February 16, 2021
President Scott Decker called the meeting to order at 2:30 PM.
Present were: President Scott Decker, Commissioners Nikki Wolla, Suzi Sobolik and John Odermann.
Absent: Vice President Jason Fridrich
A. Main Street Initiative Proclamation/Action Plan
Deputy City Administrator Linda Carlson presents a Main Street Initiative Proclamation and Action Plan which involves the City's Comp Plan. On 4/4/2018 Governor Burgum visited Dickinson in regards to the main street initiative. Ms. Carlson states this proclamation and action plan would work towards the comp plan.
President Scott Decker states he does not agree with adopting the Blue Zone as there are a couple of items that won't go over in western ND. He states the path between Dickinson State and the City has been reviewed earlier.
Deputy City Administrator Linda Carlson states the presentation that was given to the Commissioners on the Blue Zone was for wellness in the community.
Administrator Brian Winningham has visited with Dickinson State's President and Sharon Kilzer.
Commissioner Suzi Sobolik questions the trail from the City out to Fluffy Fields.
Commissioner John Odermann discusses the contiguous sidewalk with Sundance Coves.
B. New City Hall Update
City Administrator Brian Winningham states the City has the deed to the new city hall and at this time they are doing asbestos abatement. The air is being monitored at this time in the new city hall. He states this is a step by step process and in design adjustments. This is an aggressive timeline. He states insurance has been placed on the building with the address of 38 1st Street West. He does not see a completion date until 10/1/2021. He is hoping to have the RFP for construction to be offered by April 20th. Administrator Winningham states the public access is the initial priority. Then court, utility billing, sit planning and assessing. He would like to see walk in customer base. Administration will be upstairs. On the left side of the building will be HR/Risk Management and Fiscal. Administrator Winningham states Leonard Schwindt is the project manager.
Commissioner John Odermann is interested in the initial planning of departments in the building. Commissioner Odermann does not feel Building Official Leonard Schwindt has the expertise the City is looking for in regards to the construction of the building. He questions if the City feels competent that they are going to be able to make this successful and not cost the City money and feel someone else should be brought in to make sure all the T's are crossed.
City Administrator Brian Winningham states owner rep for initial design. There will be a formal contract for work at risk. This initial design was due to the time line.
Commissioner John Odermann states he would like to see a construction manager at risk to go down the road with one on the project. Commissioner Odermann states this is an old building and while tearing it down the city may run into things that were not expected. He feels expertise would be beneficial for the city. He feels the city should consider a construction manager at risk.
City Administrator Brian Winningham states the AC and power have been monitored in the past 10 years. He feels it made sense for Mr. Schwindt to take charge as they have some knowledge. He states GT will be completing the initial design for the entire building. GT is the design team and as for the owners rep that gives Mr. Schwindt a single voice to the architects. Mr. Schwindt is not one voice for decision making.
C. Comprehensive Plan
Deputy City Administrator Linda Carlson states the comprehensive plan grant comes along with the main street initiative as the plan is 5+ years old. She states this is a great opportunity for Dickinson to update the plan. Ms. Carlson has been working with Planning Director Walter Hadley to complete the application. This is the second round of the grand and states if Dickinson is a champion community this is more favorable for the grant. She states it will cost about $140,000 to do a comp plan. Some of the plan will be done with internal staffing prior to having someone else review it.
Public Works Director Gary Zuroff states that when the comp plan was completed in 2013 there was no infrastructure and now there is a lot of it in place. He states that the City hasn't grown much where it was originally thought to be growing at.
D. Staffing
City Administrator Brian Winningham gives an overview of internally matching current staff with skill staff needed. Mr. Winningham states he placed Assistant City Engineer Loretta Marshik into the City Engineer position. He states Ms. Marshik has been doing the work as a City Engineer and now has the authority to make decisions according to the code and speed staffing work along. He states a few staffing meetings to shape shifting instead of reorganization. He states people are doing roles that are not in their job descriptions. There are a few items that need to be corrected and this was presented a month ago on the wag study. The City may come before the Commission in 2021 to correct the wage scale. Commission voted to increase the 2020 wages all 4% but the later employees on the scale did not receive the 4%. Graves Consulting suggests to create a general scale that increase or puts back the 4% in to have this increase when people come onboard. This could become a step and grade based on longevity. Another process in place is performance, merit based on performance tied to all employees. Account for all work being done by merit, 90 day, 6 month review and 9 month review. He would like to have performance evaluations and the administrator or deputy city administrator will review all of the evaluations. This would put on a path of complete creditability of what someone does all day. At that time the city will look at the budget and look for an increase. What would a 4% look like or maybe the 20 employees from last year which didn't get an increase. He states this is a long term idea.
President Scott Decker is a big supporter of evaluations of employees. It helps the leader also talk to subordinates and so they know what is expected of them. He feels this is healthy for the city to have this on board.
Commissioner John Odermann questions if the city has an orientation checklist for 30, 60 or 90 days.
HR Coordinator Shelly Nameniuk states they are in the implementation phase of onboarding program. She states a lot incorporating it electronically. They are getting close to the end of the implementation period but still knee deep in it.
City Administrator Brian Winningham states HR has not asked comments from supervisors yet. This is the approach.
Commissioner John Odermann states to have a checklist of job descriptions to know what to do in your job and not a checklist for everything you do. A basic checklist would be good. Possible have group orientation.
Commissioner Suzi Sobolik states when it comes to planning to not forget about Civil Service. She states Civil Service would be proactive in understanding procedures and a lot of the members would be open to helping on the civil service side.
City Administrator Brian Winningham states it is a good suggestion for group orientation. He states openings are not as frequent but more than I would imagine in this economy. He states there are a number of good jobs open.
E. Exclusions
City Administrator Brian Winningham presents a request for de-annexation. He states there are two pieces of land the city is considering to de-annex. One is near Sundance Coves and near Pinecrest. Staff is questioning on how to handle these, possibly case by case or to talk to the landowners. These areas not being serviced at this time and probably will not be serviced.
Planning Director Walter Hadley states the Sundance Village which is north of Sundance Coves was supposed to be developed when it got annexed into the City. He states this is why they are requesting de-annexation at this time. He states this issue has been on the table for over two years.
Public Works Director Gary Zuroff states the city took the road north and south and would be glad to remove it from operations. He states fire and police would not need to service this area either.
City Administrator Brian Winningham would like to have a consistent approach on how to handle de-annexations.
City Attorney Christina Wenko states a petition from the landowner would need to come to the city if they are seeking exclusion. This only applies to land not platted and no municipal improvements have been made. She states this is a different process if this area is in the ETZ. Also a notice has to be given and a public hearing.
Commissioner Odermann states they are working on standardizing a process. The parcel out east does not concern Commissioner Odermann much but the other parcel where Dickinson Public Schools built a new elementary school could be built there and feels the city should keep this land annexed. He is frustrated that there are so many infill lots and when he built a home he was not given that option as he was told there was only the new developments to build in.
City Attorney Brian Winningham states when it is a slower time the city can put some formal things in place. This has to be a sequence and will come before the Commission with some formal options.
F. Legislative Affairs Agenda
City Administrator Brian Winningham would like to put some talking points together for the City Commission to discuss or speak on while speaking to legislators and others. He states the city will not be writing a bill but to discuss these issues at the state and potentially federal level of government. This would make ND powerful and isolated. Anything on the federal side could affect the entire state. These items could allow the city to look for federal dollars and how to speak on them in a regular basis. Administrator Winningham presents the following three topics: Topic #1. Development of closed loop sustainment from central waste production, input and output, which would provide a line of income. Public Works Director Gary Zuroff spoke about water treatment and the line of income. 2. Biodiesel waste and to turn it into production line. The city would need help from EPA to DQ in the State of ND. An idea to look at wastewater treatment and change some laws, water class could have a chance and may not need the level. 3. Energy Products - can we produce them or have own biodiesel to sell to consumers.
City Administrator Brian Winningham discusses Topic #2: Arbitrarily have a small scale slaughter house. To either license or have development or introduce as the city to process, package and sell. This would require legislation. Administrator Winningham discusses Topic #3: Public Safety for health and human services. The lacking access of mental health, ability for first responders to deal with escalating of mental health. Also additional rehab internally within the City. He states there is really no place to take these people. Topic #4 - Continuity and government. He states to look at home rule, look at charter and what to ask State to do as a City to adapt our charter. Ask the State to give the City more authority.
Commissioner John Odermann would like behavioral mental health and law enforcement as those are so interconnected. He states it takes so much time for the Police Department staff to address mental health issues in the City and the State is constant conversation and why are going to do with the state hospital. They conducted a study the last biennium and found there is a lack of beds in western ND. He states right now law enforcement is looking for places to hospital these people in crisis and there are no beds. Commissioner Odermann states the State is probably going to build a new state hospital. He feels there needs to have capacity in western ND. If the city can get state and federal money this would make the Police Department job a little earlier. The idea is to get these people off the streets. He states if the city is not here to help people that need the most help then what is the city doing here. This is a crisis and the city has the opportunity to do some exciting things especially with locations that have been freed up since last year. Some buildings retrofit and look at potential resource to provide services.
President Scott Decker states all entities want to work together and discussion of reimbursement. The old hospital was supposed to get a mental health area and that fell apart.
Commissioner John Odermann states the appetite at the legislatures this biennium is to have a pilot program. The city needs to act quickly and if the city decides to be the champion there might be some opportunity.
President Scott Decker states the city needs to discuss this with the legislatures and make a point that Dickinson is under served. He states right now the people in the East do not care.
City Administrator Brian Winningham states the city can focus on those good talking points. Maybe the city will get some answers on this health and human services for mental health and staff will have something in place for the 22nd to talk about. He states the city needs to be one voice and he will put something down on paper to give the Commissioners background to talk to legislatures.
MOTION BY: Suzi Sobolik SECONDED BY: John Odermann
Adjournment of the meeting at approximately 4:10 PM.
DISPOSITION: Roll call vote… Aye 4, Nay 0, Absent 0
Motion declared duly passed.
Rita Binstock, Assistant to City Administrator
Brian Winningham, City Administrator
Scott Decker, President
Board of City Commissioners
Date: March 2, 2021
(March 10, 2021) 2878590