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City of Mountain Iron, Minnesota



Meeting Minutes for February 01, 1999

MOUNTAIN IRON CITY COUNCIL MEETING

The meeting was called to order at 6:30 p.m. by Mayor Brunfelt with the following members present: Carolyn Olsen, Stephen Skogman, Joe Matanich, and Mayor Mitchell Brunfelt. Absent member included: Curt Piri. Also present were: Craig J. Wainio, City Administrator; Jill M. Forseen, Deputy Clerk; Don Kleinschmidt, Director of Public Works; Larry Nanti, Recreation Director; Joe Stewart, Sergeant; and Greg French, City Engineer.

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

1. Add the following item to the agenda:

VI. I. Lease Renewal for the Wolf Playground

2. Approve the minutes of the January 19, 1999, regular meeting as submitted.

3. Approve the minutes of the January 25, 1999, special meeting as submitted.

4. 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.

5. Authorize the payment of the bills and payroll for the period January 16-31, 1999, totaling $214,654.26, (a list is attached and made a part of these minutes).

6. Acknowledge the receipts for the period January 16-31, 1999, totaling $195,026.75, (a list is attached and made a part of these minutes).

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

During the public forum, the Mayor informed the residents that were present to make comments regarding the Ramondo Conditional Use Permit that the permit was not going to be discussed until the February 16, 1999 meeting when the City Attorney is present.

During the public forum, Pete Cerkvenik addressed Councilor Skogman regarding comments made that the City has been stagnant. He said that he was insulted by this comment. He said that Karlo Otava and Frank Cerkvenik had the vision to buy 40 acres of swamp and turn it into the Enterprise Zone.

The following people spoke during the public forum:

Pete Cerkvenik-said that there has been a lot of discussion regarding the Community Center. He had the following questions regarding the Council�s decision regarding the Community Center Complex:

1) What does the taxpayer get from this decision?

2) What services and what taxes will the taxpayer pay?

3) Is the Council doing what is best for the taxpayer?

4) Have the taxpayers been fully informed?

5) Has the Council made it clear to the taxpayers what the options are?

6) Has the City Staff found any in-kind services for the completion of the Community Center project as directed by the City Council?

7) In the decision to move the City Hall building, did the Council consider closing the second floor and completing the minimum amount of handicapped accessibility that would be needed?

8) What is going to happen to the Library regarding accessibility?

9) Why is so much electric utility money being used for this new City Hall complex?

10) Have the electric customers been asked if they want to contribute to this building or get a rebate?

11) Why can�t the Community Center be constructed west of the ball field leaving the ball field in tact?

12) Why were the utilities put to the Community Center site before the City knew if the soils were compatible to have a building constructed there?

Allison Wiitala-expressed her comments and concerns regarding the Community Center proposal. She had the following questions of the Council regarding the proposed complex:

1) Will the community center be accessible to the youth without discrimination?

2) How is the Council going to have a combined Youth Room and City Council Chambers?

3) Will the ballfield be eliminated? Will another baseball field be built to replace this one? When will the ball field be playable?

Ed Roskoski-spoke and asked whether the City Council meeting notices were being published? The Deputy Clerk said that all meeting notices were faxed to the Mesabi Daily News, but they do not always publish them.

Ted Newberg-questioned the legality of the special meeting held on January 25, 1999. The Mayor said that the special meeting was a legal meeting and officially set on January 19, 1999, and the agenda stated that the Council would be considering options for the Community Center.

Councilor Olsen asked the Mayor whether the action taken on January 25, 1999 was allowed because the agenda stated discussion of options for the Community Center. The Mayor said that the Council could take action at the meeting because it was a special meeting not a committee-of-the-whole meeting. The Mayor said that the Council was operating under severe deadlines for the construction of the community center.

Karen Luoma-said that the Council had discussed everything except the library. The Mayor said that the library does have accessibility problems and there have been discussions with the Mountain Iron-Buhl School Superintendent to address this issue. They have discussed the possibility of constructing a joint library with the Mountain Iron-Buhl School District and the City of Mountain Iron adjacent to the Merritt Elementary building. The Mayor said that there would be more funding available if a joint project was completed. He said that this is only in the discussion stages of the project. The Mayor assured the Librarian that the Council would allow input from the Library Board, the Librarians, and the public.

Ozzie Rudlong-questioned why people were not informed of the proposals from City Staff prior to the special meeting. The Mayor said that he came to the meeting to take action on the Community Center issue.

Councilor Matanich-said that at the special meeting he thought the vote was going to be taken on the two options presented at the January 19, 1999 meeting regarding the size of the community center. Then, for the special meeting a list of seven other options was presented and he stopped the vote to further discuss the options that were presented. Councilor Matanich said that he wants the project to proceed so construction can be started this year. He said that the Council could change the direction of the action if several issues are not resolved, i.e. land acquisition, bid prices, etc.

Councilor Skogman-said that his impression at the meeting held on January 19, 1999, was that the Council asked staff to come up with $1.3 million to build a building. He said that at the January 25, 1999 meeting, the Council was to pick an option from the list and make a decision to keep the project on schedule.

Burrell Kubacki-said that when the referendum vote was taken on the community building, the city hall was not included in the proposals and now things have changed.

Mayor Brunfelt informed the public that the plans for the building will be presented to the City Council in about one month and the bids will be opened sometime in April with construction beginning in the Spring. The Mayor said that he appreciated all of the input from the public regarding the issue, but the comments were made after the action was taken. He said that two public hearings were previously held regarding this issue.

Ed Roskoski-asked the Council how much it would cost to have the City Hall remodeled? He also asked what was going to be put into the present City Hall. The Mayor said that he would like to see the Civic Association come up with some uses for the City Hall building.

Ozzie Rudlong-asked the Council when the referendum went through this was for only a Community Center, how does this justify adding the City Hall to this building? She also questioned why the Architects were rushing the City to make a decision regarding the building. The Mayor said that the funds are sitting in the bank and action had to be taken so construction could begin in the Spring. The City Administrator informed the audience that the bonded funds had to be used within a certain period of time.

Allison Wiitala asked the Council if her questions were going to be answered. The Mayor said that the ballfield would be replaced and it would be a better ballfield. The Mayor said that the Youth Center would be in place with the plan that the Council has approved.

Larry Johnson spoke on behalf of the Civic Association, he said that the Association was concerned with the effect on the Downtown Area and remaining businesses with the City Hall closing. The Civic Association felt that it was the function of the Housing and Redevelopment Authority to work to put a use to the present City Hall.

It was moved by Matanich and supported by Skogman to appoint Barb Fivecoate to the Planning and Zoning Commission to fill the unexpired term of Rusty Knuti with the term expiring on December 31, 2000. The motion carried.

It was moved by Skogman and supported by Matanich to re-schedule the February 15, 1999 meeting to Tuesday, February 16, 1999, at 6:30 p.m., due to the President�s Day holiday. The motion carried.

It was moved by Skogman and supported by Olsen to set the Board of Review meeting for Tuesday, May 11, 1999, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Mountain Iron City Hall, Council Chambers. The motion carried.

It was moved by Brunfelt and supported by Skogman to approve the modification to the cellular phone policy as recommended by Staff and refund the deposits paid with interest, (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried.

It was moved by Skogman and supported by Matanich to approve Resolution #02-99, authorizing the sale of certain property, (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried.

At 7:35 p.m., Councilor Curt Piri entered the meeting.

It was moved by Skogman and supported by Matanich to approve the Independent Contractor Insurance Requirements, (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried.

The Council tabled the request from the Regional Rail Authority and asked staff to request Robert Manzoline to attend the next regular meeting.

It was moved by Piri and supported by Olsen to approve Resolution #03-99, bank authorization, (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried.

It was moved by Skogman and supported by Matanich to authorize City Staff to approach the State Highway Department to begin the process of opening the intersection by Merritt School, on Highway 169. The motion carried.

It was moved by Skogman and supported by Olsen to approve the extension of lease 794 with U. S. Steel Group for the Wolf Playground. The motion carried.

The Council reviewed the list of communications.

The City Administrator encouraged the Council to call Representative Rukavina regarding repealing the sales tax on local government purchases.

During the open discussion, Councilor Skogman said that he had been receiving several complaints on parking problems by the U. S. Steel Career Development Center and Joni’s Store. The Sergeant said that he would look into the complaints.

The Mayor reminded the Council of the following meetings:

Quad City Alliance, Wednesday, February 3, 1999 at 6:30 p.m. at the Range Recreation Civic Center

Quad City Alliance, February 16, 1999 at 11:00 a.m. at the Northern Lights Steak and Grill

Visioning Workshop, Friday, 6:00 p.m. and Saturday, 8:30 a.m. February 5th & 6th, 1999, at the Mountain Iron City Hall

Mountain Iron-Buhl School Board meeting with the City Council in attendance on Tuesday, February 2, 1999, at 5:15 p.m.

At 7:52 p.m., it was moved by Piri and supported by Skogman that the meeting be adjourned. The motion carried.

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