Council Meeting Recap – February 3, 2015

The Crystal City Council had two work sessions, a regular council meeting, and an EDA meeting on February 3, 2015.

We started the night with a work session before the meeting which consisted of a presentation on the Bottineau Light Rail project from the Met Council.  I’ll have more on that later, as we’ll be seeking citizens to apply to an advisory committee for this project in the next few weeks.

From there we went into the regular council meeting.  The only two items on the agenda were a public hearing for a liquor license, and the approval of the plans for the phase 14 street reconstruction project.  The liquor license was really just a transfer from one owner to another, and the street project is the next phase in our long running project to re-do every street in Crystal.  The vote on the street project let the engineers put the project out for bids.

Both items passed unanimously.

After the council meeting there was an EDA meeting where we approved the sale of an EDA lot to a builder.  The builder is one who has built many houses on EDA lots in Crystal in the past.  I’m excited to get another house built on another empty lot.

After the EDA meeting we went into a jam-packed work session.

The first item up for discussion was amending our ordinance regulating second hand goods dealers.  A new business wants to move into town and sell used appliances, and the broad language in the ordinance could cause issues for them if it was interpreted as applying to them.  It seems the original intent of the ordinance was to regulate businesses dealing in used goods (think consignment shops), and not this type of business, so a proposal was made to update the ordinance.  Look for a public hearing on that coming up soon.

Next we talked about our procedures regarding disruptive meetings and dangerous situations in the council chambers.  Obviously this was brought up in light of the terrible situation in New Hope a few weeks ago.

Our police chief made a few proposals for changes to our procedures, and we will be looking into them.

This part of the meeting was closed under the exception to the open meeting law for security issues.  So that part of the meeting was audio recorded, but won’t be on the normal recording of the work session.

I will note that there was quite a bit of discussion by the council about making sure we balance making our meetings inviting to the public when we consider any new security measures.  It’s our desire that everyone feels safe at our meetings, but that we don’t place any perceived barriers between us and the public.  We want to make sure we don’t discourage anyone from attending council meetings.

Next we talked about changes to our procedures for appointing people to advisory commissions and boards.  We have a full-scale review of commissions, the application process, the interview process and commission structures on our goal list, so much more to come on this topic.

Next we discussed the goal setting process and prioritization of new initiatives for the upcoming year (or two).  We have an ongoing list of priorities and projects.  As homework we are all going to make sure our ideas are on the list and that we assign priorities to the items.  At a future meeting we will start adding timelines so that we can start crossing things off the list.

Finally, we distributed the first draft of our proposed council rules.  Adopting a formal set of rules for how the council will conduct business was identified as a top priority.  Council member Casey Peak and I worked together to draft a set of rules.  We will be discussing any changes to the draft at the next work session and will hopefully adopt them at the next council meeting.

The next Work Session is Thursday, February 12, and the next meeting is Tuesday, February 17.

You can watch the video of the council meeting here and find the agendas and meeting notes here.  Audio recording of work sessions can be found here. Check the city calendar for updated meeting dates, locations and times.

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