Regular Council Meeting
January 18, 2021 – 6:00 P.M.
Community Media Center
Mayor Brian Wolken called the meeting to order. Council present: Dave Goedken, Brenda Hanken, Scott Brighton, Candy Langerman, Chris Lux and Tom Yeoman. Also present were City Clerk Sally Hinrichsen, Public Works Director Nick Kahler, Water/Wastewater Superintendent Jim Tjaden, Police Chief Britt Smith, Library Director Michelle Turnis and Park & Rec Director Jacob Oswald. The public was invited to attend the meeting in person, with limited seating or to participate in the meeting electronically via “Zoom Meetings” and were encouraged to communicate from Zoom Meeting via chat, due to the heightened public health risks of the Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19). The meeting did have public attendance, both in-person and via Zoom.
Yeoman moved to approve the agenda, Langerman seconded, roll call unanimous.
Langerman moved to approve the consent agenda, Brighton seconded, roll call unanimous.
Mayor Wolken reported a developer approached the City and would like to restore /make improvements to the building located at 103 West First Street. Wolken recommended the Council proceed with an RFP to seek proposals from anyone interested in the property. The City would retain possession ion of the building until July 1, 2022, to take advantage of grants that are only available to the City. The roof has collapsed on a section of the building and to replace it would take extra structural walls, so it would make sense to work with a developer interested in buying the property. City could lease the building to the developer selected and allow them to begin restoration prior to July 1, 2022. Last year, the City applied for a CDBG grant which we were not awarded. This year, the City would rank higher, as we have an interested developer for the building. The proposal, at a minimum, to include a purchase price, plan for the property and a time frame. This will be on the March 1st Council agenda for Council to decide how to proceed. Yeoman moved to proceed with placing a notice in the Express to seek proposals from anyone interested in the property. The proposal, at a minimum, to include a purchase price, plan for the property and a time frame. Langenburg seconded. Roll call unanimous.
Council has been working with Patrick Callahan, with Callahan Municipal Consultants, LLC to seek, interview and select the next City Administrator. Goedken moved to approve Resolution #2021-12 to approve the appointment of Russell Farnum as City Administrator and setting the salary at $95,000. Hanken seconded. Roll call unanimous.
Langerman moved to approve Resolution #2021-13 Approving Employment Agreement for City Administrator Russell Farnum effective March 1, 2021. Goedken seconded. Roll call unanimous. Mayor Wolken introduced Russell Farnum via zoom. Farnum stated he was excited to be selected and looking forward to working with City.
Goedken moved to approve Resolution #2021-14 Approving funding /investment in Jones County Tourism in the amount of $1,139.00 for FY 2022. Hanken seconded, roll call unanimous. Consensus of the Council was to not award any portion of the Hotel /Motel Tax that they requested, instead suggesting they make a request for Hotel/Motel tax funds, if they want support for specific projects /efforts, not just in their general fund.
Langerman moved to approve Resolution #2021-15 Approving FY ’22 Senior Dining Funding request in the amount of $3,200. Brighton seconded, roll call unanimous.
Brighton moved to approve Resolution #2021-16 Approving Agreement for Communication Services between Jones County, Jones County Sheriff and City of Monticello. Langerman seconded, roll call unanimous.
Council discussed the proposed Development Agreement with BR3 Development LLC to demolish the existing structures at the intersection of North Main and East First Streets and construct a grocery /retail facility. Council needs to modify the Urban Renewal Area and Plan to include the BR3 Development project. Langerman moved to approve Resolution #2021-17 Preliminarily approving a Development Agreement between the City of Monticello and BR3 Development, LLC and scheduling a Public Hearing on the proposed agreement. Yeoman seconded. Roll call unanimous. Public Hearing will be held on March 1, 2021 at 6:00 p.m.
Goedken moved to approve Resolution #2021-18 preliminarily finding that certain property as described herein, located within the Monticello City Limits, is blight and /or prime for economic development, directing staff to proceed to Amend the City of Monticello Urban Renewal Area and Plan, and to schedule a Public Hearing on the proposed Urban Renewal Area and Plan amendments for the 1st day of March 2021 at 6:00 p.m. Lux seconded. Roll call unanimous.
Yeoman moved Resolution #2021-19 Directing City Clerk to sign the Assurance with Respect to Real Property Acquisition of Title III of the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 as Amended and other SRF loan documents. Brighton seconded. Roll call unanimous.
Hinrichsen reported the 2019 State of Iowa Legislative session passed a budget process requirement for an additional public hearing to be held regarding certain tax levy rates, however, not including the debt service levy. Brighton moved to approve Resolution #2021-20 Scheduling Public Hearing for the Purpose of Considering the Maximum Tax Dollars to be collected by the City from Certain Levies for the City’s Proposed Fiscal Year 2021-2022 Budget for February 15, 2021 at 6:00 p.m., seconded by Goedken, roll call unanimous.
Yeoman moved to approve Ordinance #738 amending the Code of Ordinances of the City of Monticello, Iowa by amending provisions pertaining to Section 15.04 “Compensation”, second reading in title only. Langerman seconded. Brighton questioned why the mayor is only receiving $100 per month raise and we just approved $200 per month raise for council. Yeoman stated the amount could change with the third reading. Roll call unanimous. This will raise the Mayor’s pay from $3,600 per year to $4,800 per year effective January 1, 2022.
Wolken reported a housing developer is interested in purchasing land west of Frontier Feeds on Northridge Drive and east of the retention pond and is looking for assistance with infrastructure costs. Derek Lumsden, Jones County Economic Development (JCED) Director advised he was looking into IFA and CDBG grants. Property is zoned light industrial and abuts residential property. Wolken stated a residential TIF is an option, however, schools usually don’t like residential TIF. Hinrichsen stated with residential TIF there are additional restrictions like Low-Moderate Income (LMI) set-a-side and only 10 years to recoup costs.
Hinrichsen reported Financial Advisor Matt Stoffel with PFM advised that the sewer rates could take a substantial rate increase with two years at 30% rate increase each and one year at 25% increase before it levels out. These proposed rate increases can be spaced out by pushing principal payments back on the loan or by paying a portion of the project with other revenue like TIF or Debt Service. Hinrichsen stated he would like the first rate increase in effect by July 1, 2021 and will come to a meeting in the future to go over rates and funding options with the Council.
Kahler reported Cassidy Russell was hired for the Public Works department and started today.
Wolken reported the eave spouts by Veterans Hall and City Hall are leaking and may need to be replaced or repaired.
Smith reported that as the final review of the new Employee Handbook was being completed, City Attorney Douglas Herman in consultation with employment law specialists at Dallas Lynch Law firm, identified a discrepancy within FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) and our current practice of scheduling Ambulance employees 84-hour two-week work periods. For greater than 20 years, Ambulance Employees have been scheduled 84-hour two-week work periods through the Employee Collective Bargaining Agreement with the City of Monticello. The practice had been all hours beyond the standard 84-hour work period would be paid at an overtime rate of time and a half. It was stated by the attorney that this practice goes against the FLSA requirement of overtime compensation, and that all hours worked beyond 40 hours in a single work week must be paid at an overtime rate of time and a half. The hours the ambulance employees had worked between 80 hours and 84 hours within the pay period must be paid at the overtime rate. It has been recommended by the City Attorney that overtime pay for the hours between 80 hours and 84 hours for the previous 2 years, as required by law, be paid to all employees of the ambulance service. Moving forward the Ambulance staff scheduling structure will be modified to a 40-hour work week, in lieu of the previous 84-hour two-week work period. The overtime back pay for employees is estimated at less than $20,000. The new schedule will take effect February 8th, 2021. The back pay calculations will begin in the next week with Deputy City Clerk Cheryl Clark and Chief Britt Smith with payments anticipated to be issued by the end of February.
Oswald reported the Monticello Garden Club is disbanding and the Park staff will now be maintaining the gardens at Fountain Park and the planters by City Hall. They are working with Advancement Services to assist with the care of the flower beds. Oswald advised that the Park Department’s online software started last Thursday.
Tjaden reported Visu-Sewer is looking at the 10 brick manholes on Hwy 38. They charge $175/vertical foot to line the manholes and they recommend waiting until after Hwy 38 is resurfaced, so they don’t break the seal.
Hinrichsen reviewed the proposed final budgets.
Brighton moved to adjourn at 8:22 P.M.
Brian Wolken, Mayor
Sally Hinrichsen, City Clerk