Winsted City Council Minutes

Town Hall Meeting

Winsted Fire Hall

September 12, 2006

8:00 p.m.

 

Present:                        Mayor Don Guggemos

                                    Council Member Tom Wiemiller

                                    Council Member Gerald Boldt

                                    Council Member Bonnie Quast

                                    Council Member Tom Ollig

 

Staff Present:                        Brent Mareck, City Administrator

                                    Sue Mueller, Utility Clerk

 

1)     Mayor Guggemos called the meeting to order at 8:10 p.m.

2)     Mareck presented a slide presentation reviewing the history of city hall.  The presentation included site plans, floor plans and conceptual pictures of what a new city hall and public works building would look like.  Mareck also presented the proposed financial costs for the city hall, lakefront promenade, and the public works building.  Mareck detailed three tracks for consideration and what would be required under each track.  Mareck also addressed issues relating to parking, facility and design questions.

Guggemos then requested input from the public, at which time the following residents asked questions or gave their opinions.

3)     Dave Sherman, 378 Pike Court asked if the businesses along the lake were excited or had concerns regarding the plans.

Guggemos stated that there has been both concern and excitement; Marvin Vetsch did have some concerns regarding future additions to his business.

 

4)     Lid Laxen, 240 Westgate Dr expressed concerns on the tax issues relating to senior citizens.

Guggemos explained that the money the city receives from the state has been reduced, but the city has dropped taxes.

Lid Laxen stated that her taxes have gone up $40.00 in one year.

Guggemos explained that even with evaluation increases, the cities portion has gone down.

Lid Laxen then stated that with the Howard Lake/Waverly/Winsted School referendum being passed, which will raise taxes more, this project may raise her taxes even higher.

Ollig responded that all of us will be affected by the school, but by the same token the city officials have a responsibility to the citizens of Winsted and for the future of Winsted.  He stated that he wants people to be proud of the City of Winsted.

Lid Laxen than stated that she likes what the city is trying to do, but has concerns for tax increases.

 

5)     Jan Cartwright, 350 Sunfish Lane stated that she is a new resident and is very impressed with what the City is trying to do.  She stated that she is appalled at what the lake currently looks like along the shoreline.  She then asked when a swimming pool or library may be available.

Guggemos said that presently the plans are for the lakefront promenade, city hall and public works building.  A swimming pool would be something the school district may want to address.

 

6)     Linda Juncewski, 22255 Babcock Ave asked if these were the final plans.  She also stated that the city could use something less extravagant.

Guggemos responded that initially an architect came in and talked to various groups of citizens, staff and the police department to get input from them of what each group wanted included in the project.  After the architect received this information they came up with a proposal of what would be acceptable.  Based upon the groups input the architect also determined approximately the size that would be needed to accommodate the items each group wanted. 

Guggemos said that the people involved initially viewed area community rooms to get information on what type of building would be able to fit 160 people and whether the community room would be able to be partitioned into two separate rooms, so that multiple organizations would be able to hold meetings at one time.  Other options regarding the exterior material were also reviewed and the groups had to take into consideration the financial costs of various types of material.

Juncewski then said that it is a nice looking building but thought it could be possible to get the same sq ft, with less architectural things.

7)     Dave Mochinski asked how long it would take to pay track three off. 

Guggemos stated 25 years.

Mochinski asked if this is based upon approximately 900 residents.  In addition Mochinski asked if more people move in will it lower the amount.

Guggemos said the amount was based on 30 additional houses per year to attain the figures.

 

8)     Lila Probert, 412 Lake  Dr asked whether the 650 house development was still being planned.

Guggemos responded that there is a development on the south side of town, the third phase of Grasslake Farms and the Jim Baird 60 lots that are in the future plans.

 

9)     Lenny Juncewski, 22255 Babcock Ave. asked how many building permits have been issued.

Mareck responded that between 10-12 permits this year.

Juncewski said that in his opinion things are going to slow down.

Ollig said that the Winsted's industrial park has expanded quite a bit this past year.

Mareck responded that the industrial park has expanded with the addition of Advantage Mailing, Apex Advantage, Millerbernd Manufacturing and Waste Management.

 

10)  Lila Probert, 412 Lake Dr. asked if it was possible that the wall between the city council and the community rooms could be removed.

Guggemos said that if the space between them became an expansion space then the fire board has different regulations regarding the construction.

Probert said she thinks it is a great idea. It is great that the city is getting more commercial business into town, as it also brings people into town.

Guggemos than asked Mareck how many more jobs have the industrial businesses provide.

Mareck stated approximately 150 jobs.

Probert inquired about parking availability.

Mareck stated that there would be an increase of 13 parking spaces and that there would be spaces in back for 73 cars.

Probert asked if someone was looking at the creamery property.

Guggemos said that someone is looking at it but the status at this time is unknown.

 

11)  Jack Littfin, 23967 240th Court asked about the minor changes on the upper level and significant changes on the lower level

Guggemos responded that the community room was not made smaller and council room bigger.  Littfin may have missed some of the initial meetings of the groups that reviewed the plans for the rooms.

12)  Lid Laxen asked what is happening to the old city hall.

Guggemos said that Todd Colona owns the building and has been remodeling it; he has re-roofed and added new windows.  Some of the lower rooms may be ready for business rental.

 

13)  Chris Schultz, stated that it has been a long process to get to this point.  It started 6 or 7 years ago and has gone through many different directions and that the City Council, Mayor and staff should be commended.  Initially it started at solicitation of information from citizens and then it required participation from citizens.

 

14)  Petie Littfin, 23967 240th Court spoke about the Winsted Summer Festival and how much people enjoy the Festival.  If we do this the city should make sure it is done right.  This will be something for us and our grandkids to benefit from.

Guggemos stated that developers inquire about how this project is coming along.  Guggemos brought forward that the city has benefits of having its own grocery store and a sewer facility that has the capability of handling up to 5,000 residents.  The city has been proactive on water issues, such as arsenic prevention in water unlike other communities.  Cokato had spent over $4 million on solving their arsenic problem vs. Winsted's $600,000 to prevent an arsenic problem.   He also stated that at this time no rate increase is scheduled. The city is also looking at some billing changes during the summer months, to benefit residents when they water their lawn.

 

15)  Pat Schommer, 371 Southshore Dr. stated that Winsted's streets, unlike other communities need very little maintenance as the city has kept up with repairs and the city should be commended for this.  He thinks the project is a great idea.  He asked about the trail system and if this would be included.

Guggemos said this would be an option and would be included.

 

16)  Lila Probert, 412 Lake Dr. said she would like to see more commercial business brought into town, maybe advertise.

Guggemos said the Chamber of Commerce has a welcome program available for new residents.

 

17)  Steve Stotko, 372 Southshore Dr. asked about the size of the existing public works building versus the planned public works building.

Guggemos stated that the new building would be smaller but better organized.  The old building has space that is not useable, where as the new one would have usable space.

Stotko asked about the location of the planned public works building on County Road 1.  He thought the amount of traffic and speed at this area may be issue.

 

18)  Joe Hirsch, 115 Lake Ave E asked why the difference between doing two projects between all three.

Mareck explained how the paid bond debt of the city affects the costs.

 

19)  Jack Littfin, 23967 240th Court asked about the public works building being on County Rd 1.

Guggemos said there may be a possibility of trading (one) 1 acre of land with Millerbernd Manufacturing, but that Koch has also offered to trade a portion of his land.

Littfin asked if that would give the city better access.

Guggemos said yes.

20)  Carol Kappel, 413 Andy Ave W suggested that Spotlight on Winsted work with the school district.  That the city is fortunate to be in the school district it is in.  The City needs to do things to keep the town viable for new residents.   She also said she would like to see a referendum.

 

21)  Chris Schultz, 130 Pine St N, Lester Prairie asked about a time frame when construction could begin, with or without a referendum.

Guggemos stated that the public works building could start as the bond issue has already been taken care of and this doesn't require a referendum.  He said that a public hearing would be required and it probably would not get started until November.

 

22)  Steve Mattson, Financial Advisor for the city addressed the group and stated that it is always a good idea to have input from citizens.  He explained the differences between having a referendum versus not having one and how they would affect property taxes based on the market value of property.  He explained that businesses may prefer a referendum as this reduces their rate from a normal property tax rate.  Where as with no referendum it would benefit the homeowners more by keeping tax rates at their usual rates. 

 

23)  Tom Ollig stated that a thank you should go to the people on the initial Design Committee, Jack Littfin, Judy Langenfeld, Dan Dickhausen, Jim Koch and Jennifer Sherman.

 

24)  Mareck explained the different options, for each track and the time frames of when the project could start, based upon each of the options.  At this point during the meeting it was decided to take a straw poll of what action should be taken on the project.

Mareck then asked for a show of hands of whether they supported all three issues; new city hall, lake front promenade and a new public works building.  The results were that an overwhelming majority supported the proposal.

Mareck then asked if, by show of hands, if you support the Council and Mayor to make a decision on this proposal.  The results were that an overwhelming majority supported the Council and Mayor to make a decision.

25)  A letter from Barb Campbell, 560 4th St N was delivered to City Hall as Barb was unable to be present at the Town Hall Meeting.   Barb would like to see more upkeep of what the city currently has.  She used the streets along the lake, sidewalks, curb and gutter as embarrassing examples for the town.  She thinks the city should utilize and improve what we have.    She offers a proposal to leave the Public Works facility where it is and maybe have some landscaping done to make it more attractive.  She also suggested the City purchase the building they are now occupying.  The building could be improved for less cost and the City could rent out the office spaces.  She is totally against the extravagance of the building project.   Campbell's letter states that the Lakefront Promenade is totally an unnecessary expense.  The picture in the brochures is deceiving in her opinion.  She also had concerns for increases in property taxes.

 

Ollig motioned to direct staff to prepare the necessary documents and schedule a public hearing to consider constructing the Public Works Garage under the Capital Improvement Plan using Capital Improvement Bonds and to request special legislation to use Winsted's bonding authority to construct City Hall and the Lakefront Promenade with a referendum if 10% of the registered voters petition for one.  Quast seconded.  Motion carried.

 

Quast motioned to adjourn.  Wiemiller seconded.  Motion carried.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

Susan M. Mueller

Utility Clerk

 

 


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