Apr 27, 2021 Council Meeting Update

Agenda (Click to open)

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This was a busy meeting. Since it was clear at some point we were going to run long, we removed Item O (Meeting decorum) from the Agenda. As usual there were other items on the agenda, but these are the ones I felt residents would be interested in hearing about.

If you have any questions (about anything), feel free to contact me.

Item H.1 (Resolution approving settlement of assessment appeals)

This item was added to the agenda at the meeting.

This wasn't pretty any way you look at it. To get some background click HERE (hopefully you clicked!). To cut to the chase, the city got sued by a number of residents over an assessment process that, after learning more and more about, I regret voting for. And this council had the pleasure of dealing with the results. To be blunt, I'm not a fan of assessments. I'm not a fan of government coming in, "providing" you with a benefit, then extracting what THEY think it's worth to you based on what THEY think your land should be used for. The fact that you simply want to sit out on your deck with your cup of coffee and relax on your property just gets in the way.

Enough rambling.

Here's the (one of many) issue... losing this case could cause problems with all the assessments, not just the ones before the court. The city's attorney was adamant the city would easily prevail. The other side's attorney was adamant they would easily prevail.

Once we found out what it would cost to actually go to court (30% of the disputed amount, later it was set at closer to 50%), the decision was unanimous to settle. The issue was what to settle for. That was hammered out in two closed meetings. The end result was a 50% reduction for most of the properties and a 90% reduction for the remaining. The sad part is, the original offer made to the previous council was to settle for 50% (roughly what it would have cost us to go to court) and the council turned it down.

Item I (Concept Plan Review of Distribution Facility)

This is one of many properties in our commercial area that is getting a lot of attention.

Last year this property had a proposal for a 750,000 sq ft facility which the council reviewed. As it turns out, it was an amazon facility so there was a significant number of parking stalls on the east side.

This plan was for a 1M sq ft facility, though with significantly fewer parking stalls. We do not know the end user for this facility.

The intent of a concept plan is for the developers to get a feel for any thoughts the council has on it before they formalize those plans.

It's in our commercial area, it's going to generate a good amount of revenue, and it could help fund some of the road improvements that are badly needed in that area. but... I did see a couple of issues which I was curious about:

  1. What kind of screening will be done on the north side? This will run along the south side of 117th. The answer was, not only is the grade significantly higher than 117th but they will also be looking at about 8 feet of berm plus landscaping.
  2. How is the traffic going to be handled where the parkway connects to 117th? At this point it's planned on simply a 3 way T. Given a lot of the car traffic will be on the east side of 117th down through the parkway, I'm wondering if a T is a good answer. While I'm clearly not a fan of expensive roundabouts (go ahead, click it) this seems like a good spot for an inexpensive one.

From what I could tell the council was fine with what was presented.

Item L (South Water Update)

This item was a follow up to an item the previous council was pushing; A water tower and well in the south-west portion of Dayton. As I've mentioned in the past (specifically when this came before the last council), I want no part in taking the residents off of a treated water system from Maple Grove and forcing them onto our untreated water.

So my argument was simple then, no water system without treatment. But, treatment GREATLY increases the cost, and that cost would have to be bonded. Due to previous decisions by councils, we're up to our eyeballs in debt now. This time staff recommended moving it out a few years. We still have a lot of capacity left from Maple Grove. The previous council pushed it because the city would profit from an early switch. I got more than an ear-full from residents not happy with that push, and to me part of the system cost was customer satisfaction. And our customers would NOT have been satisfied.

Item N (Discussion on Speed Limits)

In all of my door knocking, one of the most common complaints is speeding on city roads. Unfortunately, there's not a magic wand to fix it. Some residents suggest more patrolling (which means other areas would get less), mechanical limits such as speed bumps or tables (which I personally like), or reducing speed limits. I do think 30 on our development roads is too fast. 25 seems more appropriate. Unfortunately, the data (from what I can tell) says that people will travel at the speed they think fits regardless of what the limit is. And I suspect that's correct.

In the end nothing was decided, though staff was going to look into the mechanical devices.

Item Q (Qwik Trip)

This was an update to the previous concept plan. The earlier discussion (HERE) which focused on the removal of the park and the noise from the car wash. While the city didn't have much leverage to correct those items, both the property owner and buyer came up with a bigger park than was there before, and a workable solution to the noise. The next step is a preliminary plan.

Item S (Selection of planning and building audit firm)

This item is a follow on from MANY discussions on the planning and permit fees the city charges. The basic intent is that the audit firm come up with a way to tie our fees to our expenses. Much easier said than done. We selected a firm (Baker Tilly) that has done this on many occasions. Hopefully, when it's complete in 3 months, we can be done with this.

Item T (water conservation)

This is simply, making the odd/even watering ordinance a permanent ordinance. I'm not a fan, but somehow it seems to work. I'm not sure why watering twice as long every other day is any better than just watering every day... but apparently it is. For many reasons we need to find a way to get irrigation water in new developments from somewhere other than the tower.

Item U (Well capacity increase)

This item came up late last week and was added to the agenda. The bottom line is the new well that was drilled by Stephen's farm has the ability to produce more water than was originally thought. So, the thinking was that we should put in a 1200 GPM motor rather than a 800 GPM but at an extra cost of $100,000. Unfortunately, the numbers I seen indicated to me it might have been capacity we didn't need anytime soon (i.e. before replacement). We needed to decide at this meeting due to timing. I would have preferred to have more time to research the actual numbers and likelihood of the need. While the funding isn't coming out of taxes (it's from the water fund) I still don't like throwing money around like that. On the other hand, if we did need the capacity in the near future we'd have to add it at a greater cost. It passed (to increase the pump size) 4-1. I did vote for it.