The Taconite Capital of the World

City of Mountain Iron, Minnesota

Meeting Minutes for November 24, 2003



NOVEMBER 24, 2003

Mayor Skalko called the City Council meeting to order at 6:02 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; Larry Nanti, Director of Parks and Recreation; Tom Cvar, Fire Chief; Joe Stewart, Sergeant; and Karen Luoma, Library Director.

The Mayor stated that the purpose of the meeting was to review the 2004 budget.

Mayor Skalko handed out a packet of “possible” 2004 budget reductions/savings proposals to City Council members and others present.

The Mayor questioned the Parks and Recreation Director regarding the VFW and Legion Baseball Programs. The Director stated that the City spends approximately $4,000 to $5,000 with five participants from Mountain Iron. The Director said that there could possibly be a joint venture with Buhl, Cherry, or Virginia. Councilor Prebeg stated that the Parks and Recreation Board should review this situation and make a recommendation to the City Council.

At 6:14 p.m., Steve Giorgi, AFSCME Representative, came to the meeting.

The Council discussed the funding for the Cemetery Associations. The Council requested that City Staff request the latest financial statements from the Cemetery Associations. 

The Council discussed the Mining Effects Tax money. The Mayor suggested that a resolution be prepared to dissolve the Quad Cities Economic Development Authority effective December 31, 2003. 

The Council discussed the Union Employees proposal for an early retirement. The Council discussed who might be available to replace the retiring employee. The Union Representative stated that the Personnel Committee should meet with the Union Representative and Members to negotiate the terms of the early retirement program. Councilor Prebeg said that you could not really count on this for a 2004 budget savings. Councilor Irish said that he does not feel that this would be a cost savings; he feels that the union letter reflects that the City is over staffed and there may be a need for layoffs. Councilor Irish said that he would like to see the union contract opened up to discuss the medical coverage for dependents. 

The Fire Chief stated that the City Council would need to budget in the capital improvement account for approximately $20,000 necessary for the grant award matches.

The City Council reviewed the City Council budget. Councilor Nelson suggested that the Council salaries be eliminated. 

Mayor Skalko questioned whether the Union and Management Employees would take a voluntary reduction to 2% for the next year�s wage increase.

Councilor Irish stated that he would like to have projected costs to the end of the year on the budget report. 

The Council discussed the Sheriff Department budget. The Sergeant stated that the 2004 budget of $385,000 for contract services is not for a full staff. He said that the department is currently one officer short; paying the overtime is cheaper than paying for another position. He said that if the department had a full staff, the budget would actually be $404,000.

The Council reviewed the Fire Protection budget. The Fire Chief suggested that the payroll taxes line item be increased to properly reflect the actual charges. The Fire Chief stated that the department is training in two new firemen; so additional training wages are being incurred. The Fire Chief stated that the City could charge for fire calls occurring on the highway. 

The Council discussed the pager duty charges.

At 7:34 p.m., Councilor Roskoski left the meeting.

Councilor Irish suggested scheduling employees during the weekend and having earlier starting times to avoid paying overtime.

At 7:36 p.m., Councilor Roskoski returned to the meeting.

The Union Representative advised the Council that the current hours are set by the city with a Monday through Friday day shift. The Director of Public Works suggested that the Personnel Committee sit down with the Union Employees and discuss the proposed issues.

The Council reviewed the Campground budget. Councilor Roskoski said that he would like to see the rental fees increased. 

The Council reviewed the Recreation Department budget. The Recreation Director said that he was concerned that the amount budgeted for payroll taxes and insurance was too small.

The Council reviewed the Library Department budget. The Library Director was concerned that the amount budgeted for payroll insurance was too small. The City Administrator stated that the City is looking at going into a different insurance pool and the rates should decrease.

The Council discussed the account for Local Government Aid offset. The City Administrator stated that in 2002 there was a 20% cut and this was built into the 2003 budget.

At 8:22 p.m., it moved by Nelson and supported by Prebeg that the meeting be adjourned. The motion carried.

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