St. Michael updated about ice arena expansion

Ice arena needs crept back into discussion at the St. Michael City Council meeting.

The council also heard a utility services report, and learned about a large amateur radio at a residence.



Councilor Chris Schumm, who sits on the Ice Arena Board, updated Mayor Jerry Zachman and councilors Kevin Kasel, Joe Marx and Nadine Schoen about the arena board’s recent meeting.

The arena is jointly owned by St. Michael, Albertville and the school district, with board representation by each.

Schumm said there was discussion with the youth hockey association on how to proceed with arena improvements and/or expansion. The association has spearheaded an effort to raise money for a second sheet of ice at the facility.

Schumm said a market study for a second sheet of ice was completed and was not favorable for building the second sheet. Youth hockey president Kurt Sjelin was present and said the association has tried contacting market study analysts Ballard-King to ask some questions about the study. Sjelin said youth hockey does not need a $4 million facility, suggesting the construction costs could be decreased and then debt service payments could still be made.

Sjelin said youth hockey is bursting at the seams and has nowhere to go.

It was noted that this topic would again be discussed at the St. Michael, Albertville and School Board joint meeting Monday, April 29.

Councilor Kevin Kasel offered to meet with youth hockey to look over the numbers and come up with options.

Schumm also noted that the new roof at the facility has condensation underneath. He said staff is working on options to remedy the problem. Mayor Zachman said he would call the insurance adjuster to see what could be done since the new roof installed last year seems to be the cause of condensation.



In other matters, city administrator Steve Bot said there was an overrun in sewer and water service expenses last year in the amount of $11,347 for use of chemicals, utilities and repairs and maintenance.

He said the city’s contract with wastewater operator and water manager Veolia allows for reimbursable expenses for these items, since the costs are unpredictable and not easy to budget. He said the city typically budgets around $30,000 to cover the cost of reimbursable expenses, which is well above the overrun for 2012.

Councilor Marx asked about the overrun approved by the Joint Powers Water Board, and plant manager Kelly Daleiden said that was for different items used for the water supply.

Bot also noted that Veolia’s three-year contract would expire at the end of this year. He recommended approving a three-year extension, noting that Veolia serves the city well and provides great service. The council was also very complimentary to Veolia and authorized staff to proceed with negotiating another three-year extension.



In further news, community development director Marc Weigle showed pictures of a property on Maple Knoll Way that has a large amateur radio towers.

He said the tower exceeds the typical height limit, but that the Federal Communications Commission has a ruling that local governments cannot ban or unnecessarily restrict amateur radio operators, therefore the tower would stay as is.

Weigle concluded this was for information only in case the council receives any calls about the tower.

In other action, the council:

INCREASED the fire pension payout from $2,100 to $2,500.

ADOPTED a resolution applying for a DNR grant for the Beebe Lake water lowering project.

APPROVED offering a stipend to city employees for cell phone use, in lieu of providing a cell phone, in the amount of a base plan necessary for the specific position.

ADOPTED a resolution amendment to the conditional use permit for Kwik Trip to allow a compressed natural gas facility at 4400 O’Day Ave.