Weekly Memo 7-22-2011

Each Weekly Memo to the City Council is also provided on the City Council web page.

WEEKLY UPDATE:

Legislative Update

The Governor signed the necessary tax bills this week to end the state shutdown.  The Red River State Recreational Area (RRSRA) opened Thursday morning.  The City will resume work on contracts that have state funding.

Local Government Aid (LGA) once again became a casualty of the final budget agreement.  The final tax bill reduced LGA to 2010 levels.  The tax bill also eliminated the Market Value Homestead Credit (MVHC), which is an often-ignored function of city aids.  Therefore the total cut to East Grand Forks is $548,021 out of a total certified aid of $3,029,587, or 18 percent. LGA payments will be delayed about a week due to the budget resolution.  The City expects to receive its first-half payment next week.

Finally, levy limits are not extended under the tax bill compromise.  The City will be not be subject to levy limitations for 2012 or 2013 under current law.

2012 Budget

Department heads received budget worksheets this week for the 2012 budget.  I appreciate any budget requests by the second week of August.  Administration and Finance staff will prepare the budget during the month of August to prepare for the preliminary budget and levy certification on or before September 15.

Catfish Days

Catfish Days has been cancelled due to projected high river levels next week.  The Chamber is already beginning to plan for the 2012 event.

Waste Water Phase II

The waste water interconnect “working group” of elected officials and staff from East Grand Forks and Grand Forks met Thursday morning.  A staff-oriented committee will prepare a draft agreement for presentation back to the working group on August 2.  The working group will discuss the draft and dig deeper into the details of the Cost-of Service Analysis (COSA).  The working group proposed a joint meeting of the two City Councils for August 9 at 5:00 pm, which is the normal work session date for the East Grand Forks City Council.  The joint meeting will present details of the COSA.

Sherlock Playground

Sherlock Playground demolition commenced on Thursday.  The Sherlock Playground committee is issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for design and construction management services.  The deadline for proposals if Friday, July 29.  The committee will review the proposals and recommend that the Council award a contract on at the regular August 3 Council meeting.  The co-chairs are beginning to arrange non-profit groups and service clubs to perform labor services for the reconstruction.  The League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT) has indicated preliminarily that non-profit groups could be reimbursed for labor services under the insurance contract.  I do not have final approval for that plan.  But, the non-profit labor model has been used in the past on smaller City projects that used service club labor.

Work Session

Next week’s work session is cancelled due to a light proposed agenda.

DEPARTMENT REPORTS

Police Department, Chief Mike Hedlund

Noise Problems:

Summer is a wonderful time to enjoy the outdoors in our region but the EGFPD is asking the residents of East Grand Forks to try to be considerate of their neighbors while you enjoy our outdoor weather.  Many people like to have their windows open so that they can enjoy the fresh air but unfortunately those open windows also allow in (and out) noise that might be created.  If you are having a party in your home try to be considerate and keep your windows closed to help to minimize the noise problems you are creating and if you are outside try to keep your noise to a minimum because there are people that may be disturbed by loud noises that you and your group may be making.

Bicycle Thefts

Summer is also peak season for bicycle thefts.  Most bike thefts are committed by young people.  If your child comes home with a new (to them) bike, talk to them and find out where the bike came from.  Make sure that the bike is not stolen.  To help prevent bike thefts use a lock whenever your bike must be kept outside.  In addition, record the make, model, serial number and description of your bike to help law enforcement recover your bike if it does get stolen.  You can also register your bike free of charge at the EGFPD website.  Go to www.egf.mn and then go to the Police Department section where you will find a variety of information.  Having your bike registered makes it much easier for law enforcement to get your bike back to you if it should be lost or stolen.

Library, Charlotte Helgeson

Mike Spence of Quality Control from Kraus Anderson will be at the Library on Saturday, July 23.  Project Superintendent, Brandon Larkin, has been at the Library a total of four times to review as-built plans, climb inside the ceiling, drill holes into the soffit and take pictures.   They are aware of the complexity of the issues.

Two more weeks of Marvels at the Library are left.  Today Yoga with Leslie has a waiting list.  We originally had her scheduled for one session.  She has agreed to do two sessions, grouping the children by age, so as to serve twice as many children.  Even with that, we still have a waiting list.  Next week, Eric O’Dea from the UND Astronomy Club will be doing “Explore the Stars”.  These programs are sponsored by the NW MN Arts Council.

Fire Department, Chief Randy Gust

FEMA has contacted us and stated that they will be here sometime in the near future to start on project worksheets for the 2011 spring flood event. They did not give a specific due date because of the large amount of claims in the area and short staffing. All of the City Departments that were affected by the flood event are collecting data for reimbursement.

The staff has been busy working on truck pump maintenance problems that have come up in the last two weeks, along with a substantial increase in heat related emergency calls.

Parks & Recreation, Dave Aker

1)  The RRSRA is now open for camping, everyone is back except one person.

2)  Sherlock Forest Playground has been taken down and now the rebuilding of the playground begins.

3)  There are District Babe Ruth at Stauss Park this weekend, for players 13 – 15 yrs old.

4)  We have the State Intact Tournament for 13 year olds next week at Stauss Park.

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