The Taconite Capital of the World

City of Mountain Iron, Minnesota



Meeting Minutes for December 05, 2005

MOUNTAIN IRON CITY COUNCIL

DECEMBER 5, 2005

Mayor Skalko called the City Council meeting to order at 6:32 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, Director of Parks and Recreation; and Rod Flannigan, City Engineer (entering at 8:06 p.m.).

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Nelson that the consent agenda be approved as follows:

Add the following item to the agenda:

IV. A. 3. Library Payment Request Number Four

VI. G. Move to VII. Open Discussion

Approve the minutes of the November 21, 2005, City Council 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 November 16-30, 2005, totaling $151,098.77, (a list is attached and made a part of these minutes).

To authorize the payments of the bills and payroll for the period November 16-30, 2005, totaling $354,856.84, (a list is attached and made a part of these minutes).

The motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.

At 6:35 p.m., it was moved by Nelson and supported by Prebeg to recess the regular meeting and open the public hearing for the truth in taxation. The motion carried.

Rainer Makirinne, 4917 Spirit Lake Road, stated that he has lived at this address for 21 years. Mr. Makirinne asked why his tax statement increased 50%. The Mayor said that the City did not raise the taxes by 50%. The Mayor said that his home may have been reassessed, by law they have to be re-evaluated every four years. The Mayor said that there has been a shift in State funds from the City to the School District. 

The Mayor read a statement that was written to the Citizens of Mountain Iron in January 2004. He said that “unless current legislation that passed this year in St. Paul is changed, more and more will be taken away from home owners and property owners. Our State Local Government Aid moneys allotted to Cities in 2005 and 2006 will be even less. And beginning July 1, 2004, and continuing through 2008, the taconite home owners� money we are now receiving will be gradually eliminated and reduced. The result, property taxes, regardless of what is done at the local level will increase.” 

John Meglen, 8657 Highway 101, stated that his market value went up 12% and his taxes went up 50%.

Robert Thomasson, Mashkenode Lake, stated that the City portion of his taxes went up about 50%.

Richard Matyska, 5495 Coral Lane, stated that his market value went up 15% and his total tax bill went up 19.2% and his City portion of his taxes went up 48%. 

At 6:55 p.m., it was moved by Nelson and supported by Prebeg to close the public hearing and reconvene the regular meeting. The motion carried.

During the public forum, Dave Fazio, 5660 Falcon Avenue, was present and asked if the Council was going to act on his request to waive his sump pump fines. The Mayor said that the Council has been advised to not take action on the matter because it is pending litigation. Mr. Fazio made no further comments.

During the Mayor�s report, the Mayor updated the Council regarding the meeting held on November 29, 2005 with Canadian National Officials regarding the train whistle blowing (Quiet Zones) and congestion and blockage on Unity Drive. The Mayor said that if a Quiet Zone was established it would have to be a joint effort of the City of Mountain Iron (crossing on Unity Drive); Saint Louis County (crossing on County Road 102) and the City of Virginia (crossing on Southern Drive) The Mayor said that the cost to upgrade the crossings would be $200,000 to establish the Quiet Zone. The City Administrator said that the City should consider having a supporting brief prepared on the issue due to the court action with the City of Orr. 

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Irish to have Resolution Number 40-05, Street Assessment Policy, referred back to the Street and Alley Committee for further study and a recommendation. The motion carried.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Prebeg to authorize a contribution to the Senior Citizens Club for their New Year�s Eve Party in the amount of $100 with the funds expended from the General Fund. The motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Irish to authorize payment request number four in the amount of $53,621.70 to Lenci Enterprises for the Library Improvement Project. The motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.

Councilor Roskoski questioned the Administrator regarding a check presentation from Rural Development at the Mountain Iron Library at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 8, 2005. The Administrator said that this was scheduled to be completed. The Mayor said that he would be attending the presentation. Councilor Roskoski said that he would also be there. 

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Nelson to change the award of the bid for the one ton cab and chassis from Elk River Ford to Lundgren Motors in the amount of $25,297.80. The motion carried on the following roll call vote: Roskoski, no; Prebeg, yes; Nelson, yes; Irish, no; and Skalko, yes.

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Skalko to authorize the purchase and installation of one snow plow and dump body for the one ton cab and chassis from Lundgren Motors in the amount of $13,189.00. The motion carried on the following roll call vote: Prebeg, yes; Nelson, yes; Irish, yes; Roskoski, no; and Skalko, yes.

Councilor Roskoski asked the Director of Public Works when the City would be selling the truck that the City wanted to trade-in on the 2006 One Ton Truck. The Director of Public Works stated that the City could sell it through Lundgren Motors on consignment, call for sealed bids, or sell it at the Saint Louis County Auction.

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Nelson to adopt the 2006 Enterprise Fund Budgets as present, (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes) and direct the Utility Advisory Board to develop a plan of action to implement new rates for the water and sewer enterprise funds. The motion carried.

Councilor Roskoski questioned the Director of Public Works regarding how the apartment buildings are charged for utilities. The Director of Public Works stated that the apartment buildings are all metered and charged a commercial rate and the garbage charges are based on the volume generated.

Councilor Irish questioned the Director of Public Works regarding some of the street lights on Eagle Avenue. The Director of Public Works said that there is no longer power in the area he is requesting the street light. The Director of Public Works said that he would bring the street light request back to the Utility Advisory Board for a recommendation. 

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Irish to accept the recommendation of the Parks and Recreation Board and hire the following 2005-2006 winter/seasonal workers:

NAME POSITION

Barry Rosier Day Labor

PRIMARY RINK ATTENDANTS

Anthony Draze Rink Attendant

Samatha LaKosky Rink Attendant

Kathleen O�Malley Rink Attendant

Andy Prebeg Rink Attendant

Joshua Rowe Rink Attendant

Charles Hultunen Rink Attendant

David Niska Rink Attendant

FILL-IN AS NEEDED (UNDER 16 YEARS OF AGE-HOURS RESTRICTED)

Garrett Niska Rink Attendant

Jonathan Niska Rink Attendant

Edward Niska Rink Attendant

SUBSTITUTE

Marianne Nanti Rink Attendant

The motion carried.

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Skalko to authorize the City to advertise with KRBT (1340 AM) the Mountain Iron boy�s and girls� basketball games for the 2005-2006 season at a cost of $500 for 11 games. The motion carried on the following roll call vote: Nelson, no; Irish, yes; Roskoski, yes; Prebeg, yes; and Skalko, yes.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Nelson to authorize the Blight Officer to contact the City Attorney and Saint Louis County Sheriff�s Department regarding the lot owned by Country Wide Homes in Kinross to check on the legalities as to what the City can do with the site. The motion carried.

The Recreation Director updated the Council regarding the meeting held with the South Grove residents regarding the playground equipment for the South Grove Park. The Recreation Director said that the City would save $2,000 if the equipment were purchase in 2005. He said that a recommendation would be submitted for the next regular meeting. 

The Blight Officer advised the Council that he spoke with the City Attorney and they are developing a plan of action with regard to P & H MinePro.

Councilor Roskoski asked the City Engineer how the area of Spruce Drive, between Aspen Lane and County Road 7, got paid. According to the City Engineer, the Contractor that completed the work never submitted a bill for the project. Councilor Roskoski stated that the area still does not work like it was suppose to.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Irish, that to be consistent with what other community members are required to do, that Valvoline Instant Oil Change of Plaza 53 West, be billed the standard $25 per month for the six winter months, as noted in City Ordinance for Winter sump pump water being disposed of down the City sanitary sewer. The motion failed with Councilor Prebeg, Councilor Nelson, and Mayor Skalko voting no.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Irish that the following notice be mailed out to all property owners who are on the City list that their property is not in sump pump compliance. With the letter stating something like this, “You may have slab construction under your home or business, thus you may not need or have a sump pump and you may be paying a fee of $25 per month for something you do not have. Please contact the City of Mountain Iron at 748-7570 to schedule an inspection appointment. If we do not hear from you shortly, we will try and contact you to schedule an appointment.” After further discussion, Councilor Roskoski withdrew the motion and Councilor Irish withdrew his support.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Prebeg to adopt the 2006 budget with the adjustments to Capital Improvements, (a copy of the 2006 budgets is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried with Councilor Irish and Roskoski voting no.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Nelson to adopt Resolution Number 41-05, approving the 2005 tax levy, collectable in 2006, (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried with Councilor Irish and Roskoski voting no.

It was moved by Nelson and supported by Prebeg to adopt Resolution Number 42-05, approving 2006 market rate based referendum levy for the general obligation community center bonds and interest, (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Prebeg to adopt the 2006 through 2010 Capital Improvement Plan. The motion carried with Councilor Roskoski voting no.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Skalko to accept the resignation of Dori Bergman from the Utility Advisory Board and forward her the standard letter of appreciation. The motion carried.

It was the consensus of the Council to place “Advertise for Open Board Positions” on the December 19, 2005, City Council agenda.

It was moved by Nelson and supported by Skalko to allow Councilor Irish and Councilor Roskoski to meet with the City of Virginia to negotiate a better arrangement between the two Cities�s for the funding of the reconstruction of 16th Avenue. The motion carried.

The Council questioned the City Engineer regarding the “Quiet Zones” for railroad crossings. The Engineer stated that quad arms would need to be installed or the City could utilize the existing arms and install a concrete median so traffic can not pass through the intersection.

During the open discussion, Councilor Roskoski said that in the November 20th Mesabi Daily News there was a story about governor candidates and he noticed that the Mountain Iron Mayor had endorsed one of the candidates. Councilor Roskoski felt that this is inappropriate for a council member to do this, they should only do this as a private person. The Mayor stated this country has a constitution and in that is included the Bill of Rights. The Mayor stated that as an individual, he can endorse anyone he would like to. The Mayor stated that he never said that the City of Mountain Iron endorses any candidate. The Mayor stated that Councilor Irish and Councilor Roskoski were passing out notices to residents of South Grove and Downtown Mountain Iron regarding the proposed logging project and they were doing this as individuals. Councilor Roskoski stated that they distributed this information as Council members. 

At 8:42 p.m., it was moved by Nelson and supported by Prebeg that the meeting be adjourned. The motion carried with Councilors Irish and Roskoski voting no.

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