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November 4, 2021 Board Meeting Minutes

MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF

THE MINNEHAHA CREEK WATERSHED DISTRICT

BOARD OF MANAGERS

November 4, 2021

 

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 November 4, 2021. President White noted that this meeting was convened electronically through Zoom, 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 For this reason, until this determination is withdrawn by the District’s presiding officer, chief legal counsel or chief administrative officer, the meetings of the Board and its committees will be convened by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

Sando:             Present

Miller:             Present

Olson:             Present

Maxwell:         Present

White:             Present.

DISTRICT STAFF AND CONSULTANTS PRESENT

James Wisker, Administrator; Michael Hayman, Project Planning Manager; Gabriel Sherman, Planner – Project Manager; Laura Domyancich-Lee, Planner – Project Manager;  Kailey Cermak, Hydrologist; 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 Maxwell to approve the Agenda as distributed.  Upon roll call vote, the motion carried 7-0 as follows:

Hejmadi:         Aye

Loftus:             Aye

Sando:             Aye

Miller:             Aye

Olson:             Aye

Maxwell:         Aye

White:             Aye

CONSENT AGENDA

It was moved by Manager Miller, seconded by Manager Hejmadi, to approve the Consent Agenda consisting of approval of the October 21, 2021 Board minutes and adoption of the following Resolutions: 

Resolution 21-071: Authorization to Solicit Quotes for Water Quality Lab Analysis

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers authorize the District Administrator to solicit quotes for water quality lab analysis for 2022 and 2023;

Resolution 21-072: Approval to Continue Joint Funding Agreement with the USGS for Gauging Stations and Technical Assistance in 2022 and 2023

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers authorize the Administrator to extend a joint funding agreement with the USGS for services from October 1, 2021 through September 30, 2023 with a total cost not to exceed $46,000 annually; and

Resolution 21-073: Authorization to Execute a Contract for Accounting Services

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers hereby selects AEM Financial Services as the accounting firm for the District; and hereby authorizes the District Administrator, on advice of counsel, to execute a contract with AEM Financial Services to provide accounting services not to exceed $6,500 per month in November and December of 2021, $6,700 in 2022 and $6,895 in 2023.

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

Hejmadi:         Aye

Loftus:             Aye

Sando:             Aye

Miller:             Aye

Olson:             Aye

Maxwell:         Aye

White:             Aye

BOARD, COMMITTEE AND TASK FORCE REPORTS

President’s Report:  President White reported on the following items:

- The Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts (MAWD) Board of Directors took an active interest in the October 27 meeting of the Board of Water and Soil Resources concerning the Watershed-Based Implementation Funding.  BWSR Board members and watershed district managers Jill Crafton and Joe Collins spoke forcefully for metro watershed concerns.  MAWD will continue to follow ongoing developments;

- Managers should register for the MAWD annual conference by contacting Deb Johnson, and delegates to the annual meeting will be selected at the November 18 board meeting; and

- President White is working with Mr. Wisker and staff to prepare for participation in a Water Focused Town Hall meeting hosted by Representative Kelly Morrison on November 20.

Operations and Programs Committee Report: Manager Loftus reported that the Committee met earlier in the evening and reviewed the applicants to the Citizens Advisory Committee.  Appointments are planned for December.  The Committee also heard a presentation from Mr. Smith on the District’s history from 1993-99.

Manager Olson shared that he recently participated in a special districts government tech conference, with valuable information on technical innovations on promoting citizen access and cyber security.

Upcoming Meeting and Event Schedule:  President White directed the managers to the meetings listed on the agenda.

ACTION ITEMS

Resolution 21-074: Approval of the Preliminary Development Agreement for 325 Blake Road and Approval of Alatus Development’s Concept Plan for Public Realm Improvements and Connection to MCWD’s Regional Stormwater Project

Mr. Michael Hayman appeared before the Board of Managers to review the request for board action. He noted the key considerations in the developer selection process and noted that they are also included in the preliminary development agreement and forthcoming purchase and sale agreement.  Upon questions from Managers Miller and Hejmadi, Mr. Hayman described the status of the concept plan, plat, and public realm improvements, all tracking with the understanding developed through the design charette. Upon a question from Manager Loftus, Mr. Hayman described the current plans for phasing the project.

It was moved by Manager Miller, seconded by Manager Hejmadi to adopt Resolution 21-074 as follows:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers hereby approves the preliminary development agreement between MCWD, the City of Hopkins and Alatus Development, LLC, and authorizes the President to execute the agreement with any non‐substantive changes in consultation with legal counsel;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board of Managers approves the concept design of the development Public Realm and its connection to MCWD’s regional project as submitted in Alatus Development, LLC’s planned unit development application to the City of Hopkins. 

Upon a question from Manager Olson, Mr. Hayman explained the use of the term “midrise” in lieu of the previous term “tower.” In response to a question from Manager Sando, Mr. Hayman reviewed the general stormwater management facilities plans in relation to the Creek. 

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

Hejmadi:         Aye

Loftus:             Aye

Sando:             Aye

Miller:             Aye

Olson:             Aye

Maxwell:         Aye

White:             Aye

Resolution 21-075: Approval of Phase II Design Contract for 325 Blake Road Restoration and Redevelopment

Mr. Gabriel Sherman appeared before the Board of Managers to review the request for board action. He explained the scope for Phase II to advance the schematic design through final design, including a series of optional tasks.  In response to a question from Manager Miller, Mr. Wisker reviewed District expenditures on the Blake Road project and adjacent projects. 

Following discussion, it was moved by Manager Sando, seconded by Manager Hejmadi to adopt Resolution 21-075 as follows:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers authorizes the District Administrator, on advice of Counsel, to amend the Agreement between Minnehaha Creek Watershed District and HDR Engineering, Inc. (entitled “325 Blake Road Regional Stormwater and Greenway / Cottageville Park Phase II Riparian Restoration Schematic Design”) to include a second phase of design and engineering services for the final design and optional construction administration of the 325 Blake Road Restoration and Redevelopment project, in an amount of $707,154 for the base contract, and authorizes the Administrator to execute change orders in his discretion up to an additional 10% of the fee for an amount not to exceed $777,869. 

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

Hejmadi:         Aye

Loftus:             Aye

Sando:             Aye

Miller:             Aye

Olson:             Aye

Maxwell:         Aye

White:             Aye

BOARD DISCUSSION ITEMS

Six Mile Marsh Prairie Trail and Interpretation Construction Bid Outcome

Ms. Laura Domyancich-Lee appeared before the Board of Managers to review the bid results for this project and seek input from the Board on next steps.  She noted that two bids were received and both bids greatly exceeded the project budget and the cost estimate provided by Damon Farber.  She noted the various possible reasons for the high bids, including commodity and labor cost trends and the general current bidding climate.  Ms. Domyancich-Lee noted three options for next steps: 1) reject the bids and rebid the project in late winter/early spring; 2) reject the bids, redesign the project to lower costs, and rebid; or 3) reconsider the project plans and accept the low bid.  Ms. Domyancich-Lee noted the benefits and risks of each option.  The managers discussed the options, the merits of deferring work on the interpretation elements, factors that may have contributed to uncertainty and higher bid prices, and whether the bidding climate would be more desirable in the winter.  It was moved by Manager Miller to accept the low bid for the trail construction base element only.  The motion died for lack of a second.  Mr. Hayman noted several variables contributing to uncertainty that could be addressed.  It was moved by Manager Miller, seconded by Manager Hejmadi to table the matter and request staff to bring back further information and recommendation for the Board.  Upon roll call vote, the motion carried 6-1 as follows:

Hejmadi:         Aye

Loftus:             Aye

Sando:             Aye

Miller:             Aye

Olson:             Aye

Maxwell:         Nay

White:             Aye

STAFF UPDATES

Administrator’s Report

Mr. Wisker reported on the following items:

- Drought conditions are moderating somewhat, but year to date precipitation is still about six inches below normal; Lake Minnetonka is at an elevation of 928.07; the dam has been closed since July and was winterized on November 3.  Minnehaha Creek is flowing at Hiawatha at 3 cfs. 

- With the results of municipal elections, including three new council members at the City of Hopkins, staff is planning for outreach to new officials within the watershed.

- At the Board’s request, staff have considered the merits of designating Board liaisons to the 2D modeling project and feel that liaisons could play a valuable role for both the pilot and the longer term effort. 

President White designated Managers Miller and Hejmadi to serve as liaisons to the 2D modeling project.  It was moved by Manager Maxwell, seconded by Manager Loftus to confirm these appointments. 

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

Hejmadi:         Aye

Loftus:             Aye

Sando:             Aye

Miller:             Aye

Olson:             Aye

Maxwell:         Aye

White:             Aye

Adjournment

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

Respectfully submitted,

Eugene Maxwell, Secretary

Minutes Type: 
Board of Managers