The Taconite Capital of the World

City of Mountain Iron, Minnesota



Meeting Minutes for May 07, 2007

MINUTES
MOUNTAIN IRON CITY COUNCIL
MAY 7, 2007

Mayor Skalko called the City Council meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. with the following members present: Joe Prebeg, Jr., Tony Zupancich, Alan Stanaway, Ed Roskoski, and Mayor Gary Skalko. Also present were: Craig J. Wainio, City Administrator; Jill M. Forseen, Municipal Services Secretary; Larry Nanti, Recreation Director; Don Kleinschmidt, Director of Public Works; Rick Feiro, Sergeant; Rod Flannigan, City Engineer (entering at 6:32 p.m.); and Sally Peterangelo, Librarian (entering at 7:39 p.m.).

The Mayor welcomed the audience and the television viewing audience to the meeting.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Zupancich that the consent agenda be approved as follows:

1. Add the following items to the agenda:
VI. H. County Road 102 (Mineral Avenue) Dip
VII. A. Foreman Position

2. Approve the minutes of the April 10, 2007, Board of Review meeting as submitted.

3. Approve the minutes of the April 16, 2007, City Council meeting with the following corrections:

Page 4, paragraph 4, ……”Councilor Roskoski questioned the City Attorney regarding the City definition of a cul-de-sac. The City Attorney said it was a dead end. Mayor Skalko said……” 

Page 5, paragraph 3, …..”Library Liaison, about the one four lights in the back…” ….”and dumping water directly into the flower pots, along the foundation of the building, when it should…….”

4. Approve the minutes of the April 18, 2007, Board of Review meeting as submitted.

5. 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.

6. To acknowledge the receipts for the period April 16-30, 2007, totaling $178,935.54, (a list is attached and made a part of these minutes).

7. To authorize the payments of the bills and payroll for the period April 16-30, 2007, totaling $382,303.63, (a list is attached and made a part of these minutes).

The motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.
During the public forum, Carolyn Olsen, 5430 Giorgi’s Road, Mountain Iron, was present and advised the Council that Old Highway 169 Downtown to the Campground Road is in terrible condition and is a safety hazard. She said that there are over 45 families that have to drive on Old Highway 169. She suggested that when funds were available to pave one mile at a time because there are only four miles of Old Highway 169 in the Kinross area

Councilor Prebeg asked the City Engineer when Old Highway 169 was last worked on. The City Engineer said that there was a culvert repair completed about 10 years ago. He said the Council last discussed considering the removal of the sharp corner in the Costin area to improve the highway. 

It was the consensus of the Council to have the Street and Alley Committee review Old Highway 169 in the Kinross area. 

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Skalko to grant a one day on-sale liquor license for B.G.’s Bar to serve alcohol at the Terch/Venaas wedding reception at the Mountain Iron Community Center on August 25, 2007. The motion carried.

At 6:43 p.m., it was moved by Zupancich and supported by Stanaway to recess the regular meeting and open the public hearing on the 16th Avenue Improvement Project. The motion carried.

The Mayor stated that the public hearing was to discuss improvements to 16th Avenue that may be assessed. He said that this is a joint project with the City of Virginia.

Councilor Roskoski, 820 South 16th Avenue, addressed the Council regarding the proposed assessments to the property owners on or in the vicinity of 16th Avenue stating that the assessments were not fair. He stated the following reasons that the assessments were not fair: 1) over the past 25 years, previous property owners did not pay any street assessments to the City because the cost of the street projects were paid entirely by IRRR or State grants funds; 2) along Mountain Iron Drive from Unity Drive to 13th Street, Enterprise Drive North from Nichols Avenue to Enterprise Drive Northeast, and Enterprise Drive South from Unity Drive to Mud Lake Road. He said that it is a matter of past practice and policy of fairness that since the City of Mountain Iron received a $280,000 State Grant for the Mountain Iron share of the 16th Avenue project and will be of no cost to the City. He said that this is free money from the State to the City, so there should be no assessment on 16th Avenue. Councilor Roskoski informed the Council that on April 27, 2007, he spoke with Representative Rukavina. He said that Representative Rukavina was the one that obtained the $280,000 grant for the City of Mountain Iron in 2006. Councilor Roskoski asked him to clarify the use of the funds for the City. Representative Rukavina said the following: 1) all of the $280,000 grant is to stay in a common 16th Avenue South account with the City of Virginia; Mountain Iron is to pay costs associated with the portion that is located in the City of Mountain Iron; and, any remaining money in the grant would go to the City of Virginia to put toward the costs incurred for their side of the 16th Avenue Project. 2) Representative Rukavina said that there are to be no assessment levied against the property owners on the Mountain Iron side of the project. 3) If the City Administrator or the City Council are confused on any aspect of this grant to contact Representative Rukavina. Councilor Roskoski said that the City Council should follow past practices to be fair.

The Mayor advised Councilor Roskoski that he should not be speaking at the public hearing at the City Council meeting because it is a conflict of interest. The Mayor said that he was advised by the City Attorney that Councilor Roskoski should not be speaking as a private resident. 

The Mayor gave the public a background on the acquisition of the $280,000 State Grant. He said that the grant mysteriously appear through the City of Virginia. The Mayor said that there were no assessments currently certified for 16th Avenue and any proposed assessments would be taken care of following the completion of the project. The Mayor advised Councilor Roskoski to check with the City Attorney or the League of Minnesota Cities regarding the legalities with him speaking as a resident during a public hearing.

John Roskoski, 820 South 16th Avenue, advised the Mayor to get the City Attorney and the League of Minnesota Cities to provide their legal opinions in writing to the Council.

The Mayor said that if the City of Mountain Iron were to apply for a grant that the City of Mountain Iron would apply for a grant that would serve more of the residents.

Lee Aultman, 816 South 16th Avenue, said that he is willing to pay his fair share, but in this case he does not believe there is a fair share because the grant funds should cover the entire project. He felt that the property owners should not be assessed because of the grant funds that the City received.

Renold Pettinelli, Lots 12 and 13, Block 4, and Lots 12 and 13, Block 5, West Virginia Addition, said that the City of Virginia applied for the grant because the City of Mountain Iron was not doing anything to promote the street project to get completed. 

Councilor Prebeg said that the City Council is looking out for all of the City’s residents and taxpayers with regard to street improvements and assessments. He said that there will only be an assessment if all of the grant funds do not cover the project, which is why the City has to conduct a public hearing because of the assessment procedures outlined by State Statutes. He said that this is the first time that he heard that the remaining grant funds must be turned over to the City of Virginia and he was going to check further into the matter.

Allen Nelson, 8511 Cardinal Street, Parkville, said that he does not live on 16th Avenue, but the City was awarded a grant and there should be no assessments because of the grant. Mr. Nelson also questioned how one public entity applied for a grant for another public entity. 

Thomas Tammaro, Lot 14 and 15, Block 4, West Virginia Addition, asked why the City of Mountain Iron is being charged 45% of the costs of the reconstruction of 16th Avenue. He questioned why the City of Mountain Iron agreed to the 45% charges for the street.

John Roskoski suggested that the City Council send a thank you to Representative Rukavina and the City of Virginia to show the City’s appreciation for obtaining the 16th Avenue.

At 7:13 p.m., Councilor Roskoski left the meeting.

At 7:14 p.m., it was moved by Prebeg and supported by Stanaway to close the public hearing on the 16th Avenue Improvement Project and reconvene the regular meeting. The motion carried with Councilor Roskoski absent.

The Mayor commented on the Taconite Ridge Wind Energy Project, a 25 megawatt project, in the Laurentian Energy area. The Mayor informed the Council that the City is working with the EDA to be a passive partner in the Wind Energy Project. The Mayor said that the State is mandating by the year 2025 that 25% of the energy generated has to be renewable energy. 

At 7:15 p.m., Councilor Roskoski returned to the meeting.

The Mayor advised the Council that he spoke with the County Assessor regarding three new businesses that have recently located in Mountain Iron. He said that Mountain Timber, Walgreens, and Diamond Willow have brought $1.5 million additional tax base into the City and next year that amount would be $2.3 million. The Mayor thanked the Planning and Zoning Commission, Zoning Administrator Kujala, the EDA, the City Administrator, the Director of Public Works, Gary Cerkvenik, and previous and present City Council members that encouraged and assisted all of the economic development. Councilor Zupancich said that the Wind Energy Project, for the construction of the wind mills on the taconite ridge, will be a financially stable project and will generate cash revenue that will be brought into the Economic Development Authority to further promote economic development in Mountain Iron, which will increase the City’s tax base. Councilor Zupancich said that the site work for the Wind Energy Project will begin the first week in June. Councilor Stanaway echoed what Councilor Zupancich said, and said that he has only served on the EDA for four months and really enjoys seeing what is going on. 

The Mayor also said that he would like to see a couple more advertisements placed in the Mesabi Daily News for the positions on the newly created Public Safety and Health Board with a deadline of Friday, May 25th and the appointments being made at the June 4th City Council meeting. The Mayor said that two members of the Council are appointed to the Board and he said that he would be applying for one of the positions. Councilor Stanaway also stated that he would be interested in serving on the Board. Councilor Roskoski also said that he was interested in serving on the Board.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Stanaway to set a Labor Management meeting for Monday, May 14th at 2:30 p.m. with Skalko and Zupancich representing the Council. The motion carried.

The City Administrator reported that there is a timeline enclosed in the packet for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to benefit low and moderate income residents in the City. Councilor Roskoski said that the City should apply for a CDBG grant to change some of the one bedroom apartments to two bedroom apartments in Mountain Manor complex. The City Administrator said that this would not qualify under the grant guidelines. The Mayor asked the City Administrator to check again on the grant requirements with regard to the Mountain Manor Apartment Complex. The City Administrator said that the CDBG pre-application deadline is May 15, 2007.

The Mayor informed the City Council that the City was presented with a silver engraved plate for the City donation to the World Junior Curling Championship.

Councilor Roskoski asked the City Administrator how much tax revenue would be generated from the $50 million dollar Wind Energy Project. The City Administrator said that the question has been asked and the answer has not been received because of how it is structured and where it is located, mining property versus regular property.

Councilor Roskoski asked why the City is advertising for landscaping materials. The City Administrator said that the City received a grant from the State of Minnesota in 2005 to install trees and shrubs around the Quad Cities sign.

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Stanaway to authorize City Staff to prepare specifications and call for quotes for replacement pumps and controls for the Parkville Lift Station. The motion carried.

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Zupancich to accept the recommendation of the Utility Advisory Board and authorize the large trash collection. The motion carried.

The Mayor asked the Director of Public Works if a traffic study was going to be completed on County Road 103. The Director said that a request has been made with Saint Louis County and the traffic study would be conducted soon.

Councilor Roskoski asked if an estimate was available for camera surveillance systems for the City of Mountain Iron. The Director of Public Works said that he thought it would be around $25,000 to just do the City Garage. Councilor Roskoski said that Richard Soderberg had contacted him and said that he has information on smaller/more portable camera to use and he said the City could contact him for additional information. 

Councilor Roskoski asked the Director of Public Works why the signal lights were flashing on Saturday, April 21st. The Director of Public Works said that the signal lights were still flashing on Monday morning and the Minnesota Department of Transportation were contacted and they came and took care of the controller for the lights.

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Zupancich to accept the recommendation of the Parks and Recreation Board and approve the contract for Wilbur and Violet Ball to be caretakers at the West II Rivers Campground at a cost of $575.00 per week (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Skalko to authorize the Northeast Minnesota Office of Job Training to place David Winfield to work for the Mountain Iron Recreation Department as needed. The motion carried.

It was moved by Stanaway and supported by Zupancich to accept the recommendation of the Parks and Recreation Board and authorize the specifications to be prepared and seek quotes for the South Grove Restroom Remodeling Project. The motion carried.

Allen Nelson, addressed the Council regarding the access to Wolf Park. Councilor Prebeg said that it was set up this way to control the access to the Park. The Mayor requested that the Parks and Recreation Board to review the situation. 

It was moved by Stanaway and supported by Skalko to authorize the purchase of furniture from Burgher Office Supply for the Library at their quoted price of $20,406 using funds from the USDA loan and the State of Minnesota grant. The motion carried.

Councilor Stanaway asked the Librarian how the painting project was coming. The Librarian said that the painting project should be completed on May 8th.

Councilor Roskoski asked the Sergeant if it is legal to cross double yellow lines on a highway. The Sergeant said that you can turn across them, but you can not pass cars.

The Mayor advised the Council that the Sergeant would be gone for the next City Council meeting and Deputy Yarick would attend the May 21st City Council meeting, if she was available.

Councilor Roskoski asked the City Engineer if a map was prepared showing the property lines in Locomotive Park for the fence to be installed. 

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Zupancich to accept the recommendation of the Personnel Committee to approve the increase in the hourly wage for Summer Workers to $8.00 with a $0.25 hour increase for returning Summer Workers. And further, to have all applications reviewed by the Department Heads and authorize them to hire the employees. The motion carried with Councilor Roskoski voting no.

During the liaison reports, Councilor Roskoski asked when the water problems at the Library were going to be addressed. The Director of Public Works said that when the current contract is finalized, the water issue would be addressed. The Director advised the Council that the contract is almost finalized. The Director also said that they are currently looking for solutions to the remaining issues at the library.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Zupancich to adopt Resolution Number 22-07, Ordering Improvements and Preparation of Plans for all of 16th Avenue, (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried with Councilor Roskoski voting no.

It was moved by Zupancich and supported by Stanaway to adopt Resolution Number 23-07, Charitable Gambling for Chicagami to operate at B.G.’s Saloon, (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried.

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Zupancich to adopt Resolution Number 24-07, Bank Authorization, (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried.

It was moved by Stanaway and supported by Zupancich to adopt Resolution Number 25-07, Authorizing Mutual Aid Agreement, (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Zupancich to direct Benchmark Engineering to prepare plans and specifications for paving all or part of Streetcar Road and have said materials ready for the May 21, 2007, City Council meeting where then, if the Council so chooses, could call for a public hearing. The motion failed with Councilors Prebeg, Zupancich, Stanaway and Mayor Skalko voting no.

The Council reviewed the list of communications.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Skalko to notify the Saint Louis County Engineer of the crosswise dip by 5577 Mineral Avenue (County Road 102) and request that the dip be leveled out as soon as possible. The motion carried.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Zupancich to have the Personnel Committee review the Foreman situation and, if necessary, update the job description. And further, being there might be some debate whether this should be a labor position or a management position, put together a labor position employment format with whatever wage that position qualifies for, but also put together a management position format with whatever salary that position qualifies for. And, if possible, try to have all of the materials for the May 21st City Council meeting. The motion failed with Councilors Prebeg, Zupancich, Stanaway and Mayor Skalko voting no.

During the open discussion, Councilor Stanaway said that in the North Parkville and Parkville Road area, someone has dumped numerous bags of leaves and garbage in the area. The Sergeant said that there is a resident that has taken some material from a building and attempted to make a bridge by the Parkville School and the resident has been advised not to do this.

Also during the open discussion, Councilor Roskoski wanted to clarify his vote on the 2007 street improvement projects where he voted no. He said that he would have voted yes for Locomotive Street, Coral Street, Unity Drive from County Road 7 to Mountain Iron Drive, and Granite Street. And, he said that he would have voted no on Tamarack Drive, Centennial Drive West, Heather Avenue North, Heather Avenue South, Unity Drive West, and Enterprise Drive North. 

At 8:19 p.m., it was moved by Skalko and supported by Zupancich that the meeting be adjourned. The motion carried.

Respectfully submitted:

Jill M. Forseen, CMC/MMCA
Municipal Services Secretary

www.mtniron.com

COMMUNICATIONS

1. Minnesota Department of Transportation, a letter advising the City that the grant application for the Mountain Iron-Buhl High School to Merritt Elementary School Trail was not recommended for funding.

2. Iron Range Veterans Memorial, a thank you for the contribution.

3. Sally Peterangelo, a thank you for the floral arrangement for Phil’s funeral.

4. League of Minnesota Cities, forwarding information regarding Board of Directors Vacancies.

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