The Taconite Capital of the World

City of Mountain Iron, Minnesota



Meeting Minutes for August 20, 2001

AUGUST 20, 2001

The meeting was called to order by Mayor Brunfelt at 6:30 pm with the following members present: Joe Prebeg, Jr., Stephen Skogman, Joe Matanich, Edmund Roskoski and Mayor Mitchell Brunfelt. Also present were: Craig Wainio, City Administrator; Judy Seurer, Accounting Technician; Don Kleinschmidt, Director of Public Works; Karen Luoma, Librarian; Greg French, City Engineer and Sam Aluni, City Attorney. Also present was: Michael Thomas, Architect from Damberg, Scott, Gerzina and Wagner and Delores Majetich, Library Board.

It was moved by Skogman and supported by Prebeg that the consent agenda be approved as follows:

1. Amend the minutes of the August 6, 2001 regular meeting to read on Page 5, Paragraph 3, “Councilor Skogman suggested putting a fence around the shovel in the high school yard and putting fabric down and rock on top of it around the shovel”.

2. Approve the minutes of the August 6, 2001 regular meeting as amended.

3. That the communications be accepted, placed on file and those requiring further action by the Council be acted upon during their proper sequence on the agenda.

4. Acknowledge the receipts for the period August 1-16, 2001, totaling $94,189.59, (a list is attached and made a part of these minutes).

5. Authorize the payment of the bills and payroll for the period of August 1-15, 2001 in the amount of $168,217.66 (a list is attached and made a part of these minutes).

The motion to adopt the consent agenda was carried unanimously on a roll call vote.

City Attorney, Sam Aluni discussed the USX License agreement along with the letter to the City Administrator from Paul Cerkvenik. He stated that the circumstances don�t give the City any rights other than those in the existing license agreement and therefore the City is subject to the terms of that agreement. The City does not have any leverage to take over ownership of the street at this time.

Councilor Roskoski asked if the City Council wanted to have informal discussions with USX concerning the streets affected by the license agreement. It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Skogman to have staff approach officials at USX to see if it would be possible to take care of the streets issue and/or other concerns. The motion carried.

During the public forum, Dave Vuicich addressed the Council concerning the address changes approved for the City. Mr. Vuicich strongly disagreed with the changes. Discussion took place between the Mayor, Council and Mr. Vuicich concerning the address changes. Each Councilor explained his views on the subject and the Mayor explained the post office survey that was sent out and also a letter from the City that was sent out. An official notice will be sent out in mid-September to the residents affected.

It was moved by Skogman and support by Matanich to approve Resolution 30-01, Accepting Bid (a copy of which is attached and made a part of these minutes) The motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.

It was moved by Skogman and supported by Prebeg to approve the payment for work on the 2001 Street Improvement Project to Mesabi Bituminous, Inc. in the amount of $74,538.52, per the recommendation of the city engineer. The motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.

Michael Thomas, architect from Damberg, Scott, Gerzina and Wager was present to answer questions on the future Library plans. Councilor Matanich asked why the square footage was reduced. Mr. Thomas replied that he scaled back the size of the conference room, based on conversation needs. Councilor Matanich asked why costs are 15-20% lower. Mr. Thomas replied that recent bids show lower construction costs. Councilor Matanich asked if the cost figure is turnkey. The City Administrator said yes, the figure shown is to walk in the door. Councilor Roskoski stated it would be wise to wait for the downtown study before deciding on the future of the library. Councilor Skogman stated that the downtown group will give the Council a design based on what is downtown now and in the future. He felt the Council needs to make a decision and let the group advise from there. Councilor Prebeg stated that construction costs may be higher next year. He was concerned on where the Council is spending and where the money is going to be coming from. He stated that other projects may be more important, such as 8th street, housing developments and wetlands issues. Mayor Brunfelt stated that he will not take a conservative and cautious approach to this issue. Public buildings are to be completely accessible. The City is already done with the city offices. The City should not wait to deny access to the library. The Council needs to make a move and

bring the City buildings into compliance. He did not want to wait for the downtown committee recommendation. The Mayor felt the City needs to bond for a library. The City is not in heavy debt and is in good financial shape. He also stated that the City should look at issuing bonds for other projects, such as the water tower, acquiring the baseball field by Merritt School to open up further housing development and building a new baseball field.

Mrs. Delores Majetich, a member of the Library Board, was present and questioned the Council on who owns the land around the City Hall/Community Center and who would write the check for the land if purchased for the library. The City Administrator informed her that Emil Johnson and Messiah Lutheran Church own the land and if purchased, the City would pay for it.

Councilor Roskoski stated that no taxes are generated in the City Hall area.

Councilor Prebeg stated that a study on building usage had been done and overall usage of libraries is down due to declining enrollment in schools and personal computers. Librarian Luoma was asked to comment on the use of libraries in the information age. She stated that libraries will be more technologically advanced, with more computers connected to the internet available to the public.

Councilor Matanich stated that a buyer for the old building should be sought before a new one is built, or at least look into uses for the old building.

Councilor Skogman stated that the City will spend money no matter what decision is made. The library needs to be built. An historical building loses historical value if anything is done to the outside of the library. It is a good time to build now because of the slump in the economy, prices are low. The City needs to do something to continue advancement into technology. He recommends building new.

It was moved by Skogman and supported by Brunfelt to build a new library. The motion failed on the following roll call vote: Roskoski, no; Prebeg, no; Skogman, yes; Matanich, no; Brunfelt, yes.

It was moved by Skogman and supported by Brunfelt to approach Virginia, Eveleth and Gilbert on consolidating their libraries and closing the Mountain Iron library. The motion failed on the following roll call vote: Prebeg,no; Skogman,yes; Matanich,no; Roskoski,no; Brunfelt, yes.

Discussion took place on the necessity for water tank repairs. It was suggested that a bond issue for more projects in the City besides the library be considered.

Councilor Prebeg asked if there was a possibility of getting a matching grant for $150,000 to upgrade the existing library or for a new library. Librarian Luoma stated that yes, a grant was possible, but just for ADA compliance.

Councilor Roskoski stated that he wanted to take the grant application approach. There are reserves set aside for library.

It was moved by Roskoski to make the ADA compliance improvements to the library and have staff work with the librarian to put together a grant application for the ADA improvements to the library. The motion failed for lack of support.

Councilor Matanich stated that he wanted to get the necessities done first, then he will vote for the library.

The Public Works Director was asked what the status of the water tower is. He stated that a float down report has been done and the damage had been identified. The City needs to put together a financing package. They could then move forward with plans & specifications for the repairs and put it through the normal grid process. The finance package is being delayed because we�re currently waiting for word on a grant. The City will most likely need to bond for a portion of the repairs.

The Mayor suggested having an ad hoc finance committee to look at putting together a bonding/financing package for what the City needs for the water tower and to look at what other bonding monies the City might get for other projects in the City. It was moved by Matanich and supported by Skogman to create an ad hoc finance committee, comprised of Brunfelt, Matanich and City staff, to determine the projects needed in the City and how much financing the projects would need. Discussion on the content of the committee took place. The motion carried, with Roskoski voting no.

It was moved by Skogman and supported by Matanich to approve Resolution #29-01, Hearing on Proposed Assessment (a copy of which is attached and made a part of these minutes). Councilor Roskoski asked if the Messiah Lutheran Church was assessed when the new church was built and if not then why is the Sacred Heart Church being assessed. He was informed that the street project was part of the purchase agreement with Messiah Lutheran for the land for the City Hall/Community Center. Councilor Roskoski also asked how corner lots were assessed. He was informed that if there were improvements on both sides of the lots they are assessed at the normal rate on the front side and at 50% of the normal rate on the other side. The motion carried with Roskoski voting no.

It was moved by Skogman and supported by Matanich to approve Resolution #31-01, Accepting Work (a copy of which is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Prebeg to table approval of Resolution 32-01, Accepting Quote, to the next regular meeting. The motion carried.

It was moved by Skogman and supported by Prebeg to approve Ordinance 03-01, Amending the Mountain Iron City Code (a copy of which is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried.

It was moved by Matanich and support by Skogman to approve the continuation of employment of Mr. Terry Niska with the City of Mountain Iron past his six month probationary period. The motion carried, with Roskoski abstaining.

It was moved by Skogman and supported by Prebeg to hold a Public Hearing on the Flood Plain Management Ordinance at the 1st regular City Council meeting in October. The motion carried.

It was moved by Roskoski to have staff contact IRRRB to get the Heritage Site/Wild North signs moved up on Highway 169. The motion failed for lack of support.

At 7:52 p.m., Councilor Skogman left the meeting. At 7:54 p.m., Councilor Skogman returned to the meeting.

Councilor Roskoski stated that many people were pleased with the clean-up done in the downtown area for Merritt Days. He also commented that, why isn’t more clean-up effort put in earlier in the summer?

Councilor Roskoski stated that Locomotive Park is in bad condition and needs a clean-up. City staff needs to assign a worker to take care of the clean-up.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Skogman to approach St. Louis County to put a sidewalk in along County Road #7 from Eighth Street alongside the Dairy Queen property, and if they will not, get permission for the City to put one in. The motion failed with Prebeg, Matanich and Brunfelt voting no and Skogman and Roskoski voting yes.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Prebeg to change the next regular City Council meeting to September 4, 2001 at 6:30 p.m. The motion carried.

The communications were noted for the record.

During the open discussion the following items were discussed:

Councilor Roskoski asked if the City fixes storm sewers on County Roads. Kleinschmidt explained that the storm sewers under a County road are the City�s property and are maintained by the City. The City has an agreement with the County whereby the City repairs the storm sewers and the County will blacktop over them.

It was moved by Skogman and supported by Matanich to have the City Attorney and staff do an investigation on the hiring practices used on the hiring of the building maintenance employee and report back to the Council. The motion carried on the following roll call vote: Skogman, yes; Matanich, yes; Roskoski, no; Prebeg, yes; Brunfelt, no.

Mayor Brunfelt exercised his chair�s privilege and ruled that Councilor Roskoski�s comments on the motion concerning the continued employment of Terry Niska be stricken from the record, as Councilor abstained on the motion and had no right to comment on it.

At 8:14 p.m., It was moved by Skogman and supported by Matanich to adjourn the meeting. The motion carried.

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