The Osseo City Council was presented with the option to purchase property near Boerboom Park for future city park use during its Monday, Aug. 11, meeting.
The council also discussed and amendment to the current rental inspection services agreement with the city of Brooklyn Park.
City Planner Riley Grams announced the Five Central project received an award from the Minnesota Chapter of the American Planning Association.
City Administrator Doug Reeder presented the council with a property at 25 Fourth Street N.E. that is interested in selling to the city. The city has already purchased two of the four remaining properties on block 10, behind Boerboom Park. The purpose of purchasing these four properties is to create a city park that occupies the entire block.
The policy of the city has been to purchase the properties from willing sellers when they are ready to sell. At this time Jerry Danielson, at 25 Fourth Street N.E., has approached the city and asked that the council consider purchasing his property in the near future and then rent it back to him until May 2015 when he would intend to move.
Reeder said with the last to property purchases, the city agreed to have an appraisal made of the properties where the city and property owner each pay half of the cost of the appraisal. The cost of the appraisal should be less than $500 and Danielson has agreed to pay for half of the cost. The city’s portion would come from the General Fund Balance.
The council unanimously authorized the city administrator to hire an appraiser to determine the value of the property at 25 Fourth Street N.E. with the property owner paying half of the cost.
Also during the meeting, the council talked about amending the current rental inspection services agreement with Brooklyn Park.
City Planner Grams and councilor Dan Spanier met with the city of Brooklyn Park Property Services Director Keith Jullie and Rental and Business Licensing Manager Curt Raymond Aug. 5 to discuss an amendment to the existing rental inspection services agreement made between the Osseo and Brooklyn Park.
The current agreement calls for the licensed rental housing inspectors from Brooklyn Park to conduct all yearly inspections on residential rental properties in Osseo, which was approved in October 2009. The agreements states Brooklyn Park conducts all inspections and retains 65 percent of all associated fees.
Due to recent staffing changes, city staff determined there was need for additional help to accurately monitor the program and stay up to date on rental inspections.
Grams said there were talks of “Brooklyn Park taking over most of the aspects of the programs, including all of the paperwork, application issuing, fee collecting, yearly renewal notices, inspection follow up and potential citation action, in addition to the existing yearly inspections.”
Grams added that applicants would still be able to pick up and drop off paperwork at Osseo City Hall, but people would be encouraged to mail in applications and fees directly to Brooklyn Park City Hall.
“What we are looking for right now is authorization for staff to continue to work with the city of Brooklyn Park on an amendment to the existing rental inspection services agreement,” he said. “We are not looking for any final action here tonight.”
Councilor Rick Weber wondered if the city might be missing something. “Maybe we should be thinking somewhere, another avenue,” he said. “Is there some other competitor, besides a city, is there an outside resource to use for something like this?”
Reeder said he wasn’t sure or aware, but there might be something.
Councilor Mark Schulz said, “Seems me that one of the big things we have here is a problem with identification of what these properties are. I don’t see how giving this to Brooklyn Park helps at all. I have been a strong opponent to giving away more of our stuff. It seems to me, but I hate to do this, it seems to me like some programs here are falling apart under Administrator Reeder’s watch … That’s the reality of the situation.”
He added he felt the rental inspections have been an issue for some time. Schulz also felt giving this to Brooklyn Park would not make any big changes at all.
Reeder said he didn’t feel the city has done as good of a program as it could have. “It might be better to consolidate the effort,” he added. “Anytime you have two staffs handling one problem … it makes it more complicated and I think the chance of things falling through the floor are greater.”
Schulz said going forward, the city should look at fixing the system. Reeder said he recommended hiring other people to do things the staff doesn’t have the time for because of all the duties city staff already has. Schulz added maybe the staff organizational structure could be looked at.
The council unanimously approved have staff go forward and look at what Brooklyn Park has to offer as well as other options by Sept. 10.