Weekly Memo 12-16-2011

Still time to respond to Citizen Feedback Survey

The City will continue soliciting responses to its citizen feedback survey through December 31.  The online survey can be accessed at http://survey.egf.mn.  The League of Minnesota Cities is administering the survey as part of the state Council on Local Results and Innovation.

WEEKLY UPDATE:

Water Rate Study

The Water and Light Commission heard a presentation Thursday evening from Progressive Consulting on a proposed revision to its water rates.  The Commission initially procured the study as a reaction to state law that mandates water conservation rates by 2013.  Generally, state law requires water utilities to eliminate rate structures that provide price breaks for high water users.  Therefore, the study investigated a rate structure that complied with state law while maintaining overall revenues and providing for an adequate fund balance.

The summary recommendation is to increase the base meter charge from $7.00 per month to $8.82 effective 2012.  The meter charge would increase eight percent each year thereafter at least through 2016.  The first 4000 gallons of water use would increase from $4.95 to $5.40 per 1000 gallons.  The use rates would also increase eight percent per year through at least 2016.  The net effect for the average residential water user would be an increase of $3.61 per month for a user of 4000 gallons (the average is East Grand Forks is about 4400 gallons per month) in the first year.

I have attached the Water Rate Study to this memo.  The study includes, among other items, information on the rate study manual from the American Water Works Association (AWWA), historic East Grand Forks sales and rates, capital project planning, fund balance information, and rate comparisons with neighboring cities.

CERT energy grant

Staff from the state Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERT) notified me that the City is on the short list to receive grant funds to study energy efficiency alternatives at the City arenas.  The Council approved the request in November to apply for the grant.  I have not yet received an official award letter with the final grant amount and conditions

League Legislative Priorities

The League of Minnesota Cities issued its 2012 Legislative priorities.  The priorities for the next legislative session include statements on increased water and waste water funding, state bonding for infrastructure, street improvement district legislation, mandate reform, and budget stability.  The priorities can be found on the League web site at http://www.lmc.org/page/1/lmcpriorities.jsp.

Greenway Survey

The City of East Grand Forks is considering opportunities to enhance an area of the Greenway called LaFave Park, the area between the Sorlie and Louie Murray Bridges, to improve the visual beauty of the area and increase public use.  The City seeks your input on what events, activities or facilities you would like us to consider for future planning efforts within this Greenway area.

The City of East Grand Forks has posted a survey on its website for you to provide your answers or input.  Please click on the survey web link below and answer the survey questions.  Deadline for submission is January 13, 2012.  A link is also available at www.greenwayggf.com.  The external link is: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/W692T8P

DEPARTMENT REPORTS:

Fire Department, Chief Randy Gust

Fire Department has staff committee working on finding Aerial Platform. At this time we are using USA Fire Safety to assist in finding used trucks, but are also doing our own search. We will try to find an assortment of trucks and prices to forward on to City Administrator and council.

We have had 3 responses to Douglas Place on HWY #2 for automatic alarms this past week. All of the responses were for religious ceremonies that include the burning of sage in a smudge pot that set off the fire alarms. I did inform their staff that they are very close to violating our City Ordinance regarding false alarms. They will try to relocate the ceremonies to an area that will have little effect on alarm system.

Library, Charlotte Helgeson

The Library received a $500 donation from the VFW for Large Print books.

Braun Intertec and McFarlane continued their investigation of the library’s roof issue by doing a pressurized test of the air able to pass through the library’s exterior and doing four roof openings.  The soffit area, center of the meeting room roof, closet and the north end radius walls show air leakage along with window frames and the brick cavity above the windows.

Problems were confirmed or discovered concerning the vapor and moisture barriers, insulation and venting.  A list of possible options, cost and timelines will be delivered by Kraus-Anderson in mid-January for review.

AGENDA ITEMS:

The consent agenda includes the purchase of mobile computers for the Police Department, an increase in winter burial fees at the cemetery, and the filing of plans and specifications for the 2011 Assessment Jobs No 2 and 3 – Industrial Park Improvements.

Item 3 will be the second public hearing regarding a proposed revised development ordinance.  The ordinance as proposed would require full infrastructure, including paving, to be installed on new developments within three years of the final plat.  The ordinance allows for the phasing of plat development.

Items 7-8 approve the promotions of Dillon Nelson and Dale Gulbranson to the positions of Waste Water Operator and Parks Foreman, respectively, both effective January 2, 2012.

Item 10 adjusts waste water rates effective April 1, 2012 with the intent to build a reserve fund for a future Phase II treatment project.  The base meter charge would increase by $2 per month; and use rates per 1000 gallons also would increase.  The net effect to the average residence would be approximately $5 per month.

Item 11 rescinds Transportation Enhancement funding for 2012. The project as proposed was to construct a multi-use trail along 10th Street NW and 8th Avenue NW connecting with the trail along the River Heights area.  Changes to the configuration of 5th Street Northwest along with increased project costs make the project infeasible as previously planned.

Item 12 requests Transportation Enhancement funding to construct sidewalks on 5th Avenue NW for the 2014-2015 funding round.

Item 13 designates appropriated Transit capital funds to construct a trail on the east side of Central Avenue from 14th Street to 20th Street.

Item 14 is the first reading of the revised development ordinance as described above.

Item 15 is a liquor license transfer from Applebee’s to Thai Orchid, LLC dba Drunken Noodle.

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