The Taconite Capital of the World

City of Mountain Iron, Minnesota

Meeting Minutes for January 18, 2011

JANUARY 18, 2011

Mayor Skalko called the City Council meeting to order at 6:31 p.m. with the following members present: Joe Prebeg, Jr., Tony Zupancich, Susan Tuomela, Ed Roskoski, and Mayor Gary Skalko. Also present were: Craig J. Wainio, City Administrator; Jill M. Anderson, Municipal Services Secretary; Don Kleinschmidt, Director of Public Works; Sam Aluni, City Attorney; and John Backman, Sergeant.

It was moved by Skalko and seconded by Prebeg that the consent agenda be approved as follows:

1. Add the following item to the agenda:
VI. D. Change meeting dates for February Council meetings.

2. Approve the minutes of the January 3, 2011, regular meeting as submitted.

3. To acknowledge the receipts for the period January 1-15, 2011, totaling $176,094.57, (a list is attached and made a part of these minutes).

4. To authorize the payments of the bills and payroll for the period January 1-15, 2011, totaling $397,426.33, (a list is attached and made a part of these minutes).

The motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.

No one spoke during the public forum.

The Mayor commented on the following items:

– Mountain Iron Fire Department. Thanked the department for their assistance with the house fire in Virginia on January 14, 2011. He said that 13 of the Mountain Iron Fire Department members responded. He said that mutual aid is an important part of the Fire Department.
– Tucson Tragedy. He said that the tragedy in Tucson has affected everyone. He said that his thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families. 

The Mayor gave his “State of the City” address:

– “State of the City” address summary:
1. The City is in excellent financial condition.
a. Reserves are solid, despite losing $800,000 in the past two years from State Aid and Taconite Aid. 
b. The 2011 Budget was balanced and there would be no levy increase.
2. Economic Development in 2010, new businesses that provided 70 new jobs and increased the tax base by $1,500,000.
a. Perkins Restaurant
b. Lakehead Construction 
c. St. Luke’s Laurentian Clinic

3. New Home Construction for 2010, increasing the tax base by $1,000,000.
a. Five building permits were applied for in Mountain Iron with four of those homes being constructed in Unity Second Addition. 
4. New Housing Development.
a. South Forest Grove, 20 City lots available with blacktopped roads, and City sewer, water, and electric utilities. Four lots have been sold to date.
5. Miscellaneous Information:
a. Geographic Changes. In the Parkville area there were a number of properties that have been purchased by U. S. Steel Corporation.
b. New City Projects completed in 2010:
1. West Virginia. Ballfield constructed.
2. Ann’s Acres. New playground equipment installed.
3. Wolf. An upgrade to the ballfield, with grant funding. 
4. Locomotive Park. Various improvements. This project should be completed in 2011. Parts of the expenses were paid for by grant funding.
c. Park and Recreation Board. A thank you for serving the Community.
d. Fire Department. A thank you to the 20 members now serving the City on the Fire Department, including three new women members. Also, a thank you to the nine First Responders. Thank you to the Fire Department Officers during the transition in 2010.
e. Silicon Energy Plant. The plant is planned to be open in March or April of 2011. This is the first plant of this type in the State of Minnesota. Also, the plant would create 20 new full-times jobs and increase the City’s tax base by $3,000,000.
f. Solar Panels. The City received a $150,000 grant to install solar panels on a public building. 
g. Thank you. He thanked Craig Wainio, the Economic Development Authority, and the Planning and Zoning Commission for all of the economic development projects that they have worked on in 2010.
6. Tentative Projects for 2011, depending on State Aid allocations.
a. Completion of Locomotive Park with possible assistance from grant funding.
b. Parks. Possible upgrades being considered.
c. Street Improvements. Possible upgrades to some City streets.
d. City Buildings. Minor improvements to the Fire Hall and Library buildings.
e. Drainage Study. Money has been designated to conduct a drainage study in the West Virginia/Westgate area.
7. Conclusion. The Mayor said that 2010 was a good year and he was looking forward to working with the Council, Staff, City Employees, and members of the Boards and Commission, to continue to make Mountain Iron a better place to live and work in 2011. 

Councilor Roskoski wanted to recognize the Civic Association for their work in obtaining funding for the canopy over the locomotive in Locomotive Park. He recognized Ray Saari, Co-Chair; Bernadette Suomi, Treasurer; Kathy Irish, Secretary; Ted Newberg, member; Vi Newberg, member; William Buria, member; and Dale Irish, member. Also, a thank you to Benchmark Engineering for assisting with the expertise and planning for the canopy project. Also, a thank you to Iron Range Resource Culture and Tourism Board for the funding. 

It was moved by Skalko and seconded by Zupancich to appoint Tim Johnston, to replace Jim Giorgi, on the Planning and Zoning Commission, with his term expiring on December 31, 2013. The motion carried with Roskoski and Tuomela voting no.

It was moved by Skalko and seconded by Prebeg to appoint Susan Tuomela as the Council Liaison to the Library Board. The motion carried.

It was moved by Roskoski and seconded by Zupancich to authorize Craig J. Wainio, City Administrator, as the designee to oversee, monitor, accept responsibility and evaluate the “non-audit services” for the City of Mountain Iron for the 2010 audit. The motion carried.

Councilor Roskoski questioned the City Attorney regarding a fundraiser/raffle for the Merritt Days Committee. The City Attorney and the City Administrator said that the Merritt Days Committee is not under the direct sponsorship of the City, so the City would not be liable for the fundraising event that they want to conduct.

The City Attorney advised the Council that a proposed ordinance would be presented to the Council for authorization to allow a local restaurant to sell strong beer with their wine and 3.2 beer license. 

It was moved by Prebeg and seconded by Tuomela to appoint Michael Dundas to fill the Operator position effective immediately. The motion carried.

During the Liaison Reports, Councilor Roskoski questioned Tony Zupancich, Liaison for the Economic Development Authority (EDA), regarding comments made in the EDA minutes about land acquisitions for housing. Councilor Zupancich said that the EDA was looking for suitable property along Highway 7 to add housing in the City.

It was moved by Zupancich and seconded by Tuomela to approve the Pay Equity Report, as submitted. The motion carried.

The Council reviewed the request of the Range Trail Committee. The Director of Public Works said that the Park and Recreation Board would be looking into developing a snowmobile route through Mountain Iron. 

It was moved by Zupancich and seconded by Roskoski to authorize the payment of $4,500 to the Greenwood Cemetery Association for their 2011 allocation. The motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.
It was moved by Prebeg and seconded by Tuomela to change the February 7, 2011, meeting date to Wednesday, February 2, 2011, at 6:30 p.m. The motion carried.

It was moved by Prebeg and seconded by Tuomela to change the February 21, 2011 meeting date to Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. The motion carried.

At 7:23 p.m., it was moved by Skalko and seconded by Zupancich that the meeting be adjourned. The motion carried.

Submitted by:

Jill M. Anderson, CMC
Municipal Services Secretary

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