Weekly Memo 9-3-2012

The post-Labor Day edition of the Weekly Memo and the Council Packet is also provided on the City Council web page.

Legacy Grant

Last week, the City Council approved a resolution supporting an equal split of Legacy parks and trails funds between the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), metro parks and trails, and Greater Minnesota Parks and Trails.  The DNR is currently soliciting proposals for the Greater Minnesota portion of the Legacy program.  The Parks and Recreation Superintendent and the City Planner are proposing improvements to the LaFave Park portion of the Greenway as its 2012 request.  The application, which is due September 28, will include a natural playscape, improvements to fishing areas, trees and other landscaping that will enhance the aesthetics of the area while designating fishing areas from other recreational opportunities of the trail system.   The City Council will review the preliminary application at its September 11 work session.

Building Inspections

The Building Official and I held a phone conference last week with an official from the Insurance Service Office (ISO).  ISO conducted a five-year review the Building Inspections office in early 2012.  As a result of the review, ISO is proposing a regression of the city’s building inspections by two classes – from a Class 3 to a Class 5 in commercial buildings and from a Class 4 to a Class 6 in residential buildings.  We learned from the ISO that the majority of this regression is due to circumstances beyond local control.  The State of Minnesota building code, which the City of East Grand Forks has adopted, has not been updated since the 2005 building code released by the International Code Council (ICC).  Generally, the proposed regression will have little impact on residential structures relative to insurance rates.  Commercial structures could see small insurance premium increases due to the change in classification.  The Building Inspections department and I will work over the next several months to attempt to increase the city’s classification through small items such as increased training and standardized checklists for the department.  But, again, most of the change is beyond the City’s control because the ICC considers the state of Minnesota to be out of date with its adopted code.

Mike Hedlund, Police Department

EGFPD Conducts Active Shooter Training at EGF Sr. High School

The East Grand Forks Police Department, with assistance from the EGF Fire Department and the Grand Forks Police Department conducted “Active Shooter” training at the EGF Sr. High School during the evenings of August 27-28, 2012.  This training helps prepare the officers to respond to incidents of active violence such as occurs in school shootings.  While it is always our hope that such an incident will never occur in our community we feel that it is in our community’s best interests for our officers to prepare to handle such an incident through practical training such as this.

Pine to Prairie Drug Task Force

Officers from the Pine to Prairie Drug Task Force (made up of the EGFPD, Crookston Police and Polk County Sheriff’s Office) gave a presentation to the teachers and staff of the East Grand Forks Public Schools on Wednesday August 29, 2012.  The presentation focused on drug issues that are present in our community at this time with a special focus on synthetic drugs.  Two subjects have died in the GF/EGF area in recent months after suffering from overdoses of synthetic drugs and several other subjects have been hospitalized.  It is the goal of the EGFPD to work closely with our schools to attempt to keep a safe learning environment for all of our students.

Public Works, Jason Stordahl

Street Projects

Minn-Dak asphalt has complete three of four awarded projects.  Two of which were smaller asphalt overlays on Bygland Rd. SE, and one larger overlay project on 5th St. NE.

Minn-Dak had also planned on milling and overlaying the coulee area on Bygland Rd. SE this week, but they had some mechanical problems with their milling machine.  Even with the mechanical issues they still have high hope of completing the project before school starts next Tuesday.

Striping

OPP construction is currently striping the cross walks, stop bars, and rail road crossings around the city; and should have them done by the end of the week.  Just in time for school!

Agenda Items

The consent agenda includes a gaming permit, the sand and gravel contract for 2012-13, the City’s participation in the state’s Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) program, and an amendment to the City’s existing contract for beet byproduct disposal.  The Toward Zero Deaths program was formerly known as “Safe and Sober.”

Item 8 requests approval to recruit for a vacant Secretary-Dispatcher-Jailer position for the Police Department.

Item 9 considers approving the annual agreement with the East Grand Forks School District for arena rental.  The new agreement includes an increase to $100,000 per year from $93,500.  It is the first increase in three years.

Item 10 considers approving a feasibility study with Ballard King & Associates to conduct a swimming pool feasibility study so that the City can fully explore all potential options for pool renovation or redesign.

Item 11 requests approval for the City Administrator to issue Requests for Proposals (RFP) for Building Official services.  The RFP will allow the city to contract for the service while the City Council explores permanent structure of the Building Inspections and City Planning Departments as detailed in last week’s report from the City Administrator.

Item 12 approves a routine agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) so that MnDOT can reimburse the City for administrative costs relating to the Safe Routes to Schools (Bygland Road) project.

The City Engineer requests that the City Council postpone Item 13, which is approving plans and specifications for 2012 Assessment Job No. 4.  This project is to provide infrastructure in Riverview 10th Addition, adjacent to 20th Street SE.

Items 14 and 15 request approval of the 2013 Preliminary Levy and Budget.  As requested by City Council, the preliminary levy includes a 10 percent increase so that the City Council can explore options related to the pool and other projects.  The City Council can lower the Final Levy from the preliminary figure. But, the Council cannot increase the levy after the preliminary levy is approved.  The Final Levy cannot be approved until December.  The procedures is similar to past years including the 2012 Budget year in which the City Council passed a 10-percent increase on its preliminary levy but ultimately opted for no increase when the Council passed the Final Levy.

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