The Taconite Capital of the World

City of Mountain Iron, Minnesota

Meeting Minutes for November 23, 1999


Mayor Brunfelt called the meeting to order at 6:31 p.m. with the following members present: Carolyn Olsen, Stephen Skogman, Joe Matanich, Curt Piri, and Mayor Mitchell Brunfelt. Also present were: Craig J. Wainio, City Administrator; Jill M. Forseen, Deputy Clerk; Don Kleinschmidt, Director of Public Works; and Larry Nanti, Recreation Director; Karen Luoma, Librarian; and Tom Cvar, Fire Chief.

The Mayor said that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the 2000 budget.

At 6:33 p.m., Sergeant Joe Stewart and Rory King, Volunteer Fireman entered the meeting.

The City Administrator explained the tax rate chart he prepared comparing the taxes in Mountain Iron to the surrounding towns.

The Council discussed the Recreation Department budget. The Recreation Director said that his budget includes an additional permanent full-time employee that would work for the Recreation Department and the Campground. He said that the new employee would take the place of some summer helpers and skating rink workers. He also said that the Recreation Department would probably hire one additional employee for the summer to assist the permanent employee. The Recreation Director said that the new employee would supervise the IRRRB summer youth workers. The Recreation Director said that he is requesting a total recreation department budget of $157,000. He said that the additional amount requested would cover the new employee, the American Legion baseball program, equipment, coaches and uniforms.

At 6:45 p.m., Greg Chad, Volunteer Fireman, entered the meeting.

The Council discussed the Fire Department budget. The Fire Chief requested a 26% increase in the 2000 budget from the 1999 budget. The Fire Chief said that he spoke with Minntac Personnel and they said they would be turning over all of their fire calls to the City. The Fire Chief said that Minntac�s equipment does not meet standards. He said that they might be interested in a joint purchase of fire equipment with the City. The Fire Chief said that he also was requesting an increase in the training budget. They have three new firemen that were hired and have to complete some minimum training amounting to about 83 hours each. He said that the department is also required to have regular training that is mandatory through OSHA.

The Fire Chief requested an increase in the training reimbursement from $5.00 per hour to $10 per hour. He also requested that $10,000 per year be available to continuously update the bunker gear, hoses, and equipment. He said that the department also needs a new fire truck at a cost of $300,000 to $400,000 and it takes about two years to order a fire truck.

The Mayor said that the Fire Department is a very important part of the City with all of the new businesses and houses being constructed in the City.

Councilor Piri said that he would not be in favor of purchasing a fire truck jointly with U.S. Steel.

The Fire Chief said that the City of Hermantown built a new fire hall by imposing a 1/2% City sales tax.

The Council discussed the building budget. The Mayor said that the Council had previous discussed hiring a new full-time employee for cleaning and maintenance of the city buildings. The City Administrator said that the City would need another part-time employee for cleaning the city hall. The Mayor asked if the current staffing level would meet the needs of the City with the new building being constructed. The City Administrator said no, because the new building is 13,000 square feet versus the present 3,000 square feet that is being used at the present City Hall. The Director of Public Works said that there would be approximately a 20% increase in cost to have one additional full-time position and eliminating the four part-time positions. The Director of Public Works also said that there would be work that would overlap and the City Employees would have to fill in cleaning and maintaining the buildings.

At 7:25 p.m., the Mayor called for a recess so the City Administrator could seek information on the Personnel Committee�s proposal on the Building Custodians.

At 7:34 p.m., the Mayor reconvened the meeting.

The Mayor said that the new City Hall/Community Center would not be occupied until March of 2000. It was the consensus of the Council to make no changes in the building custodians at this time and review the use of the new building and possibly contract cleaning services and consider hiring a full-time person in 2001.

The Librarian asked the City Council if it was all right to discuss the janitorial position with her board. The Mayor said that would be appropriate.

The Council reviewed the capital improvement budget for 2000.

The Mayor recommended that the levy remain at an increase of 11.1%. He also recommended that the following capital improvement projects be kept in the 2000 budget:

Community Center $100,000

Merritt Intersection $125,000

Stormwater Drainage $ 72,700

Housing Development $125,000

Wetland Mitigation $ 20,000

South Grove Ballfield $ 50,000

General Maintenance $ 35,000 (Campground)

Four Wheel Drive $ 30,000 (Sheriffs Department)

Software Upgrade $ 10,000 (Administration)

Computer Station $ 3,500 (Library)

Copy Machine $ 2,500 (Library)

The Mayor also recommended funding the Recreation Department and the Fire Department operations budgets as requested. He also requested the City Administrator to update the budget sheets accordingly and present them to the City Council for further review and adjustments.

The Mayor asked the City Administrator to prepare a tax impact chart showing the increases for several different home valuations.

Councilor Matanich said that he reviewed the Utility Advisory Board minutes from September 28, 1999 and questioned how the funding for the electric substation upgrade and the water tanks repairs would be taken care of. The Director of Public Works said that the tanks were float tested this year and are in good shape, but they are 15 years old. He said that the tanks would need to be repaired at a cost of $250,000 inside and outside for each tank.

At 8:11 p.m., the Mayor adjourned the meeting.

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