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Board of City Commissioners - February 27, 2017 Minutes

The Regular Meeting of the Board of City Commissioners of the City of Fargo, North Dakota, was held in the City Commission Room at City Hall at 5:00 o'clock p.m., Monday, February 27, 2017.
The Commissioners present or absent were as shown following:
Present: Gehrig, Grindberg, Piepkorn, Strand, Mahoney.
Absent: None.
Mayor Mahoney presiding.

Mayor Mahoney read a statement with the following announcements: The Library will host the “Colors & Culture of Syria” on Sunday, March 5th; FM Metro COG has projected Fargo’s population will grow to 158,840 by the year 2030; Public Health is hosting an insurance navigator for those needing to sign up for health insurance; Public Works had to transition from snow removal to flood fighting over the last two weeks, the Red River reached a crest on February 24th of 22.26 feet, triggering the closing of Elm Street and activation of monitoring of five storm water lift stations; early flooding allowed for testing of three new major lift stations constructed in the last two years; bids will be accepted Friday, March 3rd by the Solid Waste Division for implementation of a new phase of the overall landfill gas system project; changing the deep foundation at the Water Treatment Plant Improvement Project to “auger cast-in place piles” resulted in a cost savings of almost $5 million and benefited with noise and vibration reduction to the immediate residential area. He thanked the Police Department for representation in the recent activities in western North Dakota related to protest camps at the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and he said he is proud of how the difficult situation was handled with respect.

Order of Agenda Approved:
Commissioner Strand moved the Order of the Agenda be approved.

Second by Gehrig. All the Commissioners voted aye and the motion was declared carried.

Minutes Approved:
Commissioner Grindberg moved that the Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Board held on February 13, 2017 be approved as read.

Second by Piepkorn. All the Commissioners voted aye and the motion was declared carried.

Consent Agenda Approved:
Commissioner Gehrig moved the Consent Agenda be approved as follows:

1. 2nd reading and final adoption of an Ordinance Amending Sections 25-1501, 25-1506, 25-1507, 25-1508, 25-1509 and 25-1511 of Article 25-15 of Chapter 25 of the Fargo Municipal Code Relating to Alcoholic Beverages.

2. Applications for property tax exemptions for improvements made to buildings:
a. Eric Wiest, 4101 17th Street South (3 year).
b. Todd C. and Kelly M. McComb, 114 North Woodcrest Drive North (3 year).
c. Myron R. and Patricia Hornbaker, 1329 16 ½ Street South (3 year).
d. David W. and Luann S. Franzen, 2926 24th Avenue South (3 year).
e. Robin and Blake Carson, 1516 8th Street South (5 year).
f. Robin and Blake Carson, 1516 8th Street South (5 year).
g. Daniel S. and Chelsea S. Simmons, 1711 9th Street South (5 year).
h. John and Milam Melanie Ramsett, 1357 3rd Street North (5 year).
i. Jonathan RG and Erin MB Spies, 266 Prairiewood Drive South (5 year).
j. Harvey Lane RLT, 1309 8th Avenue North (5 year).
k. Sharon D. Goldsmith, 164 35th Avenue North (5 year).
l. Mitchell J. and Kathleen Rumple, 520 21st Avenue South (5 year).
m. Mark A. Stilton, 1105 10th Street North (5 year).
n. Daniel J. and Colleen E. Eck, 1743 6th Street South (5 year).
o. Jeffrey E. and Nancy J. Sornsin, 1737 8th Street South (5 year).
p. Kimberly J. and John P. VanCamp, 802 Park Drive South (5 year).
q. Teri-Lee Clark and Evan W. James, 1417 8th Street South (5 year).
r. Kade T. Bussinger, 1506 7th Street South (5 year).

3. Adopt Resolutions Approving the following Plats:
a. BLU Water Creek Second Addition (Attachment “A”).
b. Kostman Addition (Attachment “B”).

4. Conflict Waiver Letter authorizing the Briggs and Morgan Law Firm to represent Block 9 Partners LLC.

5. Sale of 308 9th Avenue North to Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity for $12,600.00.

6. Community Development Block Grant Storefront Rehab project at 123 Broadway.

7. Applications for Games of Chance:
a. Cathedral of St. Mary for a raffle on 5/7/17.
b. NDSU Lion’s Club for a raffle on 4/12/17.
c. Kelly Quinton Benefit for a raffle board on 3/3/17; Public Spirited Resolution.

8. Three, one-year lease agreements with Kinetic Leasing for Bobcat units.

9. Contract Agreement with Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Public School to support healthy concession options.

10. Contract for Provision of Environmental Health Services with Richland County Health Department.

11. Mutual Aid Agreement – Forestry Department Storm Related Emergencies/Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Bismarck and the Park District of the City of Grand Forks.

12. Sole Source Procurement of replacement wear parts from Electric Pump for sanitary lift station Nos. 7, 22 and 23 in the amount of $34,817.09.

13. Three-year contract with Dacotah Paper Company for Fire Department cleaning supplies.

14. Proposal from Galls, LLC for Police Officer Uniforms and Equipment (RFP 17-006).

15. NDDOT Section 5339 Transit Grant Agreement in the amount of $400,000.00 (Contract No. 38170156).

16. Bus Advertising Wrap Agreement (Advertising Agreement No. 17-F01) with Sly Fox.

17. Change Order No. 3 for an increase of $70,938.75 for Project No. SW 16-01
(Cell No. 18).

18. Landfill Task Order with Wenck Associates in an amount not to exceed $108,330.00 for Project No. SW 17-02 (Cell Nos. 14, 16 and 17, Phase II).

19. Change Orders for Project No. WA1301:
a. No. 8 for an increase of $43,454.00 – general construction contract.
b. No. 7 for an increase of $100,689.22 – mechanical construction contract.

20. Change Order No. 4 for a time extension of 3 days and for a decrease in the contract of $34,177.17 (Project No. FM-15-B1).

21. Purchase of one heated dump box and lift axles from Northern Truck Equipment Corp. in the amount of $45,325.00.

22. Purchase of 2017 filtration products from NAPA Auto Parts with the projected use of $24,922.01.

23. Bid advertisement for Project No. FM-17-A.

24. Bills in the amount of $7,238,036.69.

Second by Grindberg. On call of the roll Commissioners Gehrig, Grindberg, Strand, Piepkorn and Mahoney voted aye.
No Commissioner being absent and none voting nay, the motion was declared carried.

Final Balancing Change Order No. 2 for Improvement District No. AN-16-B1 Approved:
Commissioner Gehrig moved approval of Final Balancing Change Order No. 2 for a decrease of $4,917.50 for Improvement District No. AN-16-B1.

Second by Grindberg. On call of the roll Commissioners Gehrig, Grindberg, Strand, Piepkorn and Mahoney voted aye.
No Commissioner being absent and none voting nay, the motion was declared carried.

Amendment No. 1 with SRF Consulting Group, Inc. for Improvement District No. QN-17-A1 Approved (Oak Grove/Memorial Parks Pedestrian Lift Bridge Project):
The Board received a Report of Action from the Public Works Projects Evaluation Committee (PWPEC) stating Amendment No. 1 for Improvement District No. QN-17-A1 (previously LN-17-A1) with SRF Consulting Group covers additional work for wetland delineation activities, a new geotechnical evaluation and additional staff time with costs to be split 50/50 with the City of Moorhead be approved.
Commissioner Gehrig moved Amendment No. 1 with SRF Consulting Group, Inc. for Improvement District No. QN-17-A1 in the amount of $23,166.00 to be split 50/50 with the City of Moorhead be approved.

Second by Grindberg. On call of the roll Commissioners Gehrig, Grindberg, Strand, Piepkorn and Mahoney voted aye.
No Commissioner being absent and none voting nay, the motion was declared carried.

Amendment No. 4 with Apex Engineering Group for Improvement District No. PR-14-00 Approved:
Commissioner Gehrig moved approval of Amendment No. 4 with Apex Engineering Group in the amount of $13,095.00 for Improvement District No.
PR-14-00.

Second by Grindberg. On call of the roll Commissioners Gehrig, Grindberg, Strand, Piepkorn and Mahoney voted aye.
No Commissioner being absent and none voting nay, the motion was declared carried.

Presentation on 2017 Customer Satisfaction Assessment and Internal Training Initiatives: Professional Services Agreement with Flint Group and Budget Adjustment Approved:
The Board received a communication from Assistant City Administrator Michael Redlinger stating staff proposes to utilize a public-private training model whereby the research, analytical and training expertise of Flint Group is paired with existing internal City of Fargo capabilities in the Human Resources Department and vendors. Additionally, he said, staff has identified a new opportunity to collaborate with the North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) TrainND program to supplement the scope of work proposed by Flint Group and the efforts of City staff.

City Administrator Bruce Grubb said the City is proud of its customer service; however, it can always be better. He said with the current rapid growth, this is a good time to do a customer service assessment which would be accomplished through a series of surveys with those who do business with the City of Fargo.

Mr. Redlinger said the priority is to gauge existing customer service and find ways to improve through a data-driven approach for systemic long-term change and long-term benefit. He said staff recommends approval of the Flint Group scope of work and for Phases 1 and 2 in an amount not to exceed $27,920.00 and an estimated $10,000.00 for an internal training initiative.

Commissioner Piepkorn moved the Professional Services Agreement with Flint Group be approved and a budget adjustment from the General Fund in an amount not to exceed $37,920.00 to fund the 2017 Customer Satisfaction Assessment and internal training initiatives be approved.

Second by Gehrig. On call of the roll Commissioners Piepkorn, Gehrig, Strand, Grindberg and Mahoney voted aye.
No Commissioner being absent and none voting nay, the motion was declared carried.

Communication from the Election and City Governance Task Force Received and Filed: Appropriate Staff Directed to Review the Home Rule Charter:
The Board received a communication from the Election and City Governance Task Force outlining their discussions and recommendations. The Task Force recommends an Approval Voting System be adopted for city elections of the Mayor and City Commissioners, they said, which would require a Home Rule Charter Amendment. The Task Force also recommends the number of Commissioners be increased by two individuals, they said, which would also require a Home Rule Charter Amendment. Also recommended, they said, were the following: form of governance - no change; status of Mayor - no change; and term limits - no change. Since much of the discussion included whether the recommended changes require Home Rule Charter Amendments, they recommend the Home Rule Charter be reviewed for any updates and changes that need to be made, they said.

Commissioner Grindberg said it will be interesting to see what feedback citizens may have, as well as the results of the State looking at a study to reform the election process. He said no other municipality has implemented the Approval Voting method so far.

Commissioner Gehrig said there was a lot of good discussion in the task force with no real strong consensus on any of the topics, so public input will be important to see what people think about what the study says. He said once input is received, the Board can see what impetus there is for any kind of change.

Commissioner Gehrig moved the communication from the Election and City Governance Task Force be received and filed and appropriate staff be directed to review the Home Rule Charter.

Second by Grindberg. On call of the roll Commissioners Gehrig, Grindberg, Strand, Piepkorn and Mahoney voted aye.
No Commissioner being absent and none voting nay, the motion was declared carried.

Application to Transfer the Alcoholic Beverage License from Round Up Liquors Inc. d/b/a Round Up to Round Up Liquors Inc. d/b/a Round Up Approved:
A Hearing had been set for this day and hour on an application to transfer the Class "AB" Alcoholic Beverage License from Round Up Liquors Inc. d/b/a Round Up to Round Up Liquors Inc. d/b/a Round Up at 4051 Urban Plains Drive, due to more than a 5% ownership change, notice of which had been duly published in the official newspaper for the City of Fargo.
No written protest or objection to the granting of the application has been received or filed in the office of the City Auditor, and said application has been approved by the Police Department as to the character of the applicant.
The Board determined that no person is present at this Hearing to protest or offer objection to the granting of the application.

Commissioner Grindberg moved the application be approved.

Second by Piepkorn. On call of the roll Commissioners Grindberg, Piepkorn, Strand, Gehrig and Mahoney voted aye.
No Commissioner being absent and none voting nay, the motion was declared carried.

Application Filed by The Jim LLC d/b/a Front Street Taproom for an Alcoholic Beverage License Approved:
A Hearing had been set for this day and hour on the application filed by The Jim LLC d/b/a Front Street Taproom for a Class "W" Alcoholic Beverage License at 614 Main Avenue, notice of which had been duly published in the official newspaper for the City of Fargo.
No written protest or objection to the granting of the application has been received or filed in the office of the City Auditor, and said application has been approved by the Police Department as to the character of the applicant.
The Board determined that no person is present at this Hearing to protest or offer objection to the granting of the application.

City Auditor Steve Sprague said the Front Street Taproom has been open since last summer, operating as a micro-brewery; however, a determination was made that cider is classified as a wine, not a beer, and the Ordinance Amendment previously approved from today’s Consent Agenda creates a Class “W” Alcoholic Beverage License.

Commissioner Grindberg moved the application be approved.

Second by Piepkorn. On call of the roll Commissioners Grindberg, Piepkorn, Strand, Gehrig and Mahoney voted aye.
No Commissioner being absent and none voting nay, the motion was declared carried.

Application Filed by Prairie Brothers Brewing LLC d/b/a Prairie Brothers Brewing Company for an Alcoholic Beverage License Approved:
A Hearing had been set for this day and hour on the application filed by Prairie Brothers Brewing LLC d/b/a Prairie Brothers Brewing Company for a Class "Y" Alcoholic Beverage License at 4474 23rd Avenue South, Suite 9, notice of which had been duly published in the official newspaper for the City of Fargo.
No written protest or objection to the granting of the application has been received or filed in the office of the City Auditor, and said application has been approved by the Police Department as to the character of the applicant.
The Board determined that no person is present at this Hearing to protest or offer objection to the granting of the application.

Commissioner Piepkorn moved the application be approved.

Second by Grindberg. On call of the roll Commissioners Piepkorn, Grindberg, Strand, Gehrig and Mahoney voted aye.
No Commissioner being absent and none voting nay, the motion was declared carried.

Hearing on a Petition for Zoning Change in Island Park Addition Continued to March 13, 2017 (389 8th Avenue South):
At a Hearing held on February 7, 2017 the Fargo Planning Commission recommended approval of a change in zoning from SR-3, Single-Dwelling Residential with a H-O, Historic Overlay to SR-5, Single Dwelling Residential with a H-O, Historic Overlay on a portion of Lot 22, Block 3, Island Park Addition.
The City Auditor's Office published a Notice of Hearing stating this is the time and date set for said Hearing at which time all interested persons could appear and would be heard.

Planning Administrator Nicole Crutchfield said this is a zoning change for a vacant site due to a fire with a garage left from the previous house. She said staff and the Planning Commission recommend approval.

Lee Watkins, 384 8th Avenue South, said the neighborhood has seen encroachment over the years. He said 40 years ago, the Fargo Heritage Society was formed in an effort to stop the rate that apartments were coming to the area and that effort was successful at the time. Since then there have been developments in the area, he said, and it seems the reasons for having developed Historic Overlays and guidelines are being ignored. He said he and others fortunate to live east of 4th Street are desirous of maintaining the low profile of their existing houses and the setback

Natasha Neihart, 1102 9th Street South, said she feels the historic character of the neighborhood needs to be preserved. She said she feels the current process for rezoning seems like rubber stamping and she feels the setback and proposed orientation of the project takes away from the neighborhood character.

Jim Alger, 330 8th Avenue South, said he was involved in the process in getting the Historic Overlay in the neighborhood. He said he would prefer to see a single-family home or duplex on that lot rather than a tri-plex, and that it be situated to face 8th Avenue. He asked the Board to consider denying the zoning change.

Liz Simon, 343 9th Avenue South, said she moved into this family neighborhood 12 years ago and enjoys the comradery. She said density and parking are already concerns and 4th Street continues to get busier.

Joe Burgum, 514 10th Avenue South, said as a resident in the area he is excited about this project and this is the type of housing the community needs. He said Chris Hawley has done a good job in previewing what the project looks like. He said a zoning change simply sets parameters and does not conclude what will be built. He said he would encourage the City to adopt a Form-Based Code.

Chris Hawley, Chris Hawley Architects, said currently the lot is a gravel parking lot with rental overflow parking and a garage that probably needs to be taken away. The proposal attempts to provide housing for the missing-middle and to make it more affordable. He said the Historical Overlay was kept in mind when designing the project. There have been discussions on the scale and orientation, he said, and the biggest reason to face 4th Street is safety. The homes would be just under 2,000 square feet, he said, with a price point under $300,000.00.

Alexander Simon, 343 9th Avenue South, said he would prefer the zoning be left alone as single-family. He said he purchased a home there in 2005 because of the style of the neighborhood. He said being able to build on 50% of the property would be a major change.

Mayor Mahoney closed the public hearing.

Ms. Crutchfield said the Planning Commission is weighing neighborhood and citywide goals, as well as affordable housing needs. She said the architect is meeting the Historic Overlay standards. The zoning is separate from what will be built, she said, it is for dimensional standards and building coverage.

In response to a request from Commissioner Strand to apprise the dialogue at the Historic Preservation Committee meeting, Ms. Crutchfield said she believes they supported the rezoning; however, she said she could not say with absolute certainty. Zoning is separate from what is being built, she said, a rezoning vote would be for the standards of the dimensional code, not the building.

Commissioner Strand said he would not want to vote on this and find out after that fact that a Certificate of Appropriateness had not been issued.

Commissioner Grindberg moved the Hearing be continued to 5:15 o’clock p.m., Monday, March 13, 2017.

Second by Strand. On call of the roll Commissioners Grindberg, Strand, Gehrig, Piepkorn and Mahoney voted aye.
No Commissioner being absent and none voting nay, the motion was declared carried.

Parcels of Land in The Pines at the District Addition Rezoned (5651, 5659, 5663, 5667, 5673, 5679, 5685 and 5691 43rd Street South):
At a Hearing held on February 7, 2017 the Fargo Planning Commission recommended approval of a change in zoning from SR-2, Single-Dwelling Residential to SR-3, Single-Dwelling Residential and MR-3, Multi-Dwelling Residential on Lots 1-8, Block 14, The Pines at the District Addition.
The City Auditor's Office published a Notice of Hearing stating this is the time and date set for said Hearing at which time all interested persons could appear and would be heard.

Planning Administrator Nicole Crutchfield said this was initiated by staff to correct a mistake made by a developer in a basement pour and will also benefit as a correction in the zoning map to match the MR-3 development for Bethany, which will result in an easier site plan review.

Commissioner Grindberg offered the following Resolution and moved its adoption:
WHEREAS, All legal requirements in connection with the above-described request for rezoning have been complied with; and
WHEREAS, There have been no written or verbal protests to the request for rezoning and no one is present to protest thereto.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, That the findings of staff be accepted and the rezoning be approved on the basis that the proposal satisfactorily complies with the Comprehensive Plan, Standards of Section 20-0906.F (1-4) and all other applicable requirements of the LDC.
Second by Gehrig. On the vote being taken on the question of the adoption of the Resolution Commissioners Grindberg, Gehrig, Strand, Piepkorn and Mahoney voted aye.
No Commissioner being absent and none voting nay, the Resolution was adopted.

First Reading of an Ordinance Rezoning Certain Parcels of Land Lying in the Pines at the District Addition, Fargo, Cass County, North Dakota:
Commissioner Grindberg moved the requirement relating to receipt of the Ordinance by the Commission one week prior to first reading be waived and that the Ordinance Rezoning Certain Parcels of Land Lying in the Pines at the District Addition, Fargo, Cass County, North Dakota be placed on first reading.

Second by Gehrig. On call of the roll Commissioners Grindberg, Gehrig, Strand, Piepkorn and Mahoney voted aye.
No Commissioner being absent and none voting nay, the motion was declared carried.

Renaissance Zone Project for DFI BE LLC at 123 Broadway Approved:
A Hearing had been set for this day and hour to receive comments on a Renaissance Zone Project for DFI BE LLC to rehabilitate the existing building at 123 Broadway.
No written protest or objection to the Project has been received or filed in the City Auditor's Office.
The Board determined that no person is present to protest or offer objection to the Project.
The Board received a communication from Planner Derrick LaPoint stating the Renaissance Zone Project application presented by DFI BE LLC meets all of the minimum criteria set forth in the Renaissance Zone Plan and is consistent with the established goals and objectives. The Renaissance Zone Authority recommended that the project be approved. Mr. LaPoint said the project is for the former Metro Drug building. He said the building is two stories and includes approximately 19,000 square feet of commercial space. He said the current assessed value is $523,000.00 and the application indicates an investment of $1.6 million. He said the estimated five-year property tax exemption is a little over $120,000.00, and the five-year income tax exemption is $5,000.00. The applicant is also facilitating a store-front grant to facilitate their project, he said.

Commissioner Piepkorn moved the Renaissance Zone application filed by DFI BE LLC for a project located at 123 Broadway be approved and the income tax and property tax exemptions be granted as recommended by the Renaissance Zone Authority.

Second by Grindberg. On call of the roll Commissioners Piepkorn, Grindberg, Strand and Mahoney voted aye.
Commissioner Gehrig voted nay.
The motion was declared carried.

Renaissance Zone Project for Harvest Capital LLC at 19 1/2 and 23 1/2 8th Street South Approved:
A Hearing had been set for this day and hour to receive comments on a Renaissance Zone Project for Harvest Capital LLC at 19 1/2 and 23 1/2 8th Street South.
No written protest or objection to the Project has been received or filed in the City Auditor's Office.
The Board determined that no person is present to protest or offer objection to the Project.
The Board received a communication from Planner Derrick LaPoint stating the Renaissance Zone Project application presented by Harvest Capital LLC meets all of the minimum criteria set forth in the Renaissance Zone Plan, is consistent with the established goals and objectives and approval is recommended. Mr. LaPoint said due to current leases, the applicant is only able to do one of the four storefronts on the ground floor at this time, and the residential area on the second floor is in poor condition. The building has a total of 15,000 square feet and the actual rehab will be 9,500 square feet. The current value is $770,000.00 and the estimated rehab is $400,000.00, he said, with the estimated property tax exemption of $51,000.00 and five year income tax exemption of $5,000.00.
In response to a question from Commissioner Strand about whether the second floor tenants have been relocated, Planning Director Jim Gilmour said Renaissance Zone projects do not provide for relocation assistance and from what he understands those apartments were not in habitable condition.

Commissioner Piepkorn moved the Renaissance Zone application filed by Harvest Capital LLC for a project located at 19 1/2 and 23 1/2 8th Street South be approved and the income tax and property tax exemptions be granted as recommended by the Renaissance Zone Authority.

Second by Grindberg. On call of the roll Commissioners Piepkorn, Grindberg, Strand and Mahoney voted aye.
Commissioner Gehrig voted nay.
The motion was declared carried.

Hearing on a Petition for a Zoning Change in Virgil Montplaisier 2nd Addition Continued to March 27, 2017 (3030 36th Street South):
This was the time and date set for a Hearing on a petition for a zoning change from GC, General Commercial to LI, Limited Industrial with a C-O, Conditional Overlay on Lot 4, Block 1, Virgil Montplaisier 2nd Addition; however, the petitioner has requested that the Hearing be continued to March 27, 2017.

Commissioner Gehrig moved the Hearing be continued to 5:15 o’clock p.m., Monday, March 27, 2017.

Second by Piepkorn. On call of the roll Commissioners Gehrig, Piepkorn, Strand, Grindberg and Mahoney voted aye.
No Commissioner being absent and none voting nay, the motion was declared carried.

At 6:05 p.m. the Board took a five-minute recess.
After recess: All Commissioners present. Mayor Mahoney presiding.

Appropriate Staff Directed to Review the TIF and Renaissance Zone Guidelines to Include Public Input:
The Board received a communication from Commissioner Gehrig stating the Fargo City Commission recently voted on guidelines reviewed by the Tax Exempt Review Committee; however, those standards did not include a review of the City’s TIF or Renaissance Zone guidelines. He said he would like the guidelines to include public input.

Planning Administrator Jim Gilmour said the Renaissance Zone Authority gave some direction to look at where the blocks are going to be so there will be review of that plan over the next few months. A first step to look at TIF guidelines would be to have the Finance Committee look at them, he said.

Commissioner Gehrig moved appropriate staff be directed to review the TIF and Renaissance Zone Guidelines, to include public input, and to bring the findings to the Board for final review.

Second by Strand.

Commissioner Grindberg said he does not see any problem with an open review; however, he would like to see a deadline set to avoid having this linger for eight to ten months. TIF guidelines have not been reviewed in ten years, he said, and although he does not see a downside to having an open review, he does not want it carrying on forever.

Commissioner Piepkorn said the State Legislature is currently in session, and they will be making some decisions regarding Renaissance Zones, so he feels it may be best to wait and react once the State Legislature has finished with their process.

Commissioner Grindberg offered an amendment to the motion that it be carried out by no later than June 1, 2017.

Second by Gehrig. On call of the roll Commissioners Grindberg, Gehrig, Strand and Mahoney voted aye.
Commissioner Piepkorn voted nay.
The motion was declared carried.

On call of the roll on the original motion as amended, Commissioners Grindberg, Gehrig, Strand and Mahoney voted aye.
Commissioner Piepkorn voted nay.
The motion was declared carried.

2017 Community Development Action Plan for Housing and Community Development Approved:
A Hearing had been set this day and hour on the proposed 2017 Community Development Action Plan for housing and community development resources which will be used in the next fiscal year in accordance with the community’s Consolidated Plan update.
The Board received a communication from Community Development Administrator Dan Mahli stating the Community Development Committee is recommending approval of the 2017 Community Development Action Plan. He stated the proposed budget anticipates $650,000.00 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds and $300,000.00 in HOME funds to be available, as well as approximately $50,000.00 in HOME Program Income. He said one comment was received about the proposed microloan program in the plan and he believes that question is resolved by the fact that a policy will be drafted around how the microloans will be done and will be vetted by the Committee and come back to the Board. Activities, he said, in the 2017 Action Plan include the following:

HOUSING:
Community Development Housing Organization (CHDO) Project - $100,000.00 in HOME funds for construction of affordable housing.
Housing Rehabilitation-Owner Occupied - $315,000.00 to be available for rehabilitation of existing owner-occupied housing units. This includes $100,000.00 in CDBG and $215,000.00 in HOME funds.
Special Assessment Assistance - $15,000.00 in CDBG funds to assist low-income homeowners with annual special assessments.
DOWNTOWN PROJECTS - $100,000.00 in CDBG funds for projects that address slum and blight conditions in downtown Fargo.

PUBLIC SERVICE PROJECTS:
Homebuyer Education - $15,000.00 to support Homebuyer Education classes in the Fargo-Moorhead community.
Homeless Initiatives - $55,000.00 in CDBG funds to support homeless initiatives at the Gladys Ray Shelter, homeless police liaison, and 10-year plan activities.
Metro Transportation Initiative – Opportunities Under Transit (OUT) - $3,000.00 in CDBG funds to provide transportation to low and moderate income participants.
Snow Removal Assistance - $2,000.00 in CDBG funds to offer snow removal assistance to low income senior households and people with disabilities.
Trust Engagement - $10,000.00 to provide funds for youth summer camp for kids in lower-income neighborhoods with the Fargo Police Department.
Economic Development - Job Training and Microloans - $15,000.00 in CDBG funds to provide job skills training and development, and $25,000.00 in CDBG funds to provide microloans to New American and Native American people, and low-income persons, businesses and entrepreneurs.

FACILITIES/CAPITAL NEIGHBORHOODS:
Fraser, Ltd. - $14,000.00 in CDBG funds to assist with costs of new roof for Transitional Living Program (TLP) house.
Jeremiah Program - $50,000.00 in CDBG funds to support 20-unit permanent supportive housing unit/recruitment and training for eligible families.
Rebuilding Together - $20,000.00 in CDBG funds to support home improvements to low-income seniors, veterans, and disabled individuals.
Youthworks - $40,000.00 in CDBG funds to support expanded water line/improvements of newly purchased program building.
YWCA Cass Clay-YWCA Emergency Shelter - $50,000.00 in CDBG funds to support safety/security enhancements of emergency shelter facility.

ADMINISTRATION:
$135,000.00 in CDBG funds for project development, planning and administrative costs associated with the delivery of the CDBG program. HOME funds will provide an additional $35,000.00 for administration.

Commissioner Grindberg moved the 2017 Community Development Action Plan be approved.

Second by Strand. On call of the roll Commissioners Grindberg, Strand, Gehrig, Piepkorn and Mahoney voted aye.
No Commissioner being absent and none voting nay, the motion was declared carried.

State Water Commission Request for Reimbursement for FM Diversion Project Costs Approved:
Finance Director Kent Costin said the State Water Commission is requesting $1,535,060.00 for cost reimbursement for the FM Area Flood Risk Management Project for January, 2017

Commissioner Grindberg moved the cost reimbursement request in the amount of $1,535,060.00 for the FM Area Flood Risk Management Project be approved.

Second by Gehrig. On call of the roll Commissioners Grindberg, Gehrig, Strand and Mahoney voted aye.
Commissioner Piepkorn voted nay.
The motion was declared carried.

Discussion Regarding Downtown Policing and Video Surveillance:
Police Chief David Todd said Commissioner Gehrig requested a public discussion about Downtown cameras, which presents an opportunity to also discuss crime issues Downtown.

Lt. Chris Helmick shared a presentation on the Downtown beat, called Beat 11, the smallest beat in town and most dense, having the most calls for service, 18,400 last year. There are eight officers, two Downtown Resource Officers (DRO) and a supervisor assigned. Last year saw a 3% decrease in crime, he said, and the numbers have dropped considerably since 2007, with the biggest crime spikes happening during bar closing, particularly on weekends. He said the DROs have taken care of many problems Downtown, and the newly implemented Community Works Program has helped homeless individuals work off their fines, with some of those who have benefitted now in rehab or working toward housing. The long-term plan is to add an additional DRO, increase the number of officers to 12 and continue to focus on specific individuals causing problems, he said. There are currently eight cameras in place Downtown, he said, with the majority being along the Broadway corridor. A couple were added this year and the Downtown cameras are a huge tool for officers, having been instrumental in solving cases and catching crime in action. He said a serious stabbing where the victim did not know the individual who stabbed him was caught on camera, a suspect identified and vehicle located. Without cameras, he said, there would have been little to go on, and in another instance, cameras helped determine a crime did not happen. There are not resources to watch cameras 24/7, he said, they are mostly used to help with investigations or supplement staffing and during events such as the Street Fair or the Marathon. Cameras are not placed arbitrarily, he said, data determines if and where there is a need. He said the cost for expansion of video surveillance in 2016 was just under $25,000.00, largely due to the cost of a server.

Commissioner Gehrig said tens of thousands of dollars are being spent and while annual evidence is good and can be pointed to, he would like to see specific stats and evidence saying “in these areas petty crime went down x%, or burglary is down x%.” He said if the intention is to expand the program and spend more dollars, he would like to see physical evidence the cameras help and if it can be proven, he will get behind it.

Commissioner Piepkorn said Chief Todd has used the term “force multiplier,” which is a good description. When the idea of cameras first came up he saw it as somewhat of an invasion of privacy, he said; however, now he sees it as a proven, effective tool.

In response to a question from Commissioner Piepkorn about whether having a camera by The Empire Tavern has affected the crime numbers there, and whether the cameras should be better quality, Lt. Helmick said in one case, reviewing camera footage there was a great shot of a suspect vehicle; however, the plate was not readable. Next year, he said, he intends to ask for upgraded cameras, not expansion, and the one by The Empire is one to be upgraded. He said cameras can be stationery or track movement.

In response to a question from Commissioner Strand about how public the information is, Lt. Helmick said since their installation some older cameras have had areas blacked out. He said the technology would not allow peering into windows; they are not geared towards that. He said they are more effective for street level incidents.

Police Chief Todd said video footage becomes public information and can be accessed if part of a case and not under an active investigation. It is a good tool, he said, and has saved hundreds of man-hours in solving criminal issues. He said Commissioner Gehrig’s request might require a different approach that would include signage stating an area is under video surveillance. He said without signage, behavior likely would not be affected. He said much of the behavior being discussed is a result of people being under the influence of alcohol and signage may not make a difference. He said perhaps NDSU, or some other program would want to collaborate with the PD to do a study.

Commissioner Grindberg said it would be an interesting to have a study counting cameras on all the light poles across the entire city. He said cameras have been around a long time and they are everywhere. He pointed out that in the Boston Marathon bombing case, it was cameras for the FBI that ultimately solved it.

Commissioner Gehrig said there are private cameras out there too and one cannot assume the cameras out there are government cameras. He said everyone was told cameras would deter and solve crimes when this first came up. He said he is not asking for in-depth analysis, he would like to know if it deters crime more than other ways for the cost. He said the PD has a program that logs all calls and crimes and he would like to know, yes or no, can it be seen where a camera is placed, that crime has gone down. It either is or is not deterring crime or solving crimes, he said.

Mayor Mahoney said many in the public sphere know they are on camera in a public space. He said the data on helpfulness of video in crime investigation is telling. Increasingly, he said, Downtown is the place to be and there can be an increase in calls that goes along with increased population. He said the needs of the Police Department will be supported, and the Board finds it helpful to hear crime reports.

Downtown Community Partnership (DCP) President Mike Hahn said the Board of the DCP is supportive of the cameras and feels they have deterred some of the activities Downtown and helped solve crimes.

Legislative Update: Reinforced Support of the Renaissance Zone Approved:
City Administrator Bruce Grubb said committee hearings on some bills of importance to the City will happen this week. He said the Renaissance Zone bill HB1182, will be heard by the Senate Finance and Taxation Subcommittee and Planning Director Jim Gilmour and Commissioner Piepkorn are planning to travel to Bismarck to provide testimony at that Hearing. He said State funding is imperative for SB2204, a bill relating to a statewide interoperable radio network, and Chief Dirksen and other public safety officials will attend that Hearing this week. He and Assistant City Administrator Michael Redlinger will sit in on a Hearing Friday for HB1374, he said, which relates to the State Water Commission and their cost share funding policy. A new budget forecast is expected March 9th, he stated, so much of what is occurring could be subject to change.

Commissioner Strand said he would like to be certain the Board is in agreement on its position on Renaissance Zones when representing in Bismarck. He said perhaps the position needs to be formalized with a motion.

Commissioner Strand moved the Board’s reinforcement of support through policy and practice of the Renaissance Zone be approved.

Second by Piepkorn. On call of the roll Commissioners Strand, Piepkorn, Grindberg and Mahoney voted aye.
Commissioner Gehrig voted nay.
The motion was declared carried.

Commissioner Piepkorn moved that the Board adjourn to 5:00 o’clock p.m., Monday, March 13, 2017.

Second by Grindberg. All the Commissioners voted aye and the motion was declared carried.
The time at adjournment was 6:57 o’clock p.m.