City Hall insider

Al RoderEver wonder what happens at City Hall each week? Well, now you'll know. City Administrator Al Roder (left) has agreed to share the memo he sends to city officials each Friday. There's a LOT here, from police activity statistics to street closings and budget meetings.

City activities for the week of July 9 – July 15, 2006:

Administration
Attended Policy Committee Meeting at League of Minnesota Cities Attended meeting concerning proposed ethanol plant in Bridgewater Township.

Met with the chair of the Human Rights Commission and Gary Smith. Dakota County has issued a Health Alert due to the extreme heat this weekend. Please be careful.

I will be on vacation the week of July 23-30.

City Clerk
Two people have filed for office so far. Jim Herreid has filed for Ward 1, and Norman Butler has filed for council at-large.

Human Resources
Gina taking week long insurance training.
Develop budget for HR.
Employee FMLA.
Union negotiations –Local 70 – Utility unit – opening.
Develop IT marketing profile.
Police Officer scoring – 109 applicants.
Police Officer testing – 67 applicants.
Police Civil Service Commission meeting.
Risk management – insurance coverage – questions and research Labor Management Committee invitations – by law change.
Conduct exit interview

Finance/Budget

Department managers are completing their operating budget requests. Internal review of capital and operating requests has been postponed to the end of July due to delays in the budget development process and staff schedules.

Detailed revenue projection spreadsheets are being developed for the majority of operations. Finance is collaborating with the operating departments in this endeavor.

2005 Audit:
All outstanding assignments have been completed and sent to the auditors. A final draft of the financial statements can now be completed. The deadline for submission to the State Auditor and GFOA is July 31. A one-month extension was granted due to staff turnover in Finance. The financial statements and management report will be presented to the Mayor and Council sometime in August. The comprehensive annual financial report will also be converted to a PDF file and placed on the City’s website.

Hospital Bonds:
The official statement has just been received. Copies of the OS are attached to this report. The Pricing Committee meets next Thursday.

EDA Bonds:
All bond-closing documents were signed this week and returned to Ehlers. The formal closing on the sale occurs on July 18.

Community Development
Building Inspections:
The Northfield Hospital/Clinic Addition permit has been issued. We have issued a footing/foundation permit for the new Northfield Swimming Pool.

The Rental Group Workshop continues to work towards finding ways to improve the Northfield Rental program.

Community Development:
Budgeting continues.

Much time was spent with planning staff and the City Attorney to finalize the easement issues associated with the Rosewood 5th Addition.

The Community Development Director and the Public Works director met with officials from Northfield Township to discuss the relationships between the construction of Spring Creek Road and the corresponding effect on the annexation agreement and the need to change the annexation agreement. Staff will be preparing a proposal for the construction and concepts for changing the annexation agreements to be presented to the Township in August.

Economic Development
Staff participated in 2 KYMN interviews to discuss the Comprehensive Economic Development Plan. This is one of the many outreach activities that the EDA is pursuing to raise the community's awareness of the plan.

At the EDA meeting, the EDA continued to review the 18-month implementation plan for the Comprehensive Economic Development Plan, discussed the content of the upcoming EDA/CC joint work session, appointed a budget review committee to work with Staff on the FY07 budget, and started discussing mapping needs for the land opportunity.

The EDA confirmed that the joint EDA/CC work session - to discuss the economic development plan - will take place on Thursday, July 27 from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Coffee and danishes will be provided.

Housing
Staff participated in a grant interview for a Blue Cross Blue Shield grant that would look to provide funds to do a pilot affordable housing project in Northfield that incorporates many "green community" and energy conservation building techniques.

Staff worked with the law office to review proposed modifications to the manufactured home replacement program. These proposed changes will make it easier for applicants to replace old, dilapidated manufactured homes with newer units.

The HRA approved modifications to the First Time Homebuyer Program. Qualified applicants can now obtain $5000 towards the purchase of a home.

Staff is continuing to receive numerous phone calls and application requests for both the First Time Homebuyer Program and the Manufactured Home Replacement Program. The increased activity level is a result of targeted marketing that took place earlier this year.

The HRA elected new officers at their July meeting. Leota Goodney will assume the Chair position, Jim Crow will continue as Vice Chair, and Emelda Rassmusen will assume the Secretary role.

Planning
Staff met to review the Statement of Qualifications that were submitted by the 18 consulting firms proposing to revise the Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Regulations. Six were selected (one consultant from Minnesota and five from out of state) to receive the Request for Proposal (RFP). RFPs will be sent out next week and due back by 9/1/06.

Completed HPC agenda packets. The HPC next week will award CDBG grants for exterior building improvements in the historic district. There are five grant applicants and the HPC will award $10,000.

Liquor Store
Attended Town Hall Meeting for Rice County’s Licensed Alcohol Vendors hosted by the Rice County Chemical Health Coalition’s Enforcement Team. Topics covered at the meeting: Overview of the Rice County Zero Alcohol Providers (ZAP) initiative; Discussions of recommended ordinance changes designed to reduce youth access to alcohol; Updates on Action Team activities and accomplishments.

Detour Sale got underway Thursday.

Part-time sales clerk Mark Cleare began his orientation and in-store training this week.

Police
Accident Information:
• 6 Property Damage Accidents
• 2 Hit and Run Accidents
• 1 Personal Injury Accident – minor injuries

Traffic Enforcement:
• 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. – 2 citations, 1 warning
• 3 p.m. to 12 a.m. – none
• 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. – 1 citations, 4 warnings, 1 DWI
• 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. – 8 citations, 10 warnings, 1 DWI

Non-Traffic Arrests:
• 54 UTT Underage Consumption
• 3 UTT Curfew Violation
• 1 UTT Underage Consumption, Indecent Exposure, MV tampering, arrested on Rice Co. warrant
• 1 Arrested/UTT Domestic Assault and Interfering with 911 call

Assaults/Domestics:
• 3 male/female verbal only
• 1 male/female – County Atty to review

Juvenile Complaints:
• 3 skateboard complaints
• 2 child protection
• 1 ATL
• 1 ATV complaint
• 1 suspicious activity
• 1 curfew violation
• 2 disturbance calls
• 1 tobacco
• 1 skateboard/curfew
• 2 loitering
• 1 curfew/bike violation
• 1 trespass notice issued

Animal Complaints:
• 2 loose dogs
• 1 dog impounded
• 1 dog neglect

Parking Complaints:
•1 UTT issued/OT parking
•2 UTT issued/Expired Registration
•1 UTT issued Expired Reg/OT Parking
•1 UTT issued Parked Against Flow
• 4 tires chalked OT parking
• 3 parking tickets issued OT parking
• 1 hazardous parking semi
• 1 warning tag issued for prohibited park

Loud Party/Disturbances:
• 1 loud party – UTTs issued
• 1 loud party – UTL
• 1 loud music – UTL

Bar/Liquor License Complaints:
• None

Criminal Investigations Information:
• Investigators reviewed and contributed to 30 new files.
• 10 cases were cleared by arrest
• 7 felony complaints were signed
• Investigators logged 88 hours this week of investigation time
• 1 more burglaries were reported this week in Northfield
• 4 more theft from vehicles were reported

Exceptional Efforts:
• Karen Mangold did a wonderful job putting together presentation information for the presentation to the MN State Gang/Drug Oversight Board. Should consider her for a coin.

Other Information:
• Sgt. Schroeder, Officer Cordova, Chief Smith and Karen Mangold attended the Drug Task Force meeting in Owatonna.
• Sgt. Schroeder presented South Central Drug Task Force update to the MN State Gang/Drug Oversight Board for funding consideration. The presentation was very well received. Sgt. Schroeder has been asked to consider becoming a mentor for other drug task forces in the state.
• Chief Smith met with a new neighborhood group that is forming in the city of Northfield. o Chief Smith attended meetings regarding the liquor venders in Rice Co.
• On 7/13, 67 candidates for police officer positions tested at the Northfield High School. Chief Smith, Elizabeth Wheeler and Karen Mangold registered, proctored, administered and scored the tests.

Public Works
ROAD CLOSURE NOTICE - NORTH AVENUE LIMITED HOSPITAL ACCESS Tuesday, July 18, 2006 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. North Avenue will be closed west of Cedar Avenue to make watermain connections needed for a water pumping station (the booster station). Hospital access will be via Highway 19 to Eaves Avenue Emergency vehicle access will be permitted

Engineering
• The sanitary sewer extension across Highway 3 was completed on Thursday and the Woodley/Water Street detour will be removed late Friday afternoon/evening. No significant problems or complaints were encountered with the two-day detour that saved the city more than $100,000 in added costs. Sanitary sewer construction will continue and possibly be completed next week.
• Katy Gehler, our new engineer, has kicked off the Mill Towns Trail trailhead project that is scheduled for construction in 2007. The project includes a parking lot/trailhead at the end of Laurel Court and construction of a trail segment under Highway 3, past the Safety Center, and connecting to 5th Street. Yaggy Colby has been hired to engineer the project, which is Federally funded and so must be completed in compliance with all Federal guidelines.
• Staff is working on revisions to the city's assessment policy that will be brought to a Council work session in August for discussion. The policy is being reviewed and revised to address potential issues that staff does not believe the current code/policy adequately addresses.
• Malt O Meal is planning to complete maintenance work on the Cannon River dam in the fall of 2007. Malt O Meal notified the city of their plans and city staff indicated interest in partnering on the project to complete needed repairs to the city owned east river retaining wall, sluiceway and storm sewer. Partnering on the project provides both parties with cost-saving opportunities. The repairs, the city’s share of which are expected to costs approximately $700,000, are included in the current Capital Improvemet Plan for 2007 ($600,000 in CIP). Staff is working with MOM to draft a cooperative agreement for the project that is planned for City Council consideration on August 7.
• Heidi Hamilton attended the CSAH 1 planning meeting where the project scope was discussed. All project partners will be invited to have 1-3 representatives to the Project Advisory Committee (PAC). Heidi plans to represent Northfield and Council is asked to advise Al about who else, if anyone, they would like included on the PAC. Northfield Township has also agreed to contribute $3,000 to the study. It was discussed that this funding will be equally distributed to reduce the cost for the other project partners.  Heidi Hamilton and Brian O'Connell attended the Northfield Town Board meeting on Tuesday to discuss the Spring Creek Road project and funding needs/strategies for the project. Assessment agreements with the Township as well as additional annexation has been discussed with the objective of getting the road constructed between CR81 and Woodley in 2007. Heidi will be in touch with Council members to update them on the discussion, which is not easily summarized in this Friday update.

Streets/Parks
Staff began repairing curb along Division Street in the downtown area. A concrete epoxy product was tried last fall and appears to hold up well to the snow removal operation in the wintertime. The use of this product is now being expanded for additional repairs along Division.
• Staff completed landscaping improvements on the Division side of the Library.
• Ongoing maintenance: Park shelters and park round cleaning, playground safety audits, Sechler Park athletic field preparations, and street sweeping the downtown on Thursday.
• Staff met with Mel Miller of the DJJD Committee to review layout of the proposed trial Dog Exercise area at North Babcock Park.
• Street and crosswalk striping continued. The focus this week was the crosswalks and traffic control along Highway 3. Work also continued with the installation of new crosswalk signs and other replacement/repair of signs.
• Staff facilitated the PRAB monthly meeting. Discussion focused on future park development at Lashbrook Park, the Greenway Corridor Trail Project, and updates on the Spring Creek Park Pavilion and Oasis construction project and the beginning of construction on the outdoor pool.

Facilities
• Staff facilitated the pre construction meeting for the construction of the outdoor pool on Monday July 10, 2006. Met-Con Construction mobilized their equipment and was on site Tuesday. Site layout and initial site preparation is beginning. Demolition of existing pool and excavating for the deep end of the new pool should begin next week. • Staff began scheduling and preparation for the annual pool draining and cleaning of the pool and spa located in the Senior Wing of the NCRC. This years project will also include repair of pool tile and grout. • Staff began finalizing preparation and scheduling of the installation of suspended ceiling and retro fit of existing lighting at City Hall. Successful project will require the coordination of three contractors - acoustic ceiling installers, HVAC installers, and electricians - during off hours, evenings and weekends.

Water
• Staff is working with contractor on the new booster station at Cedar Ave. and North Ave.  Staff completed 68 locates from Monday thru Thursday with a total of 1465 for the year.  Staff completed some quarterly and annual testing for the M.D.H. on fluoride, nitrates and THMs. (THMs is a disinfection by-product of chlorine which in high concentrations can lead to instances of spontaneous abortion or miscarriage).
• Staff read monthly meters.
• Staff worked on repairing broken valve box tops.
• Staff completed monthly bacteriological samples for the M.D.H.

Wastewater
• Removed about 1000 tons of biosolids from storage and spread on agricultural land in the area.  Televising and jet/vac operations continue in the collection system. Jet/vac had its third significant pump system (ring failure on piston in water pump this time).
• Scheduled preventive maintenance tasks were performed on equipment at the facility.
• Emergency repairs were made to the UV disinfection system. One capacitor failure and one lamp failure.
• Several problems with PLC’s for various systems and SCADA problems where addressed. The systems are very power sensitive and multiple power glitches occurred this week.

Resource and Park Planning
• ArtsPlan06: No scheduled Planning Committee meeting this week; staff and CC member Bond met with Planning Committee members Robins and Lloyd to review potential CIP projects and 2007 budget implications; staff will prepare CIP project indicating potential follow-up and implementation of ArtsPlan06 initiative.
• Greenway Corridor Action Plan: (Greater Northfield Area Greenway Corridor System). Staff (Merriam and Walinski) presented preliminary composite map to the Park and Recreation Advisory Board will at their meeting of July 11th; the project’s Technical Task Force (TTF) will meet on Wednesday, July 19th to review composite map, as well as discuss Land Protection Tools; PRAB and TTF will assist staff in defining and organizing citizen input and review of the system.
• Skateboard (Rollerblade) Facility: Staff (Merriam, Walinski, Gehler) met with Police Chief, Gary Smith to review ideas and thoughts on proposed recreational uses on and around the existing Safety Center; Merriam produced follow-up memo and recommendations on skate facility, as well as Mill Towns Trail alignment.
• Downtown Streetscape: Staff and Project Design Team continues to advance the three active initiatives and has started work on two additional 2006 proposed projects: 5th Street and Water Street Gateway Project – DSU (Slack) preparing final parking lot layouts and overall project configuration. Anton (SMSQ) to build 3-D, digital model of the project site. Riverwalk Gateways – Project designer Jones and Merriam to present final design and color selections to HPC on July 20th, SMSQ has prepared a series of digital images and models of the proposed gateway arches, which superimpose the arches into the existing environment
• Parking Lot Edge Treatments – Project designer (Jones) and Merriam to present design concept to HPC for approval and endorsement.
• Downtown Lighting Study – Project consultant (DSU) is forwarding proposal to do the suggested lighting study, which would indicate light levels (ambient and security) and propose recommendation.
• Signage and Wayfinding – Staff met with representative of Neuger Communications Group (Randy Jennings) to discuss the specifics of this initiative. Neuger to respond with qualified proposal and approach.