Minutes Available text with City of Valley City Logo above

10/6/2020 Finance Meeting Minutes

Called To Order at 2:30 PM

President Carlsrud called the meeting to order at 2:30 PM.

Roll Call

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

Others present: City Attorney Martineck, City Auditor Richter, Deputy Auditor Klein, Public Works Accountant/Manager Jacobson, City Assessor Hansen, Chad Petersen from KLJ, Fire Chief Magnuson, Police Chief Hatcher, Electrical Superintendent Senf, Operations Superintendent Klemisch, Mike Opatz from Houston Engineering

Electrical Superintendent Senf reported 4 outages for the month, 3 squirrels and 1 tree branch.  City Park lighting is completed.  Working on 5th Ave.  Skyline Villa is finished.  Love’s is completed other than the main service, waiting on the electrician.

Commission Topics:

  1. Discussion about removing flag pole on North side of City Hall building.
  2. Discussion around selling the extra land the City owns.
  3. Discussion around Elk’s Letter.
  4. Discussion about cold storage.
  5. Brainstorming Session will be added to another meeting due to time restraints.
  6. MRES and NDLC training report was deferred to November Finance Meeting.

Department Reports:

Operations Superintendent Klemisch reported the tree was removed by Chautauqua.  Clean up week is complete.  Next year we are considering moving it a week later to hopefully have summer help available.  Thanks to KPH and Jack Moritz for helping with the water main breaks.  Tony Gille is scheduled to do the concrete work. 

Police Chief Hatcher reported they will be getting around more taking care of the car complaints.  There was an incident at Jefferson school so we are researching additional safety options.  Considering dropping the speed limit in the school zone to 15mph, 20 is still pretty fast for a school zone.  Battle of the Badges blood drive is next week, vote Team Law!

Fire Chief Magnuson reported 10 calls last month, 9 for the city and 1 rural.  This week is Fire Prevention and since we can’t go around to the schools we made a video.  Battle of the Badges next week, vote Team Fire!  The final data for the census has been moved to October 30th

Review monthly bills/reports

Finance Director Richter reported $1.5 million in bills for the month. $430,000 spent on 5th Ave NW, $207,000 on bond payments $142,000 on Fire Department payroll and a couple other miscellaneous that put us over the $1 million with our regular operations and payroll. 

Discuss Building Fees

City Administrator Crawford reported she received commercial fees from various towns for comparison.  We want to build Valley City but we cannot let the fees end up costing us.  Resolution 2263 will be added to the Commission meeting to add the “Use of outside consultants for plan review, inspections, or both, including administrative and overhead costs. Actual costs” back onto the resolution as it was removed back in 2018.  Would also like to see some of our current fees such as sign fees adjusted. If you want to keep the building inspection fees stay the same we can look into charging a building inspection fee.

Discuss CLOMR

Chad Petersen from KLJ and Mike Opatz from Houston Engineering presented six top options to get the Commission’s feedback.  Commission chose to remove the Golf club bypass and the Tourist Park as an option.  Mayor Carlsrud asked they come up with a plan and if we need we can set up a special meeting.     

Adjourn

The meeting was adjourned at ­4:52 PM.

9/1/2020 Finance Meeting Minutes

Called To Order at 3:00 PM

President Carlsrud called the meeting to order at 3:00 PM.

Roll Call

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

Others present: City Administrator Crawford, City Attorney Martineck, Finance Director Richter, Deputy Auditor Klein, PW Accountant/Manager Jacobson, Fire Chief Magnuson, Police Chief Hatcher, Chad Petersen from KLJ

Department Reports

Fire Chief Magnuson – There were 19 calls for the month of August. 

Census update – The rural homeowners that have had two or three addresses have all gotten census information.  The County numbers may not be going up because those addresses are not being fulfilled, waiting on clarification.

Waiting on a cylinder dryer and a tester that should be in the end of the week.  Within two to three weeks we should be able to start testing and filling extinguishers.

Gloria Swart –Closed this Saturday at the Transfer Station.  Clean up week is September 14-18.  Please separate your materials into piles.  TVs are taken with no extra charge.  Tires are accepted at the Transfer Station with an extra charge depending on size, but will not be picked up on the blvd. Appliances can go to Valley Recycling.  We will not pick up metal.

Review Monthly Bills/Reports

City Auditor Richter reported we only spent $1.4 million in August.  Looking at some of the construction reports there was just about $300,000 infrastructure and PFP and there weren’t really any other large charges.

Discuss Agenda for the NDLC virtual conference

City Administrator Crawford feels this training is important and to avoid interruption during the training we should move it offsite.

Discuss Advertising for bids the sale of vacant lot at 14th St SQ, Parcel 63-0880017.

City Commissioner Bishop stated he didn’t think we should sell it as it’s not costing us anything.  Services can’t come from the bottom up but they can come from the back.  It could be sold as a buildable lot someday.

Will leave on the Commission meeting agenda making a motion to not put it up for sale.

Discuss lease agreement.

City Administrator Crawford stated she had requested if anyone knew of any verbal agreements or any agreements that were expiring to bring them forward.  This lease has expired.  They were getting if for $25 and I have listed what the average prices are going for right now. 

Public Works Manager said he spoke with Jeff and the land is tillable.  There was a deal worked out in the past.

City Commissioner requesting putting the land up for bids.

City Attorney Martineck stated typically use of any government property can only be for a maximum of two years.  It has to be for fair market value.

Discuss URD Wire Bid for all URD projects for 2020.

President Carlsrud the need for the underground is to finish the University and 5th Ave. project.  Marshall recommends that we move forward with Resco.  

Eide Bailly presentation of the 2019 Audit Report.

Luke Evenson from Eide Bailly presented the 2019 Audit findings.  The city received a “clean” audit opinion.

Update on CLOMR

Chad Petersen from KLJ, Mike Opat and Adam Neiss from Houston Engineering presented some of the impacts with PFP and concepts identified for mitigation.

Discuss City Engineer

City Attorney Martineck stated we discussed our one and only candidate and came to the conclusion that the way we have the job description set up right now he may not be the best fit.  We could work with him if we wanted to go that direction but he does not have any building inspection experience which could end up being a good portion of that position.  Before we move forward with an offer we would like to present some other options.

City Administrator Crawford stated she went through what was wanted, what the City’s needs are and what the candidate said he could do.  On the list of pros and cons there were very few pros.  If there were building inspection experience that would add more to the pros.  Other options may be doing RFQ for a City Engineer that would not do any projects.

Will add this to the Special Commission meeting that was scheduled for Thursday, September 3, 2020 at 7:00 AM.

Adjourn The meeting was adjourned at ­4:15 PM.

7/7/2020 Finance Minutes

Called To Order at 3:30 PM

President Carlsrud called the meeting to order at 3:30 PM.

Roll Call

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

Others present: City Administrator Crawford, City Attorney Martineck, City Auditor Richter, City Assessor Hansen, Deputy Auditor Klein, Administrative Assistant Johnson, Public Works Accountant/Manager Jacobson, Chad Petersen from KLJ, Fire Chief Magnuson, Police Chief Hatcher, WTP Superintendent Hesch, Electrical Superintendent Senf, PW Superintendent Differding.

Department Reports:

Marshall Senf– Electrical department continues working on 5th Avenue NW, conduit is in at the College. Looking for direction for putting in new poles at City Park

  • Reviewed bids for 8 transformers, like to have spares of all sizes. Marshall requested to purchase the 75KVA transformers from Resco in the amount of $27,252 and the 300KVA and 500KVA transformers from DSG in the amount of $15,600. The Commission gave consensus to go ahead and order the transformers.

Wade Hesch– Water usage is up with citizens watering lawns. Getting some thicker water coming from the dam to treat. UF project is underway. Have made a down payment for the membranes at the Water Treatment Plant.

Jeff Differding– Crews have been monitoring storm sewers with the high water during large rain events. Busy taking out a lot of trees on City Property. Crew has been working on area between Quality Alignment and Thomsen Chiropractic to work on drainage issue. In the winter street crew was there 1 to 2 times a week because of the ice buildup in this area. The new paint machine is working out well and crews will be looking at painting signage around the school areas before long. New garbage truck is in and being used. Jeff suggests ordering tandem axle garbage trucks going forward. Mayor Carlsrud asked Jeff to address some of his concerns with Natural Gardens. Some issues with the gardens would be difficulty with spraying for mosquitoes and weed in those areas, and also attracting critters and foot traffic.

Scott Magnuson- Fire Department has still been doing some birthday and retirement drive events, but this is coming to an end. The statue is up in front of the Fire Hall and painting has been done on outside of building. Working on a grant to help with cost of Fire Hall Addition.

Phil Hatcher – Swearing in a new officer and have another new officer starting this week. Moral is good with police employees. Employees haven’t been able to take much vacation with being short staffed.

Review Monthly Bills/Reports

Auditor Richter reported on monthly bills and reports.

Discuss job title for City Administrator position

Commissioner Bishop has been approached about changing the job title to City Manager. Commissioner Gulmon stated this position went to the vote of the citizens and passed. It’s time to get behind this position and support it. Commissioner Magnuson stated if we change the name do we give people the opportunity to lobby against the new title. President Carlsrud would like to keep it the same and didn’t feel a need to change the title. Commissioner Bishop was also good with keeping the title as is.

Discuss Nature Gardens

City Forrester Bob Anderson threw out the option to plant nature gardens on some of the vacant City property acquired with the flood buyouts. This is not as viable for Valley City as larger communities like Fargo as they would be much smaller areas. Also there were concerns discussed earlier with Jeff Differding.

Discuss Water Service WS-16 surcharge for unmetered water services to apartments, condominiums, townhouses and trailer sites

Gary Jacobson had received a concern from a citizen about the monthly water surcharge of $8.24 for multi-unit buildings. Currently the owner pays the consumption of the building and each tenants pays the $8.24 surcharge. This charge has been in place for at least 30 years to make sure costs are being distributed to those receiving the benefit. A single family home has a smaller and less expensive meter going into the home where the multi-unit homes have a larger meter which is more expensive to purchase and maintain. If this monthly fee was removed there would need to be an increase to all residents to make up for this decrease in revenue.

Discuss Assistant Public Works (Operations) Superintendent Position for Succession Planning

Carl reviewed the succession plan when Jeff Differding retires possibly this year. The plan moving forward would be to post that position internally, go through the interview process, and promote the person to assistant superintendent with a 5% increase in employee’s current salary. This person would then have the opportunity to job shadow Jeff and learn the job.

Discuss Storm Water Management Plan for proposed Fire Hall Addition

Building Inspector Anderson received a letter from Mike Strom, Engineer with KLJ, regarding any storm water issues with the new addition at the Fire Hall. The additional runoff created would be insignificant for the short term but is something that could be addressed during a future improvement project. KLJ Engineer Chad Petersen did not feel a payment in lieu of a retention pond would be applicable as this is such a minimal amount of runoff.

Discuss changing disposal rate for trees from $0 to $5 per ton for commercial tree haulers

Gloria Swart had discussed this rate change with Commissioner Erickson because of the extra hours and expense spent taking care of these trees at the transfer station. There has been an increase in the volume of trees dropped off this year. There is no charge to valley city residents that dispose of trees, this fee would just be charged to commercial tree haulers. After discussion the Commission agreed the amount of revenue this would generate is minimal and would not like this changed at this time. The City does offer to special assess the expense to remove trees if a city resident has a hardship to pay for the removal. The City is currently seeing a cost savings with not having the grass sites in town.

Adjourn The meeting was adjourned at ­4:38 PM.

8/4/2020 Finance Meeting Minutes

Board Members attended from alternate locations to minimize group size and contact,
as recommended by state and federal government officials due to COVID-19
and as allowed in ND Executive Order 2020-16.

Called To Order at 3:30 PM

President Carlsrud called the meeting to order at 3:30 PM.

Roll Call

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

Others present: City Administrator Crawford, City Attorney Martineck, City Auditor Richter, Deputy Auditor Klein, PW Accountant/Manager Jacobson, Fire Chief Magnuson, Assistant Fire Chief Coit, Police Chief Hatcher, Electrical Superintendent Senf, Assistant Operations Superintendent Klemish, Chad Petersen from KLJ.

Department Reports

Marshall Senf– There were 5 outages in July. Need more men and more equipment.  Rented a mini excavator.  Digger truck is down, we’re waiting for that to get fixed.  Jail we have the temporary set.  College all the poles except for one are pulled because the digger truck broke down.  Should be putting lights up as soon as we get them.  5th Ave project has had a few snags.  Digging the conduit in for Love’s right now which has also had some snags.  They were going to dig the trench but decided not to so we will hire it done.  Also doing some odds and end jobs too.

President Carlsrud stated the power was on .99996.  Also read a letter from Senator Robinson thanking staff for the effort put forth removing the poles from the front of the campus.

Clint Klemish – Wrapping up project on west main.  Dirt was down today and hopefully get our straw and mats down tomorrow and get out of there.  We did our tree campaign for July.  We expanded off the list a bit since we had so many storms and wind.  We ended up picking up pretty much the whole town.  Next opportunity will be clean up week.  New sweeper was delivered last week, should have been here in March but was shut down due to COVID.  Transfer Station received their new pick up.  Will be starting on painting soon. 

City Commissioner Magnuson asked how the Transfer Station was going.  Clint stated it’s going good, Gloria does a great job out there.  PTO pump went out on the new truck. Haven’t been able to use the compost yet because it is too wet and we’re just busy.  It will be a month long process screening compost.  We’re also trying to dig a cell for the inert which is another 3 weeks’ worth of work. 

City Administrator Crawford added that she met with Clint and there are a few trees on the list that are on city property that they are going to get removed right away.  We want everyone to understand that with Dutch Elm sitting though the fall and into the spring it does spread faster costing us more money.  Jeff Differding gave his notice in writing that he will be retiring September 22nd.  Would like to ask Carl to move forward filling Clint’s position so when the time comes they aren’t short people. 

Clint stated they installed stop signs on the east and west bound 5th St NW.  Added flags and trimmed some trees but we need to trim the trees a little more. 

Fire Chief Magnuson– 11 Fire calls last month.  Have had all trucks pump tested and they all pass the pumper test so they are all good to go for another year.  Lance Coit started full time this week.  Census is great, we’re close!        

Police Chief Hatcher- Officer Joshua Sampson will be sworn in tonight and tomorrow our third new guy will start.  Working on vacation openings and trying to get the guys some time off that they haven’t been able to take since we were minimum staffed.  Brand new officers take 27 weeks to when they start in the car so it’s about a 29-30 week process by the time they are fully on board to be counted as a whole person.  We will be full-staffed tomorrow.

Review Monthly Bills/Reports

City Auditor Richter reported we were at $2,154,951.80.  There were three payrolls in July at about $140,000 to $150,000 each when you include the benefits.  A garbage truck at $175,000, sweeper lease payment for $43,000, construction in progress for 5th Ave and seal coating for $345,000 and $254,000 for permanent flood protection.  $100,000 to the park district for food and beverage some state aid.  That gets us back to the $1 million mark which is regular operations.

Request to Approve the use of GSA Contracting for the New Addition on the Fire Hall

Fire Chief Magnuson stated through Enterprise Sales they utilize the GSA contracting.  It cuts out the architect fee, at the end of the day you save on this project about $200,000-$220,000 using the GSA contract. 

Attorney Martineck added for projects over $200,000 you need to open it for bids.  If we go through GSA process which is a purchasing process where all the bidding is already complete, we would need an Ordinance allowing this.

Discuss Fees for Temporary Use Permit

City Attorney Martineck said at a previous meeting you approved amendments to the ordinance for temporary use and permit and solicitor license.  We set the fee for the solicitor license at $50/day so we’re set with that one but we need the fee for the temporary use permit.  Will set at $50 for 10 days and $500 for a season.

Discuss Fee for Fire Extinguisher Inspection

Fire Chief Magnuson stated an inspection on an extinguisher would be right around $12, a recharge for a 5 lb. would be $12.50 plus parts, 10 lb. would be $12.50 plus parts, hydro testing is $22.50 plus the recharge fee plus fee, new extinguishers depend on market cost.

Review Amendment to Agreement for Permanent Flood Protection Phase III

Chad Peterson from KLJ stated original contract was $482,500, this estimate was based off the contractor’s original schedule.  Project was delayed last fall due to some flooding in early October.  The original contract was for $182,500 with the city.  In the spring of this year the contract was amended to extend the completion date from June to September extending the amount of effort for our inspection team to do their job.  Requesting up to $20,500.  The cost share request through the state water commission in 2018 requested construction and engineering at $203,000 at the 80/20 cost share so what we are asking for has already been approved through the state wide commission in a cost share request. 

Discuss contract for building inspection services – Midwest Inspection Services

City Administrator Crawford stated they asked Dave Andersen if he would be willing to stay on as a contract employee while they fill his position but that was not something he was interested in.  Found a company in Fargo that does inspections.  We would need to negotiate fees but they would be in charge of building permits and inspections until we filled that role.

Lance Coit read off multiple phone messages that were left within a day and a half as an example of how important it is that we fill that role right away. 

City Administrator Crawford stated there may be some things that Fire Chief Magnuson and Assistant Fire Chief Coit might be able to do some of the things to help with cost.  There are options and we don’t’ really have two more weeks to wait for another commission meeting.

City Attorney Martineck stated we have several projects in process and inspections are going to have to happen and we don’t have anyone currently working for the city that can do that.  We need to enter into a contract or appoint somebody as the interim building inspector.  City Attorney Martineck stated he felt the best option is to appoint City Administrator Crawford the ability to allow her to enter into the contract with Mike Blevins to move forward with his services.

City Administrator Crawford stated he is willing to work with us under our circumstances.  He only asks to be notified prior to 24 hours of an inspection being done.  We don’t know what the fee schedule is.  We will have to go through those and find out what we can do ourselves and what he needs to do for us. 

President Carlsrud asked what the most feasible way to move forward?

City Administrator Crawford stated she would like them to trust and allow that she can make the decision and enter into a contract with him.

Adjourn

The meeting was adjourned at ­4:38 PM.