Skip to main content

March 26, 2020 Board Minutes

MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF

THE MINNEHAHA CREEK WATERSHED DISTRICT

BOARD OF MANAGERS 

March 26, 2020

 

CALL TO ORDER

The regular meeting of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District was called to order by President Sherry White at 7:00 p.m. on March 26, 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  For this reason, until this determination is withdrawn by the District’s presiding officer, chief legal counsel or chief administrative officer, the meetings of the Board and its committees will be convened by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; Tiffany Schaufler, Project and Land Manager; Michael Hayman,  Project Planning Manager; Becky Christopher, Policy Planning Manager; Chris Meehan, Consulting Engineer; and Louis Smith, District Counsel.

MATTERS FROM THE FLOOR

None.

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Mr. Wisker requested the addition of Item 11.1, Resolution 20-021 Determination of District Activities or Projects as Critical Sector Work.  It was moved by Manager Rogness, seconded by Manager Hejmadi to approve the Agenda with this addition.  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 Olson, seconded by Manager Hejmadi, to approve  the Consent Agenda consisting of approval of the March 12, 2020 Board Minutes; the General Checking Account consisting of checks 41074 through 41104 in the amount of $145,473.67; electronic funds withdrawals in the amount of $34,711.47; manager per diems and reimbursement direct deposits in the amount of $3,228.56; employee reimbursements - direct deposits in the amount of $103.04; and payroll direct deposits in the amount of $149,581.66, for a total of $333,098.40; the security checking account indicating no transactions; and the wire transfer of $65,450.00 in payment to Wells Fargo for the 325 Blake Road refinance. 

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 expressed her gratitude to the staff and Board of Managers for all of their efforts during this extraordinary time. 

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. 

 

ACTION ITEMS

Resolution 20-021: Determination of District Activities or Projects as Critical Sector Work

Mr. Wisker noted Emergency Executive Order 20-20 from Governor Walz directing that all Minnesotans stay at home, except for those engaged in Critical Sector work that can be performed safely within Minnesota Department of Health Guidelines.  He referred to his email earlier in the day requesting that the Board of Managers consider this resolution at this evening’s meeting.  Mr. Wisker traced that staff careful review of all MCWD activities in order to determine priority projects and activities that could be determined with the advice of legal counsel to meet the exemptions for Critical Sector Work. 

Mr. Wisker reviewed five areas of work that the Board of Managers could determine as critical to continue under EEO 20-20:

  1. Grays Bay Dam;
  2. Six Mile Creek Halsted Bay Carp Barriers;
  3. Arden Park Construction;
  4. Wasserman Park Boardwalk; and
  5. Minnehaha Preserve Boardwalk Repair.

Mr. Wisker reviewed the nature of the risks to public health and safety involved as rationale for each work area warranting continued work activity while in keeping with the Minnesota Department of Health Guidelines. 

Following discussion, it was moved by Manager Maxwell, seconded by Manager Rogness, to adopt Resolution 20-021 as follows:

WHEREAS the District administrator has determined based on this review that the following projects are essential District activities, programs, or projects meeting the Critical Sectors exemptions: 

  • Inspection, operation and maintenance of Gray’s Bay Dam and Control Structure and carp barriers, which operate as dams within the Halsted Bay – Six Mile Creek Subwatershed;
  • Arden Park Restoration Project, given the remaining tasks of handrail installation and stormwater facility correction to mitigate or reduce flooding;
  • Wasserman Park Boardwalk completion of construction in order to avoid exposed public safety hazards and minimize financial risk; and
  • Minnehaha Creek Preserve Boardwalk Repair in order to address current potential public safety hazards;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers finds, based on the District administrator’s assessment in consultation with legal counsel, that the above-described projects constitute Critical Sector public works or governmental functions that are necessary to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the public, to preserve the essential elements of the financial system of government, and to continue priority services, as designated and described in EEO 20-20 and associated guidance; 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the MCWD Board of Managers hereby authorizes the administrator to work with District partners and contractors to facilitate the orderly implementation of this work pursuant to Minnesota Department of Health Guidelines, including but not limited to social distancing, to the maximum extent practicable.

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 detailed review of the staff response to COVID-19.  All staff were directed to work from home starting on March 18.  Work plans have been reviewed and technology is in place to continue work flow by digital teams.  Mr. Wisker reviewed the status of work for each department, as well as the potential fiscal impacts to the District due to decreased property tax collections.  The managers thanked Mr. Wisker and staff for their commitment and effectiveness in responding to this pandemic crisis. 

Adjournment

There being no further business, President White declared the meeting of the Board of Managers adjourned at 7:34 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Kurt Rogness, Secretary

Minutes Type: 
Board of Managers