11.03.2020 Finance Meeting Minutes

Called To Order at 3:02 PM

President Carlsrud called the meeting to order at 3:02 PM.

Roll Call

Members present: President Carlsrud, Commissioner Bishop, Commissioner Erickson, and Commissioner Gulmon.

Others present: City Administrator Crawford, City Attorney Martineck, Finance Director Richter, Deputy Auditor Klein, Public Works Accountant/Manager Jacobson, City Assessor Hansen, Police Chief Hatcher, Chad Petersen from KLJ, Gloria Swart,

1.  Department Reports:

Gloria Swart reported they are getting some compost screened so that will be available come spring.  They have also been cracking down on oversized garbage cans and general violations.

2.  Review monthly bills/reports.

Finance Director Richter reported $1,566,701.00 in bills for the month.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  Had some PFP and other infrastructure construction costs, payroll and other regular maintenance charges.

Deputy Auditor Klein questioned approval process of bills due to meetings taking place via Zoom.  Consensus was to approve via emails.

3.  Discuss Tree Ordinance Change.

 City Administrator Crawford recommended changing the ORD to state stumps must be removed within a certain timeframe of removing the tree and/or clarify that the tree also includes the stump and include any contractor that does not abide by ORD is to not be licensed the following year.        There have been instances where the stumps have been forgotten and when they are diseased they      need to be or they are still spreading the disease.

Consensus was to start with 3 weeks.  City Attorney Martineck will draft the ORD for the first    reading.

4.  Discuss 2021 Employee Benefits.

            City Attorney Martineck stated it’s more of an update as the change has already been approved.  Benefits will be changing to ND Public Health Insurance Trust.  Premiums will stay the same for 2021 with the possibility of being reduced by 1%.  Going forward we are looking at 3-6%     increases.  This is good for our employees and will also save the City some money.  Will also have new dental and vision.

5.  Discussion around recycling cardboard. 

 President Carlsrud stated he has seen lots of cardboard while he has been walking around the city that we pick up.  Gloria stated they do see lots of cardboard come in at the Transfer Station.

Commissioner Gulmon recommended some type of education on why the cardboard should be brought to recycling.  President Carlsrud agreed to start with education.

6.  Consider Placing Vacant City Lots for Bids. 

City Assessor Hansen stated she received a request to put together city lots which has been added to the packet.  There are very few that are considered buildable.

Commissioner Magnuson questioned a why a few of the lots were considered unbuildable.

Commissioner Bishop questioned if they were “unbuildable” and sold to an adjacent landowner if that would then make them buildable.

Assessor Hansen said that is possible if they replatted.  Some are unbuildable only because they don’t meet the size outlined in order to make them a buildable lot.

Finance Director Richter also mentioned we do have an agreement for the FEMA lots for adjacent landowners to maintain it and use it.  We cannot sell FEMA lots.  WE own them but we        have an ORD that prohibits any building on them.

Attorney Martineck will create a RES to allow the sale of the vacant properties that are buildable not including the lot on 4 Bottle Drive.

7.  Review bids for Streetscape Phase II.

Chad Petersen form KLJ stated the DOT received three bids for the project ranging from $2.2-2.5 million, the Engineers estimate was $2.18 million.  Total project cost is $2,868,000 with the local share approximately $725,000.

 Commissioner Gulmon commented that Finance Director Richter sent out information and the City identified we are short about on the local share about $254,000.  Also sent out were projections of Care’s Act relief fund coming in $450,000 coming in before the end of the year. For discussion we plugged in about $140,000 of the $254,000 and we think we could also take some out of the R&R fund.  Commissioner Gulmon requested City Administrator Crawford speak on the approximately $389,000 of prepaid engineering funds that will have to be paid back if we don’t complete the project.

 City Administrator Crawford stated basically when the project was approved in order to move ahead there was engineering, some was paid by a full grant some was 90/10.  We paid to engineering and they reimbursed us but if the project isn’t completed the State will bill us.

8.  Discuss Urban Roads Program Solicitation

 Valley City receives approximately $555,000 annually from the DOT through the Urban Roads funds.  With that the DOT puts together a statewide 5 year improvement plan.  Valley City      submits annually the projects for the next 5 years.  The deadline for the update is December 31st. Just wanted to make you aware that was coming up.

9.  Discuss NDDOT Urban Grant Program (UGP) Solicitation

 Deadline is December 31st.

10.  Discuss NDDOT Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) Solicitation

Deadline is December 31st.

11.  Discuss NDDOT Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) Solicitation

In 2024 the City has a plan to place flashing beacons by the Wellness Center going to the Bubble as well as one on 4th Street by the Rec Center.  Some other programs that were talked about were adding signage in student crossing areas, high crash areas.

City Administrator Crawford brought up that there was previous discussion about putting a turn   lane in at Petro but it didn’t happen.  She feels we should still move forward with it but it would     be at our cost and maybe we could add it to this program with approval.

 Chad will get a cost estimate for the project.

12.  Discuss Elks Building

 City Attorney Martineck stated this is a Commission decision at this point.  After discussion it  seems the consensus is that we should follow the denial by the Insurance Reserve.  The City has      already paid out a significant amount.  Century Code strictly limits the liability on cities.  We pay        into insurance companies so we don’t have to resolve our own claims and they have handled this         for us in the past.  The financial and legal opinion is to not pay out any more.  If the Commission          desires to move forward with some type of settlement we did look at a couple of options, one being a property tax exemption.  The other is to negotiate a cash settlement.

Commissioner Magnuson stated his initial thought is that he wants to help but to what extent.

Commissioner Gulmon stated he would like to make a “good Faith” payment not accepting or acknowledging any liability to make us all feel better about moving on with this thing. That may be the $30,000 they are asking for or maybe $20,000, can that be done?

City Attorney Martineck stated if they were to make a payment that is what he would      recommend.

President Carlsrud feels there is a moral obligation but is unsure to what extent.

City Attorney Martineck stated if there is a consensus to move forward the next step is to have a conversation on what we would like to offer and present that to the Commission.

13.  Form a committee for PFP storage.

Moved to Commission Meeting.

14.  Discuss Future Outlook of the City.

Moved to Commission Meeting.

15.  Discuss Coronavirus        

President Carlsrud said the numbers are on the rise and he will be limiting his time at the office. 

Commissioner Magnuson stated they went to a mandate at work and now he sees more    customers without masks.  When you have massive amounts of testing with very long times before you get the results back people are walking around in the meantime instead of staying home.  We need to get the tests back faster.

Commissioner Gulmon stated he would like to place a mandate for at least 30 days.

City Administrator Crawford stated we have a lot of people with differing opinions but until we   get the direction of what we are supposed to do from the Commission we can’t do make that decision.

City Attorney Martineck added that there had been discussion about wearing masks in city buildings before.  We just put something in place about 10 days ago so we need justification to move to a mandate already.

Commissioner Erickson said if we mandate it in City buildings we will have to provide masks at the building.  You’re seeing the numbers go up because they are testing more.

Commissioner Gulmon recommends changing to a mandate.

President Carlsrud stated there had been some discussion previously and it was decided to wait until the end of the week to see what the numbers are doing.

Adjourn The meeting was adjourned at ­4:54 PM.

Posted in Announcements, Finance Meeting Minutes.