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City of Mountain Iron, Minnesota



Meeting Minutes for April 17, 2006

MOUNTAIN IRON CITY COUNCIL

APRIL 17, 2006

Mayor Skalko called the City Council meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. with the following members present: Joe Prebeg, Jr., Allen Nelson, Dale Irish, 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; Larry Nanti, Recreation Director; Sam Aluni, City Attorney; Rod Flannigan, City Engineer; and Wade Rasch, Sergeant.

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:

Add the following items to the agenda:

IV. E. 2. Public Notification

VI F. Unity Financing Options

Approve the minutes of the March 20, 2006, City Council meeting as submitted.

Approve the minutes of the April 3, 2006, City Council meeting as submitted.

Approve the minutes of the April 11, 2006, Board of Review meeting as submitted.

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.

To acknowledge the receipts for the period April 1-15, 2006, totaling $153,991.26, (a list is attached and made a part of these minutes).

To authorize the payments of the bills and payroll for the period April 1-15, 2006, totaling $165,478.62, (a list is attached and made a part of these minutes).

The motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.

At 6:31 p.m., it was moved by Prebeg and supported by Skalko to recess the City Council meeting and reconvene the Board of Review meeting. The motion carried.

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Skalko to accept the recommendation of the Residential Appraiser for Saint Louis County and make no changes to the valuation of Wayne Pohia�s property on Parcel 175-0071-01497 and Harold McGregor�s property on Parcel 175-0071-05023 and 175-0071-05025. The motion carried.

At 6:34 p.m., it was moved by Prebeg and supported by Irish to adjourn the Board of Review meeting and reconvene the City Council meeting. The motion carried.

During the public forum, Greg Chad, EMT for Mountain Iron, spoke to the Council regarding the lack of First Responders in the City. He said that only Devin West, Alan Mattila, and himself were listed at Mountain Iron First Responders. Mr. Chad said that the First Responders group is totally voluntary and not part of the Fire Department. Mr. Chad said that he could not find a copy of the by-laws and he thought the By-Laws stated that the volunteers would have to be an EMT to be a member of the Mountain Iron First Responders. Mr. Chad said that the training for the First Responders is $300 plus the cost of a book, 40 hour course, and the EMT�s is $840 plus the book, 120 hour course. Mr. Chad said that the EMT�s would have to meet and make a change to their By-Laws to include First Responders in the group and then the Council would have to approve of the change to the By-Laws.

Also during the public forum, Renny Renzaglia, Representative of Calvary Cemetery Association, was present and apologized that no one from the Association appeared at the last City Council meeting. Mr. Renzaglia requested that the 2006 budget be set back to $3,000 rather than $1,250. Mr. Renzaglia said that the City of Virginia would be contributing $6,000 in 2006. Mr. Renzaglia said that Calvary Cemetery Association manages about 9.8 acres of property with a budget of $43,600. Mr. Visovatti, Representative from Greenwood Cemetery Association, said that they manage 41 acres with a budget of approximately $109,000 in 2005. Mr. Renzaglia stated that Greenwood Cemetery has the crematory and that has significant income for them. The City Attorney stated that the City should not look at the contribution to the cemeteries as set by the statutory limitations, but that the Calvary Cemetery Association and the Greenwood Cemetery Association were operating as agents for the City.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Roskoski to increase the contribution for 2006 to $3,000 for each Cemetery Association. After further discussion, Mayor Skalko withdrew his motion and Councilor Roskoski withdrew his support. It was the consensus of the Council to have this item put on the May 1st City Council meeting agenda.

During the public forum, Thomas Tommaro was present and asked what the status of the street vacation in the West Virginia Plat. The City Attorney said that Mr. Pettinelli had indicated that he was paying taxes on the vacated street already. Mr. Pettinelli said that he did not know which property abstract to submit for clarification. The City Attorney said that the title company would work with Mr. Pettinelli on this matter. 

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Nelson to accept the recommendation of the Fire Department and hire Larry Lanari and Matt Mattson as volunteer firemen for the City of Mountain Iron. The motion carried.

Also during the public forum, Wilbert Johnson was present and once again requested the Council to act on the blight issue regarding his neighbor. The Sheriff advised him that his neighbor had been cited.

The Mayor advised the Council that some misinformation had been circulating regarding the Parkville area. The Mayor said that there is a person circulating a petition regarding the City Council making a resolution to allow the trees to be cut in the north Parkville area. The Mayor said that the City Council did not make a resolution allowing the cutting of the trees and Great Northern Properties owns the property and they can do what they want with the property. 

The Mayor also updated the Council regarding an article in the newspaper regarding the lynching that occurred in Mountain Iron. He said that the sign that was placed on the Mesabi Trail was paid for and put up by the Mesabi Trail Authority, according to Bob Manzoline, Director of the Authority. Mr. Manzoline said that the information that was given to them was from the Historical Society. Mr. Manzoline said that he could take the sign down immediately, leave it up, or put up more of an explanation regarding the incident. The Mayor said that the status of the sign would be on the next meeting agenda for action. 

The Mayor also informed the Council that the City is still in the running for the $500,000 bonding bill Renewable Energy Park. He said that the bill had made it through the Senate, but not the House. He said that it was now in Conference Committee, so it was still alive. The City will know more by February 2006.

The Mayor informed the Council that the Mountain Iron-Buhl School land purchase had been completed for the City to obtain the 38 acres adjacent to Unity Addition. 

The Mayor informed the Council that the land sale with Mountain Timbers had been completed. This project is for the wood yard located by the City Garage.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Roskoski to have the Director of Public Works and the Street and Alley Committee prepare a list of 2006 proposed street projects and have this on the May 1st City Council agenda for approval. The motion carried.

The City Administrator informed the City Council that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources had provided the City with a mining map showing the potential mining areas for the next 50 years.

The Administrator requested the Council to submit ideas for the next CDBG pre-application process; they are due by May 15th. 

Councilor Roskoski questioned the Administrator regarding an article in the April 9, 2006, Mesabi Daily News regarding an exemption for Excelsior Energy in Itasca County. Councilor Roskoski asked what implications that would have to the biomass project in Mountain Iron. The Administrator said this had no implication to the City because the City was selling the land to the Birchems and whatever they chose to do with the land after that was out of the City�s control. 

At 7:23 p.m., Councilor Roskoski left the meeting.

It was moved by Nelson and supported by Skalko to authorize a large trash pick up to be conducted during June 6-16, 2006. The motion carried with Councilor Roskoski absent.

At 7:25 p.m., Councilor Roskoski returned to the meeting.

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Nelson to accept the recommendation of the Utility Advisory Board and beginning May 1, 2006 an electrical service fee would be charged for new electrical installations in the Mountain Iron electric service area. The new fee would be the actual cost of installation, for labor and materials, less $200.00 for single phase services and actual cost less $500.00 for three phase installations. The motion carried.

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Skalko to accept the recommendation of the Utility Advisory Board and increase the residential sewer rate commodity charge to $3.00 per 1000 gallons effective May 1, 2006. The motion carried.

It was moved by Nelson and supported by Prebeg to authorize the purchase of one (1) new 75 KVA transformer and pad from Border States at their low quoted price of $5082.79 and purchase one (1) new 150 KVA transformer and pad from Border States at their low quoted price of $5,712.90 and one (1) new 75 KVA transformer with 480Y/277 voltage from Border States at their low quoted price of $5206.45 for a total purchase price of $16,002.14. This purchase would be funded through the Electric Utility Fund. The motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.

Councilor Roskoski asked the City Engineer about the traffic count completed on Unity Drive. The City Engineer said that he would supply the information to the City Council. 

Councilor Roskoski asked the Director of Public Works when the Library contractors would be back on the job and what they would be doing. The Director of Public Works said that he did not know because he had just returned from vacation. The City Administrator said that he did not know what part of the project was left to be completed.

At 7:43 p.m., Councilor Prebeg left the meeting.

The Recreation Director advised the Council that his department was preparing for Summer with the Campground and Summer Programs. He also said that he was working on obtaining picnic tables and landscaping for the community center.

The Council reviewed the March 2006 Sheriff Department Activity Report.

Councilor Roskoski stated that he did not feel that it was necessary for a Deputy to attend all City Council meetings; he felt that the added expense could be put to something useful in their department. The Mayor said that he felt it was necessary for the Sheriff�s Department Representative to attend the Council meetings. The Sergeant stated that he disagreed with Councilor Roskoski and he also felt that it was prudent for a Deputy to be at every meeting to better protect the dynamics of the City Council meetings as well as protect those attending the meetings.

At 7:45 p.m., Councilor Prebeg returned to the meeting.

Councilor Roskoski stated that he had heard that there were a lot of thefts and burglaries in the West Virginia/Westgate area. Councilor Roskoski requested that this be put on the May 1st City Council agenda. The Sergeant suggested having a press release placed in the newspaper making residents aware of the situation. The Mayor, Sergeant, and Councilor Roskoski suggested having residents lock their homes, garages and cars to better protect their property. 

The City Attorney said that he had distributed a synopsis of Council procedures to the Council Members with regard to Councilor Roskoski�s questions regarding meeting procedures.

Councilor Roskoski asked if the City Engineer had a chance during the Spring thaw to look at the intersection of Spruce and Aspen to offer a suggestion to prevent infiltration into the storm sewer. The City Engineer said that he did review the situation during a couple rain events. The City Engineer said that the only way to prevent infiltration would be to add rim sealing on the manhole. The Director of Public Works said that he would bring the plan that was adopted by the City Council last Fall to the May 1st meeting to review for the inflow situation.

Councilor Roskoski said that at the last EDA meeting there was discussion regarding projects that would be conflicting behind the brunt dumps with regard to the P & H Project, the Mesabi Trail, and a condominium development all in the same area. He wondered what kind of planning process the EDA was completing. Councilor Nelson said that he is on the EDA and he does not recall there being discussion regarding conflicts with the developments. The Mayor said that the EDA could handle this. 

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Skalko to put Resolution Number 10-06, authorizing the sale of certain property, on the table for discussion regarding the parcel, cost/price, and the appraisal of the property. After further discussion, Councilor Roskoski amended his motion to have City Staff check with the County Assessor to put a value on the property and advise the County Assessor of the abandoned wells on the property. Mayor Skalko supported the amendment. The amended motion carried.

It was moved by Nelson and supported by Skalko to adopt Resolution Number 11-06, Supporting the PreventionMinnesota Active Community Assessment and Engagement Proposal, (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried.

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Skalko to direct City Staff to look at proposals for a possible land exchange between the City of Mountain Iron and the City of Virginia and develop a list of possible comparable properties to have the City Council discuss and review for further consideration. The motion carried with Councilor Irish and Roskoski voting no.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Nelson to waive the Community Center rental fees for the fund raiser for Pete Hawkins on May 2, 2006. The motion carried.

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Skalko to direct City Staff to look at possible financing/bonding options for the land recently acquired from the Mountain Iron-Buhl School District to proceed to develop the property and discuss this at the May 1, 2006 City Council meeting. The motion carried with Councilor Irish and Roskoski voting no.

During the open discussion, Councilor Roskoski commented on the condition of the Parkville area by County Road 102. He said that when the Council was approached by Great Northern Properties to vacate the streets to prevent the dumping of debris in the area, now the area looks worst with all of the trees being logged off. The Mayor said that vacating the streets in the area had nothing to do with the property owner removing all of the trees.

Also during the open discussion, Councilor Prebeg asked if the City Attorney had made a recommendation with regard to a donation request for the Sand Lake Shuffle. The City Attorney said that he would review the matter further.

Also during the open discussion, Councilor Prebeg asked if the Recreation Director had called for bids on the picnic tables and landscaping at the Community Center. The Recreation Director said that they were seeking quotes and he would bring this information back to the City Council for consideration.

Councilor Prebeg announced that the D.A.R.E. fund raiser was set for Wednesday, April 19th, and he invited everyone to attend. 

William Buria inquired about the Council getting a crew or volunteers to adopt Old Highway 169 Kinross for cleanup. Mr. Buria said that he and his wife have been cleaning that stretch of road for 26 years. The Mayor suggested that Mr. Buria contact Lori Olsen from the Mountain Iron-Buhl School to see if they could do this as a community service. The Mayor also said that he would bring this request to the Downtown Committee for additional ideas. 

At 8:35 p.m., it was moved by Roskoski and supported by Skalko that the meeting be adjourned. The motion carried.

COMMUNICATIONS

MediaCom, a letter advising the City that they have invested extensively in building a fiber optic network to provide area residents with advanced video and high-speed broadband services.

League of Minnesota Cities, forwarding the April 7, 2005, Friday Fax.

Minnesota Association of Small Cities, forwarding the April 3, 2006 updates.

Minnesota Pollution Control, a notice advising of an open house and informational meeting on April 20, 2006 in Virginia, for U. S. Minntac�s preliminary proposal to discharge wastewater from its tailings basin in Mountain Iron.

Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, forwarding the April 6, 2006 Brief.

League of Minnesota Cities, forwarding the State of the Cities Report for 2006.

An Anonymous letter regarding the condition of the Mountain Manor Apartments.

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