City council items: airport agreement, YMCA street, new microphones and salary freezesIn other action from Monday night’s Alexandria City Council meeting: Road to YMCA will be public
By: Al Edenloff, Alexandria Echo Press
In other action from Monday night’s Alexandria City Council meeting:
Road to YMCA will be public
•Gave preliminary approval to designate a road to the new Alexandria YMCA facility as a public street with public right-of-way.
When the YMCA project received a conditional use permit back in August of 2008, a private drive, built to public road standards, was planned.
But now the YMCA and city officials believe it makes more sense to make the road a public one.
The YMCA has agreed to absorb 100 percent of the cost of constructing the
road. The city will be responsible for maintaining it.
The proposed public street off Highway 82 West will align with County Road 45 and extend to the YMCA property, providing access to its parking lot.
Easements to the south of the YMCA property will be used for drainage. Another easement north of the right-of-way will allow for any future road development. A 27-inch pipe under the road is proposed to drain water to the wetlands to the west.
The owners of the property, the Fergusons, have no plans to develop the land to the east of the YMCA, according to city officials.
The new road has a tentative name – “Karl Drive,” in honor of the Wally Karl family that owned the land for the YMCA site. The name will have to be approved as part of the final plat.
City to purchase street sweeper
•Called for bids on a new street sweeper/vacuum truck. The estimated cost is between $200,000 and $225,000.
The money will come out of the city’s storm water utility fee and funds have already been set aside for the purchase in 2010, according to Bryan Bjorgaard, public works coordinator.
Ordering the truck before the end of this year will help the city avoid additional costs of 2010 diesel emission regulations, Bjorgaard explained.
If the city receives favorable bids, the truck could be delivered next spring.
In other street department news, Bjorgaard relayed a lighter story to the council: Street crews rescued a kitten trapped in a storm sewer on Walmart Drive near KFC.
Cultural competency committee revitalized
•Gave Mayor Ness informal approval to re-form the city’s cultural competency committee.
The committee will work with local businesses on how to become more adept at dealing with prospective workers with different cultural backgrounds.
Ness said that LaTresse Snead has volunteered to head the committee. She is the community relations team lead at Tastefully Simple in Alexandria, president-elect of the Lakes Area Professional Women and was recently named a “Top 20 Professional in 2009” in an Echo Press publication.
Salaries of mayor, council members approved
•Formally approved a salary freeze for the mayor and city council salaries, which had been preliminarily approved at the last council meeting.
The mayor will receive $7,635 in 2010 while council members will receive $5,885.
Special assessment procedures changed
•Gave final approval to an ordinance amendment regarding special assessment procedures.
If an owner wants to connect to an existing water or sewer line that’s located in an area where there has been a special assessment made for sanitary sewer or water facilities in the past, there won’t be a connection charge unless it is in a redevelopment area.
In non-residential redevelopment areas, connection charges would be required if the site requires a larger pipe size. The owner would be charged the difference.
In residential redevelopment areas, connection charges would be required if the site increases in density from the time the special assessments were made.
Exeception to platting granted
•Approved an exception to platting application of Darwin Johnson on property located at 802 22nd Avenue East, adjacent to the Soo Line railroad tracks.
The Johnson family was advised by their legal counsel and accountant to split off the residential property – a house and outbuildings – from the rest of the land.
There are no development plans or changes in the use of the land at this time.
As a condition of the approval, the Johnsons will determine which parcel will retain the existing assessment for city water or how the assessment will be divided.
The water assessment will be deferred until a remaining 21.23 acre parcel of land on the property is conveyed, developed or platted. Charges of $35 per frontage foot or the calculated water connection charge, whichever is more, will apply.
Final plat approved
•Approved a final plat for the Oak Garden Addition to Alexandria.
The property, owned by the Habitat for Humanity, was previously rezoned from R-1 to R-2 to allow four single residential homes to be built. The final plat reconfigures the four parcels into conforming lots.
After-the-fact permit reluctantly allowed
•Approved an after-the-fact conditional use permit allowing Troy Hocum to display rental equipment, trailers and vehicles outdoors at 2634 Highway 29 South (at Bert’s Pit Stop between Fastenal and Stub’s Marine). The vote was 4-1 with Dave Benson voting against the permit.
Hocum plans to have U-Haul equipment parked in the back on a paved area. No more than 14 vehicles are allowed on the site.
Some council members expressed frustration over why it took so long for Hocum to comply with the city’s ordinance. The vehicles have been displayed outside since July. Hocum told the city he didn’t know he needed a permit.
Taddei noted that one way for the city to deal with after-the-fact permits is to double the fee. The council is expected to consider that option further at an upcoming work session.
Zavadil Master Plan approved
•Gave preliminary approval to the Zavadil Master Plan for an area near Lake Andrew that is being developed by Larry Zavadil.
A public hearing on the plan will take place in November. The city’s planning commission recommended the approval on condition that Zavadil attend its next meeting to answer questions from the commission.
Airport maintenance agreement approved
•Approved the city’s annual airport maintenance agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).
The state agreed to reimburse the city for two-thirds of its maintenance costs – up to $58,505 each year – for 2010 and 2011.
The maintenance includes paint striping, mowing, clearing ice and snow, and other work.
Wireless microphones considered
•Authorized Taddei to pursue the purchase of wireless microphones for city council meetings.
They would replace the current microphones that are being used at an estimated cost of $3,100.
Work session scheduled
•Scheduled a council work session for Monday, November 2 at 6 p.m. at city hall. Items that will be discussed include city fee rates, special use vehicles, board and commission appointments, committee reports from council members, the use of administrative fees and fines for after-the-fact permits.
The council can’t take action at informal work sessions. The meetings are open to the public.
•Approved the following licenses: charitable gambling – St. Mary’s School to sell raffles for a February 26, 2010 event; and heating contractor – Blade Sheet Metal, and Trace Plumbing and Heating.