May 28, 2024 Council Meeting and Work Session

Agenda (click to open)

View the meeting (click to open)

Current Events

  • Council Candidate sign up ends Tuesday June 4th. If you are reading my updates, you know there's constant pressure to jack up taxes and spending. Some current members believe the amount of taxes should be up to city staff (remember the 55% tax rate we USED to have?). We need candidates that are willing to make commitments to put in time and research before automatically approving increased spending. If you want to run for office, sign up is at city hall. If you have questions or concerns, feel free to contact me.
  • If you or people in your area want to meet and discuss current/future topics related to the city, reach out to me to set up a time to visit. (email, phone call, zoom, or in person)
  • As you're driving on the river road by Stephens' park, you'll notice construction on the south side of the road. That's the new central water system treatment facility in progress.
  • Many of you are familiar with the phrase "rural look and feel" or "rural character." Dayton residents have said this is important to them and I agree. It's even in our mission statement. We've had a couple work sessions on the topic and I believe it'll result in a list of ideas we will be prioritizing for the future. If you have ideas, please let me know.

This was easily the longest meeting we've had since I've been on council. I think it is a mistake to push through late meetings vs push topics that are not time sensitive to the next meeting. People start getting punchy and don't think as clearly at this point, but the rest of the council decided to push through it.

Work Session (Fire Department)

The past few years we've had a number of work sessions with the fire department aggressively trying to turn our fire department into something that is more appropriate for a 20,000+ population city. This includes a couple of work sessions where we were accused of not caring about our residents. That's always fun and interesting.

This session was aimed at 3 topics; a ladder truck, a property request, and full time fire fighter request.

Ladder Truck: Of all the requests, this one probably made the most sense due to 2 factors; ordering a truck right now can take 3-4 years, and we will likely need one by 2028/2029 with all of the industrial developments and apartment buildings. Unfortunately, those trucks are over $2M. The one benefit of the back log is we can back out at any time (without putting any money down.)

Property request: For a long time we've been putting money away for a possible 3rd station down in the area around 117th. In the end the optimal configuration would be to have 2 stations; one around 117th and the other around North Diamond. The city hasn't put a lot of effort into looking for property in that area though the claim is "there isn't any". The result of this claim is that staff and 2 of the council are pushing to use a tax forfeit property right on Dayton Parkway for it. The only way that makes any sense is if we create a fire training facility on it. This is a questionable move for that specific property (both the training facility and use of the land), and would take a prime commercially guided property off of the tax roles and have one less commercial activity for residents to have access to. We directed staff (3-2) months ago that we needed to look elsewhere for a possibly station, but they brought it up again. The council had also previously advised staff to hire a real estate broker to look for land. This has yet to happen either, so any claim that the land isn't available is simply wrong.

Full time fire fighters: This one has a balance of pros and cons to it.

Reasons for:

  1. One of the measures for how a fire department performs is their response time to a call. This would significantly help during the day.
  2. It would reduce the burden of calls on the part time fire fighters.
  3. For the remaining fire fighters, they could sign up for time slots which would help them manage their time better.

Reasons against:

  1. Up until 2 years ago we had NO full time. We now have 2 (chief and asst). This would put it at 4 full time.
  2. Rogers is about 2x our population and has 3 full time.
  3. Champlin is about 3x our population and has 4 full time.
  4. It would increase the fire department labor budget by about 50% (additional $150k).

This issue will likely show up when we start work on the 2025 budget.

Item L (Kwik Trip Truck Stop Preliminary)

This was a follow on to the concept review from the March 26th meeting. Back in 2022 Kwik Trip applied for a truck stop on a property on the north east side of the Dayton Parkway and 94 interchange. At that time 3 council members (me included) wanted to wait to see if a better use would come along. It's been 2 years and we've been told by the land broker that there have been no other offers. One of the reasons given as to why they believe a business park isn't likely to happen at that location is the Cemstone plant right next to it causing issues with the air quality. Regardless of the reasons why, the fact that he hasn't been able to move the property indicates to me he might be correct. Our police Chief indicated from what he's looked at the facility should generate no more calls than any commercial store might generate.

I was on the fence (and was originally) up until this meeting and decided to vote to approve it. It was approved 4-1.

Item M (Final Plat Dayton Fields)

This was a fairly straightforward application to put a glass company on a property on West French Lake road. It was approved 5-0.

Item N (Survey)

A few meetings back we had talked about getting some referendums on the ballot this November. Another option was floated to use the same survey company that Champlin uses to get some opinions from their residents. The company gave a presentation and we directed staff to start looking at what questions might go into it.

Item O (Fire Study)

About a year back or so, our new fire chief proposed commissioning a few fire study because he felt the one the city had done just a few years before was flawed because of who had performed it and our population numbers had changed since then.

I wasn't convinced by those reasons and voted against it. I also suspected the intent was to make another tool to force the council towards that third station. It was approved 3-2. The study was supposed to be completed in about 6 months and done independent of staff.

We finally got the finished product, and even staff was embarrassed by it. If you're curious about the contents, it's in the agenda... If you ask a window company what they think of your current window situation... guess what they'll come back with? 🙂

We did vote to accept it but made it very clear that we weren't going to use it as guidance.

Item P (Magnus Veterans Fees)

In applying for their large assembly permit for their late summer big event, Magnus has asked that we wave the fees for the permit.

I've never been a fan of the permit, but I do appreciate the need for police and fire to know when these events are happening. Given that I don't like the permit requirement, I even more so don't like the fee.

And as happens about every other year, the topic of charging for police help during the events came up. I have stated over and over that if you charge these groups for Police time you'll kill the event. You also might cause them to go elsewhere to get that kind of assistance which means our police aren't involved.

The consensus was to have staff put a proposal together that limits the cost to the non-profits that put these public events on.

Item Q (Tax Forfeiture Land Use)

This was a follow on vote from the work session. The vote was 3-2 to direct staff that we would NOT want to use the forfeiture land for a government facility.

Item R (Ladder Truck)

This was a follow on vote from the work session. The vote was 5-0 to place an order for the ladder truck. Given the options for the order, we won't have to pay for it until delivery and can back out at any time.

Item S (Cannabis Use Ordinance)

This was a follow on meeting we had months back as to how Dayton will treat cannabis in public spaces. The decision back then was to treat it just like alcohol. This was to approve the corresponding ordinance. It passed 5-0.

Item T (Follow On Discussion on Council Members as PT City Employees)

This was also a follow on discussion we had on allowing council members to be employed by the city part time.

I had brought this up because it's my believe that there's a strong conflict of interest when a council member is also an employee. For this reason state statute doesn't allow full time employees to be on councils, but the language gets a lot more muddier as you get into part time employees.

During that initial discussion the majority agreed there was a strong conflict of interest but one of them also mentioned that the timing of this might not be appropriate since it's so close to election sign up.

I had time to reflect on that and agreed so I suggested we close this topic for some future discussion. That passed 5-0.

Closed Session (Discuss possible purchase offer on property)

The information discussed in this session has since been made public. The property at 16220 Territorial Rd was placed for sale and, depending on what we wanted to do with the intersection at Territorial and Rush Creek, might have made sense to purchase. Given that we had previously decided not to do anything with that intersection, the decision was not to make an offer on this property.

If you have any questions, opinions, or ideas feel very free to contact me.