Members Present:  Mayor Hallum, Council members Benson, O’Donnell, Ryman, Linder

Following the Pledge of Allegiance, Mayor Hallum called the regular meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.

Motion by Ryman seconded by O’Donnell to approve the agenda as presented.  Upon roll call all voted aye.

Motion by Benson seconded by Linder to approve the February 11, 2019 regular council meeting minutes as presented. Upon roll call all voted aye.

The Mayor asked if there were any citizens wishing to be heard with no one present wishing to speak.

The following notices were reviewed:

• CGMC and LMC legislative efforts

• Invitation to attend ATVAM (All-Terrain Vehicle Association of Minnesota) Mixer April 6th to hear from the Club and Board of Directors regarding their plans

Motion by O’Donnell seconded by Ryman to approve the consent agenda consisting of the following:

• Approval of Verified Claims and Fund Summary Report for period ending 2/25/19

• Approval of the Police Activity Report for January

• Review of updated EDA/RLF balances; includes added accrued interest for 2018

• Approval of updated Public Notice regarding the relevant provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to all people who may be interested in programs, activities and services.  To coordinate ADA compliance, a grievance procedure is also in place to handle any complains or concerns.  Updating these policies is a recommendation from the League of MN Cities Loss Control visit/survey conducted last fall

Upon roll call all voted aye.

As per published notice, the City of Rushford is in the process of developing a wellhead protection plan for its’ drinking water supply wells.  The completed Wellhead Protection, Part 2, draft for this system as required in the MN Wellhead Protection Rule (part 4720.5350, subparts 1-3) is available for review at Rushford City Hall.  Consistent with the rule (part 4720.5350, subpart 4) requires a Public Hearing to discuss issues and address comments related to the Plan.  Derek Olinger of Bolton & Menk was present to provide information on the plan.  Jennifer Ronnenberg, Planner, MN Department of Health, has also been involved in the preparation of the plan but was unable to attend due to the weather.  The slide presentation included detail as follows:

• Part 1 was adopted September 2016; plan is updated every 10 years

• The Drinking Water Supply Management Area (DWSMA) for all three City wells are considered low vulnerability

• Plan considerations included potential contaminant, other wells in the area; projected changes of land use in the area; issues and opportunities; goals and objectives; plan of action; evaluation of the actions and water supply contingency plans.

• Supply risks include other wells, known and unknown in the area; land use and activity around the Inner Wellhead Management Zone (IWMZ) and flood plain risks

• Action plans include providing information to the public; locate, verify and seal and unused/unsealed wells; always consider the drinking water during land use planning

• The wellhead management team has identified 26 items in the to-do plan of action; which needs to be realistic as the State will expect the City accomplish these items and will also support the City in some instances with grant funding

There were no citizens present with any comments.  Council members discussed various aspects of the plan, the existing wells, locations and action planning.  Motion by O’Donnell, seconded by Benson to adopt Resolution 2019-022 Wellhead Protection Policy and Approval of Plan (Part 2), to be submitted to the MN Dept. of Health for review and approval.  The City also agrees to implement the plan and focus resources on goals for management of contaminants of concern.  Upon roll call all voted aye.

Next item of business was to receive a recap of the 2019 Improvement Project bid openings conducted on February 22, 2019.  Derek Olinger of Bolton & Menk noted five bids were reviewed with the total cost coming in less than the engineer’s estimate for the Grove St., Walnut St. Burr Oak portion and slightly higher for the Lamplighters Lane portion.  Using the information from the submitted low bid a proposed assessment roll will be complied and a hearing held on those proposed assessments prior to the Council adopting the assessment roll and prior to awarding the bid for construction.  The bid summary provided indicated Zenke, Inc. was the low bidder at $1,435,210.07 which includes all project areas.  The estimated final assessments for a “typical” 100’ wide lot with sanitary and water improvements will be reduced by approximately 11% to $11,150.00.  Likewise the Lamplighter Lane project estimated final assessments will be reduced.  Discussion was held on the formula to use for the Lamplighters Lane assessment.  It was decided to use the same percentage for the Lamplighter Lane assessments as for the Grove St. assessments, that being 25.8%.  It was noted that Mike Bubany will come to the council meeting in April to discuss the bonding for the project (excluding Lamplighters Lane as this will be paid from Capital projects fund).   At this time the Council is setting the date for the public hearing on the proposed assessments and amounts to be assessed.  The contract will not be officially awarded until after the hearings on March 25, 2019.  Motion by Ryman seconded by Benson to adopt the following Resolutions:

• 2019-023 Resolution Declaring Cost to be Assessed and Ordering Preparation of Proposed Assessment for the 2019 Street  Utility Improvement Project of E. Grove St., Walnut St. and N. Burr Oak Street, with the total cost of improvements to be paid by the City declared to be $1,498,788.42 and the portion to be assessed against benefited property owners to be $346,211.58.

• 2019-024 Resolution Declaring Cost to be Assessed and Ordering Preparation of Proposed Assessment for the 2019 Street Improvement Project of Lamplighters Lane with the total cost of improvements to be paid by the City declared to be $86,818.17 and the portion to be assessed against benefited property owners to be $6,757.44

• 2019-025 Resolution Calling for Hearing for Proposed Assessments for the 2019 Street & Utility Improvement Project to be held on March 26, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.

• 2019-026 Resolution Calling for Hearing for Proposed Assessments for the 2019 Street Improvement Project Lamplighters Lane to be held on March 25, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.

Upon roll call all voted aye.

Brian Krenz, Eric Leitzen and Sylvia Leitzen attended the meeting representing SE MN Historic Buff Country (HBC).  Krenz noted they were at the meeting to provide updates and information on the HBC activities of the past year to include the following:  working more closely with Root River Trail Towns and hope to coordinate more efforts with them; two more cities have rejoined and there are a potential for more; have been successful in some of their goals and have seen some progress in other goals; promotional efforts on Facebook are successful; made the decision radio  is too expensive; had success promoting the area at larger events such as air shows, State fair, driftless sports convergence and intend to do more of those activities in the coming year.  They noted there is pending federal legislation “Reviving America Scenic Byways Act”, S#349 and HR#831 which will revive the 21 Scenic Byways Regional Authorities in Minnesota.  Funding would potentially follow this legislation as it had in past years.  Council member Benson asked if they had any surprises over the year, what specifically they were supporting in the area and what their future goals included.  She noted she felt the HBC Facebook presence could be improved.  Council member Ryman noted she was glad to see them making progress but challenged them to go outside the area, find more ways to showcase the area.  Discussion was held on partnering with the Chamber to be sure Rushford brochures are available when they attend the air shows, driftless convergence and so forth.  Discussion was also held regarding have more detailed analytics available for review and in the future having documented goals and updates available for Council review.  It was suggested they promote the trail maps, both biking and snowmobiling to bring people to the area.  Krenz & Leitzen noted they appreciated the input and appreciated Rushford’s support over the years.  After considerable discussion, there was a Motion by O’Donnell seconded by Linder to approve renewing the partnership with HBC at the annual cost of $1,500.00.  Upon roll call all voted aye.

Bert Svendsen, Library Board Chair, provided a verbal report to the Council on their process and recommendation for filling the Library Director position.  Interviews were conducted with three finalists.  The Board is recommending the hiring of Beth Nelson; she is a local person; knows the area kids having worked at the RP School System for several years; is well liked and is enthusiastic about the job.  She is familiar with the SELCO software system, is aware of the limitations and physical challenges of the existing library and is excited for a change in her job.  It was noted she will have a good support system of other SELCO system librarians as well as training with current Librarian Susan Hart.  The Board recommends hiring Nelson at a Grade 8/Step 4 and following a favorable probationary period review after three months, she may be moved to a Step 5.  Cafeteria pay and other benefits are spelled out in personnel policy.   Motion by Ryman seconded by Benson to accept the recommendation of the Library Board to hire Beth Nelson, effective March 4th, at the grade and step listed above, with a report to be made by the Library Board back to the council after the three months probationary period.  Upon roll call all voted aye.

The next item of business was to consider several Police Department recommendations.  A resignation letter was received from Officer Dalton Bellock as he accepts employment with the Fillmore County Sheriff’s Office, with his last day of employment to be 2/27/19.  Several council members noted they hated to see Bellock leave, but understood his career goals and wished him well.  Council member Benson noted she appreciated his letter expressing his appreciation for the experience and opportunities working for the City.  Motion by O’Donnell seconded by Benson to accept the resignation of Dalton Bellock and declare an open police officer position.  As per bargaining unit agreement language, the position will now be posted internally for five (5) days for interested and qualified employees to sign up.  Upon roll call all voted aye.  It was noted the Council will be provided follow up recommendations from Chief Eide at the March 11, 2019 meeting regarding filing this open position.

A recommendation was received from the Board of Zoning Appeals regarding a public hearing held earlier this date to consider the request of Nicole Garrett for a Conditional Use Permit to operate  a home-based business at 204 River Street.  The business is “Don’t Blink Photography”; to maintain the site for office space for a sole proprietorship and to maintain a basement studio facility for minimal photo shoots; with the majority to be off-site activity.   Minutes were provided from the Board indicating they had discussed the neighborhood and the nature of the business and provided their findings that the business did not appear to have a detrimental effect on the neighborhood, no traffic concerns,  nor would it impede normal activity.  The Board recommended approving the CUP as requested, finding no need for conditions to be imposed.   Motion by Benson seconded by Linder to accept the recommendation of the Board of Zoning Appeals and grant the Conditional Use Permit for “Don’t Blink Photography” home based business.  Upon roll call all voted aye.

Motion by O’Donnell seconded by Ryman  to approve Resolution 2019-021 Approving the Renewal of the Consumption & Display Permit, MN Alcohol & Gambling Enforcement Division for Elizabeth Hoiland, Hoiland Mill, 301 West Winona St., Rushford, MN  55971.   Upon roll call all voted aye.

The Annual Water Report indicating gallons pumped, sold, accounted for and unaccounted for was provided for review.  The report is prepared in conjunction with the annual DNR Water Permit Report.  Clerk Zacher reviewed the sources and uses of water over a 26 year history and described the methods for recording and controlling the “other uses” of water within the City.  The DNR sets a goal that systems should have less than 10% unaccounted water losses:  Rushford is 9.07%; the DNR’s goal for residential gallons per capita demand should be less than 75:  Rushford is 41.3.  The DNR’s goal for percentage reduction in nonresidential use should be greater than 1.5%:  Rushford is 7.08%.  The DNR goal for total peaking factor should be less than 2.6:  Rushford is 2.11.  With the City correcting old and leaking water mains/services over the past years, with the automated meter reading capability of catching high water uses/leaks in a timely manner and with the timely repair of leaks when they do occur, Rushford will continue to have a good handle on the wager usage and control of the system.

Reports and Miscellaneous

• Openings on Commissions and Boards:  2 for EDA, 3 for Airport, 1 for Electric, 1 for Planning

• The DNR used the Rushford Municipal Airport for a couple days this past week as a base for the southeaster MN deer capture; with 32 deer captures, collared and released

• The DNR trail system folks were informed the Historical Society is not in favor of them placing a portable restroom facility on the Depot grounds.  The DNR asked for input on an appropriate location along the bike trail; the site they have tentatively chosen will be at the intersection with Cooperative Way which is a good distances for walkers, runners, bikers, the Lions Club has a garbage container their already and it’s a good visible intersection.

• The City was awarded an MPCA Wastewater Treatment Facility Operation Award which will be presented at the 2019 wastewater operator’s conference.

Motion by O’Donnell seconded by Benson that the meeting be adjourned at approximately 8:40 p.m. Upon roll call all voted aye.

Submitted by: 

Kathy Zacher, City Clerk/Treas.