CITY OF RIVER FALLS: 6/10/08 COMMON COUNCIL PROCEEDINGS
June 10, 2008
Mayor Don Richards called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers located in City Hall.
City Council Members Present: Alderpersons Wayne Beebe, Tom Caflisch, Dave Cronk, Bob Ebert, Joleen Larson, Jim Nordgren and Michael Woolsey
Staff Present: Bernie Van Osdale, City Administrator; Bill Thiel, City Attorney; Reid Wronski, City Engineer; Carl Gaulke, Utilities General Manager; Julie Bergstrom, Finance Director; Roger Leque, Police Chief; Lu Ann Hecht, City Clerk
Others Present: Bill Rasmussen, Andrew Huppert, Rosanne Bump, Matt Fitzgerald, Marilyn Bostrack, Paige Olson, others
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
March 26, 2008, Minutes
MSC Beebe/Larson to approve minutes as submitted. Unanimous.
May 20, 2008, Minutes
MSC Cronk/Woolsey to approve minutes as submitted. Unanimous.
May 27, 2008, Minutes
MSC Beebe/Nordgren to approve minutes as submitted. Unanimous.
May 27, 2008, Closed Session Minutes
MSC Larson/Cronk to approve minutes as submitted. Unanimous.
APPROVAL OF BILLS
City – $417,267.37
Utility - $497,567.83
MS Caflisch/Woolsey to approve the bills. Nordgren noted payments for rout and seal and for two new Police vehicles. The bills were unanimously approved.
PUBLIC COMMENT, PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS:
Bill Rasmussen, representing the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, came to speak in support of a room tax to fund tourism. He asked for the community’s support.
Andrew Huppert, 554 N. Dallas, remarked about the public information meeting and Ingram Center.
Rosanne Bump, Chamber of Commerce, said Chamber has developed a tax room proposal that outlines the potential economic impact to the area. The proposal is located at the Chamber’s website. There will be an informational meeting on June 17.
Matt Fitzgerald, 1450 Washington Street, said he was strongly in favor of building a new City Hall. He talked about how the City was removing inefficient space and replacing it with efficient space with room to grow. He noted River Falls was located next to the ninth fastest growing county in the nation and said the growth will be spreading to River Falls. He said the building is for City functions and should be planned by the City. He feels the City Hall needs to be located in the City not north of town.
Marilyn Bostrack, 384 W. Park Street, said she was opposed to the Council making a decision on building a new City Hall without more citizen input. She spoke about the building design and last year’s tax bill. She said she had not spoken to anyone in favor of building a new City Hall. She discussed the petition that Randy Kusilek circulated. She asked the Council to take these things into consideration before voting yes.
Paige Olson, 545 N. Main, came to speak about the room tax. She said only certain businesses would tax their customers. She felt there should be written business plan, numbers, a budget, and projections. She said she has not seen any of that. She encouraged people to come to the information meeting.
Chris Brookins – Live Music at PR’s Place:
He said he has been a concert promoter for four years and is requesting a one-time variance to the noise ordinance for a live music concert. He did not have a specific date yet because he has to put down a non-refundable deposit of $50,000 and he doesn’t want to do that unless he has Council approval. He wants to do this on a weekend night and the music would end at 10 p.m. He is hoping for a favorable outcome so he can grow this business in the future. He presented a petition to the Council with 28 names in favor on it.
Larson asked about a timeframe. Brookins said he would like to do it within the next six to eight weeks. Nordgren asked about the set up of the concert and attendance.
Attorney Thiel said Council could not take action tonight. He said in theory, the Council could grant permission for a date to be determined in the future.
Caflisch recommended Brookins speak to Lu Ann Hecht to get this added to the agenda for the next meeting.
Chief Leque said the Police haven’t had a lot of experience with big name concert performers. He feels it involves more than a noise variance issue. He asked the Council to consider a community versus private event.
Liquor License Applications – Dispositions:
Mayor Don Richards recessed Council at 6:58 p.m. and went into a public hearing.
Eric Anderson addressed Council in regard to his business plan and asked if they had any questions.
At 7:00 p.m. with no one wishing to speak for or against this issue, Council reconvened into Open Session for disposition.
Mayor Richards voiced a concern about vandalism to the new flower pots which are an effort to beautify Main Street. Richards asked for the Main Street business owners’ cooperation in preventing vandalism.
Attorney Thiel asked that the Combination “Class B” licenses for American Pie Pizza Corporation and LA Moon, LLC, in regard to Coach’s Bar and Grill, be pulled and tabled for final disposition on June 24.
MS Caflisch/Woolsey move to approve the Combination “Class B” liquor and beer licenses contingent that all licensing requirements are met at the time of issuance with the exception of American Pie Pizza Corporation and Coach’s Bar to be tabled until the next meeting.
Nordgren asked for clarification on the Corner Bar’s application as they included the parking area for licensure. Thiel said that the Council could restrict the licensure to the interior of the bar.
MSC Nordgren/Beebe move to amend the description for the Corner Saloon to remove the parking area. Unanimous.
The original motion as amended passed unanimously.
MSC Larson/Beebe move to approve the Combination “Class A” liquor and beer licenses contingent that all licensing requirements are met at the time of issuance. Unanimous.
MSC Cronk/Larson move to approve the Combination Class “B” beer licenses contingent that all licensing requirements are met at the time of issuance. Unanimous.
MSC Woolsey/Cronk move to approve the Combination Class “A” beer licenses contingent that all licensing requirements are met at the time of issuance. Unanimous.
MSC Larson/Ebert move to approve wholesale beer licenses contingent that all licensing requirements are met at the time of issuance. Unanimous.
MSC Larson/Nordgren move to approve “Class C” wine licenses contingent that all licensing requirements are met at the time of issuance. Unanimous.
Ordinance No. 2008-17 - An Ordinance Amending The Official Parking Control Map of the City of River Falls, Wisconsin (No Parking - West Side of S. Wasson Lane Approaching Cascade Ave) – Second Reading and Disposition
Mayor Don Richards recessed Council at 7:10 p.m. and went into a public hearing. At 7:10 p.m. with no one wishing to speak for or against this issue, Council reconvened into Open Session for disposition.
MSC Cronk/Beebe move to approve ordinance. Unanimous.
Ordinance No. 2008-18 – An Ordinance to Create Chapter 8.50 of the City Code; Occupancy Limits for Bars and Restaurants – Second Reading and Disposition
Mayor Don Richards recessed Council at 7:10 p.m. and went into a public hearing. At 7:11 p.m. with no one wishing to speak for or against this issue, Council reconvened into Open Session for disposition. MS Woolsey/Larson move to approve ordinance.
Nordgren felt there could be a problem controlling the number of people and asked how it would be regulated.
Leque said the ordinance was to prevent overcrowding. He said there would be a level of discretion in enforcing the ordinance. Citation would not be the first choice of action, as he would rather work with the establishments in a proactive approach.
Nordgren asked about the square footage cited in the ordinance. Mike Moody from the River Falls Fire Department explained how the square footage was determined in the fire code.
Caflisch asked when are the bars overcrowded and questioned the usefulness of the ordinance. Cronk thought that this was a common ordinance and not a major issue.
Larson asked about the signs which are required to be posted above each door. There was follow up discussion.
The ordinance passed unanimously.
Acknowledge Receipt of the following Minutes:
Fire Department – 5/5/08; Utility Commission – 5/19/08 regular meeting; 5/22/08 joint workshop; River Falls Housing Authority – 5/13/08; Police and Fire Commission – 5/5/08; Ambulance Commission – 5/5/08; Park and Recreation Advisory Board – 5/21/08
Resolution No. 5131 - Authorizing Bidding for 2008 Mill and Overlay Program
MSC Beebe/Ebert move to approve Consent Agenda. Unanimous.
ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS:
Ordinance No. 2008-19 An Ordinance Creating Section 3.14 of the Municipal Code of the City of River Falls-Room Tax – First Reading
Resolution No. 5132 to Award Bid for new City Hall Project
MS Larson/Nordgren move to approve resolution.
Ebert thanked everyone involved in the process. He felt a better job communicating with the public could have been done. He would like to discuss communication further with other Council members at a future meeting.
Ebert spoke about the Ingram Center and how the space had served the City being a good resource for senior citizens, a space for FISH and Pierce County Reproductive Health Services.
Ebert spoke about the design of the new City Hall and being in favor of it being “green”. He said he would have preferred some things done differently if he had been a Council member earlier in the process. He said that he rode his bike through his district and spoke with people about a new City Hall. He said everyone agreed something needed to be done. He said that out of the eighteen people he spoke with, ten were very strongly for a new City Hall, three people didn’t know anything about it and the remainder was against it.
Nordgren agreed with Ebert that there could have been better communication about the project. He said he was involved in looking at the AgStar Building and also plans done by Elliott Architects for a Maple Street site.
Nordgren said he was in favor of this project for five major reasons: 1) the poor condition of the current building and the overcrowding in it; 2) current space needs - a new building gives both the Police and Fire Department room to expand and there is room for expansion in the new building; 3) the location is ideal for a City building; 4) financial consideration in minimal impact on taxes; he noted other City departments will be moved into the new building; 5) the timing is right on the interest rates and financing.
Nordgren also commented on why the Council didn’t consider the advisory referendum. He said an advisory referendum is advisory only. It would only tell Council the number of people for and against the building of the City Hall. The referendum is non-binding and the Council would still have to make the decision. Nordgren said that is what they are elected to do – to do research on the current building, study space needs and financial considerations, the timing and then cast a vote. Nordgren said that is what he is prepared to do.
Caflisch talked about history of the process including the opportunity to purchase the AgStar for approximately $3 million dollars. He also talked about a past opportunity to lease a building at the current site. Caflisch talked about the committee that was formed to look into the possibility of building a new City Hall. He said that over half of the committee members were not City residents. He talked about bringing forward a resolution requiring City residents to serve on them.
Caflisch discussed the design of the new City Hall which he felt wasn’t a normal building. He went on to discuss the different projects the City needs to move forward on and asked how they will be funded. Caflisch talked about the true cost of the City Hall. He felt the Finance Director was told to ‘figure it out’ so taxes wouldn’t be raised. He said the of the majority of the citizens who will watch the roll call will decide if the Council’s Oath of Office was upheld.
Mayor Richards asked Caflisch how he knew the majority of the citizens were against the building of a new City Hall. Caflisch said the majority of the citizens felt the City Hall was overspending. Richards said Caflisch didn’t answer his question. Caflisch answered that he was guessing.
With no other comments, the Mayor requested a roll call vote. Woolsey, Beebe, Cronk, Larson, Ebert, and Nordgren all voted in favor of the resolution. Caflisch voted against. The resolution passed 6-1.
Resolution No. 5133 to Award Bid for Renovation to Elm Street Project
MSC Larson/Beebe move to approve resolution. Unanimous.
Resolution No. 5134 Authorizing the Issuance of $5,000,000 General Obligation Promissory Notes and the Issuance and Sale of $5,000,000 Note Anticipation Notes in Anticipation Thereof
MS Larson/Beebe to approve resolution.
Caflisch asked for an explanation. Bergstrom said this was for a one-year construction loan. Caflisch asked about over runs. Bergstrom said more could be borrowed if needed.
Van Osdale said the notes were for the $4.6 million new City Hall project and the renovation project would be financed with existing funds. He said there would not be a cost over run.
Caflisch clarified that the renovation project would come out of the fund balance. Bergstrom said yes and she estimated between $500,000-$600,000 coming out of the fund balance.
Larson asked if interest rates began to rise, could a loan be locked in at a lower interest rate? Bergstrom said yes.
Caflisch asked if any alternations from the approved funding would come back for Council approval. Van Osdale said yes; everything needs to come back to Council for approval.
With no other comments, the roll call vote showed Woolsey, Beebe Cronk, Larson, Ebert and Nordgren all voted in favor of the resolution; Caflisch voted against. The resolution passed 6-1.
Resolution No. 5135 Regarding Asbestos Abatement Management Services
MSC Woolsey/Nordgren move to approve resolution. Unanimous.
Mayor’s Appointments to Boards, Commissions and Committees
Mayor Richards asked consideration of the following appointments:
Cable Communications Advisory Board: Reappointment of Tom Pechacek through April 2011
MSC Larson/Woolsey move to approve appointment. Unanimous.
MSC Cronk/Larson move to adjourn at 7:50 p.m. Unanimous.
Kristi McKahan, Deputy Clerk