The Alexandria City Council has approved a draft of a "memorandum of understanding" to develop a new joint law enforcement center with Douglas County.

The council took the action at its meeting Monday night.

The county is planning to build a new jail at the site of its present public works building at 509 3rd Avenue West. (A new public works will be built by the fairgrounds.)

The memorandum concludes that it is in the "best interest" of the city and the county to continue to operate a law enforcement center within adjacent portions of a conveniently located building for both law enforcement agencies.

The city owns the land east of the proposed new jail site. Its park department, including an office and a garage, is located there.

The city will give the land to the county at no cost. Douglas County will assume responsibility for the operation of the dispatch services for both the city and county. Right now, the city pays the county about $200,000 to handle the dispatching.

The memorandum states that the city needs about 23,000 square feet of operational space for its law enforcement center, which includes office and administration space, support facilities and garage and storage space.

The city and county agreed to form a study group to develop preliminary plans for the shared law enforcement center. It will include the city administrator, the police chief, a council member, the sheriff, the county auditor/treasurer and a county board member.

The city agreed to cover the cost of demolishing and removing the existing structures on the site - the park department building.

Douglas County agreed to furnish Alexandria Light and Power with storage space for its equipment. It will be located west of the fairgrounds.

In other action, the council:

  • Issued $6 million in tax-exempt private activity bonds for the Alexandria Area YMCA to construct a new 56,000 square foot facility near County Roads 82 and 45, west of Alexandria.

The total project cost is estimated at $8.9 million. The bond will be used to bridge the gap between the time the pledges are made and when they are actually collected.

By using the city's bonding authority, YMCA will receive a good interest rate without impacting the city's financial status.

The city will receive roughly $20,000 for a bond fee.

The term for the bonds is 11 and a half years but the YMCA plans to pay them off in five or six years from pledges. The interest rate will be adjusted every five years.

The city's bonding consultant, Springsted Inc., described the YMCA's request as a typical financing structure for tax-exempt bonds in this market.

The city held a public hearing before approving the bond request and no one spoke.

  • Approved a preliminary resolution setting the annual salaries for the council members at $5,885 for 2009 and $6,065 for 2010; both reflect 3 percent increases. The mayor's salary is also proposed to increase by the same percentage to $7,635 for 2009 and $7,865 for 2010.
  • Amended city code to allow for a mixed use planned unit development at the corner of 22nd Avenue and Nokomis Street.

The developer, UTAH Group, plans to build two four-unit condominiums with room for office and retail space on the first floor. The upper floors are proposed as 16 residential units.

  • Agreed to purchase two pieces of equipment as requested by the city street department.

This includes a $34,710 2007 Caterpillar skid loader with tracks that will be used to clean ditches and ponds and remove snow.

The other item is a $112,765 asphalt zipper used to remove and recycle asphalt and to mill bumps. The money will come out of the 2008 budget.

The zipper will be financed over five years as part of a lease-to-own agreement and will come out of the 2009 equipment budget.

  • Ordered a feasibility study to find out how much it will cost to install a waterline in the phase III annexation area with Alexandria Township. The area includes County Road 42, Ridgewood Drive, Wood Duck Lane, Autumn Drive, Wintergreen Lane, Fairview Lane and Green Lane.

In related action, the council approved an engineering agreement for the project with Widseth Smith Nolting and Associates for $161,472.

  • Approved a resolution recognizing Cullen's Home Center of Alexandria, winner of the 2008 Business and Industrial Appreciation Day award presented by the Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission and the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce.

The resolution describes Cullen's and its 55 employees as a shining example of a successful locally-grown business.

  • Approved a request from Someplace Safe, Wings Family Supportive Services and United Communities Advocating Non-violence (UCAN) to have a walk, "Taking Steps Against Domestic Violence," on Tuesday, October 14.

About 200 participants are expected to gather at the courthouse at 4:45 p.m. and go on a half-hour walk along city sidewalks, some carrying balloons and signs.

The walk will conclude at Calvary Lutheran Church, 605 Douglas Street at about 6 p.m. and a program will take place.

Patty Wetterling is the guest speaker for the event.

  • Approved a request from Calvary Lutheran Church to hold an outdoor junior high dance in its parking lot at 605 Douglas Street after the football game from 9:30 to 11 p.m. on Friday, September 12.

A disc jockey set-up will be located toward the building to muffle the sound. Neighbors in the area are being contacted.

  • Heard a report from Marty Schultz, assistant city administrator, about the natural gas costs for selected city facilities.

For a one month billing cycle from mid-January to mid-February in 2008, the rates from CenterPoint Energy were as follows: Runestone Community Center - $1,660, park department - $2,010, city hall - $2,135, fire station - $2,341, street department - $2,564 and RCC West Rink - $3,658.

  • Was informed that a League of Minnesota Cities regional meeting will take place in Wadena on October 8 starting at 2 p.m.
  • Issued a tattoo and body-piercing license to Randy McKernan, doing business as RM Tattoo and Body Piercing at 112 6th Avenue West. The city's health officer must also approve the license.
  • Issued a charitable gambling license to a parent advisory committee to hold a bingo fundraiser at Washington Elementary School on October 9.
  • Issued a charitable gambling license to the Alexandria chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association to sell raffle tickets for an event at the Holiday Inn on October 23.
  • Welcomed police officer Chad Melton, who served as the sergeant-at-arms during the meeting - a security position the council approved at its August 25