DATE: April 13, 2007
TO: Mayor & Council Members
FROM: Al Roder, City Administrator
RE: Friday Memo for the week of April 16-20, 2007
Here is a list of city activities for the week of April 16-20, 2007:
With the announcement of Captain Halverson's retirement, we have elected to evaluate the organizational structure
within the police department. At this time we are considering a modification in the leadership structure, which may
involve the creation of a 2 Captain system. If this re-organization takes place, we would potentially reduce the
number of sergeants from 4 to 3. One captain would oversee patrol officers, the second captain would oversee
investigations. A final determination has not been made concerning this adjustment in organizational structure at
In addition, we are looking at the possibility of making a change in the Public Services department. Joel has
interviewed candidates for the Operations and Maintenance Manager vacancy and has not found the right person for
that position. We are considering our options, which include re-posting the position or re-organizing the department
to divide the duties between existing staff. At this point we are leaning toward the re-organization option.
The liquor store issue continues to move forward. John Donnelly of Frauenshuh is preparing a report for the council
that will provide the various options, with costs, for your consideration. At Mr. Donnelly's recommendation, the
report will include a comparison of both the EconoFoods site and the Tires Plus site. Mr. Donnelly understands that
the council has identified the Tires Plus site as the preferred site. A review of this information is planned for the
May 7th council meeting.
The council retreat will be next Tuesday at St. Olaf at 5:30. There is a tentative agenda included in this packet.
We have been celebrating National Library Week. Have you been carded? Pictures of those carded are posted in
Library staff have invited library volunteers to a reception this afternoon in order to thank them for their many
contributions. Volunteers donated more than 2,000 hours of time to the library last year. They delivered books to
homebound patrons, offered story times to children, started a chess club, cleaned up the grounds, kept the shelves
neat and clean and took care of our plants. The staff and the community are very grateful for all they have done.
Library Board members Bob Bruce, CC Linstroth and Lois Stratmoen and staff members Leesa Wisdorf, Marj
Evans-de-Carpio and Lynne Young met with a group of Latino community members on Monday evening. It was a
good conversation and the group provided us with many ideas about new ways the library might serve them. We
plan to meet again in a few months for additional conversation and follow-up.
The Library Board held their annual retreat on Tuesday afternoon and evening. Several members of the Friends of
the Library also worked attended the meeting, and they discussed new ways to look at the community’s needs for
library service now and in the future.
Naomi and Rachel Miessler have joined the library staff as shelvers. They have been regular library volunteers for
The reorganization of the beer coolers took place without a hitch Monday morning. The re-set is designed to
improve the placement of imports and craft/microbrews, the two categories still showing strong sales growth.
We will offer an in-store wine tasting Saturday, from 2:00 to 5:00 pm, featuring selections from our current sale:
Dry Creek Chenin Blanc (California)
Foxglove Chardonnay (California)
Alamos Malbec (Argentina)
Carchelo Monastrell (Spain)
Part-time sale clerk Paul Gay began orientation and in-store training last week.
Brian O’Connell and Joel Walinski attended the Greenvale Township meeting on Tuesday evening. Staff provided
an update to the township supervisors on the planning efforts currently underway on a development of a third
business district by the City and a presentation on the Greater Northfield Area Greenway Corridor System.
The roofing and siding permits are still being issued at a rate higher than any previous year except 2006. The
commercial projects are above average and residential permits are holding at a steady level. There are a few new
homes being permitted and the typical permits for decks and basement finishes. The building permits for Cannon
Valley Printing and the new First National Bank have been issued. The first elevated concrete slab has been placed
for the new St. Olaf Science Building.
Staff is actively assisting the Cannon Valley Vet Clinic with the JOBZ application that will be coming to City
council soon. The JOBZ application is rather complicated due to the multiple corporations that are part of the Clinic
that are participating in the JOBZ process.
Joel Walinski and Katy Gehler have been working with the property owners at 510 and 516 Water Street to extend
the Riverside trail from Riverside Park to the intersection of 5th and Water Streets. Landscape Architect, Spencer
Jones, has developed two conceptual routes. The concepts have been presented to the Trails and Waterways
Division of the Department of Natural Resources for comment. This segment is planned to be part of the Mill
The City has received a grant from the MNPCA to complete shoreline restoration along the west bank of the
Cannon River in Ames Park. Katy Gehler has been working with Bonestroo to complete the plans, obtain permits,
and gain approvals for the project.
Katy Gehler has been working with Yaggy Colby and Associates to complete the design of the Mill Towns Trail
Bridge. Since the bridge will be part of the State Trail system the trail has been designed to meet the State trail
requirements. Since the City will be receiving federal funds for the project, various paperwork and approvals are
required to meet the federal guidelines. The preliminary plans have been submitted for review and comment from
various agencies including different divisions within the Department of Transportation and the Department of
Natural Resources. Many of the divisions have provided comments. It is anticipated that all comments will be
received by the end of next week. The office of State Aid will give final approval of the project considering
comments from other divisions. Assuming that all comments have been satisfactorily addressed, approval from the
State Aid office is anticipated by May 1, 2007. Once final approval is given by the State Aid office the City can
began the bidding process. The following is the anticipated schedule:
• Approval from State Aid office, May 1, 2007.
• Presentation of Final Plans and Specifications to Council and Authorizing of Bid Solicitation, May 7, 2007.
• Bid Opening, May 30, 2007.
• Award of Project, June 4, 2007.
It should be noted that this schedule is based on federal deadlines. The City could jeopardize funding if the
deadlines are not met.
Joel Walinski and Katy Gehler met with members of Friends of the Mill Towns Trail. Updates to current projects
were presented. Staff also discussed the status of the through town links for the trail.
Joel Walinski and Katy Gehler met with representatives from Dakota County regarding upcoming projects in the
CIP. Currently the County is planning on completing a transportation study of the Northwest Corridor in 2007 in
cooperation with Northfield, Rice County, and the Department of Transportation. Depending on the scope of the
study and interest of participation the City of Dundas and St. Olaf could be included in the study
Recreation Manager, Jason Eisold, has been working on the identification and purchasing of equipment for the
operation of the new pool. These products include deck furniture, picnic tables and chairs, PA systems, trash
receptacles; season pool passes and staff uniforms to name a few. Interviews for summer pool staff will begin next
week. The process is beginning for preparing the grand opening ceremonies of the outdoor pool scheduled for Sat.
June 16. Construction is coming along nicely with the help of the nice weather we have been having this past week.
The concrete has started to be poured for the pool deck and final grading is being completed at the job site.
Joel Walinski met with the League of Minnesota insurance representative to review the bids submitted for the
replacement of hail-damaged roofs at the library and various park buildings and shelters. T.J. Heinricy, Streets/Parks
Supervisor, and Bernie Shakal, Facilities Supervisor, then met with representatives of Turco Construction who had
submitted the low bids for this work, to review final contract agreements and approve materials to be used. Work is
scheduled to begin the first week in May and should be completed by June 1, 2007.
Dave Nelson, Custodian II returned to work this week. Dave had been out on medical leave for several weeks and is
a welcome return.
Mitch Merxbauer worked with the City Building Official, John Brookins, to combine all comments, questions and
concerns received from the public regarding the proposed rental ordinance into a document for the City Council.
Staff will follow up this document with recommendations for revisions to the current proposed rental ordinance.
Mitch Merxbauer received three applications for down-payment assistance from first time homebuyers. These will
be the first applicants to fall under the new guidelines imposed by the HRA, which include debt-to-income ratio of
43% or less and the proposed mortgage payment to be 38% or less of monthly gross income.
Dan Olson, City Planner, spent the week in Philadelphia at the National Conference of American Planning
Working with the Human Resource Department, seasonal staff hirings were completed this week. The Streets/Parks
Division hired 6 seasonal employees for general maintenance, most will start employment in late May and work
through August/September depending. Four seasonal gardeners were hired to begin employment in late May to
water the downtown flower baskets and plantings at Bridge Square. They typically work 1-3 shifts per week from
4:00 AM to 7:00 AM. Watering occurs 7 days per week. The final groups of seasonal employees to be hired were
the Compost Site Attendants. All three of these employees are returning from last year. The compost site opened this
Ongoing spring maintenance tasks continued this week, tasks include field prepping and fertilizing at Sechler and
Babcock fields, which opened this week, continuing of spring street sweeping of all City streets, pothole patching,
and clean up and storage of the City snow removal equipment.
Dean Huschle, represented the Water Division at the Northfield Healthy Kids Day on Saturday, April 14th. Dean
talked to kids and parents about the importance of water conservation and the groundwater cycle. He also
demonstrated and allowed the kids to try out the Urban Water Cycle interactive computer CD that he has been
working on with Hamline University and the MN Dept. of Health. Dean also ran an AWWA (American Water
Works Assoc.) video called "Whatya know about H2O", which has short video clips related to the importance of
water. There was good attendance from kids and parents and it was a good opportunity to be available for questions
that people had on the water utility.
Ongoing maintenance operations in the Water Division includes the inspection of the top bowl on the Hall Avenue
Water tower, testing of the emergency generators on a monthly basis, and ongoing locates requested through Gopher
One service – 67 requested for this week.
The biosolids storage area was emptied this week. About 2000 tons of biosolids have been hauled and land applied
over the past few weeks. This represents 4 to 5 months of production from the facility. The Class A Exceptional
Quality Biosolids generated at the facility are produced by dewatering raw sludge with a press and mixing it with
quick lime and heating the mixture to 165 degrees F. This results in a chemically stabilized and pasteurized product
that can be easily stored. The "exceptional quality" designation indicates the metals content and coliform bacteria
level of the biosolids are very low (confirmed by lab analysis) and no special precautions are needed. It can be
handled and distributed pretty much like any other type of soil amendment. The biosolids contain 8 to 10 lbs of
nitrogen and 300 to 350 lbs of liming equivalent per wet ton and application rates are based on the crop and soil
needs for those items.
cc: Department Managers