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April 23, 2020 Board Minutes

MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF

THE MINNEHAHA CREEK WATERSHED DISTRICT

BOARD OF MANAGERS 

April 23, 2020

 

CALL TO ORDER

The regular meeting of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District was called to order by President Sherry White at 7:02 p.m. on April 23, 2020.  President White noted that this meeting was convened electronically through WebEx, pursuant to Minnesota Statutes 13D.021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and her determination that it is not prudent for the Board of Managers, or any committee thereof, to meet in person, and it is not feasible to provide for any member of the Board, or of the public, to meet at the regular meeting location.  For this reason, until this determination is withdrawn by the District’s presiding officer, chief legal counsel or chief administrative officer, the meetings of the Board and its committees will be convened by telephone or other electronic means as the presiding officer determines appropriate.  All such meetings will be noticed and conducted in accordance with §13D.021 and all other applicable terms of the Open Meeting Law.  President White noted that, pursuant to §13D.021, all votes will be by roll call.

President White called the roll to note attendance:

Hejmadi:         Present

Loftus:             Present

Rogness:         Present

Miller:             Present

Olson:             Present

Maxwell:         Present

White:             Present

DISTRICT STAFF AND CONSULTANTS PRESENT

James Wisker, Administrator; Michael Hayman,  Project Planning Manager; Janna Jonely, Project and Land Management Technician; Chris Meehan, Consulting Engineer; and Louis Smith, District Counsel.

MATTERS FROM THE FLOOR

None.

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

It was moved by Manager Miller, seconded by Manager Rogness to approve the Agenda as distributed.  Upon roll call vote, the motion carried 7-0 as follows:

Hejmadi:         Aye

Loftus:             Aye

Rogness:         Aye

Miller:             Aye

Olson:             Aye

Maxwell:         Aye

White:             Aye

CONSENT AGENDA

It was moved by Manager Miller, seconded by Manager Rogness, to approve  the Consent Agenda consisting of approval of the April, 2020 Board Minutes; the General Checking Account consisting of checks 41105 through 41143 in the amount of $462,441.64; electronic funds withdrawals in the amount of $15,075.63; manager per diems and reimbursement direct deposits in the amount of $1,666.30; employee reimbursements - direct deposits in the amount of $59.50; and payroll direct deposits in the amount of $143,548.22; the surety checking account indicating no transactions; and the wire transfer of $52,461.69 in payment to Bremer Bank for the District office building refinance, for a total of $675,252.98; and adoption of the following resolutions:

Resolution 20-034: Authorization to Award Contract to Blackstone Contractors to Fabricate and Install New Gray’s Bay Dam Plates 

 NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers authorizes the District Administrator, on advice of counsel, to execute a contract with Blackstone Contractors in the amount of $6,825 and establish a not-to-exceed budget of $7,507.

Resolution 20-035: Authorization to Submit Annual Report to BWSR and DNR

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers accepts the 2019 Annual Report and authorizes its release to BWSR and DNR.

Resolution 20-036: Authorization to Submit a Letter of Support to the LCCMR for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s Proposed Kenilworth Channel Shoreline Restoration and Enhancement Project

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers authorizes the Administrator to submit the attached letter of support to the LCCMR for the MRPB’s proposed Kenilworth Channel Shoreline Restoration and Enhancement Project;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the District’s letter of support for the proposed MPRB Project is non-binding.

Upon roll call vote, the motion carried, 7-0 as follows:

Hejmadi:         Aye

Loftus:             Aye

Rogness:         Aye

Miller:             Aye

Olson:             Aye

Maxwell:         Aye                                    

White:             Aye

BOARD, COMMITTEE AND TASK FORCE REPORTS

President’s Report:  President White noted that the Executive Committee met earlier to review the 2019 audit.

Policy and Planning Committee Report: Manager Miller reported that the Policy and Planning Committee met and received a briefing on initial planning for the 2021 budget and an update on the status of planning activities for the 325 Blake Road site.  He noted that the next meeting of the Operations and Projects Committee will review further details on the 2021 budget plans.   

Upcoming Meeting and Event Schedule:  President White directed the managers to the meetings listed on the agenda; all of the meetings to be noticed and held via WebEx.  She noted that the Citizens Advisory Committee is not holding meetings due to the pandemic, but is holding electronic meetings of work groups.

ACTION ITEMS

Resolution 20-037: Review and Accept 2019 Financial Audit

Mr. Andy Hering of Redpath and Company appeared before the Board of Managers to present the 2019 audit.  He noted that the audit reflected a clean opinion, and that the management discussion included a note about legal compliance in the contracting process, a point that staff has duly noted as an anomaly and plans for continued legal review of the contracting process in the future.  The managers thanked Mr. Hering for his report. 

It was moved by Manager Maxwell, seconded by Manager Miller to adopt Resolution 20-037 as follows:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers hereby accepts the 2019 Annual Financial Report, and directs the District Administrator to transmit it to the Minnesota State Auditor, the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, Hennepin County, Carver County, and Wells Fargo.

Upon roll call vote, the motion carried, 7-0 as follows:

Hejmadi:         Aye

Loftus:             Aye

Rogness:         Aye

Miller:             Aye

Olson:             Aye

Maxwell:         Aye

White:             Aye

Resolution 20-038: Authorization of 2019 End of Year Fund Transfers and Closures

The managers noted that staff has identified a number of transfers between sub-funds for the purposes of closing out sub-funds that are no longer needed or to remove negative balances, as summarized in the table below; 

Fund Code /Fund Name /Transfers In /Transfers Out /Notes

1002 General Operations $34,988.00    Transfer made to balance budget from other transfers

2001 Permit Administration  $25,107.00    Transfer made to remove negative balance

3149 Highway 101 Causeway   $(19,109.00) Transfer made to zero out balance for fund closure 4003 Communications    $(60,361.00) Transfer made to zero out balance for fund closure

5007 SMCHB-Carp Management $19,375.00    Transfer made to remove negative balance  

Totals Transfers in:    $ 79,470.00  Transfers Out:    $(79,470.00)  

It was moved by Manager Miller, seconded by Manager Olson to adopt Resolution 20-038 as follows:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers hereby accepts the proposed transfers and fund closures within Management Planning Fund.

Upon roll call vote, the motion carried, 7-0 as follows:

Hejmadi:         Aye

Loftus:             Aye

Rogness:         Aye

Miller:             Aye

Olson:             Aye

Maxwell:         Aye

White:             Aye

Resolution 29-039: Authorization to Award 2020 Vegetation Maintenance Contracts

Ms. Janna Jonely appeared before the Board of Managers to review the request for board action.  She noted that the District has a total of 30 sites where vegetation maintenance is required, and the District is now able to consolidate this work into groups of sites. Proposed maintenance for these sites has been divided among three contracts in an effort to group sites geographically, to group similar management approaches and required equipment, and to align technical abilities of individual contractors with specific management techniques. In addition, organizing the work into three separate contracts as defined will facilitate staff’s oversight and administration of the work. 

It was moved by Manager Rogness, seconded by Manager Miller to adopt Resolution 20-039 as follows:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers authorizes the District Administrator, on advice of District Counsel, to execute a contract with Landbridge Ecological in the amount of $99,846 for vegetation maintenance at the five Minnehaha Creek Greenway Sites and establish a project maintenance budget in the not-to-exceed amount of $109,830.60 and authorizes the District Administrator, in his judgment, to authorize change orders obligating the District up to that amount;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers authorizes the District Administrator, on advice of District Counsel, to execute a contract with Natural Shore Technologies in the amount of $8,000 for vegetation maintenance at the Highway 101 / Bushaway Road Shoreline Restoration and Jennings Bay Wetland Restoration Sites and establish a project maintenance budget in the not-to-exceed amount of $8,800 and authorizes the District Administrator, in his judgment, to authorize change orders obligating the District up to that amount; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers authorizes the District  Administrator, on advice of District Counsel, to execute a contract with Applied Ecological Services in the amount of $38,187 for vegetation maintenance at the Six Mile Marsh Prairie Restoration & Laketown Wetland and establish a project maintenance budget in the not-to-exceed amount of $42,005.70 and authorizes the District Administrator, in his judgment, to authorize change orders obligating the District up to that amount.

Upon roll call vote, the motion carried, 7-0 as follows:

Hejmadi:         Aye

Loftus:             Aye

Rogness:         Aye

Miller:             Aye

Olson:             Aye

Maxwell:         Aye

White:             Aye

Minnehaha Preserve Boardwalk: Resolution 20-040: Authorization to Retain Contractor for Partial Decking and Rail Replacement; Resolution 20-041: Authorization for Limited Engagement of Construction Litigation Counsel

Mr. Michael Hayman and Ms. Janna Jonely appeared before the Board of Managers to review the request for board action.  Mr. Hayman reviewed the history of this project and the problem with failing boardwalk materials.  He reviewed the proposal for repairs in the short term, and an update on the status of evaluating long term replacement options, including potential litigation or other routes to resolve the matter.  Manager Miller stated that he has visited the site and is very concerned with the failing condition of the boardwalk. 

It was moved by Manager Miller, seconded by Manager Olson to adopt Resolution 20-040, authorizing retention of a contractor for partial decking and rail replacement. Manager Miller stated that he questioned whether it was wise to proceed with the proposed contractor, given the history of the problems with this boardwalk, and how this action would relate to any potential litigation to seek a remedy for these problems. 

Mr. Smith noted the need to review the legal options before the District, and legal strategies to seek a remedy for this problem from one or more responsible parties; Mr. Smith noted the need for absolute confidentiality in order for counsel to have an effective discussion with the Board of Managers on this matter.  It was moved by Manager Olson, seconded by Manager Rogness to move the meeting into closed session for the purpose of having confidential discussion with legal counsel on the options and strategies to pursue legal resolution of the boardwalk problem.  Upon roll call vote, the motion carried 7-0 as follows:

Hejmadi:         Aye

Loftus:             Aye

Rogness:         Aye

Miller:             Aye

Olson:             Aye

Maxwell:         Aye

White:             Aye

The Board of Managers went into closed session.  The Board of Managers returned to open session. 

It was moved by Manager Loftus, seconded by Manager Miller to adopt Resolution 20-041: Authorization for Limited Engagement of Construction Litigation Counsel, as follows:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Administrator, on advice of MCWD Counsel, is authorized to retain Thomas Radio of Felhaber Larson for an hourly fee not to exceed $320, and total fees and expenses not to exceed $7,500.

Upon roll call vote, the motion carried, 7-0 as follows:

Hejmadi:         Aye

Loftus:             Aye

Rogness:         Aye

Miller:             Aye

Olson:             Aye

Maxwell:         Aye

White:             Aye

It was moved by Manager Miller, seconded by Manager Olson to table Resolution 20-040: Authorization to Retain Contractor for Partial Decking and Rail Replacement.  Upon roll call vote, the motion carried, 7-0 as follows:

Hejmadi:         Aye

Loftus:             Aye

Rogness:         Aye

Miller:             Aye

Olson:             Aye

Maxwell:         Aye

White:             Aye

Administrator’s Report

Mr. Wisker provided a further update on working arrangements in light of the Board’s direction through Resolution 20-033.  Mr. Wisker continues to review District needs, the ability to perform work from home and necessity for work to be performed at the District office or in the field.  Pursuant to Resolution 20-033, he is reviewing those steps with President White and legal counsel Smith. 

Mr. Wisker noted that the May meetings would likely still need to be held electronically via WebEx. 

Adjournment

There being no further business, President White declared the meeting of the Board of Managers adjourned at 9:21 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Kurt Rogness, Secretary 

Minutes Type: 
Board of Managers