Weekly Memo 6-7-2012

Remember to check out ArtFest this weekend in the Grand Cities downtown!

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

WEEKLY UPDATE:

Dispatch Collaboration

I am working with the Police Chief and the Fire Chief to facilitate a meeting on potential public safety dispatch collaboration.  Polk County previously procured a feasibility study for a centralized dispatch among all government entities in the County.  Polk County, the City of Crookston, and the City of East Grand Forks held a joint meeting in May.  And, the County requested that the cities adjourn to discuss the issue within each council.  We plan to hold this discussion at the work session of July 10 after coordinating numerous schedules.  We are still working on the exact agenda and format.  We have invited several experts in the field of dispatch and Public Safety Answering Points (PSAP) including Shawn Larsen of Morris Electronics, Becky Ault of the Grand Forks PSAP, and Byron Sieber of the Red River Regional Dispatch Center (Fargo-Moorhead).  I envision giving the experts time for a brief presentation on the basics of dispatch and Next Generation Initiatives. Then, we will have a facilitated panel discussion including a question and answer period.  Please let me know if you have ideas or suggestions for this meeting.

Chief Gust announces retirement

You are all aware that Chief Randy Gust announced his retirement after more than 25 years of public service to East Grand Forks and the region.  Randy’s final day with the City is Friday, June 29.

Downtown Development

The City via the Economic Development Housing Authority (EDHA) has been actively engaged with a local developer regarding a mixed-use residential and commercial development on the corner of DeMers Avenue and 4th Street NW.  The City issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) last fall for development of the property.  The Economic Development and Housing Authority (EDHA) at its meeting on Tuesday, June 12 will consider a recommendation to the City Council on the financial package.  The Planning Commission will consider at its regular meeting of Thursday, June 14 several proposals related to the project.  The Planning Commission agenda will include a proposal to amend the City’s ordinance to allow for ground-floor residential units provided that at least 35 percent of the ground floor remains commercial floor space.  Further, the Planning Commission will consider vacating a city alley that runs through the proposed development.  Finally, the Planning Commission will consider the proposed site plan and building design of the property.

The proposed development is an aesthetically-appealing downtown mixed used building with 39 residential units and 6500 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.  The total project estimate is $5.45 million.  The City would reinvest $750,000 of existing Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds to the project as proposed.  The EDHA would also approve a 10-year low-interest commercial loan to the project of $250,000.

State Aid Task Force

I met with Council Member Leigh this week to discuss ideas on the State Aid Task Force recommendations from last year.  Council Member Leigh has selected a group of citizens and business persons to provide comments on the last year’s final report of the Task Force.  He will report back on his findings and the next steps at a later date.

2011 Audit

The City has received an extension from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) to file the City’s Comprehensive Audit and Financial Report (CAFR).  The City annually submits its CAFR in order to achieve the GFOA’s Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.  The City has received the award for several successive years.  Unfortunately, staff turnover and unanticipated software conversion issues have resulted in unforeseen delays.  The Finance Director discovered late in the process that several “upgrades” or “fixes” to the City’s enterprise resource planning software actually had unintended consequences regarding fiscal year end balances.  The Finance Director worked diligently to fix the issues, but they resulted in serious delays that impeded progress.  The City will submit its CAFR on or before July 31, 2011.  Therefore, the total delay will be no greater than one month.

Recyclebank

The Recyclebank and Green Choices Challenge program officially begins on Monday, July 2.  The program sponsors have asked participants to refrain from formal promotion until all cities participating in the challenge receive the information.  Residents should look online and in their mail boxes for program information on the week of June 25.

DEPARTMENT REPORTS:

Parks and Recreation, Dave Aker

1)  Our second round of planting berm trees will start next week.  We have already planted 50 trees and planned on 40 more, which is the end of planting this season.

2)  The girls have finished all the beds and pots, now to weeding and watering!

3)  The pool is now ready for the season. After some trying times the pool is up and running.

4)  All the tree stumps are almost all gone (95 to be exact) and they have been filled in with dirt and grass seed.

5)  The cemetery is being leveled with dirt in the upright section and we are putting three new slabs across.

6)  Hockey school started at the VFW arena for the month.

7)  All the recreational activities started this week on June 4.

Public Works, Jason Stordahl

The Army Corps has contractors working to repair sill plates at flood wall closures throughout the city.  The work will be ongoing throughout the month of June.  If traffic delays are expected or major traffic reroutes are required for a particular closure, prior notice will be given in the news paper and on the City’s Web page (www.egf.mn) under the News and Announcements section.

Just a friendly reminder to residence; please be cautious, slow down, and obey all traffic signs while passing through road construction areas.

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