GB, keyboard, screen protector, and case for around $500 each.  John W. recommends staff purchase locally and not online.  Suzanne suggested that the price savings of purchasing on-line can benefit the City by keeping costs down.  Joan will get quotes and bring back to Council for final approval. 

Having nothing further to discuss, a motion to adjourn was made by Bob with a second by Suzanne.  All vote in favor.  Motion carried.