Parking lot payments expected to be approved soonA project to rebuild the city parking lot along Fillmore Street between 5th and 6th Avenue was completed months ago. The city, however, is still working out the details of paying for the $542,443 undertaking.
By: Al Edenloff, Alexandria Echo Press
A project to rebuild the city parking lot along Fillmore Street between 5th and 6th Avenue was completed months ago.
The city, however, is still working out the details of paying for the $542,443 undertaking. At its meeting Monday night, the Alexandria City Council held a hearing for the final assessments for the Fillmore Street parking lot.
The project included installing a new eight-inch watermain through the length of the alley; replacing the stormwater system’s 12-inch clay tile pipe with 15-inch PVC pipe; installing rain gardens, catch basins and a drain tile underneath the sod; replacing the parking lot with new bituminous surface that should last at least 40 years; adding concrete block for deliveries; moving the overhead powerlines and phone lines underground; adding landscaping touches with new trees and an irrigation system; and installing new lighting and new signage.
The city, Alexandria Light and Power and the city’s stormwater utility fund are expected to cover $262,141 and the property owners in the downtown business district would be assessed the rest, $280,302.
The assessments are based on several factors, including building size, the number of code-required parking spaces, the known private parking provided by the property owner, the number of apartments the building has (if any) and how close the business is to the parking lot.
The assessments, affecting about 90 property owners, would be spread over 10 years at an interest rate of 7 percent.
Only one person from the public spoke at the hearing – Becky Albright, owner of the Daily House of Java at 518 Broadway. She wanted to have a breakdown of the assessments. The council told her City Planner Mike Weber would have the information.
Council member Sara Carlson recused herself from the discussion of the assessments because she owns property in the downtown area.
Because some minor revisions are still being made to the assessments, the council didn’t adopt the assessments Monday. It is expected to do so at its next meeting in September.
In other action that wasn’t already reported in Wednesday’s newspaper, the council:
•Approved a mutual aid, joint powers agreement between Douglas County and the city for the Douglas County Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team.
The agreement was also signed by the county board chair and sheriff.
City Attorney John Lervick noted that the point of the agreement is to define who is responsible for potential liabilities if a lawsuit arises.
The agreement, he said, designates the county as the point agency.
The SWAT team includes full-time officers from the sheriff’s office and the police department who are licensed through the Minnesota Peace Officers Standards and Training Board. The team responds to special situational emergencies that may require a higher level of response than the sheriff’s office or police department can provide independently.
Police officers who are part of the SWAT team respond whenever the team is activated, whether it’s inside the city or elsewhere in the county.
The agreement gives the sheriff the full authority to control the SWAT team, as long as the sheriff consults with the police chief before the team is deployed.
The police chief will decide the extent of the police department’s participation. Upon request, the sheriff will keep the police chief or a designee informed of the team’s ongoing response.
The agreement also spells out how the SWAT team is structured, including a commander, team leaders, and a logistics officer.
Each department is responsible for paying the wages of their respective personnel and expenses during SWAT team training and activation.
•Passed a resolution designating October 27, 2009 as “The Aagard Group Day” in Alexandria.
The company and its 100 employees are the recipient of the 2009 Business and Industrial Appreciation Day Award sponsored by the Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission and the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce.
The company specializes in automated packaging machinery design, engineering and manufacturing.
•Approved the final assessments for the Evergreen Lane improvement project.
The project included street, watermain and sanitary sewer work on Evergreen Lane from County Road 45 east 850 feet.
The project was expected to cost $360,600 but the actual final cost was $327,676.
The city will cover 20 percent of the costs of the street and water improvements or $64,696. The developer, Donnerite Company, agreed to pay the rest, $262,980.
The developer has the option of paying the entire assessment up front by November 15 or spreading the cost over 10 years at a 7 percent interest rate.
•Agreed to support the Alexandria Housing and Redevelopment Authority’s plan to repair rental housing units in the city. The HRA received a state grant from the Small Cities Development Program (SCDP) for the project.
As part of the federal requirements to receive the grant, the council agreed to adopt an “anti-displacement and relocation assistance plan.” This describes the steps the city would take to mitigate adverse effects if any low to moderate-income residents have to move because of the project. The HRA, however, isn’t planning any demolition work, only rehab.
As part of another federal requirement, the city also adopted a policy on how law enforcement should respond to individuals engaged in non-violent demonstrations. The policy states that police officers must respond in a manner that’s consistent with Peace Officers Standards and Training.
In another related action, the city agreed to act as a legal sponsor for the HRA’s application for a new SCDP grant.
•Supported Someplace Safe’s October 13 walk, “Taking Steps Against Domestic Violence.”
The walk will start at the Douglas County Courthouse at about 5 p.m. and use sidewalks along Fillmore Street, 10th Avenue, Broadway and 6th Avenue West. It will end at Calvary Lutheran Church on Douglas Street.
Organizers are hoping to get about 300 participants for the half-hour walk. Some may be pushing strollers or carrying balloons and signs.
•Amended its budget and tax levy for 2009 (as reported in previous stories).
The general fund was trimmed from $7,891,677 to $7,578,318 – a 4 percent reduction to deal with a cut in local government aid of $313,359.
The tax levy for 2008, payable in 2009, remained the same – $4,516,732.
•Scheduled a public informational meeting for Thursday, August 27 at 5 p.m. at City Hall to discuss the 2010 waterline project in the “phase three” annexation area. This is a follow-up to an informational meeting the city held earlier this year.
•Was reminded that a joint meeting with the Douglas County Board regarding the Law Enforcement Center is set for Monday, August 31 at 7 p.m. at the new Douglas County Public Works building. The meeting is open to the public.
•Scheduled a work session to review the city’s 2010 proposed budget and tax levy. It will take place September 1 at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.
•Issued an on-sale liquor license and Sunday liquor license to Mi Mexico, a new restaurant that will open soon at 401 North Nokomis in Alexandria (the site of Bonito Mazatlan, which closed this past June).
The council first considered the license applications at its August 10 meeting but decided to table the matter until the applications were filled out more completely.
•Approved the following licenses: heating – The Fireplace Professionals (new); peddler’s – Twin City Steak and Seafood, selling door-to-door; temporary liquor – Eagles Club to sell liquor on Sunday, September 20; wine and beer – Bistro to Go.