The Taconite Capital of the World

City of Mountain Iron, Minnesota

Meeting Minutes for May 19, 2004



MAY 19, 2004

Mayor Skalko called the City Council meeting to order at 6:31 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; and Mac Rudstrom, Benchmark Engineering.

The Mayor outlined the procedure for the public hearing for the Heather Avenue Improvements to the public. The Mayor said that the purpose of the public hearing was to listen to the residents and hear their concerns regarding the project.

Mac Rudstrom, Benchmark Engineering, was presented and outlined the proposed drainage plans for Heather Avenue to the public. 

Councilor Nelson asked if a petition was presented to the Council requesting improvements to Heather Avenue. Councilor Roskoski said that the City Council initiated the public hearing for the proposed improvements.

Bill Luzovich, 5456 Heather Avenue, questioned if the drainage problems were being assessed to the homeowners. The City Administrator said that Mr. Luzovich was outside of the affected drainage area and would not be assessed for any drainage improvements.

Jeff Pelletier, 8423 Dottie Lane, questioned why they were included on the drainage assessments to their property. Councilor Prebeg said that there is a drainage area improvement zone that would be charged assessments if the improvements were made. 

Mark Kvas, 8410 Unity Drive, questioned how much the City wanted to drop the water level. The Director of Public Works stated that the water along Heather Avenue and Unity Drive would be drained and piped to Silver Creek. 

The Engineer stated that having the drainage work going west on Unity Drive would not be feasible. 

Dale Petersen, 5482 Heather Avenue, said that the corridor of Heather Avenue and Unity Drive needs to be ditched. He said that after the grader goes through there are wet spots on Heather Avenue shortly after. Mrs. Petersen said she felt that the drainage problem is the City�s problem. Mr. Petersen said that if the road was overlayed there would be speed problems with traffic. Councilor Prebeg said that if there is speeding on the road, that is an enforcement problem and law enforcement personnel should be notified. Mrs. Petersen said that she does not understand how Kvas�s property could have all of there ditches filled and sod across to Unity Drive, so if the water were to drain toward Silver Creek it would not flow past Kvas�s property. 

Darlene Kvas, 8410 Unity Drive, said they have not filled in the ditch where their property is, is the high point of the road and the ditch was in it�s present state when they moved there 30 years ago.

Bill Luzovich, 5456 Heather Avenue, questioned the Director of Public Works regarding when he approached him about the installation of City water to their property at a cost of around $250 and placing a hydrant there. Mr. Luzovich said that the estimated assessment is now $4,000 for the water hookup. The Director of Public Works stated that the $250 charge was the tap-in fee provided the City did extend the water line to the south from Centennial Drive to the end of Heather Avenue. Mr. Luzovich said that he would like to have Heather Avenue overlayed, but the water connection costs were too high. 

Barb and Petronilo Landicho, 5481 Heather Avenue, questioned why the drainage option is assessed by the acreage and not the road frontage because they have only 250 feet of street frontage. The Engineer said that the drainage assessments are calculated by area. Mr. Landicho said that they have no problem with the drainage on their property. He questioned why the water hookup was $250 in the 1980�s and now it is $1,300. The Director of Public Works said that the current water tap-in fee of $250 has not changed since 1980 until now; the additional charges are for a contract price per foot to bring it to their property. 

Mr. Landicho said that if the City would unplug the culvert at the intersection of Heather Avenue and Unity Drive the water would flow better. Mr. Landicho said that he would prefer that Heather Avenue remain gravel. 

Dale Skinner, 8425 Heather Avenue, said that by Cinema 6 they have ditches on both sides of the property. He said that one ditch comes to an end and the ditch on the other side is full of eight inches of mud. He said that if the City cleaned out the culverts this would help the drainage. 

Dean Niska, 5485 Heather Avenue, said that he or members of his family have lived on Heather Avenue for 50 years. He said that years ago Nichols Township hired his brother to dig out the ditch to Mud Lake and their swamp would be dry every Summer. Mr. Niska said that he was in favor of the overlay project, but not the drainage improvements, and he did not indicate one way or another on the water installation. 

Warren Nordeen, 5459 Heather Avenue, said that he would be agreeable to having bituminous on Heather Avenue. He said that he is already hooked up to the City water.

Harriet Anderson, 5475 Heather Avenue, said she would like to see Heather Avenue paved. 

Councilor Prebeg said that he spoke with John Jokinen from the County Assessor�s office and he asked what the property value change would be if Heather Avenue was paved. Mr. Jokinen said that there would be no added value to the home, but there would be an additional value to the land $100-$1000, amounting to about $15 on the property taxes. 

Tom Seitz, 5435 Heather Avenue, said that he is in favor of having the road paved, but he has concerns with how the road would hold up. He said that he is not in favor of the water installation assessments, because he is already on public water. 

The City Administrator said that the assessment policy doesn�t differentiate between whether residents have public or private water already.

Larry Lindholm was present representing U. S. Steel Corporation. Mr. Lindholm said that USX Corporation is no longer the property owner, they sold the property to RGGS Lands and Minerals. He said that RGGS is not looking forward to paying any major assessments and they are not too favorable to any new improvements because they are not looking to sell lots.

Larry Lindholm, 8430 Centennial Drive, said that the drainage improvement and the overlay would have to be intertwined. He said that he would like to have the drainage area extended past his house. He said that he already has public water and he does not want to be assessed for someone else�s water installation.

Mark Kvas said that he was concerned with the price of the drainage improvement price being too expensive. 

Fred Jacobs, 8436 Mud Lake Road, questioned why he was listed on the drainage improvement project. He said that there is not any water on his land that goes west, all of the water goes east to Mud Lake. The City Engineer said that they just used quad maps to develop the drainage assessment area and there were no on-site elevations completed. 

Ed Zeidler, 8450 Mud Lake Road, said that there is no way that the water from his property goes to Silver Creek; it all goes to Mud Lake.

Ed Zeidler spoke for Jack Knoll, 8446 Mud Lake Road, saying that the water from his property does not go to Silver Creek, it all goes to Mud Lake.

Jeff Pelletier spoke for Jesse and Sheila Richter, 8421 Dottie Lane, saying that they did not want the drainage improvements completed.

Dr. Donald Werner, 8425 Dottie Lane, said that he was not here to complain but to learn. He said that he dug a hole to plant a tree and the hole was filled with water, so he said, “Good Luck” to the Council regarding the drainage improvements.

Earl Wilkins, 8420 Dottie Lane, said that he was surprised to receive an assessment letter for a drainage project for a street that he does not live on. He said that his drainage goes to the east. He questioned if the City had looked at raising the grade on Heather Avenue to drain the water. He also asked if anyone had checked with the Corp. of Engineers or the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources regarding affecting a wetland area. 

Dale Skinner, 5425 Heather Avenue, said that they live at the end of Heather Avenue and they would be willing to be assessed for an overlay project.

Councilor Irish asked if it would be feasible to overlay Heather Avenue without completing a drainage improvement project. The Engineer said that would be a waste of City funds.

At 8:05 p.m., it was moved by Nelson and supported by Prebeg that the meeting be adjourned. The motion carried.

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