Work Session 8-28-2012

The packet and agenda for Tuesday evening’s work session can be found on the City Council web page.


This work session will have several big topics to discuss highlighted by the City building inspections program, the swimming pool, and the 2013 Preliminary Budget.

The Finance Director will discuss the 2011 Comprehensive Audit and Financial Report (CAFR).  Overall, most funds including the General Fund, saw increases in overall fund balance in 2011 despite funding cuts from the state.  There were only two management recommendations from the auditing firm.

The City Engineer and the Parks and Recreation Director will present a recommendation to proceed with a new boat ramp in the LaFave Park (Catfish Days) area on the Red River.  The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will pay for 100 percent of the construction cost for the project.  Construction includes not only a new ramp but also parking facilities and landscaping.  The City also can choose whether it wishes to use the City Engineer or DNR services.  The City Engineer proposes design and construction management for a total of $37,000.  The project could begin in 2013.  The City can also choose to allow DNR to procure engineering services.  DNR would then pay for all engineering and construction management.  But, the project would not begin until either 2014 or 2015.  The DNR has not provided a firm timeline for construction using its resources.  The project would be constructed as their resources allow.

The Public Works Director will present gravel and sand bids.  The City advertised for the supply and received just one bid.

The Police Chief will present the annual request to the City Council to participate in the state’s Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) initiative, formerly known as “Safe and Sober.”

The City Administrator and the City Attorney will present a proposed amendment to an agricultural farm lease with RJ Zavoral and Sons for beet by-product disposal on city-owned land near the city’s waste water treatment facility.  The City has an existing lease for 30 acres north of the site that runs through next year.  A proposed amendment includes an option for an additional 50 acres to the east of the facility at the same per acre rate.   The City received $3000 last year from the lease on land that has little other practical use.  This option could provide up to an additional $5000.  The company has also volunteered to remove overgrown trees on the site that Public Works has been hoping to remove.

The City Administrator will present a proposed feasibility study for the swimming pool.  The Council has explored several options over the course of the last year including renovation and redesign.  I believe the City can use the services of an expert in aquatics design to facilitate the Council and the public to the right solution for East Grand Forks.  I recommend a proposal from Ballard King and Associates to conduct a feasibility study of pool options.  If approved, the feasibility study likely will take us into next year.  That could delay construction for another year.  Ultimately, the feasibility study process can guide the City to a solution that nearly everyone can support.

The City Administrator will discuss options for future Buildings Inspections services in light of the Building Official’s recent retirement announcement.  I present four possible options for building inspections office including contracting, consolidating with the City Planning office, consolidating with the Fire Department, and no change.  I recommend that the City consider contracting the service on a temporary basis as the City works toward one of the other three options as a final solution.

The City Administrator will present the 2013 Preliminary Budget.  The City Council received a preview of the Proposed General Fund budget at the recent City Council meeting.  The General Fund proposes no levy or fee increases for 2013 resulting in a levy that has been level for three years. Local Government Aid (LGA) is also flat for the fourth straight year, which is reduced from years prior.  The City Council will want to discuss whether or not it wishes to propose a modest levy increase to provide flexibility as it discusses several large projects on the horizon including the swimming pool.  The Council can reduce the levy in its final budget.  But, the final levy cannot be higher than the preliminary levy.  The preliminary levy must be adopted no later than September 15.  The final levy and budget must be adopted before the end of the year, but not before November 25.  As time allows, we will also discuss the special revenue funds.  Special revenue funds are not beholden to the September 15 deadline.

Council Member Tweten will update the Council on the Senior Citizens Center board.  Council Members Leigh and Pokrzywinski will update the Council on the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).