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Fargo City Commission - August 24, 2020 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, August 24, 2020.
The Commissioners present or absent were as shown following:
Present: Gehrig, Piepkorn, Preston, Strand, Mahoney.
Absent: None.
Mayor Mahoney presiding.

The Mayor read a message with the following information: The Library has bike locks to check out for the day; Storytime To Go packets for families will be available starting September 8th; more than 1,500 children, teens and adults participated in the Library’s annual Summer Reading Program; Officer Dirk Thiedeman has been named Downtown Resource Officer; the Fargo Police Department’s K-9 teams won 1st and 3rd place at the Iron Dog Competition held recently in Bismarck; the 2nd quarter multi-family vacancy and construction survey showed a drop of 1.87 percent in metro-wide vacancy to 6.63 percent as of June 1st; and an abnormal rise in rent delinquency was not reported.

Order of Agenda Approved:
Commissioner Piepkorn 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 Strand moved that the Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Board held on August 10, 2020 be approved as read.

Second by Preston. 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 the following Ordinances; 1st reading, 8/10/20:
a. Rezoning Certain Parcels of Land Lying in Timber Parkway Fourth Addition, Timber Parkway Third Addition and Timber Parkway Second Addition to the City of Fargo, Cass County, North Dakota.
b. Rezoning Certain Parcels of Land Lying in North Fargo Industrial Addition to the City of Fargo, Cass County, North Dakota.
c. Annexing a Certain Parcel of Land Lying in the East Half of Section 15, Township 140 North, Range 49 West, in Cass County, North Dakota.
d. Rezoning Certain Parcels of Land Lying in the Proposed Sanford South Campus Addition to the City of Fargo, Cass County, North Dakota.
e. Rezoning Certain Parcels of Land Lying in South Haven Subdivision to the City of Fargo, Cass County, North Dakota.

2. Receive and file the Summons and Complaint relating to Alan C. Erickson vs. City of Fargo.

3. Findings, Conclusion and Order of the Board of City Commissioners of the City of Fargo regarding the License Violation of Northstar Hospitality, LLC d/b/a SouthTown PourHouse.

4. Applications for Games of Chance:
a. Fargo South High School for a calendar raffle from 9/3/20 to 2/28/21.
b. Nativity Church of Fargo for bingo and a raffle on 11/8/20.
c. Dakota Medical Foundation – Lend A Hand Up for a raffle and raffle board on 9/12/20.
d. Fargo Rotary Club for a raffle on 10/15/20.

5. Easement (Temporary Construction Easement) with the Park District of the City of Fargo (Project No. FM-19-B).
6. Purchase Agreement with Stanley and Patricia Ryland (Project No. FM-20-C1).
7. Memorandum of Understanding Regarding Right of Way Encroachment and Road Maintenance with Cass County (Project No. FM-16-A1).
8. 40th Avenue North Bridge repairs at an estimated cost of $47,067.85.
9. TMH Properties Development Agreement and Amended Easement with TMH Properties, LLC.
10. Amendment (First) to Right of Way Agreement with Great Plains Mercantile Holdings, LLC.
11. Change Order No. 1 for an increase of $2,650.00 and time extension to 10/1/20 for Project No. UR-19-E1.
12. Encroachment Agreement with Sterling Properties, LLLP.
13. Receive and file General Fund – Budget to Actual through July 2020 (unaudited).
14. Receive and file Financial Status Report Year to Date through 7/31/20 for majoring operating funds (unaudited).
15. Fargo Public Schools Department of Support Services Service Agreement for extended nursing care services for special education students.
16. Contract Agreement for Services with Dacotah Foundation.
17. Contract Agreement for Services with Southeast Human Service Center.
18. Amendment to Agreement for Services with Gia Rassier.
19. Amendment to Agreement for Services with Annie Wood.
20. Contract Agreement for Services with American Lung Association.
21. Resolution Approving Proposed Budget and Activities for COVID-19 Quarantine Support, Prevention, Preparation and Response (Attachment “A”).
22. Bid award to Chestnut Ridge Nursery, Inc. in the amount of $113,017.75 for 2021 spring tree order (RFP20130).
23. Receive and file the Snow Emergency Route Designation Map.
24. Amendment No. 4 with KLJ, Inc. in the amount of $6,478.57 for the GTC Improvement Project.
25. Structure Lease Agreement with New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC, contingent upon Water Utility approval of final construction documents.
26. Bid award to Sellin Brothers Inc. in the amount of $1,222,187.00 for Project No. WA2004.
27. Change Order No. 1 for an increase of $2,450.00 for Project No. WA1906.
28. Change Order No. 2 for an increase of $35,528.93 for Project No. WW1904.
29. Bills in the amount of $10,740,746.39.

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

Change Order No. 1 and Time Extension for Improvement District No. BN-20-C1 Approved:
The Board received a communication from the Public Works Projects Evaluation Committee stating the Change Order is for additional work needed for construction and incidentals on the 64th Avenue South paving project and that due to the changes, the contractor is requesting a three working day extension for the Phase 1 Interim and Substantial Completion Dates.
Commissioner Gehrig moved Change Order No. 1 for an increase of $55,929.27 and a time extension for Phase 1 Interim to August 18, 2020; Substantial to September 29, 2020; and Final to October 31, 2020 for Improvement District No. BN-20-C1 be approved.

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

Change Order No. 1 and Time Extension for Improvement District No. BN-20-F1 Approved:
The Board received a communication from the Public Works Projects Evaluation Committee stating the Change Order is for staking and water service curb stop relocation costs and weather-related delays.
Commissioner Gehrig moved Change Order No. 1 for an increase of $13,896.45 and time extensions for Interim to August 20, 2020; Substantial to October 20, 2020; and Final to November 20, 2020 for Improvement District No. BN-20-F1 be approved.

Second by Preston. On call of the roll Commissioners Gehrig, Preston, Piepkorn, Strand and Mahoney voted aye.

Change Order No. 3 for a Time Extension for Improvement District No. BR-20-E1 Approved:
The Board received a communication from the Public Works Projects Evaluation Committee stating the Change Order is for additional time for Interim Phase 2B completion dates to add gravel backfill to part of the project, which was not included in the original plans.
Commissioner Gehrig moved Change Order No. 3 for time extensions of Interim Phase 2B to August 10, 2020; Substantial to September 21, 2020; and Final to October 25, 2020 for Improvement District No. BR-20-E1 be approved.

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

Negative Final Balancing Change Order No. 5 for Improvement District No. BN-19-F1 Approved:
The Board received a communication from the Public Works Projects Evaluation Committee stating the Change Order is to reconcile the estimated quantities used in the contract with the final quantities as measured in the field.
Commissioner Gehrig moved Negative Final Balancing Change Order No. 5 in the amount of -$120,397.08 for Improvement District No. BN-19-F1 be approved.

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

Contract for Street Lighting and Incidentals Improvement District No. SL-20-B1 Approved:
Commissioner Gehrig moved the Contract between the City of Fargo and Moorhead Electric for Street Lighting and Incidentals Improvement District No. SL-20-B1 in the City of Fargo, North Dakota, be approved.

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

Contract Bond for Street Lighting and Incidentals Improvement District No. SL-20-B1 Approved:
Commissioner Gehrig moved the following described Contract Bond be approved as to sufficiency:
Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland in the amount of $261,082.70 for Street Lighting and Incidentals Improvement District No. SL-20-B1 in the City of Fargo, North Dakota.

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

Presentation on the New Cass Clay Alerts System:
Emergency Services Coordinator Leon Schlafmann said August 31st will mark the last day residents will be able to use the CodeRED system and the new Cass Clay Alerts system will be implemented. He said the mass notification system was in need of an upgrade; therefore, Emergency Management, along with Red River Regional Dispatch, looked at a number of different vendors and the Everbridge Company is the product that came out on top. The Everbridge system gives the cities and counties the opportunity to brand the product as Cass Clay Alerts, he said, and expand it as needed. If residents were signed up for CodeRED, he said, that registration will not transfer to the new system and residents need to sign up again through the Cass Clay Alerts website. He said residents who do not have internet access can sign up by calling 211 or FirstLink. The CodeRED system had about 84,000 contacts, he said, and with Cass Clay Alerts, there are currently more than 98,000 contacts registered.
A short video highlighted some of the advantages of the new system that will send out critical messages and alerts pertaining to weather or law enforcement to keep residents informed. Cass Clay Alerts offers more flexibility and options when signing up, such as being able to get messages via text, email or calls to a cell phone or landline. Cass and Clay County residents can add up to five addresses for notifications, for example, if someone works in West Fargo and lives in South Fargo, they may want to get two different alerts whether they are at home or at work. Residents can also add their children’s school addresses to get notifications of alerts in a specific school area.

Appointments to the Arts and Culture Commission Approved:
The Board received a communication from Mayor Mahoney stating the terms of Denese Odegaard, Mark Johnson and Arlette Preston on the Arts and Culture Commission expired on June 1, 2020. He said all three have resigned their positions on the Board. Brad Bachmeier, Ann Arbor Miller and Monika Browne-Ecker have expressed interest in serving on the Arts and Culture Commission and he recommends their appointments.
Commissioner Strand moved Brad Bachmeier, Ann Arbor Miller and Monika Browne-Ecker be appointed to three-year terms on the Arts and Culture Commission ending June 1, 2023.

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

Moratorium Pertaining to the Retail Sale of Alcoholic Beverages Extended to November 30, 2020:
The Board received a communication from City Auditor Steve Sprague stating the Moratorium pertaining to the retail sale of alcoholic beverages was passed by the Board on March 23, 2020, and extended on April 20th and again on May 18th. He said the Board extended the Moratorium until August 24, 2020 and also expanded the original Moratorium to include mixed drinks and ended the delivery of alcoholic beverages on June 15th. There has was been considerable interest from the restaurant industry to extend the Moratorium provisions for another 90-day period, he said, as the industry is experiencing a reluctance from patrons to dine inside, although outside dining appears to be steady and to-go orders remain strong.

In response to a question from Commissioner Gehrig asking if it would make sense to extend the Moratorium indefinitely and then give a month’s notice ahead of time so the industry can end it at an appropriate time, Mr. Sprague said the Moratorium is tied to the emergency declaration; therefore, if the emergency declaration ends the Moratorium would end.

Commissioner Piepkorn said there would be a lot of pushback from some of the different license holders if this Moratorium became permanent. He said many were happy with the continued short-term Moratorium; however, if this became unlimited, there would be negative comments.

Mr. Sprague said the industry wants to work together and raise everyone up; however, if this became permanent, there would be more concern.

Commissioner Gehrig said when the Moratorium ends or it begins to look like it will end, he will bring it to the Liquor Control Board. He said he would like to see a vote and if it is “no,” he will accept it; however, there have been no issues or problems, people accept it and it is not a dramatic amount of money being taken away from off-sale.
Commissioner Piepkorn moved the Moratorium Pertaining to the Retail Sale of Alcoholic Beverages be extended to 11:59 p.m. on Monday, November 30, 2020, unless it is otherwise terminated or further extended by Resolution or on a motion by the Board of City Commissioners.

Second by Gehrig. On call of the roll Commissioners Piepkorn, Gehrig, Preston, Strand and Mahoney voted aye.
No Commissioner being absent and none voting nay, the Resolution was adopted.

Hearing on an Application Filed by AdShark Ventures, LLC for a Property Tax Exemption Continued to September 8, 2020:
A Hearing had been set for this day and hour on an application filed by AdShark Ventures, LLC for a property tax exemption for a project located at 5601 34th Avenue South, which the applicant will use in the operation of their ecommerce services, utilizing online-user data, internet based platforms, website development and conversion rate optimization to drive sales and new customer growth; however, the applicant has requested the Hearing be continued to September 8, 2020.
Commissioner Preston moved the Hearing be continued to 5:15 o’clock p.m. on Tuesday, September 8, 2020.

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

Application Filed by Access Point Technologies EP, Inc. for a Tax Exemption Withdrawn:
A Hearing had been set for this day and hour on the application filed by Access Point Technologies EP, Inc. for an exemption of property and/or income tax for a project located at 4837 Amber Valley Parkway, which the applicant will use in the operation of developing medical devices for the electrophysiology market; however, the applicant has withdrawn the application.
Commissioner Preston moved the request be withdrawn.

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

Parcels of Land in Northern Sheyenne Land Third Addition Rezoned (1805, 1810, 1820, 1821, 1840 and 1841 Sheyenne Loop North):
At a Hearing held on May 5, 2020 the Fargo Planning Commission recommended approval of a change in zoning from GI, General Industrial to LI, Limited Industrial.
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.

Current Planning Coordinator Donald Kress said the property is located within the North Fargo Tier1 West area and is intended to be used as a framework for development. He said several properties directly to the east of this property were rezoned recently to accommodate industrial uses. With the realignment of the 19th Avenue North corridor, he said, it makes sense to shift the retail and service industry further north to the main intersection and to keep the industrial land uses with access to the railroad. He said the 19th Avenue North corridor west of I-29 continues to develop as industrial and this rezoning is consistent with continuing the corridor as an industrial zoning designation.

Commissioner Preston 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 Piepkorn. On the vote being taken on the question of the adoption of the Resolution Commissioners Preston, Piepkorn, Gehrig, Strand 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 Northern Sheyenne Land Third Addition to the City of Fargo, Cass County, North Dakota:
Commissioner Preston 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 Northern Sheyenne Land Third Addition to the City of Fargo, Cass County, North Dakota be placed on first reading.

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

Resolution Adopted Approving Northern Sheyenne Land Third Addition:
Commissioner Preston offered the following Resolution and moved its adoption:
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF CITY COMMISSIONERS OF THE CITY OF FARGO:
WHEREAS, A Plat has been filed in the office of the City Auditor entitled “Northern Sheyenne Land Third Addition” containing 7 Lots, 2 Blocks and 12.29 acres of land more or less, located at 1805, 1810, 1820, 1821, 1840 and 1841 Sheyenne Loop North; and
WHEREAS, A Hearing was held May 5, 2020 by the Fargo Planning Commission, and notice of such Hearing had been published, as required by law, and said Plat had been approved by the Fargo Planning Commission and by the City Engineer; and
WHEREAS, The City Auditor's Office published a Notice of Hearing on said Plat in the official newspaper for the City of Fargo on July 22 and 29 and August 5 and 12, 2020 that a Hearing would be held in the Commission Chambers, City Hall, Fargo, North Dakota at 5:15 p.m., August 24, 2020 at which time said Plat would be considered and all interested persons would be heard.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, That the findings and recommendations of staff and the Planning Commission be accepted and the Plat entitled “Northern Sheyenne Land Third Addition” be and the same is hereby in all things affirmed and approved on the basis that it complies with the Standards of Article 20-06, and all other applicable requirements of the Land Development Code, and that the Mayor of the City of Fargo and the appropriate City Officials are hereby directed to endorse their approval on the Plat and then direct Petitioner to file same for record in the Office of the Recorder of Cass County, North Dakota.

Second by Piepkorn. On the vote being taken on the question of the adoption of the Resolution Commissioners Preston, Piepkorn, Gehrig, Strand and Mahoney voted aye.
No Commissioner being absent and none voting nay, the Resolution was adopted.

Amendments to the 2019 Action Plan Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Approved:
A Hearing had been set for this day and hour to consider Amendments to the 2019 Action Plan Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).
The Board received a communication from Community Development Planning Coordinator Tia Braseth stating the Department of Planning and Development is considering COVID-related Amendments to its 2019 Annual Action Plan, previously approved by the City Commission on June 17, 2019 and May 18, 2020. The approved Action Plan was for temporary rental assistance in the amount of $464,253.00, she said, to assist Fargo residents through an emergency rent bridge program. The proposed changes would expand the project description to include assistance for rent, mortgage payments, utilities, security deposits and other homeless or eviction prevention-type assistance, she said, as well as operational administration support for up to 6 months per household. She said emergency payments will be made directly to the provider of items or services on behalf of an individual or household through City of Fargo partners, Southeastern North Dakota Community Action Agency and Presentation Partners in Housing. The Amendments also include the installation of bunk beds with solid separation panels at the Gladys Ray Shelter, she said, to minimize the spread of COVID-19. A third Amendment, she said, would include the donation of City-owned property at 702 2nd Street North to Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity to build a new home, which will be occupied by a household earning 80 percent or less of the Area Median Income. She said the proposed Amendments are in compliance with federal regulations.
Commissioner Strand moved the Resolution entitled “Resolution Approving Amendments to Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)/HOME Investment Partnerships 2019 Annual Action Plan,” and referred to as Attachment “B,” be adopted and attached hereto.

Second by Preston. On the vote being taken on the question of the adoption of the Resolution Commissioners Strand, Preston, Gehrig, Piepkorn and Mahoney voted aye.
No Commissioner being absent and none voting nay, the Resolution was adopted.

Special Assessments for Unpaid Utility Bills on Certain Properties in the City of Fargo Approved:
A Hearing had been set for this day and hour on special assessments for unpaid utility bills on the list of properties on file in the City Auditor’s Office.
No appeals have been filed in writing against any item appearing on such special assessment list and no person is present at this Hearing to appeal or offer any objection thereto.
City Auditor Steve Sprague said the unpaid utility bills listed are not from people who are facing financial difficulties and unable to make utility payments. He said these are accounts where all attempts have been made to collect the amounts due and the account holder has, for various reasons, chosen not to pay. The notices of the special assessments were mailed out a few weeks ago to 25 unpaid accounts and 15 of those accounts came forward and made payment, he said; therefore, the list is down to 10 accounts for a total of $6,700.00.

In response to a question from Commissioner Gehrig asking if there is a percent added to the amounts, as is done with other assessments, Mr. Sprague said there is nothing added and these are only the unpaid balances.
Commissioner Piepkorn moved the special assessments list of unpaid utility bills be approved as presented.

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

Special Assessments for Maintenance of the Skyway System Approved:
A Hearing had been set for this day and hour on the special assessments list for Maintenance of the Skyway System in the City of Fargo, North Dakota.
No appeals have been filed in writing against any item appearing on such special assessments list and no person is present at this Hearing to appeal or offer any objection thereto.

City Auditor Steve Sprague said the City Commission annually approves the assessment to the properties connected to the Skyway System and notices were mailed to property owners. He said the total assessment this year is $100,000.00 which covers heating, cooling, regular maintenance and cleaning, which is about $80,000.00 per year. The additional $20,000.00 goes into a reserve account for major maintenance issues that may come up, he said, such as roof replacement or a new HVAC unit.

In response to a question from Commissioner Gehrig asking if this is one of those assessments that the tenants ask for, Mr. Sprague said the agreement for the maintenance of the Skyway System goes back to when it was first installed. He said as properties change hands, the agreement that these assessments need to be paid goes along with the property and the property owners are aware of the assessments.

Commissioner Piepkorn moved that the special assessments list for Maintenance of the Skyway System be and same is hereby approved and confirmed and ordered filed in the office of the City Auditor and that the City Auditor’s Office be instructed to proceed to collect the assessments in the manner provided by law.

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

Special Assessments for Abatement of Nuisances on Certain Properties in the City of Fargo Approved:
A Hearing had been set for this day and hour on special assessments for abatement of nuisances on the list of properties on file in the City Auditor’s Office.
No appeals have been filed in writing against any item appearing on such special assessment reinspection list and no person is present at this Hearing to appeal or offer any objection thereto.
City Auditor Steve Sprague said the City prepares a list annually of code enforcement and nuisance abatements, commonly Dutch Elm tree removal, mowing and snow removal. He said there is no interest charged on one-year assessments and those at five-years are charged 5 percent interest. He said after the notices went out in the mail a few weeks ago, especially those for snow removal, many have since been paid. Many of the snow removal and mowing assessments are complaint driven, he said, and the Public Works Department has a process with mowing and snow removal where the contractor takes before and after photos of the work done.

In response to a question from Commissioner Strand asking about a loan program for removing trees, Mr. Sprague said there are programs; however, residents do not ask for help proactively. The residents are given the information about assistance when they are notified, he said; however, there were no requests for assistance this year.

In response to a question from Commissioner Strand asking about the City’s policy about tree planting, City Forester Scott Liudahl said the Land Development Code changed in 2000 to require street trees in new developments. He said it has taken some time to get to all of the new developments such as Deer Creek, Osgood and Woodhaven and to fill in the gaps.
Commissioner Piepkorn moved the special assessments for abatement of nuisances on certain properties be approved as submitted.

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

Police Chief Selection Committee Recommendation To Make a Conditional Offer to David Zibolski Approved:
Human Resources Director Jill Minnette said the Police Chief Selection Committee held a full day assessment with the three finalists for Police Chief and the day prior the finalists spent the day with members of the Police Department. At the completion of the assessment, she said, the Selection Committee voted unanimously to advance David Zibolski to the City Commission for approval of a conditional offer and advancement through the conditional offer phase, which is typically between three to six weeks. She said the conditional offer phase is contingent upon City Commission approval and Mr. Zibolski will need to complete all of the components over the next few weeks, including medical and psychological exams, a polygraph and other components that any new member to the Police Department would have to complete. After completing those required components, she said, a request to appoint Mr. Zibolski would come before the Board from City Administration as the hiring authority.

Commissioner Piepkorn thanked all of those involved in the selection process and said he thought the process was handled very well. He said there were 26 candidates, many with impressive resumes, and the three finalists were excellent choices. He said the mock news conference was a great way to see everyone’s true colors and he thinks Mr. Zibolski is very thorough, seems like a good man and he thinks he will be an excellent addition to the Police Department.

Commissioner Strand said he has been hearing from members of the committee asking why this was done and this was not, and perhaps now would be the time to query the Committee while it is still fresh in their minds for constructive tips going forward.

Commissioner Piepkorn moved the Police Chief Selection Committee recommendation to make a conditional offer to David Zibolski be approved.

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

Discussion Regarding the Downtown Fargo Environment:
Adrienne Olson, representing the Downtown Community Partnership (DCP) Board of Directors and the Business Improvement District (BID) Advisory Board, said Broadway is the most walkable stretch of street in North Dakota and is the centerpiece of the Downtown Fargo experience. She said the sidewalks belong to everyone; they are a public right-of-way governed by City policies and all people have a place Downtown. She said due to coronavirus needs diverting social services away from Downtown, changes in fighting and open liquor and public drinking Ordinances and a public pandemic-induced reduction of commercial and recreational activity Downtown, the intersections of Broadway and other identified problem areas have become magnets for gatherings that too often include public intoxication, fighting, harassment and aggressive confrontation. The situation has escalated to a point that business owners are struggling to make customers feel welcome and safe, she said, when businesses are already suffering economic devastation. She said she hears from visitors who do not feel comfortable walking Downtown and residents who are moving out of Downtown due to the fact that they are not willing to deal with the harassment anymore. She said she is grateful to Police Officers who do so much to keep the neighborhoods safe and inviting to all. Ordinance changes and limited resources have made their jobs more difficult, she said, and maintaining a welcoming environment made possible through a strong partnership with the Gladys Ray Shelter, harm reduction specialists and all social service providers. The DCP is an active participant in ensuring that people have access to the resources needed and the DCP supports a Day Center for homeless Downtown, she said, a need identified through the community-driven InFocus Comprehensive Plan. A warm, welcoming place is needed for all to find shelter at all hours of the day, she said, and the DCP fully supports funding for social service providers, including more mobile outreach units. Downtown is for anyone who wishes to be a part of it, she said, predicated on respect for one another and for the community.

Josie Danz, 420 Broadway, said she is a Downtown resident, serves on the DCP and Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA) boards and owns a Downtown business. At one point, she said, the conversation was largely about the removal or relocation of benches; however, most everyone recognizes this action sends an unwelcoming message to those in the community who use and need the benches, is dismissive of the real problems and only displaces the troubles. She said real, long-term solutions are needed for the heightened problematic behavior seen in the City's core that is taking away from the quality of life, walkability and welcoming atmosphere of the Downtown neighborhood. The problems stem from a trifecta of shortcomings, she said, including lack of proper Ordinances to respond to problematic behavior; insufficient services and resources for individuals who congregate at the benches; and inadequate oversight and accountability of several liquor establishments that have proven to be repeat offenders. She said she commends the Police for the service they provide Downtown as they are visible and responsive; however, they have said there are not adequate Ordinances in place for them to respond to calls for service in an effective way. As a business owner, she said, she is asking for the City's help. She said the City needs to establish Ordinances that address fighting, open container and public intoxication, all of which would allow the Police to respond to problematic behavior in a way that curbs the fighting, drunkenness, harassment, theft and trespassing on private property. Social services are needed that prioritize housing and offer resources and offer support to those in the community who need it the most; and prioritization of a Downtown Day Center that will offer services and space while also offering a reprieve from the environments and groups that enable problematic behavior. She said the City also has to require a higher standard of accountability from certain liquor establishments. She said the Liquor Control Board has stated it cannot have greater oversight; however, after years of bringing concerns to the Board about specific establishments and liquor oversight in general, nothing has changed. If she does not see changes soon to the quality of life Downtown, she said, there will be lasting negative effects for everyone who has worked hard to make Downtown the destination it is and go backwards to what it once was. She said the solution is action that addresses the problems in a way that is preventative rather than punishing and helps all segments of the population, rather than tries to displace some for the sake of the rest.

Andrew Buck, Fargo, said he has lived in the Downtown area for 15 years and there has been a long running problem with panhandling. He said Ordinances criminalizing public drunkenness and fighting do not make sense. If someone is drinking at home, that is legal, he said; however, if a person is homeless and drinking, then they are drinking in public and that is a crime. The City is criminalizing public drunkenness without offering assistance and is therefore criminalizing being homeless. It gives the Police a reason to arrest people who are down on their luck, he said, and do not have any other options. The priority should be assisting people, he said, getting basic shelter, setting up social services and redirecting funding in a way that helps people.

Mike Graalum, Fargo, said he works Downtown and he thinks the problems escalated after all the trees on Roberts Street were cut down. He said before that, many people who are now causing problems on Broadway were in front of the Salvation Army on Roberts Street under the trees where it was cool and it was the only tolerable place for the homeless Downtown. If the City really wants to take care of the issue, he said, there needs to be a place for people to go. He said he works as a bartender Downtown and he has not seen a fight at the bar for more than a year; therefore, he does not know where the problem is or if it even exists. He has not seen any statistical evidence that there has been an increase in Police calls and unless that information is presented, he does not think there is a problem at the bars.

Tracy Wilkie, Fargo, said a lot of work needs to be done with the over-representation of Native Americans in homeless situations and other people of color. She said she is thankful that Fargo has put more funds toward beds for the Gladys Ray Shelter; however, there is so much more that could be done with building better relationships and having a place for people to go who do not have a place to hang out during the day. Fraser Ltd. has Stepping Stones, she said, a resource center for younger people; however, older people also need a place to go for resources and look for jobs and have something to do to keep busy.

Faith Dixon, Moorhead, said moving homelessness outreach out of the Police Department is one reason to defund the Police. She said this creates mistrust of the Police and leads to the reluctance of some people to accept services offered by the Police, including an emergency shelter, and can lead to some people trying to avoid Police at all costs, which may create further risks to health and safety. She said she grew up in Chicago where there were services to help those who needed it instead of arresting them and locking them in jail. She said instead of giving tax breaks the City needs to think about the homeless.

Maureen Robinson, Fargo, said she works at Everett’s Barbershop in Downtown Fargo and since reopening and due to new health regulations, the barbershop cannot have customers wait inside; they have to wait outside with nowhere to sit due to the fact that the picnic tables are full of people who are loitering and panhandling the customers. With COVID-19, she said, the barbershop is hearing concerns from its customers and people have indicated that they think twice about bringing their children Downtown. She said she has seen Sol Tacos have its lunchtime business ruined due to the fact that there is nowhere for customers to sit and eat and the owner is harassed by certain individuals while trying to set-up for the day. She said if this behavior continues in front of the barbershop, the owners will consider relocating to a place where customers can feel safe. After working with the Police and BID, she said, it has become apparent that these issues are not being contained.

Kay Schwarzwalter, Fargo, said she is a Downtown resident and the problem behavior is not specific to Broadway; it is also spilling into the surrounding neighborhoods. She said there is a church and two NDSU buildings near her home and most days, there are people spreading blankets and clothing under trees on these properties and sometimes they are there for hours. She said she does not begrudge them shelter; however, they leave empty bottles, food containers and other trash behind and oftentimes there is yelling and cursing and she is fearful any encounter could become physical. She said she is panhandled at least twice a week when she sits on her front porch and she no longer invites her grandchildren to visit; she goes to their home instead. The problems have steadily worsened, she said; however, this summer is worse and she does not know where to go or who to contact. She said she hopes the City will make this a priority.

Paul Gleye, Fargo, said he is the Chairman of the DNA which supports what the DCP has submitted for discussion and shares the DCP’s observations about the challenges Downtown faces in continuing to be a welcoming place for residents and visitors. There is a social problem, he said, and it requires the dedicated attention of all who have an interest in Downtown. He said this is a problem that cannot be addressed by rearranging things; social services are needed to assist people and liquor establishments have to take greater responsibility for the effects their businesses have on the Downtown public spaces. A day center for the homeless population is needed so they have a place to go that gives them dignity and the City has to take the lead in addressing these issues. He said the DNA will do its part; however, private or charitable organizations cannot deal with this problem alone. City government needs to place this matter at the top of the agenda and take deliberate measures without delay.

Cody Schuler, Executive Director of the Fargo-Moorhead Coalition to End Homelessness, said his group’s mission is to find permanent solutions to preventing and ending homelessness through advocacy, education and collaboration. He said there are more than 1,000 homeless people in the Fargo-Moorhead area and the key underlying issue is the pervasive socio-political attitudes that stigmatize homelessness and thwarts efforts of homeless service providers to meet the needs of the homeless. He said he wants to set the tone for the conversation that is necessary to move forward. All residents of the community are neighbors, regardless of their housing or economic status, he said, and society will be judged by the treatment of its most vulnerable. He said he challenges the City to do work that will not perpetuate the norms and attitudes. Nearly all underlying issues of homelessness are solvable if there is the civic and political will to do what is necessary, he said.

In response to question from Mayor Mahoney, asking what City departments and the Downtown business people can do to work together, Planning Director Nicole Crutchfield said Interim Police Chief Ross Renner, Public Health Director Desi Fleming, Jan Eliason of the Gladys Ray Shelter and Planning staff have been coordinating with Commissioner Preston on not only increasing funds but also holistic responses at it relates to all of the concerns. She said there has been a lot happening Downtown due to the pandemic; however, these things were going on before the pandemic. She said the Downtown InFocus plan highlights the need for a Day Center, and Ms. Eliason is working with social service providers and looking at partnerships in the hopes that the City can do a popup winter shelter and quarantine. She said she hopes to have a more specific plan within the next few weeks and Interim Police Chief Renner has a meeting already set up to look at a host of data-driven responses.

Resident Comment Period:
Brad Shaffer, Ed Krystosek, John Wilson, Holden Harwood, Glen Youngerman and Wess Philome shared their opinions on racism and the Land Development Code regarding firearms and ammunition sales as a home occupation.

Commissioner Gehrig moved that the Board adjourn to 5:00 o’clock p.m., Tuesday, September 8, 2020.

Second by Preston. All the Commissioners voted aye and the motion was declared carried.
The time at adjournment was 6:19 o’clock p.m.