I filed this Data Request Form on Monday, asking for the audio and/or transcripts of the closed Council meetings (May 7 and June 26) about the liquor store relocation that are part of Mayor Lee Lansing’s lawsuit.
I got the following prompt reply from Deb Little, city clerk.
The 600 Division and the Econofoods sites have not been abandoned by the council and therefore the tapes of the closed meetings are not yet available to the public. The council has not abandoned the two sites but rather re-opened the search for a site, and the new search may or may not include those two sites. If it becomes clear that the new search will not include those sites, or if the council were to decide not to proceed with relocation of the liquor store at all, the tapes will be released.
A motion was passed by the City Council on July 16, 2007, directing staff to bring Frauenshuh in for discussion on the scope of the liquor store project. That motion does not preclude the Econofoods or the 600 Division Street sites from being considered as part of the re-opened site selection process.
Minnesota Statutes Sec. 13D.05, Subd. 3 (c), allows the City Council to hold closed sessions “to develop or consider offers or counteroffers for the purchase or sale of real or personal property.” Closed sessions must be tape recorded. The recordings must be made available to the public “after all real or personal property discussed at the meeting has been purchased or sold or the governing body has abandoned the purchase or sale.” The purpose of the statute is to protect the bargaining position of the city as long as a purchase or sale has not been consummated but remains a possibility. It is the opinion of the City Attorney and staff that the Northfield Council has not abandoned the purchase of the Econofoods or the 600 Division Street site, based on the Council’s actions to date.
The pertinent part of the statute mentioned above reads as follows:
13D.05 Meetings having data classified as not public.
Subd. 3. What meetings may be closed.
(c) A public body may close a meeting:
(1) to determine the asking price for real or personal property to be sold by the government entity;
(2) to review confidential or nonpublic appraisal data under section 13.44, subdivision 3; and
(3) to develop or consider offers or counteroffers for the purchase or sale of real or personal property.
Before holding a closed meeting under this paragraph, the public body must identify on the record the particular real or personal property that is the subject of the closed meeting. The proceedings of a meeting closed under this paragraph must be tape recorded at the expense of the public body. The recording must be preserved for eight years after the date of the meeting and made available to the public after all real or personal property discussed at the meeting has been purchased or sold or the governing body has abandoned the purchase or sale. The real or personal property that is the subject of the closed meeting must be specifically identified on the tape. A list of members and all other persons present at the closed meeting must be made available to the public after the closed meeting. If an action is brought claiming that public business other than discussions allowed under this paragraph was transacted at a closed meeting held under this paragraph during the time when the tape is not available to the public, section 13D.03, subdivision 3, applies.
An agreement reached that is based on an offer considered at a closed meeting is contingent on approval of the public body at an open meeting. The actual purchase or sale must be approved at an open meeting after the notice period required by statute or the governing body’s internal procedures, and the purchase price or sale price is public data.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
Deb Little City Clerk