The Taconite Capital of the World

City of Mountain Iron, Minnesota



Meeting Minutes for June 07, 2004

MOUNTAIN IRON CITY COUNCIL

JUNE 7, 2004

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; Don Kleinschmidt, Director of Public Works; Larry Nanti, Director of Parks and Recreation; Karen Luoma, Librarian; Joe Stewart, Sheriffs Sergeant; and Rod Flannigan, City Engineer (entering at 6:35 p.m.).

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

Add the following items to the agenda:

IV. D. 1. a. Temporary On-Sale Liquor License for Merritt Days

VI. O. Resolution #26-04 Supporting Excelsior Energy

Approve the minutes of the May 17, 2004, 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 May 1-15, 2004, totaling $92,864.89, (a list is attached and made a part of these minutes).

To authorize the payment of the bills and payroll for the period May 1-15, 2004, totaling $302,678.32, (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 on the JOBZ Business Subsidy Policy. The motion carried.

The City Administrator explained that the policy covering the state JOBZ Project is in the City Council packet beginning on page 18. He stated that part of the statute that authorizes the JOBZ or Tax Free Zones requires the City to have a specific policy.

Councilor Roskoski questioned the City Administrator regarding who prepared the policy. The Administrator said that the policy came from the State and ARDC. The Administrator said that the City Council will have control over the wage and job criteria.

Councilor Roskoski questioned the City authorizing the Economic Development Authority to act as its agent. The Administrator said that the Council will have the final decision on all JOBZ programs.

Councilor Irish asked if the City Attorney had reviewed the policy. The Administrator said that Mary Frances from the Fryberger, Buchanan Legal Firm in Duluth had reviewed the document. Councilor Irish said that he would like the City Attorney to review the document. 

Larry P. Johnson explained that the public hearing was just on the JOBZ program, anything approved for the program goes through the City Council.

At 6:50 p.m., it was moved by Nelson and supported by Prebeg to close the public hearing on the JOBZ Business Subsidy Policy and reconvene the regular meeting. The motion carried.

During the public forum, Dave Taus, the Mountain Iron-Buhl Girl�s Softball Coach, was present and advised the City Council that the Girl�s Softball Team would be traveling to the Region 7A State Tournament in Mankato on June 11th and 12th and he was requesting support from the Community. He also said that the School District is also working on starting a 14 year old and under softball program this summer. He was requesting the City to contribute $240 to pay to get into the Summer League.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Irish to authorize the payment of the $240 for the Summer League and authorize a donation of $150 to the Mountain Iron-Buhl Girl�s Softball State Tournament Team. After further discussion, Mayor Skalko amended his motion to authorize a donation of $150 donation for the Mountain-Iron Buhl Girl�s Softball State Tournament Team and direct the Parks and Recreation Board to make a recommendation regarding the donation to the Summer League and have the City Council reconsider the issue at the June 21st City Council meeting. Councilor Irish supported the amended motion. The amended motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Prebeg to allow the Merritt Day�s Committee to hold a Street Dance on Saturday, June 26, 2004 from 8:00 p.m. until midnight and that the beer garden area be guarded and enclosed with fencing with signage indicating that alcohol is only allowed in the beer gardens. The motion carried.

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Irish to approve the application and permit for a temporary on-sale liquor license for Chicagami for June 26 & 27, 2004 at the South Grove Softball Fields, 8766 Mud Lake Road, Mountain Iron pending final approval from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division. The motion carried. 

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Skalko to authorize the Recreation Director to advertise for the 4th of July and Merritt Days Celebration. The motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.

Mayor Skalko asked the Recreation Director when the Downtown Mountain Iron playground equipment would be installed. The Recreation Director said that the equipment should be delivered on June 16, 2004. 

The Recreation Director advised the Council that the Office of Jobs and Training would like to place a worker with the City of Mountain Iron, at no cost to the City. He said that the worker worked June 7, 2004 and worked out well. He said that the worker is from the Spirit Lake area and would be working here for eight weeks. The Council took no formal action on the matter.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Irish to direct City Staff, with regards to Locomotive Park, that the brush be cut down from around the inside of the hoist house foundation area and then the area inside be filled with any type of fill material available. And further, to direct City Staff to not damage the two apples trees to the east of the building foundation, with the project being completed by August 31, 2004. The motion carried.

Mayor Skalko questioned when the water and sewer line extension in Locomotive Park were going to be completed. The Director of Public Works said that the utility extension do not have anything to do with the construction of the bike trail. He said that the plans are set for the water and sewer lines at the Locomotive Park. 

Mayor Skalko and Councilor Prebeg updated the Council on the negotiations with the Mountain Iron-Buhl School District. The Mayor also thanked Larry P. Johnson for suggesting to the Council to have an appraisal completed on the school district property.

Mayor Skalko expressed concern regarding how the City assesses with regard to the sewer utilities. He felt that the assessments should be based on the number of connections and not by acreage. The Mayor requested the Director of Public Works to have the Utility Advisory Board review this policy. 

The Administrator reported that the City was awarded a grant of $3,500 from the Minnesota portion of the Federal Election Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities grant with the funding being used for polling place accessibility improvements.

Councilor Roskoski asked the Administrator if the City had received any Mineland Reclamation Grants. The Administrator said that the IRRRB had not notified the City of any grant award to date.

The Administrator advised the Council that the City Auditor will present the 2003 audit to the Council at either the June 21, 2004 or the first meeting in July.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Skalko to direct City Staff to formally request from U. S. Steel Corporation a shovel bucket with some teeth on it, a door, a 20-30 yard bucket, and have it delivered to the Wacootah Overlook. The motion carried.

Councilor Nelson expressed his gratitude to City Staff for good sound fiscal management shown by the upgrade in the Moody rating.

It was moved by Nelson and supported by Prebeg to accept the recommendation of the City Staff and award the crack sealing services to Northwest Asphalt Maintenance, Inc. based on their low quoted price of $0.549 per pound installed. The motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.

It was moved by Nelson and supported by Prebeg to authorize the City Staff to post the Main Street with “no parking” signs for June 10, 2004, to accommodate the Great River Bike Race. The motion carried.

Councilor Roskoski requested that the Director of Public Works have the Summer Staff clean up the area at the intersection of Marble Avenue and Locomotive Street, where there are taconite tailings and have the tailings placed in the area by the hoist house foundation. Councilor Roskoski asked the Recreation Director if the concrete area at Locomotive Park was swept. The Recreation Director advised him that the area was swept.

Councilor Irish questioned the Director of Public Works regarding the, more than usual, truck traffic on Grant Street. The Director of Public Works said that they have been opening up the areas where the water line breaks have occurred and are patching the areas.

Councilor Irish advised the Director of Public Works that the odor from the Wastewater Treatment Plant had been terrible again by his house.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Skalko to authorize the change order to raise the depressed area of Spruce Drive, between Aspen Lane and County Road 7, as presented by Benchmark Engineering in their memo dated May 27, 2004 in the amount of $2,873 to the 2004 Street Overlay Projects. The motion carried on the following roll call vote: Prebeg, no; Nelson, yes; Irish, yes; Roskoski, yes; and Skalko, yes.

The City Engineer advised the Council that the 2004 Street Paving Projects would be started on Monday, June 14, 2004, with Marion Lane and North Court being completed first. He said that the overlays would probably be completed at the end of June.

The Council requested the City Administrator to forward Resolution Number 25-04 to the City Attorney for review. And further, the Council requested that the resolution be placed on the June 21, 2004, City Council agenda.

It was moved by Nelson and supported by Prebeg to direct City Staff to change the Building Usage Policy to indicate that rummage sales and flea markets would no longer be allowed at the Community Center, effective immediately. The motion carried.

At 8:21 p.m., Councilor Roskoski left the meeting. 

At 8:23 p.m., Councilor Roskoski returned to the meeting.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Irish to appoint Jason Goehring, 5472 Park Drive, Mountain Iron, to the Mountain Iron Economic Development Authority with the term expiring on December 31, 2005. The motion carried.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Irish to appoint Barbara Fivecoate, 5422 Daisy Avenue, Mountain Iron, to the Mountain Iron Economic Development Authority, as the Planning and Zoning Commission Representative, with the term expiring on December 31, 2006. The motion carried with Councilor Nelson voting no.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Prebeg to appoint Allen Nelson, 8511 Cardinal Street, Mountain Iron, to the Mountain Iron Economic Development Authority, as a City Council Representative, with the term expiring on December 31, 2007. The motion carried.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Roskoski to appoint Dale Irish, 5425 Mineral Avenue, Mountain Iron, to the Mountain Iron Economic Development Authority, as a City Council Representative, with the term expiring on December 31, 2008. The motion carried.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Irish to appoint Larry P. Johnson, 5701 Marble Avenue, Mountain Iron, to the Mountain Iron Economic Development Authority with the term expiring on December 31, 2009. The motion carried.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Irish to appoint Mary Jacobsen, 8825 Highway 101, Mountain Iron, to the Mountain Iron Economic Development Authority with the term expiring on December 31, 2010. The motion carried.

It was moved Skalko and supported by Roskoski to appoint Anthony J. Zupancich, 8925 Highway 101, Mountain Iron, to the Mountain Iron Economic Development Authority, with the term expiring on December 31, 2010. The motion carried with Councilors Prebeg and Nelson voting no.

The Mayor directed the Administrator to notify those that were appointed to the Mountain Iron Economic Development Authority.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Irish to direct City Staff to publish a request for quotes in the Mesabi Daily News for tuck pointing and lintels for the Mountain Iron Library and present the quotes to the City Council at the first meeting in July. The motion carried with Councilors Prebeg and Nelson voting no.

Councilor Prebeg questioned how much funding had been spent on the Library building to bring it up to ADA compliance. He said that the Council has been upgrading the building, but there still is no elevator installed to comply with ADA. The Mayor said that the City still may receive a grant for the elevator or a loan could be obtained from Rural Development for the installation of the elevator.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Roskoski to direct the City Staff to obtain quotes for granular fill, mill feed or Class 5 to upgrade Spring Park Road and Heather Avenue for the short term, and have the quotes available for the first meeting in July. The motion carried with Councilors Prebeg and Nelson voting no.

The City Engineer said that their firm did look into grant funding options for Heather Avenue and there were no viable grants available to upgrade the drainage area.

Councilor Roskoski expressed concern regarding not enough information being submitted to the property owners for the public hearings. 

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Irish to direct the City Administrator to complete the following items for the State Library Grant:

1) Write a letter that states the City of Mountain Iron will provide the parking pad, lighting and signage,

2) provide a revised budget, and

3) pass a new or amended City Council resolution that includes the increased grant request and City match.

The motion carried with Nelson voting no.

It was moved by Irish and supported by Skalko to direct City Staff to re-apply for the Community Development Block Grant for the funding year 2005 for the installation of an elevator in the Mountain Iron Library for the maximum amount of $50,000. The motion carried with Councilor Nelson voting no.

The Mayor said he would contact Erik Wedge regarding parking for the handicapped in the back of the Library building.

At 9:12 p.m., Councilor Prebeg left the meeting.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Irish to direct City Staff to install a culvert with gravel dirt and do some cleaning and brushing for the Downtown Sliding Hill with the project completed by November 1, 2004. The motion carried with Councilor Prebeg absent.

At 9:15 p.m., Councilor Prebeg returned to the meeting.

It was moved by Irish and supported by Roskoski to direct City Staff to send a letter to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency inquiring if the City were to use any of the three old dump sites for recreational use, would the City be required to have the property cleaned up. And further, what the risk would be to the City in the future if the clean up was not completed. The motion carried.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Irish to obtain quotes for additional signage for Highway 169 reading “Historic Downtown Mountain Iron” be authorized, with Councilor Irish being the designated liaison with MN/DOT to complete this request. The motion carried with Councilor Nelson voting no.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Skalko to direct Benchmark Engineering, Inc. to explore various options and provide maps and projected costs for City sewer, City water, and paved street, with or without curbing, for the Spring Park Road area. And further, the City Council will schedule another public hearing when all of this information is available and explain to the residents what their assessment rates would be. The motion carried with Councilors Prebeg and Nelson voting no.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Irish to direct the Administrator to work with the City Engineer and the City of Virginia to inquire about a possible paving project for all or a portion of 16th Avenue. The motion carried with Councilors Prebeg and Nelson voting no.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Irish to direct the Administrator or the Director of Public Works to contact the Saint Louis County Engineer and inquire on the status of the improvements/repairs to County Road 761 between Old Highway 169 and New Highway 169. The motion carried with Councilor Nelson voting no.

It was moved by Nelson and supported by Prebeg to adopt Resolution Number 26-04, Supporting Excelsior Energy, (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried with Councilor Irish voting no.

During the open discussion, Councilor Prebeg inquired about the thank you letter received from the City of Aurora. He expressed his gratitude to the City Administrator and the Director of Public Works for offering their assistance to the City of Aurora.

Also during the open discussion, Councilor Irish inquired about the pager fees paid.

At 9:45 p.m., it was moved by Roskoski and supported by Nelson that the meeting be adjourned. The motion carried.

COMMUNICATIONS

City of Aurora, a thank you to the City for offering help and support following their May 5th Wastewater Treatment Facility Explosion.

MediaCom, forwarding new digital pricing information.

Joan Bond, a thank you to the City Staff for all of the assistance while using the Community Center.

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