The Taconite Capital of the World

City of Mountain Iron, Minnesota



Meeting Minutes for May 20, 2002

MOUNTAIN IRON CITY COUNCIL

MAY 20, 2002

The meeting was called to order at 6:30 p.m. by Mayor Brunfelt with the following members present: Joe Prebeg, Jr., Stephen Skogman, Joe Matanich, Ed Roskoski and Mayor Mitchell Brunfelt. Also present were: Craig J. Wainio City Administrator; Judy Seurer, Accounting Technician; Don Kleinschmidt, Director of Public Works; Larry Nanti, Recreation Director, Greg French, City Engineer and Sam Aluni, City Attorney.

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

1. Approve the minutes of the May 6, 2002 regular meeting as submitted.

2. 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.

3. Authorize the payment of the bills and payroll for the period May 1-15, 2002, totaling $104,692.60 (a list is attached and made a part of these minutes).

4. Acknowledge the receipts for the period May 1-15, 2002, totaling $ 59,268.76 (a list is attached and made a part of these minutes).

The motion to adopt the consent agenda carried unanimously on a roll call vote.

It was moved by Skogman and supported by Prebeg to open the public hearing on proposed street improvements. The motion carried.

The Mayor explained that the purpose of the public hearing is to decide if the City will be going forward on the street improvement projects for 2002. The Council will not be deciding at this meeting whether or not to assess on the project, that will come later.

The City Engineer explained that in 2000 thirteen street overlays were done, in 2001 three street reconstructions were done and the 2002 improvements being discussed were the next set of streets in need of repair. The Street Committee recommended that the City overlay the streets in question.

Barb Fivecoate, 5422 Daisy Avenue, asked that when the overlay is done, are they going to do any dig out of any holes and cracks, and also if anything will be done with the ditches and culverts. The City Engineer stated that every street will be assessed for damage, the problem areas will be cut out and then the street will be overlaid. Mrs. Fivecoate asked if the homeowners would be asked where the street damage is. The City Engineer stated that is not normally done. Mrs. Fivecoate asked if the shoulders would come up to be even with the overlay. The City Engineer stated that they would. Mrs. Fivecoate asked if homeowners would be responsible for replacing a mailbox post. The City Engineer stated that the contractors must replace a mailbox post if it is moved or damaged. Mrs. Fivecoate asked if sidewalks were to be put in anywhere in this plan. The City Engineer stated that no they were not planned at this time. Mrs. Fivecoate stated that the overall plan was to put in sidewalks. She was instructed that plan was only for new construction, not a maintenance overlay.

John Rappuchi, 5450 Carnation Avenue, asked over how many years are assessments paid back. The Mayor responded that assessments are paid back over 10 years, or at any time during the 10 years. Mr. Rappuchi asked how is a new street feathered into existing each driveway. The Engineer replied that the contractor would pave and build the driveway up to match the new lift of the street as far as the right-of-way. Mr. Rappuchi stated that the last time the streets were done the homeowners had an option to have the contractor blacktop the homeowners� driveways, and wanted to know if this was again possible. The Mayor stated that would be a side contract between the homeowners and the contractor. Mr. Rappuchi asked if the businesses benefiting from the street would be asked to contribute anything towards the cost of the improvements. He stated that the truck traffic was responsible for chewing up the street. The Mayor stated that the policy is that all property owners that affront the street are assessed. Mr. Rappuchi stated that businesses that have deliveries to them should contribute to the cost of the repairs. The City Administrator stated that there were no businesses on the streets, so there would be no assessments to business owners. Mr. Rappuchi asked what the status of Unity Drive was in terms of truck traffic. The Public Works Director stated that it was a 9-ton road, designed for 9 tons to be hauled over it. When DWP was hauling on the street, the trucks were weighed and were within limits. The Mayor stated that the other 50% of the cost of improvements is spread among the other taxpayers in the City. Mr. Rappuchi stated that no sidewalks made Unity Drive an unsafe street for truck traffic. He requested the City to please find an alternative truck route.

Mike Easty, 5460 Bluebell Avenue, stated that he has lived there for 27 years and during that time, one layer of hot mix was put on the road, basically a good layer. He also stated that an overlay on Bluebell would be fruitless, the street is too broken up. Mr. Easty stated that he had worked at Premier Aggregate, and the company had built a temporary road alongside the railroad tracks. If the City ever considered a re-route or the truck route, maybe it could look at something like that. Matanich stated that P & H has moved heavy equipment down the road, and asked if they were using the back road. The Public Works Director stated that P & H has used the back road. He also stated that the back road is on DWP property and gated. Anyone using it must get permission. It may be an option to ask DWP if it would allow improvement to the back road to be used as a truck route. The gate is now closed and there is no access for the City. Mr. Easty stated that Jasmine Street needs more than the proposed improvements. The Public Works Director stated that if the City Council decides to do the road, the roads will be walked and problems identified before contracts are let out. Generally, there will be a 1 1/2 ” overlay done on the streets.

Wendy Stanzell, 5499 Bluebell Avenue, asked if there will be anything done about the drainage system in the area. She stated that her yard was the worst in the neighborhood. The whole yard is seeping down into the drainage ditch. The Mayor stated that no, nothing will be done at this time; this improvement is for overlay only. The City Engineer stated that he looked at the drainage problems a few years ago. He could look at Mrs. Stanzell�s property as an isolated problem. Mrs. Stanzell stated that it is dangerous to have drainage ditches. The Mayor stated it was his preference to take a serious look at all the drainage issues. Skogman stated that the area needs curb and culvert in order to solve the problem. Mrs. Stanzell asked the City to clean out the culverts. Mrs. Stanzell stated that the traffic is awful on Unity Drive there is a need for stop signs with children playing near truck traffic. The Mayor stated that there are law enforcement issues that need to be brought to the attention of the sheriffs department. The City Engineer stated that if the City does look at drainage issues, does the street improvement project turn into overlay and drainage and then continue all over town? The Public Works Director stated that Mrs. Stanzell�s property could be looked at as an isolated case. The City may be able to lower her culvert so that it drains south. The problem on her property needs to be looked at.

Betty Sprague, 8833 Marigold Street, stated that there are drainage problems on her property too. The Public Works Director stated that there open ditch problems all over town and if during overlay project there is something that can be done for drainage, it will be. Mrs. Sprague stated that the problem has been ongoing for 20 years. She also stated that there was standing water from all sides. The Public Works Director said that the drainage should slope to the south side. Mrs. Sprague asked if anything is ever going to be done about the problem. The Mayor stated that curb and gutter is the only solution. The City is trying to do as much as possible to get the street improved.

Paul Fisher, 5493 Aster Avenue, asked if the muskeg would be taken out. The Public Works Director said no. Mr. Fisher asked if property owners on other side of his street were to be assessed. He was informed that they would be. Mr. Fisher was also concerned about the truck traffic in the area.

Gary Pagliaccetti, 5418 Carnation Avenue, stated that he has two corner lots and wondered if the figures on the handouts concerning cost per foot were correct. The City Administrator informed him that the calculations would be checked before actual assessments are done. He also stated that there is a 10% flexibility in estimates at most. Payment for the assessments can be made in full or over 10 years and interest will be assessed during that time. The Mayor stated that if anyone doesn’t understand how the calculations are done, please let the City know and it will be explained.

Bob Kvas, 5410 Unity Drive, asked if his street is classified as an arterial road or a collector road. He wondered if the determination had changed. Roskoski stated that he should be 10% like streets around him. Prebeg stated that with the buildup of traffic on Unity Drive, the street should be looked at as a collector. Matanich stated that this was talked about before, and that he thought it was changed to 90/10. The City Administrator stated that it was left at 50/50 because there is no access onto Unity Drive from the north. The Mayor stated that there should be consistency, that the streets should all be treated the same. The Council should look at what the street will be classified as. 

John Rappuchi asked that if the homeowner chooses to pay the assessment over a 10-year time period, does the assessment have to be paid in full if the house is sold. The Mayor stated that the purchase agreement would dictate. The City Attorney stated that normally the buyer assumes assessments.

It was moved by Skogman and supported by Matanich to close the public hearing. The motion carried.

During the public forum, Tom Jacobsen of C.O.A.L. Rental presented a sprinkler to water the ball fields to the City. It was moved by Matanich and supported by Roskoski to send a thank you letter to the company. The motion carried.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Matanich to adopt the Mountain Iron Comprehensive Plan. Discussion took place. The Mayor spoke against adoption of the plan, stating that it puts too many resources into the old town area. He stated that the center of town is the emerging area of town along Highway 169 and that the plan is unrealistic. Matanich stated that the plan was only a guideline. Prebeg asked if there was a specific problem. The Mayor stated that he would prefer to eliminate any reference to the old town area from the plan and that priorities 2, 3 and 4 focus specifically on the historic district. That area will be residential, with historic aspects. It would be unrealistic to allocate resources to that area. Matanich stated that nothing is in concrete, this is only a guideline. Skogman stated that he agrees with the Mayor to a certain degree. Priority #7 was pointed to, to neutralize problems, if it was moved to a higher priority, the Mayor pointed out. Roskoski asked if order makes any difference, the plan is just a guide. The motion carried with Brunfelt voting nay.

The City Engineer presented his findings on the proposed housing development for the Wacootah/Iroquois Pit area.

At 7:37 p.m., Councilor Skogman left the meeting.

At 7:39 p.m., Councilor Skogman returned to the meeting.

After reviewing historical data on the area, possible caving areas were recognized. There is also mine fill in the area that could be unstable. The current slopes are unstable in area. There will be problems bringing infrastructure to the area. The south shore of the pits may be possible to bring something into, but with no shoreline access. The cost of stabilizing the slopes or keeping Minutes � City Council

people back from the water 150 feet is what the City will be looking at. There are many red flags on property development in the area. The cost of research and fixing problems would be prohibitive. The City Engineer suggested running the housing development more along the Mesabi Trail. This option of paralleling trail would mean no shoreline access. Prebeg asked if 

the trail is jeopardized by the caving. The City Engineer stated that the trail will be fine; infrastructure would disturb the land more. Roskoski questioned if the land available is not worth developing. The Mayor stated the City should tackle other priorities first. The City owns the property. Put any further study on hold and explore options for using the area as green space in the middle of the City. Prebeg questioned the liability of the City if someone is injured on the trail if it is brought through hazardous areas. The City Attorney stated that was an insured situation. The City would not be responsible unless there was knowledge that a situation of danger existed and was not rectified.

It was moved by Skogman and supported by Prebeg to put on hold any further study of potential housing development in the Wacootah/Iroquois Pit area and refer to the Parks and Recreation Board the task of looking at the area for any possible green space development. The motion carried.

It was moved by Matanich and supported by Prebeg to follow staff recommendation to purchase one 225 KVA transformer from T & R Electric at their low quoted price of $4,995.00. The motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.

It was moved by Skogman and supported by Matanich to approve Resolution #08-02, Determining the Necessity for and Authorizing the Acquisition of Certain Property by Proceedings in Eminent Domain (a copy of which is attached to and made a part of these minutes). Discussion took place. The Public Works Director reported that he met with Jeanne Schechinger and provided information to her. Numerous messages have been left for the parties involved to meet for further discussion. There is a tentative meeting scheduled for next week to solve this. The City Administrator recommended the Council to move forward on this resolution just in case the parties stall on this. Roskoski asked if the basic plan is to open up the area to South Grove and how would it impact the South Grove residents. Skogman stated that the benefit to the people in South Grove would be just as great as any drawbacks. Prebeg asked if truck traffic can be restricted through South Grove. The Public Works Director stated that the road would be constructed for the traffic expected. The motion carried on a roll call vote, with Roskoski voting nay.

Discussion took place concerning the Community Center Sign.

It was moved by Skogman and supported by Matanich to approve the design on page 33 of the Council packets (a copy of which is attached and made a part of these minutes) with the word Mountain spelled out, eliminate the words City of and to have staff contact Lampi Signs and see if their quotes from last November are still valid on both options previously stated and if so to have them explain the differences in the two bid amounts. It was moved by Matanich and supported by Prebeg to amend the motion to state that if the quotes are valid to go with option #2 and award the work to Lampi Signs. The amended motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.

Discussion took place concerning the City Hall/Community Center dedication plaque. 

It was moved by Skogman and supported by Matanich to have staff look at other building dedication plaques and to have the Building Committee, the Mayor and Council in place at the time of the dedication, the architect, the construction manager, the City Administrator and the Director of Public Works listed on the plaque. The motion carried.

It was moved by Skogman and supported by Matanich to adopt the Surplus Equipment Policy (a copy of which is attached to and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried.

Letters from Rich Soderberg and Gerry Anderson concerning Resolution #18-02 were added to the communications.

It was moved by Skogman and supported by Prebeg to approve Resolution #18-02, Ordering Improvement and Preparation of Plans (a copy of which is attached to and made a part of these minutes).

Discussion took place with Roskoski and Matanich stating that the City should address the drainage issues for this area. The Mayor stated that as problems are revealed, repairs could be made to the culverts by raising or lowering them or cleaning them out. The Public Works Director stated that the concerns of the people will be addressed and the department will take care of problems as much as possible. Skogman asked if a ditching plan was in place. Matanich asked if an estimate for curb and gutter could be done for one area so people understand the costs. The percentages of assessment concerned Councilor Roskoski.

The motion carried.

It was moved by Matanich and supported by Prebeg that the truck access issue be addressed in terms of an alternative access road and that the Jasmine Avenue area and the Unity Drive area designation be reviewed by the Street committee. The motion carried.

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Skogman to approve Resolution #19-02, Setting Hearing on Vacation (a copy of which is attached and made a part of these minutes).

At 8:20 p.m., Councilor Prebeg left the meeting.

The motion carried, with Prebeg absent.

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

It was moved by Matanich and supported by Prebeg for the color scheme for the water tower and ground storage tank to be beige with black lettering on the tower and to use the Mtn. abbreviation for Mountain. The motion was removed. 

It was the consensus of the Council to agree to the color scheme of beige with red lettering on the water tower and to use Mtn. as an abbreviation for Mountain.

It was moved by Matanich and supported by Prebeg to approve Resolution #20-02, Approving Plans and Specifications and Ordering Advertisement for Bids (a copy of which is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried.

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Matanich to hold a Committee of the Whole meeting on May 30, 2002, at 6:00 p.m. with the ARDC for a strategic planning session. The motion carried

The date for a final meeting with the ARDC will be determined at a later time.

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Skogman to adopt the Computer Use Policy (a copy of which is attached to and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried.

It was moved by Matanich and supported by Skogman to refer the Overlook upgrades to the Parks and Recreation Board. The motion carried.

The Council discussed Randy Cernohlavek�s request for the use of the right of way on Enterprise Drive North to make the parking lot for his business, Plumbing and Heating Direct, larger. The City Administrator reported that the Zoning Administrator, Jerry Kujala, and Bob Brown, Building Inspector, raised the issue that only the Council can grant right-of-way use. Skogman asked what this would do to the line up along Enterprise Drive North. Roskoski stated that the setback of the building is not in alignment with others on Enterprise Drive North. He also stated that it would not be fair to the other businesses on Enterprise Drive North to grant this. The City Administrator stated that the building meets all legal requirements. Prebeg asked if there would be a problem with building on the right-of-way. The Public Works Director stated that the City typically reserves it for utilities and it will create a domino effect for businesses all the way down the street to also request the use of the right-of-way. Mr. Cernohlavek stated that only six cars would be able to park without using the right-of-way. The building would not be conforming to Planning and Zoning rules for parking for the size of the building without enlarging the parking area. Mr. Cernohlavek also stated that there was a wetlands issue in placing the building. He also questioned if the right-of-way was the same all the way down Enterprise Drive North. The Director of Public Works stated that more research would have to be done for that information.

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Roskoski to table the request pending further information. The motion carried.

The communications were noted for the record.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Matanich to send a plaque to the Richard F. Anderson family for Richard�s work on the Housing and Redevelopment Authority and service to the City. The motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.

Matanich reported that school officials would be at the next meeting to discuss a land exchange for the ball field. Monetary help may be coming through the help of the baseball coach.

Roskoski questioned the City Attorney on the ability of the Civic Association to publish the Centennial history book, without the permission of Velma Ostman. The City Attorney said it would be permissible as long as the writing done by Ostman was not copyrighted. The Mayor stated that the Civic Association should go ahead and use the materials if they wanted to.

Prebeg suggested an ad hoc committee be created for issues that need to be addressed for old town, such as the overlooks, benches and flags.

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Matanich to have Roskoski submit names to the Council for an ad hoc committee for old town issues. The motion carried.

Prebeg asked if the Housing and Redevelopment Authority authorization to the City Administrator to negotiate a land purchase with the Johnson’s for development was ongoing. The City Administrator stated that it was. Prebeg asked if the Housing and Redevelopment Authority direction was adequate for negotiations. The Mayor stated that it was and the City would be competing with the Housing and Redevelopment Authority if the City went after it. He also stated that the Housing and Redevelopment Authority was the appropriate agency to use for this matter.

Skogman noted the memo from the City Administrator on sources for grant funding for the library project. There are eight different grants that the City is probably not eligible for. A possible CDBG grant for $50,000 would be possible, but would not be enough. Bonding should be used for the library project. The Mayor stated that the criticism at the last meeting concerning funding for the library project was unfounded. The Council concurred.

At 9:00 p.m., it was moved by Roskoski and supported by Skogman that the meeting be adjourned. The motion carried.

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