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City of Mountain Iron, Minnesota

012820 UAB Minutes

Mountain Iron Utility Advisory Board


28 January 2020

Meeting was called to order 4:00 p.m. by Chairperson Renzaglia

Members present:  Reynold Renzaglia, Sue Tuomela, Harvey Hellyer, Bret Renzaglia and Bret Renzaglia, Jacob Osell  Others present:  Joe Prebeg, Council Liaison, Tim Satrang, Public Works Director, Lisa Stevens, Accounting Technician. Brad Bennett, Operator

Moved by Sue Tuomela and supported by Harvey Hellyer to approve the Consent Agenda including the 10 September 2019 Minutes.  Motion carried unanimously


Waterline Publication by the Minnesota Department of Health– Article on new legislation increasing the Service Connection Fee from $6.36 to $9.72 per year per service connection.

Memo from Saint Louis County Environmental Services Department– Explaining the Municipal Solid Waste Tipping Fee increase from $60.00/ton to $70.oo/ton. 

Public Forum:  None




13 January North feed from the Old Downtown Substation.  Ran lines problems found.

22 November 8600 Mud Lake Road.  Fused cutout open.  Refused effecting one home.

21 November Virginia Feed out.  Drove line found nothing.  Met with Virginia PUC and heated the reclosure.  Later Trees down on Daffodil Lane.  Cleared trees, replaced two fuses, and energized the line.

17 September Park Drive South Grove- Climbed poles to access two different cut out fuses.


20 December Former Country Kitchen site.  Could not find curb stop to shut water off to the building.  Installed new curb stop.

8 December 8804 Grant Drive.  Crack on 4” ductile pipe.  Repair Clamp used.

3 November 5426 Park Drive.  Crack on 8” ductile pipe.  Repair Clamp used. 

11 October 8369 Spruce Drive.  ¾ inch tap saddle broke.  Replaced saddle with a new stainless tap.

10 October 8804 Grant Ave.  Corrosion type hole on bottom of pipe.  Repair clamp used.

1 October 8388 Balsam Drive.  Minnesota Power Contractor directionally bored through a service. Repaired and re-tapped.

Old Business:

  • Discussed water tower project. Satrang reported bid packages are being prepared for the project.  KLM is done with their part now Benchmark is wrapping up with their part.  
  • Water Treatment Facility:  Satrang reported concrete filter were being designed to replace the original steel ones.  A three-cell cement filter design will replace the existing four-cell steel design.
  • Transformer Storage Area: Satrang indicated nothing has been worked on this year.
  • Voltage Upgrade Satrang also made arrangements with MMUA to assist with this project. Mike Downs agreed to meet with Satrang and one of the original MP engineers to assist with some of the Virginia feed take over. Discussion place on future plans.

New Business:

  • Utility Rates
  • Refuse; Considerable discussion took place Operating Expenses of the Refuse Department. Noticeable increases were in Employee benefits.  Expected increases of nearly 20% from SLC tipping fees were discussed.  Recycling and cardboard pick up were discussed.  Staff had an example of an increase to garbage rates.  Originally the rate structure was thought to be proportionally billed in increments of 30 gallons.  At some point in time a percentage adjustment was made and threw the proportional billing off.  An example of bringing it back to proportional billing was made.  Satrang discussed improvements with timecards and tracking billable hours. 
  • Electrical; Rates were discussed. Mountain Iron electrical rates are low compared to most area utilities.  Discussion about having an apprentice program and now four journeyman lineman.  Discussion took place of past investments to the infrastructure inflated some spending.  Takeover to MI substation should help save on power costs.   An example of an increase of $0.078 to 0.082 cents/KWH and a $1.00 increase base fee would be an increase of around $53,200.oo in revenue annually in residential alone.
  • Water; A couple large projects will take place in the next year to repair the water tower and filters. The cost of Mountain Iron water lower than most area utilities.  An example of adding $0.50/1000gallons generated $28,620.00 annually. 
  • Sewer; Like other enterprise funds, increases to employee benefits (health care) along with increased  regulation cost have been significantly increasing.  An example of a $1.00 increase/ 1000 gallon treated water would generate a $57,240.00 annually

Discussion took place of taking one utility at a time for discussion and making recommendation to the City Council.  It was agreed upon to meet 11 February 2020 to discuss the Refuse funds.

Other Items of Concerns:

Satrang discussed snow removal. 

Meeting Adjourned at 5:40 pm

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Stevens

Accounting Technician

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