Meeting Minutes for April 16, 2007
MOUNTAIN IRON CITY COUNCIL
APRIL 16, 2007
Mayor Skalko called the City Council meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. with the following members present: Joe Prebeg, Jr., Tony Zupancich, Alan Stanaway, Ed Roskoski, and Mayor Gary Skalko. Also present were: Craig J. Wainio, City Administrator; Jill M. Forseen, Municipal Services Secretary; Don Kleinschmidt, Director of Public Works;; Sam Aluni, City Attorney; Rick Feiro, Sergeant; and Tom Cvar, Fire Chief; and Rod Flannigan, City Engineer (entering at 6:38 p.m.)
The Mayor welcomed the audience and the television viewing audience to the meeting.
It was moved by Skalko and supported by Prebeg that the consent agenda be approved as follows:
1. Add the following items to the agenda:
IV. A. 2. Mineland Reclamation Grant
VI. H. Iron Range Youth for Action
2. Approve the minutes of the April 2, 2007, City Council meeting as submitted.
3. That the communications be accepted, placed on file, and those requiring further action by the City Council be acted upon during their proper sequence on the agenda.
4. To acknowledge the receipts for the period April 1-15, 2007, totaling $129,492.88, (a list is attached and made a part of these minutes).
5. To authorize the payments of the bills and payroll for the period April 1-15, 2007, totaling $185,040.35, (a list is attached and made a part of these minutes).
The motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.
At 6:36 p.m., it was moved by Zupancich and supported by Stanaway to recess the regular meeting and open the public hearing regarding the Lake Country Power service territory acquisition. The motion carried.
Ernie Gust, 4946 Voss Road, Mountain Iron, said that he picked up the Mountain Iron Public Utility electrical rate list and he questioned why the power cost adjustment was not listed on the rate sheet. The Director of Public Works stated that the power cost adjustment is calculated monthly and sometimes there is no adjustment. Mr. Gust said that he has invested approximately $2,000 to add the duel fuel heating system to his home. The Director of Public Works requested Mr. Gust to bring in his bills for the past year and City Staff would calculate the comparison for him. Mr. Gust said that he is against the acquisition.
Dennis Benz, 5207 Mineral Avenue, Mountain Iron, said that he also did a cost comparison between Lake Country Power and the Mountain Iron Public Utilities and he found that in the four months that he compared the Mountain Iron Public Utility rates were $240 higher than Lake Country Power rates. Mr. Benz said that he spent approximately $4,000 to have duel fuel installed at his home. Mr. Benz asked why the Council is pursuing the utility acquisition. He felt that the current Lake Country Power customers would not gain anything in the proposed acquisition. Mr. Benz said that he was against the acquisition.
Reynold Renzaglia, Chairman of the Utility Advisory Board, explained to the audience that with the off peak energy each customer will still use the same amount of energy. He said that where the customers receive their energy from has a limited supply capability. He said that electricity is 100% efficient where other sources of energy are not as efficient.
At 7:09 p.m., Councilor Roskoski left the meeting.
At 7:10 p.m., Councilor Roskoski returned to the meeting.
Chris Butorac, 4950 Voss Road, Mountain Iron, said that they built their home five years ago and they installed duel fuel at that time. She said that she was angry that they were not notified sooner regarding this proposed acquisition. She also said that she is against the utility acquisition.
The Director of Public Works clarified that only off peak hot water heating was offered to the Mountain Iron utility customers, not dual fuel. He also advised the residents present that the City does offer green energy should anyone desire to purchase it and the cost is approximately $0.02 cents higher per kwh.
Melvin Anderson, 4971 Highway 7, Mountain Iron, said that he currently has off peak hot water and duel fuel and requested that these items be grandfathered in if the Mountain Iron Public Utilities proceeds with the acquisition. Mr. Anderson said that he was against the utility acquisition.
At 7:20 p.m., it was moved by Prebeg and supported by Zupancich to close the public hearing on the Lake Country Power acquisition and reconvene the regular meeting. The motion carried.
It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Skalko to table the Council vote on the Lake Country Utility acquisition, send it back to the Utility Advisory Board, and seek answers to the questions raised during the public hearing. The motion carried.
During the Mayor’s report, he informed the Council that the new Walgreen store had opened to the public on Wednesday, April 11th. He also advised the Council that the expansion for the L & M Supply store had begun and will double the size of their store.
The Mayor explained the April 10th Board of Review meeting to the public. He said that approximately 15 property owners spoke during the meeting and some requested that their property be re-evaluated. He said that the Residential Appraiser spoke and advised the Council and the audience that the State requires that the valuation amounts be between 90 to 105 percent of the sale price. In order for the City of Mountain Iron to get in to compliance with the State, the County Assessor had to increase both the land and building valuations by 11 percent. The Mayor said that only McKinley and Leonidas had a levy lower than the 2% increase by the City of Mountain Iron.
The Mayor advised the Council that the Downtown Renovation Committee met and reviewed the TEA21 Grant in the amount of $143,280 with $35,280 contribution from the City of Mountain Iron to renovate the Downtown area.
The Mayor said that the lots in Unity Second Addition are not yet for sale and the lot prices have not yet been determined, but if there is anyone interested in the parcels to contact the City Administrator.
It was moved by Skalko and supported by Prebeg to donate $500 to the Summer Work Outreach Program (SWOP) with the contribution being expended from Charitable Gambling Funds. The motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.
It was moved by Skalko and supported by Roskoski to direct City Staff to apply for a Mineland Reclamation Grant to seek funding for a canopy to be constructed over the Locomotive and the Leonidas Merritt Statue. After further discussion, Skalko amended his motion to include additional funds to make upgrades near the intersection of Locomotive Street and Marble Avenue according to the City Engineer and Councilor Roskoski supported his amendment. The amended motion carried.
Councilor Roskoski questioned the City Administrator regarding a Mineland Reclamation Grant through the Economic Development Authority (EDA) for the tailing pond area by Mountain Timber. The City Administrator said that this area would qualify for a Mineland Reclamation Grant and the EDA would be applying for a grant.
Councilor Roskoski asked the City Administrator if there were anymore Emergency Medical Technician applications. The City Administrator said that he has received a total of three applications.
It was moved by Zupancich and supported by Stanaway to authorize the Director of Public Works to donate the sewer rodding machine to the City of Eveleth to be used for parts to repair their machine. The motion carried.
It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Zupancich to direct Staff to call for quotes for asphalt crack sealing for 2007 in the amount of $15,000 for the City streets and Mesabi Trail in Mountain Iron. After further discussion, Councilor Prebeg amended his motion to include $15,000, more or less, and Councilor Zupancich supported the amendment. The amended motion carried.
Councilor Roskoski asked when the light, approved on June 19, 2006, for the Downtown basketball court was going to be installed. The Mayor said that the school had authorized the installation of the light and the Director of Public Works would have it installed, weather permitting.
The Council reviewed the Sheriffs Department report for the month of March 2007.
Mayor Skalko asked the Sergeant about a used car dealer that recently located at the corner of Unity Drive and Highway 7 regarding the cars being parked off of the right-of-way.
Councilor Roskoski asked the City Attorney about special assessments with regard to alternate cost appropriation procedures. Councilor Roskoski asked the City Attorney is the City is required to prove that the property value would go up by the amount assessed. The City Attorney said that the law does not require that the City complete evaluations of each property that are subject to an assessment, but the assessment must be proportionately benefit to the property owner versus the general public. The City Attorney said that if there was a contest to a special assessment, then the City Council would have to show that the policy was reasonable. Councilor Roskoski questioned the City Attorney regarding the definition of a cul-de-sac. Mayor Skalko said the current assessment policy is too subjective.
Councilor Roskoski questioned the City Engineer regarding where the property lines were located at Locomotive Park with regard to the installation of the new fence. Councilor Prebeg suggested that City Staff contact U. S. Steel to work jointly on the fencing project because U. S. Steel is required to maintain a fence around their property.
It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Stanaway to accept the recommendation of the Utility Advisory Board and adopted the proposed fees for miscellaneous utility services as presented; (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried with Councilor Roskoski voting no.
At 8:01 p.m., Councilor Prebeg left the meeting.
During the Liaison Reports, Councilor Stanaway reported that the Library was currently being painted and they are attempting to stay open during the painting project. He informed the Council that the Library would remain open an extra two hours per day during the Summer with the operating hours being Monday through Thursday from noon to 7 p.m. He said that there would not be any additional costs for staffing for the Library to be open because Staff is scheduling to avoid additional expenses.
The Mayor announced that the summer employment applications are due by April 27, 2007.
Also during the Liaison Reports, Councilor Zupancich reported that the Planning and Zoning Commission is still reviewing the LED signs issue by reviewing policies from other cities. He said that two businesses (Walgreens and Adventures) are currently ignoring the moratorium. He said that the two businesses have been asked to shut off their signs until the issue is resolved.
At 8:04 p.m., Councilor Prebeg returned to the meeting.
Councilor Roskoski asked Councilor Zupancich, Planning and Zoning Commission Liaison, about the Zoning Administrator’s request to have a wig wag on southbound Highway 53 and County Road 102.
Councilor Roskoski asked Councilor Stanaway, Library Liaison, about the four lights in the back of the Library that are not currently working and the down spouts coming down from the roof and dumping water directly into the flower pots, when it should go out into the library yard. The Director of Public Works said that these items were addressed and they were not included in the original project.
It was moved by Skalko and supported by Prebeg to adopt Resolution Number 17-07, ordering improvement and preparation of plans, (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried on the following roll call vote: Stanaway, yes; Roskoski, no; Prebeg, yes; Zupancich, yes; and Skalko, yes.
At 8:45 p.m., Councilor Roskoski left the meeting.
It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Skalko to adopt the Mountain Iron First Responders Articles of Organization, (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes).
At 8:47 p.m., Councilor Roskoski returned to the meeting.
After further discussion, Councilor Prebeg amended the motion to include the Mountain Iron First Responders in the Public Safety and Health Board with Mayor Skalko supported the amendment. The amended motion carried unanimously.
Alan Mattila, Mountain Iron First Responder, informed the Council that they have received four applications for Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) and two people have already started taking the EMT classes. Mr. Mattila advised the Council that the EMT’s need space to store their equipment and a place to hold meetings. Mayor Skalko mentioned that if the Downtown Skating Rink building is no longer used for Recreation purposes, that the building could be considered for the EMT’s.
It was moved by Skalko and supported by Stanaway to adopt Resolution Number 19-07, Establishing a Mountain Iron Public Safety and Health Board, (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried.
It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Stanaway to direct the City Administrator to advertise for the resident citizen positions on the Mountain Iron Public Safety and Health Board in the Mesabi Daily News for two to three weeks. The motion carried.
It was moved by Zupancich and supported by Skalko to adopt Resolution Number 20-07, Approving Plans and Specifications and Ordering Advertisements for Bids for the improvement of Park Ridge Drive from Nichols Avenue to the east edge of the Park Ridge Plat, (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried.
It was moved by Skalko and supported by Stanaway to adopt Resolution Number 21-07, Receiving Report and Calling for a Hearing on the Improvement of all of 16th Avenue, (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried with Councilor Roskoski voting no.
It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Skalko to approve the Ballfield Lease between the City of Mountain Iron and Independent School District #712 for a period of five years beginning on January 1, 2007 and ending December 31, 2011, (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried.
It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Zupancich to approve the Temporary On-Sale Liquor License for the Virginia Regional Medical Center for their event on June 7, 2007, at the Mountain Iron Community Center. The motion carried.
It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Skalko to have the City Administrator and/or the Recreation Director contact Commissioner Keith Nelson and Chris Ismil, with the Iron Range Youth for Action, to request help for the projects for the South Grove Central Park. The motion carried.
During open discussion, Councilor Roskoski informed the Council that Ellen Mattson recently passed away at age 98; Councilor Roskoski thought she was the oldest resident of Mountain Iron. The Mayor thought that Ann Cerkvenik or Hugo Johnson were now the oldest residents of Mountain Iron.
Also during the open discussion, Councilor Roskoski made a comment regarding the Aspen Lane and the Spruce Drive intersection upgrade with regard to drainage; he said that the Ann’s Acres residents pay approximately $400,000 to $500,000 in taxes every year and should be given consideration to repairing this drainage problem. The Mayor reminded Councilor Roskoski that the City purchased the Ann’s Acres Water Company for $100,000 and there was no special assessment to the residents. The Mayor requested the residents that contact Councilor Roskoski to contact him or any other Council Member personally to voice their request because he has never received any complaints from residents in Ann’s Acres.
Also during the open discussion, Councilor Roskoski said that he received an “Onion” in the April 14th Mesabi Daily News. He said that he has not done any research personally with regard to tax charges, but was told by residents of Mountain Iron that if their property was located in Virginia; their taxes would be less than Mountain Iron’s taxes. He said that the information regarding the school age children in Unity Addition that the information he received was from a previous City Council Member, Joe Matanich, stating that of the 16 school age children in Unity Addition only two were in the Mountain Iron-Buhl School District. Councilor Roskoski address the comment made in the “Onion” regarding him monopolizing the City Council meetings; he said that he viewed the last meeting and he timed how much each Council member spoke and he said that Mayor Skalko, being the Chair of the meeting, came in first, followed by Prebeg being second, Roskoski being third, Zupancich being forth, and Stanaway being fifth.
Mayor Skalko said that he had submitted actual tax calculations comparing several different valued properties and the taxes in Mountain Iron were less expensive than in the City of Virginia.
Councilor Prebeg informed the Council that there would be no closed session tonight because there was nothing new to report to the Council.
At 9:24 p.m., it was moved by Skalko and supported by Prebeg that the meeting be adjourned. The motion carried.
Jill M. Forseen, CMC/MMCA
Municipal Services Secretary