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City of Mountain Iron, Minnesota



Meeting Minutes for May 05, 2003

MOUNTAIN IRON CITY COUNCIL

MAY 5, 2003

Mayor Skalko called the City Council meeting to order at 6:38 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; Judy Seurer, Accounting Technician; Larry Nanti, Director of Parks and Recreation; Don Kleinschmidt, Director of Public Works and Rod Flannigan, City Engineer.

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

Add the following items to the agenda:

VI. New Business

Temporary patchwork needed on the steps and sidewalk at Library

Two new members added to Downtown Committee

Postpone closed meeting scheduled for May 8, 2003, to allow the Mayor to seek out and hire independent legal representation for the City regarding this matter only.

City Attorney to be brought back the second meeting of the month starting on May 19, 2003

Approve the minutes of the April 21, 2003, City Council meeting as submitted.

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.

To acknowledge the receipts for the period April 16-30, 2003, totaling $100,980.60, (a list is attached and made a part of these minutes).

To authorize the payment of the bills and payroll for the period April 16-30, 2003, totaling $129,488.01, (a list is attached and made a part of these minutes).

The motion carried on a roll call vote.

It was moved by Nelson and supported by Prebeg to recess the City Council meeting at 6:43 p.m. and open the public hearing concerning the alleyway vacation. The motion carried. 

Darin Alto was present to discuss the request to vacate the alleyways on the original Parkville plat, which was done in 1922. The alleyways are not literally there. The Great Northern Railway owns the right-of-way located along the alleyways, but the railroad tracks have been removed. The landowners in the area are concerned on liability issues and the risks involved with speeding vehicles, i.e. ATVs, dirt bikes. Brad Hejda, landowner, stated that he was involved in an accident where a young individual came off of the trail and smashed into the side of his truck. Tammy Hejda, landowner, added the accident was directly because of the increased use of the alleyways and by the faster vehicles using them. Irish stated this should be brought to the attention of the Sheriffs Department. Other member of audience stated that nothing is done by the Sheriffs, because the City does not maintain the alleyway. Irish suggested to the audience members to call law enforcement if excessive speeds are witnessed. He also suggested burming the area to eliminate it as a thoroughfare. Alto stated that would be the same result as allowing the landowners to purchase the land. Irish stated the City should limit the use of the alleyway instead of eliminating it. Tammy Hejda stated that an alternate route for snowmobiles was one block up. She also stated that piles of brush left when the power line area was cleared are causing a fire hazard. Mrs. Hejda was informed that Minnesota Power�s power line easement would remain as well as a City water line and sewer line easement in part of the right-of-way. Alan Stanaway stated that he had approached the City Council 15 years ago to vacate alleyway and it was agreed at that time to vacate it, if he took steps to do so. He did not do it. Irish stated that people did not want a bike trail over the railroad grade. The Director of Public Works stated that easements would stay even if the alleyway were to be vacated. Roskoski asked Mr. Manzoline if the Rail Authority had a need of accessibility in the area for the trail. Mr. Manzoline stated that the Authority did look at the area for the trail. He also stated that the Railroad Authority has acquired the land from the Great Northern Railroad. The Board of the Railroad Authority would have to decide on any proposed use. Nelson asked how would the property owners would block use of the alleyway. Members of the audience stated they would post no trespassing signs, or possibly put up gates. They would not eliminate access to utility easements. 

It was moved by Nelson and supported by Prebeg to adjourn the public hearing, and re-open the Council meeting at 7:09 p.m. The motion carried.

It was moved by Nelson and supported by Roskoski to recess the Council meeting and open the hearing for the CDBG Grant application at 7:10 p.m. The motion carried. 

The City Administrator explained, that in order to apply for the funding a hearing needs to be held. The grant application is for funding to assist low and moderate income individuals in installing sump pumps and other devices needed for the elimination of I/I from the waste water system. 

It was moved by Nelson and supported by Prebeg to close the public hearing and reconvene the City Council meeting at 7:13 p.m. The motion carried.

During the public forum, Tom Schlotec was present to discuss the model home project in the Sawmill parking lot. He stated that he wishes to clarify the situation there. The houses and materials he plans to sell are delivered from Winnipeg, Canada. He met with the City Administrator and explained the construction to him. He was under the impression that he only needed a vending permit because the model home was a movable structure. His partner received a phone call, stating that they might need building permits and a permit to construct signs. He was notified of the Council�s concerns on the project and was present to answer questions from Council. 

The Mayor stated that he needed clarification on what the vendor permit was for and if it is a temporary structure, will it only be there for 180 days. It was stated that a $200 fee was for a one year vendor permit for selling only. Prebeg stated he was concerned as to what happens after 180 days. Will a building permit be granted before or after the fact? 

Jerry Kujala, Zoning Administrator, was present and stated that when the house first materialized, Planning and Zoning assumed that it would be constructed on site and then sold as any other commodity. Mr. Schlotec was asked how his business is conducted. He stated that it would be from inside of the model home. The Zoning Administrator stated that if the building is going to be occupied, it will need a building permit and will have to meet the setback requirements. He also stated that business signs would be another issue, only three faces are allowed on one property. The Zoning Administrator will discuss the sign issue with Mr. Schlotec at a later date. The Zoning Administrator will involve the building inspector as the model home may be considered a commercial structure. He will deal with compliance with the building code. Mr. Schlotec won�t have to move the building after 180 days. Mr. Schlotec stated that he wants to rotate models every 18 months. The Zoning Administrator suggested that Mr. Schlotec talk to Bob Brown, the Building Inspector as soon as possible so all concerns could be addressed. Mr. Schlotec stated that he would bring him an application tomorrow. 

Discussion took place concerning the easements for a road on the right-of-way to Mr. Schlotec�s property. The Mayor stated that as of today nothing has been done on the ownership of land that the road needs to go through. The City Administrator stated that staff has tried to get Tom Nikolanci to come in and sign papers and receive a check in payment for the property. Prebeg asked if there was any reason for the holdup. The City Administrator stated he has not heard of anything as to a change in the negotiations. The matter has been turned over to the City Attorney for signatures. Condemnation proceedings were dropped in return for agreeing to sign over the property. Tom Nikolanci assured the Director of Public Works that he would sign the papers. The right-of-way is now sitting between the City Attorney and the Nikolanci�s. Prebeg suggested that maybe the City should re-start condemnation proceedings. The Mayor suggested the City Administrator notify Mr. Nikolanci that if the matter is not resolved, the City will start condemnation proceedings again. 

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Nelson to have staff write a letter to the Nikolanci�s and the Nikolanci estate to have the matter cleared up by the May 19, 2003, City Council meeting, and to invite Mr. Nikolanci and Mr. Schlotec to the next Council meeting if there is a problem. The motion carried.

Jerry Kujala was present at the public forum to discuss his projected retirement from the State and the City. Roskoski asked how long he was proposing his continued employment. Prebeg asked if he will have time to perform his job when he comes back. Mr. Kujala stated he would do a better job, having more time after retirement from the State. Roskoski asked if he will come back permanently or whether he didn�t know. Mayor Skalko thought the Council should act on Mr. Kujala�s proposal tonight. The position should be open and then have him re-apply. 

It was moved by Irish and supported by Roskoski to accept Mr. Kujala�s retirement request as of June 4, 2003. The motion carried unanimously. 

It moved by Roskoski and supported by Prebeg to accept Mr. Kujala�s offer to continue his duties with no fees from June 4-July 15, 2003. The motion carried unanimously. 

The Council requested more information on the zoning administrator position by the May 19, 2003 meeting. 

Mr. Kujala also discussed the letter he gave to the Council concerning City ordinance and parking signing on Marble Avenue.

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Irish that all the information is forwarded to the Streets Committee for recommendation. The motion carried. 

Item VI. New Business C. Resolution 18-03 Vacating Alleyway was moved up on the agenda to accommodate the audience. Discussion took place concerning the width of the property. Irish suggested having the Streets Committee review the topic further. 

It was moved by Nelson and supported by Prebeg to adopt Resolution 18-03, Vacating Alley in Parkville Addition (a copy of which is hereby attached and made a part of these minutes). Discussion took place between Darin Alto and Councilor Irish. The motion carried with Councilor Irish voting no.

Marion Vranicar addressed the Council stating she discovered a sinkhole on the street side of the culvert on Falcon Avenue. The Director of Public Works will take a look at it tomorrow and take care of it. He suggested that a catch basin might have washed out. 

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Irish that the old Railway or the Railway Authority represented by Mr. Manzoline meet with the Street Committee to discuss possible uses of the alleyway in the Parkville addition. The motion carried unanimously. 

The City Administrator will contact Mr. Manzoline to set up meeting.

The Mayor reported he had written an article in Mesabi Daily News concerning taxes and needing input from Greater Minnesota to contact the governor and state lawmakers concerning the proposed budget. 

At 8:12 p.m., Roskoski left the meeting 

Mayor Skalko asked if any information had been received on the sentence to serve projects the City submitted. The Director of Parks and Recreation reported that the sentence to serve people have been contacted and they will notify the City when people are available for the projects requested.

At 8:15 p.m., Roskoski returned to the meeting.

The Mayor asked if any information had been received on the IRRRA Mineland Reclamation Grant Proposal that the City submitted. The City Administrator reported that no information had been received. 

According to the Mayor, Dick Drago will be contacting the City Administrator concerning the proposals on grant writing.

Irish asked if the grant that Int�l Falls and Marble had received was a grant that the City could apply for and wanted to make sure that Mountain Iron applied if eligible. The City 

Administrator replied that it was a Small Cities Development Grant run by State that is the counterpart to the CDBG grant program run in St. Louis County. The City is not part 

of HUD�s program that funds directly through the State. This is basically CDBG money. The City goes through St. Louis County instead of the State.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Irish to enter into a contract with Damberg, Scott, Gerzina, Wagner Architects, Inc. as per the information provided and the fee schedule provided. Nelson asked if this was authorizing the expenditure of funds. Mayor Skalko responded that capital outlay reserve money is to be used. Irish recommended that no bids be awarded until grant money is secured. The motion carried on a roll call vote with Nelson voting no.

The Director of Public Works stated that the water tower contractor needs approval for the exact colors to be used on the water storage facility. He will make up a color chart for final approval from the swatches presented tonight. The beige and red chosen by the Director of Public Works were shown to the Council. He stated that he would have a larger one ready for next Council meeting. 

Nelson asked if the water tank work could be the cause for a light film in his household water. The Director of Public Works said no, pressure fluctuation could be the cause or the water line breaks that have occurred in the last few months. The fire hydrants have not been flushed yet either. Roskoski asked if any problems have been encountered by the contractor. The Director of Public Works stated that antenna regulations might come into play. The cost to upgrade the tank will be sought out. He also suggested that with red lettering, clear coating them would help to retain the color, with no fading or discoloration on the beige background. 

It was moved by Nelson and supported by Prebeg to authorize the large trash pickup scheduled for the first two weeks of June 2003. Roskoski asked if it could it be moved back one week. The Director of Public Works stated that it has been scheduled specifically during the week for specific areas. The motion carried with Roskoski voting no.

The Public Works Director reported on the source water assessment letter received from the Minnesota Department of Health. He stated that no action required. Irish asked what the contaminants were that were found in the drinking water. The Director of Public Works stated there were 157 different contaminants that it could possibly be. The figures were well below the contamination level. A consumer confidence letter will be going out this week. Irish asked if the City acquired any lead pipes from Virginia acquisition. The Director of Public Works reported that random testing for lead and copper is done every year in to be in compliance with the State. 

The Director of Public Works reported that as of two weeks ago, the Brownie Furniture information was faxed to the City Attorney. He met with him last week and supplied him with additional information. Brownie Furniture should be cited today. 

Roskoski stated that during the Board of Review, several citizens had concerns with Niska Road. Are there any plans to haul any more class 5 material this summer? The Director of Public Works stated that currently gravel is added to roads as needed. The people on Niska Road want a blacktopped road, but they turned it down during the public hearing. 

Roskoski asked if the clearcut area going north and south in Unity Addition was always there. The Director of Public Works will investigate it and bring the information to the Council. 

Roskoski asked if the City would sweep the streets again. The Director of Public Works stated that it would continue now that the sweeper has been repaired.

The Director of Parks and Recreation asked for permission to purchase campground and City brochures. He stated that he wants to order the minimum amount needed to go through this year. 

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Nelson to authorize the Director of Parks and Recreation to purchase campground and city brochures and advertise the 4th of July activities in the Manney�s shopper and the Mesabi Daily News as was done in 2002. Irish asked the Director of Parks and Recreation to make it half the size of last year�s ad. The motion carried on a roll call vote with Roskoski and Irish voting no.

It was moved by Nelson and supported by Prebeg to give the Parks and Recreation Board permission to draw up specs and bids for the construction of the West Two Rivers campground pavilion. The motion carried.

The Director of Parks and Recreation reported that no information has been received yet concerning the Bon-Air Cleanup. Mayor Skalko requested him to please call the City Attorney. The Director of Parks and Recreation stated that City staff is not dragging their feet on this matter, there are other officials involved. Sheriff Deputy Steve Skogman reported that Deputy Joe Zebro is the lead investigator on the scene.

It was the concensus of the Council to reverse the order on the agenda of items V. Unfinished Business, A. Resolution 15-03 and B. Park Ridge Development Final Plat.

The Mayor commented on the Park Ridge Development project and stated that the way it has been handled has been very upsetting to him. 

It was moved by Irish to table Resolution 15-03 until the Council discusses the grants for this project. Discussion took place concerning the Commercial 40 Development project and how the IRRRA grants should be used.

During the discussion, Joanie Eichorn and Jeff Eichorn from Eichorn furniture were present and reported on their plans for a furniture store in the Commercial 40 Development. 

Further discussion took place on the Commercial 40 Development project concerning the amount to be spent and whether or not a business plan should be used instead of matching the IRRRA grant funds.

It was determined that the motion by Irish was out of order and invalid.

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Nelson to accept the final plat of the Park Ridge Development. The motion carried with Roskoski and Irish voting no.

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Nelson to adopt Resolution 15-03 awarding bids (a copy of which is hereby attached and made a part of these minutes). Discussion took place concerning the cost of the project being more than the money allocated toward it through the IRRRA grant and bonding. It was asked if there is a way to cut the project back to the amount of the bonded money. The Engineer suggested the City could award the bid and then do a change order to pull back part of project or it could re-bid the project. A change order can only be up to a certain percentage, beyond that the City must re-negotiate the price with the contractor. A 12% change order would be okay. Prebeg amended his motion to add: to have the award contingent on the contractor agreeing to a change order that would reduce the project to $600,000, with Nelson supporting the amendment. The motion carried with Roskoski and Irish voting no. 

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Nelson to approve Resolution 16-03, supporting trail alignment (a copy of which is hereby attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried unanimously.

It was moved by Nelson and supported by Prebeg to adopt Resolution 17-03, CDBG Grant Application (a copy of which is hereby attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried unanimously.

Mayor Skalko reported the recommendation of the Downtown Renovation Committee to have a sliding hill and skating rink with a warming shelter for the Downtown Area. He stated that the West Virginia Skating Rink was used very little. He suggested moving the warming shack to a new sliding hill and skating rink for the Downtown area. 

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Prebeg to look into having a skating rink and warming shelter and sliding hill in the downtown area. During discussion, it was noted that there has been a skating rink downtown before. The Mayor stated that they would just be flooding an area, there would be no boards. Prebeg suggested the old boards from the South Grove rink could be used on the ends. The Director of Parks and Recreation stated that there would be no shooting towards Mountain Manor. The motion carried.

The Mayor suggested using the park next to Mountain Manor for the sliding hill location. There are running water outlets there and an old mine dump for the sliding hill. He suggested having the Housing and Redevelopment Authority work with the City to put this there. The Director of Parks and Recreation asked if the residents of Mountain Manor had been asked for their input. Irish stated that the IRRRB owns the land that the park by Mountain Manor is on. He stated that the City must contact them. 

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Prebeg to check on the ownership of the property the park by Mountain Manor is located on and work out the sliding hill location there. The motion carried.

Roskoski reported that some individuals wonder why the City is not selling anything anymore. Because of that concern, the present policy should be changed back to the policy presented by Roskoski. 

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Irish to rescind the surplus property policy and adopt the surplus property policy he presented (a copy of which is attached and made a part of these minutes). During discussion Irish stated that the policy should be more open. The Director of Public Works stated that in the past the City has brought surplus items to St. Louis County to auction. The most efficient way to dispose of surplus property is to use the county auction method. The money spent on advertising for bids on the property is too much. The present policy came about because of the bikes stored for the sheriffs department. Prebeg asked if there is a problem with using the county auction. Roskoski asked if there were any confiscated items from the sheriffs department. The motion carried unanimously.

Irish had several items to be addressed by the Director of Public Works. They included: 1. Eagle Avenue in Parkville needs grading.

2. The street light on the corner of Coral and Mountain Avenue is on constantly.

3. The 15 mph street sign needs replacing by Mountain Manor.

4. The radar sign entering South Grove should be removed. The Director of Public Works stated that it is a County sign and the County�s responsibility.

5. The curbing on Grant Street is in need of repair. The Director of Public Works stated that it is a County road. 

6. The ditch by the City Garage needs cleaning. The Director of Public Works stated that illegal dumping causes this. Irish suggested that a kennel be put in. 

It was moved by Irish and supported by Roskoski to put a cardboard kennel in by the City Garage. The motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote. 

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Prebeg to do a temporary patch on the steps and sidewalk at the Library. The motion carried.

It was moved by Nelson and supported by Prebeg to make the following additions to the Downtown Committee: Jennifer Overbye and Ray Saari. The motion carried.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Prebeg to postpone the closed meeting of the City Council scheduled for May 8, 2003 and have the Mayor seek out independent legal counsel to represent the City regarding this matter solely. The motion carried on a roll call vote with Roskoski voting no.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Roskoski to contact the City Attorney to attend the second meeting of the month, starting May 19, 2003. The motion carried, with Nelson voting no.

During open discussion, Prebeg stated that by the Mayor�s house the speed limit changes to 55mph going south, the other way there is no sign. He wanted to know if it could be slowed down before that. 

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Prebeg to contact the County about the speed situation on County Road 102, moving the speed limit change closer to Don Niska�s property. The motion carried.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Irish to adjourn the meeting at 10:24 p.m. The motion carried.

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