Albertville again tables transit joint powers

Council wants to discuss with neighbor cities

The Albertville City Council continued to review the joint powers agreement for transit in Wright County but ultimately tabled it again.

The council expects to meet with St. Michael, Hanover and Otsego council members at a special meeting to further discuss the agreement.

The council also approved a five-year lease to house Families and Youth Community Connections at the former city hall building.



If approved, the joint powers agreement would pave the way for negotiations with the Trailblazer transportation provider out of Glencoe. The Minnesota Department of Transportation prefers counties like Wright partner with other counties in offering public transportation.

The present RiverRider service ends July 1. Trailblazer is MnDOT’s preferred partner for Wright County, but the county board and Trailblazer reached a negotiation impasse, and county cities are thus seeking to mutually negotiate a five-year agreement.

“The council reviewed it and still has a number of questions,” city administrator Adam Nafstad later said. “Cost is a significant question. At the end of the day, the council questions what neighboring cities are doing.”

For that reason, the council agreed to meet with its neighboring cities to discuss the matter.

“It does make more sense if we’re all united on that topic,” Nafstad said.

Albertville City Attorney Mike Couri also highlighted several items of concern, such as billing, accounting and budgeting.

Nafstad said in his report to the council, “As a party to the agreement, the city will be required to pay an annual administrative fee, initially set to be $1,000, and annual operating and capital expenses will be allocated proportionate to rideshare among the member cities. It should be noted that the cost to Albertville is not known at this time. It is believed that a worse case scenario cost would likely be between $7,000 and $10,000, annually.”

The council agreed to table the matter pending a possible June 30 meeting with the other cities.



In other news, the council approved a lease of the former city hall (directly north of the current hall), to Families and Youth Community Connections (FYCC).

Staff noted that FYCC provides park scheduling services to Albertville and St. Michael, and also provides a number of different programs to the area’s youth and families. FYCC is currently located in St. Michael’s City Hall.

Albertville’s old city hall has been largely vacant for the last eight years, despite numerous attempts to fill it and the fact that the city has engaged a broker to list the property.

Albertville currently finances FYCC along with St. Michael. For the past several years, St. Michael has provided a facility for FYCC at no charge to FYCC.

Under this proposed lease, Albertville will now provide a facility free of charge to FYCC for at least five years.

Approving this lease will eliminate the City’s tax bill for this property for 2015 (approximately $8,800 in 2014) and will prevent the insurance premiums for this building from dramatically increasing.

“Long term we believe it’s going to fit that program’s use very well,” administrator Nafstad said. “I’m excited for it, this is going to put a great program in that building, draw people to Main Avenue and complement the city hall and the rest of the businesses on Main.


In other action, the council:

APPROVED purchasing a single-bay two-swing swing set for Winter Park at a cost of $2,338 installed. Last winter the council received a letter from a Girl Scout who asked for a swing set. When the playground was installed at Winter Park, it was intended that a swing set be added at a later date. The park is located at 64th Street, west of County Rd. 19 and south of the freeway.

MUTUALLY agreed with St. Albert Catholic Church to table the 57th Street/St. Albert improvements for one year. Bids were higher than anticipated, and the city is still finalizing the right-of-way acquisition with the church.