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City of Mountain Iron, Minnesota



Meeting Minutes for February 07, 2005

MOUNTAIN IRON CITY COUNCIL

FEBRUARY 7, 2005

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; and Don Kleinschmidt, Director of Public Works.

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

Add the following items to the agenda:

VI. J. 1. Council Liaison Reports

III. 2. Justin Kochar, Fire Department Training

3. Brian Morgan, Sump Pump Issue

IV. A. 1. Prebeg Memorial Snowmobile Run Request for Assistance

Approve the minutes of the January 18, 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 January 16-31, 2005, totaling $145,572.24, (a list is attached and made a part of these minutes).

To authorize the payments of the bills and payroll for the period January 16-31, 2005, totaling $317,836.83, (a list is attached and made a part of these minutes).

The motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.

During the public forum, Tom Micheletti, CEO from Excelsior Energy, was available to answer questions regarding the proposed Development Agreement between Excelsior Energy and the City of Mountain Iron. Mr. Micheletti stated that he appreciated all of the efforts made by the City with their interest in the project. Mr. Micheletti said that the capital cost of the project would be approximately $1 billion and would create 1,000 construction jobs and 150-200 new jobs per unit built. He further stated that construction on the project would begin in 2006 and be completed in 2010.

At 6:57 p.m., Larry Nanti, Recreation Director, entered the meeting.

Also during the public forum, Justin Kochar, Training Officer for the Mountain Iron Volunteer Fire Department was present and requested Council authorization for four Fire Department members to attend four quarterly meetings of the Arrowhead Regional Firefighters Association to be held in Hermantown, International Falls, Chisholm, and Mountain Iron at a cost of $15 per member plus mileage. He also requested that the Council authorize one or two members to attend the Annual Arson Investigation Conference in St. Cloud at a cost of $887 per person. The Mayor requested that more detailed cost information be submitted by the Fire Department regarding the meetings and conferences to be included in a future Council packet for further consideration.

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Roskoski to authorize the Mountain Iron Volunteer Fire Department to send up to three members for training on February 12, 2005, in Chisholm at a cost of $15.00 per person plus mileage. And further, have future requests for training submitted earlier for Council consideration. The motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.

Also during the public forum, Brian Morgan was present and requested Council consideration concerning the fee of $25 per month for the seasonal waiver for the sump pump ordinance. He felt that the $25 per month was excessive considering that the monthly sewer fee is $11.50 per month. Councilor Prebeg advised the Council that Mr. Morgan received a temporary seasonal waiver, not a permanent waiver, to accommodate his hardship. Councilor Prebeg said that the Utility Advisory Board approved of the temporary seasonal waiver to accommodate his hardship. The Mayor said that he would like the Utility Advisory Board to give the City Council a recommendation regarding lowering the fees for the waivers. 

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Skalko to have the sump pump waiver and fine charge amounts to be referred to the Utility Advisory Board for a recommendation to the City Council. The motion carried with Councilor Irish voting no.

Also during the public forum, Wilbert Johnson was present and asked Councilor Irish if he had inquired with other Cities regarding the additional revenue fees they charged rather than only inquiring about Council wages. Mr. Johnson pointed out that the Christmas tree on Nichols Avenue was still lit and should be unplugged. The Director of Public Works said that the City Crew had not taken any Christmas decorations down yet. Mr. Johnson also asked the Blight Officer how the blight ordinance revisions were coming. The Blight Officer said that the first meeting to review the ordinance was held on February 7, 2005. 

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Prebeg to move forward with the Excelsior Energy Project, forward the project information to the Economic Development Authority for further review, obtain costs estimates for the items proposed in the development agreement, and to work with State and County Officials, and U. S. Steel Representatives, to assist with the project, but to proceed cautiously. 

At 7:44 p.m., Councilor Roskoski left the meeting.

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

The motion carried with Councilor Nelson voting no.

Councilor Prebeg suggested having a joint meeting with Tom Micheletti, Excelsior Energy, the Economic Development Authority, and the City Council. Larry P. Johnson, President of the Economic Development Authority, suggested also having Attorney Skala, the County Assessor, the Public Works Director, and the City Engineer attend the meeting. 

The City Council reviewed the financial statement for the Range Recreation Center as prepared by Curl Mesabi Incorporated. 

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Irish to donate $100 to the Mark “Bush” Prebeg Memorial Snowmobile Run fundraiser designated for the diabetic fund. The motion carried on the following roll call vote: Irish, yes; Roskoski, yes; Prebeg, abstain; Nelson, yes; and Skalko, yes.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Skalko to authorize the Director of Public Works and the Sheriff�s Department to assist in the Mark “Bush� Prebeg Memorial Snowmobile Run by providing traffic control on Highway 169 and leveling some snowbanks for easier travel for the snowmobiles. The motion carried.

The Mayor reported that the Downtown Committee Meeting held on February 2, 2005, was attended by about 35 people to discuss Chemical Awareness and Neighborhood Crime Prevention.

The Council reviewed the St. Louis County Land Department property sale of tax forfeited land located within Mountain Iron. The Council took no further action regarding the matter.

It was moved by Nelson and supported by Prebeg to authorize the Director of Public Works to attend the Minnesota Onsite Wastewater Conference at a cost of $195.00. And further to authorize the reimbursement for mileage, if necessary, and meals. The motion carried on the following roll call vote: Roskoski, no; Prebeg, yes; Nelson, yes; Irish, no; and Skalko, yes.

The Council discussed the broadcast of City Council meetings on Public Access Channel 5 at a cost of approximately $100. The Mayor said that this was not budgeted for in the 2005 budget. The Council took no further action regarding the matter. 

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Irish to authorize the Recreation Director to advertisement in the Mesabi Daily News Special Edition 2005 at an approximate cost of $300. The motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.

It was moved by Nelson and supported by Prebeg to accept the recommendation of the City Engineer and authorize payment request number four to Hardrives Incorporation in the amount of $978.55 for the 2004 Street Overlay Project. The motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.

It was moved by Nelson and supported by Skalko to direct the City Administrator to set a public hearing for the JOBZ designation for Precision Testing Incorporated for the second City Council meeting in March. The motion carried.

At 8:28 p.m., Councilor Prebeg left the meeting.

It was moved by Nelson and supported by Skalko to adopt Ordinance 02-05, Amending Chapter 22 of the Mountain Iron City Code, (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried with Councilor Prebeg absent and Councilor Irish voting no.

At 8:32 p.m., Councilor Prebeg returned to the meeting.

It was moved by Irish and supported by Roskoski to update people with the attached two pages regarding callout procedures, (copies are attached and made a part of these minutes), regarding the language of the union agreement and hours of work and the paper for Minnesota Power after hours dispatch procedure for call outs and including what is stated on there and the list of action items, which is the procedure according to the union contract, that will have six items on it for a form to be developed with the procedures taking effective immediately. The motion carried with Councilors Prebeg and Nelson voting no.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Irish with regard to work at Locomotive Park, that the specification on pages 31, 32, 33, & 34 of the February 7, 2005, City Council packet be used as the guide for the improvements, with different City Administrative Staff coordinating the project to have City Employees complete all of the work except for the paving. The start date will be as soon as the frost is out of the ground, weather permitting, with a completion date being 30, weather permitting, working days. Councilors Roskoski and Irish will be designated as the City Council Liaisons for the project. There will be some deviation from the specifications listed. One deviation would be the curb section on page 33 regarding the gutter being even with the existing paving; it would have to be 1� inches higher than the present street paving, to allow for the new asphalt that would be placed on top. And further, to have a proper size and thickness pad with an all weather drinking fountain to be installed by the trail head entrance area and connected. The motion carried on the following roll call vote: Irish, yes; Roskoski, yes; Prebeg, no; Nelson, no; and Skalko, yes.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Prebeg to forward the proposed revision to the City of Mountain Iron Street Lighting Policy to the Utility Advisory Board for a recommendation to the City Council. The motion carried.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Skalko to direct City Staff to submit a Mineland Reclamation funding request for the entrance area by the intersection of Quartz Street and Mineral Avenue to have the area cleared, install a “Welcome to Downtown Mountain Iron” sign and have some mining equipment placed on the site. And further, submit another Mineland Reclamation funding request to have new fencing purchased and installed around the entire Locomotive Park/Mesabi Trail Head area beginning at the USX Corporation pump house gate going around the park to the intersection of Locomotive Street and Marble Avenue and repair and replace the sidewalk that is behind the fence to be used for the Mesabi Trail. And further, submit another Mineland Reclamation funding request for the ATV Trail System in the amount of $50,000 for the area through Parkville or by the West II Rivers Campground. The motion carried with Nelson voting no.

At 8:59 p.m., Mayor Skalko called a five minute recess.

At 9:03 p.m., Mayor Skalko reconvened the meeting. Councilor Prebeg was not present.

At 9:04 p.m., Councilor Prebeg returned to the meeting.

It was moved by Nelson and supported by Irish to adopt Resolution Number 04-05, Authorizing an Agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried.

It was moved by Nelson and supported by Prebeg to adopt Resolution Number 05-05, providing for the issuance, sale and delivery of $1,670,000 General Obligation Crossover Refunding Bonds, Series 2005A, of the City of Mountain Iron, Minnesota; establishing the terms and conditions therefore; directing their execution and delivery; creating an escrow account and a debt service account therefore; and awarding the sale thereof, (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Skalko to approve the Mesabi Humane Society Contract, (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried.

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Roskoski to approve the 2005 Site Agreement with the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency Incorporated, (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Irish to accept the scope of work and authorize the execution of the contract with Damberg, Scott, Gerzina, and Wagner Architects for the 2005 Library Renovations. The motion carried on the following roll call vote: Prebeg, no; Nelson, no; Irish, yes; Roskoski, yes; and Skalko, yes.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Irish to authorize payment of the 2005 appropriations in the amount of $1,250 each to Greenwood Cemetery Association and Calvary Cemetery Association. The motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.

The Council reviewed the request from the City of Virginia asking the City of Mountain Iron to contribute $12,500 for the construction of an office building addition for Calvary Cemetery Association. The Council took no further action regarding this request. 

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Irish, that as far as snow plowing is concerned, that schedules and routes be established to plow roads, streets, and alleys where there are residents living full-time and where businesses operate full-time and those roads, streets and alleys be plowed first before City Staff plows roads in the Mashkenode Lake area, because no one lives in that area. The motion carried with Councilors Prebeg and Nelson voting no.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Skalko to reschedule the next regular City Council meeting for Tuesday, February 22, 2005, at 6:30 p.m. in the Mountain Iron Room, with the Housing and Redevelopment Authority meeting at 6:00 p.m. The motion carried.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Skalko to direct City Staff to add Council Liaison Reports to the City Council meeting agenda. The motion carried with Councilor Nelson voting no.

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Skalko to donate $100 to the 18th Annual All-Night Chemical Free Graduation Party for the Mountain Iron-Buhl Class of 2005. The motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.

During the open discussion, Councilor Nelson expressed concern with the proposed Hotel project in the City of Duluth by establishing a tax increment financing district for funding. He said that this could be a significant negative impact on cities in the area. 

Also during the open discussion, Councilor Roskoski discussed the anticipated retirement of the Assistant Librarian. The City Administrator said that the City had not yet received a letter from the Assistant Librarian advising the City that she will be retiring. 

Also during the open discussion, Councilor Roskoski advised the City Council that the Street and Alley Committee met again with the Virginia Street and Alley Committee to discuss 16th Avenue. Councilor Roskoski said that the City of Virginia wants all of 16th Avenue to be reconstructed as a nine ton all weather street.

Also during the open discussion, Councilor Roskoski said that a meeting was held today to discuss the noise and odor issues by the Wastewater Treatment Plant. Councilor Roskoski said that there were some solutions for the noise issues discussed. It was the consensus of the Council to have the Wastewater Treatment Plant noise abatement on the next City Council agenda.

Also during the open discussion, Councilor Prebeg questioned whether the City Council would be meeting jointly with the Economic Development Authority to discuss the Excelsior Energy proposal. Larry P. Johnson, President of the Economic Development Authority, felt that time was of the essence to have both boards meet. The City Administrator said that he would set up a meeting.

At 9:43 p.m., it was moved by Roskoski and supported by Skalko that the meeting be adjourned. The motion carried.

COMMUNICATIONS

Mountain Iron-Buhl Class of 2005, requesting a donation for the Annual All-Night Chemical Free Graduation Party.

Mountain Iron-Buhl CLOSE UP Program, forwarding a thank you for the contribution.

League of Minnesota Cities, forwarding the January 28, 2005 Friday Fax.

Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, forwarding the January 28, 2005, Brief.

Small Cities Update, February 1, 2005.

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