Council to vote on financial management services agreement

Published 1:33 pm Saturday, August 20, 2011

After almost a year without a staff finance director, the Albert Lea City Council on Monday is slated to vote on whether to continue an agreement with financial consulting firm AEM Financial Solutions to provide financial management services to the city.

According to information from Albert Lea City Manager Chad Adams, AEM Financial Solutions has been providing financial services to the city off and on since the fall of 2010 in lieu of a director, when former Finance Director Rhonda Moen accepted a job as finance director in Owatonna.

A search to fill the position was unsuccessful.

Email newsletter signup

The city also attempted to share finance services with Austin Finance Director Tom Dankert earlier this year; however, after about a month of this arrangement, both cities decided to discontinue the shared services.

Then Interim Albert Lea City Manager Pat McGarvey at that time said trying to do two full-time jobs with one person was more difficult than envisioned.

Adams said he is expecting to continue the agreement with AEM Financial Services for at least the next year, but the city will have the opportunity to review and extend the services every six months.

The term of the proposed contract is for three years, with performance reviews at six months. The city has the right to cancel the agreement by providing written notice within 60 days of the end of each review.

The annual fee outlined in the contract is $85,000 for the first year, $87,000 for the second year and $89,000 for the second year.

The agreement includes tasks to be performed on a weekly monthly, quarterly and annual basis.

In other action, the council will:

• Vote whether to accept bids and award the contract for the sanitary sewer sliplining project on Third Avenue, from Main Street to Clark Street.

The city received one bid for the project by Visu-Sewer for about $53,000.

The engineer’s estimate was about $56,000.

• Have the first reading of several ordinance amendments, including one that regulates dangerous dogs and another for non-domestic animals.

Regarding the dangerous dogs amendment, it includes a section about informing the owners of a dangerous dog about their right to a hearing to determine the status of their dog.

Regarding the non-domestic animals portion, the amendment continues to ban non-domestic animals within city limits and takes away the right to have a conditional use permit for such animals.

• Have the first reading of an ordinance amending the standards the city will use in granting variances. State law has changed so that variances will be granted upon showing “practical difficulty,” rather than “undue hardship.”

The amendment would change the city’s zoning ordinance to correlate with the state changes.

The Albert Lea Planning Commission voted in favor of amending the ordinance at its Aug. 16 meeting; however, members expressed concern that doing so would make it easier to get variances and as a result may erode the intent of the zoning ordinance, according to background information provided by the city manager.

• Vote whether to approve an amended agreement for services with Mead & Hunt for the Albert Lea Airport project.

The amendment includes added task order No. 19, which involves construction engineering services for converting the runway to a taxway, and task order No. 20, which involves the closeout paperwork for the land acquisition that was necessary for the approach lighting system.

Each task order is set up to be paid for by 95 percent federal funds and 5 percent city funds.

• Vote whether to approve a hotel inspection agreement with the state.

For the past three years, the state has contracted with the city to inspect Albert Lea hotels for the state.

The council will vote whether to renew the contract for another three years.

• Vote whether to approve the 2012 Albert Lea Port Authority budget.

• Have two public hearings regarding various miscellaneous assessments, including refuse removal, demolition costs, delinquent water and sewer, mowing and snow removal.

• Hear a request to use Snyder Field Sept. 10 and 11 for the Ryan “Pie” Truesdell fifth annual memorial sports weekend.

Events planned include volleyball, softball, a beanbag tournament and a homerun derby at Snyder Field. A golf tournament is planned at Green Lea Golf Course and fishing contest is scheduled for Katherine Island.