The Taconite Capital of the World

City of Mountain Iron, Minnesota



Meeting Minutes for October 17, 2005

MOUNTAIN IRON CITY COUNCIL

OCTOBER 17, 2005

Mayor Skalko called the City Council meeting to order at 6:30 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; Wade Rasch, Sergeant; Tom Cvar, Fire Chief; and Steve Norvitch, Assistant Fire Chief.

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

Approve the minutes of the October 3, 2005, City Council meeting as submitted.

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.

To acknowledge the receipts for the period October 1-15, 2005, totaling $129,925.64, (a list is attached and made a part of these minutes).

To authorize the payments of the bills and payroll for the period October 1-15, 2005, totaling $280,979.98, (a list is attached and made a part of these minutes).

The motion carried on the following roll call vote: Prebeg, yes; Nelson, yes; Irish, no; Roskoski, no; and Skalko, yes.

At 6:41 p.m., it was moved by Nelson and supported by Prebeg to open the public hearing on the street assessments and recess the regular meeting. The motion carried. 

Ellen Nelson, 8501 Cardinal Street, Mountain Iron, said that she sent a letter questioning the disparity of the 50% assessment to Spring Park Road compared to the 75% assessment to Cardinal Street. 

Councilor Roskoski questioned how the seven step process would be completed to contest the special assessments. The City Administrator outlined the procedure. 

Gail Kleinschmidt, 8500 Spring Park Road, Mountain Iron, said that she had no problem with her current street assessment, but was questioning how the Council could assess Grant Street at 25% and Spring Park Road at 50%, others roads at 75%, and others roads at 90%. She said that the traffic on Spring Park Road has 50 times the amount of traffic as Grant Street, but yet Grant Street is assessed at 25% and Spring Park Road is at 50%.

Councilor Roskoski stated that Grant Street is a street that was originally paved with funds from a grant to have access to the sewage disposal plant, and there were no special assessments were charged to the property owners on that street. He said that sludge trucks and City trucks did hauling in and out of Grant Street. He further stated that the City guidelines regarding street improvements state that if a street is completed for the specific purpose of serving a City building, then the adjacent property owners were not to be assessed. He stated that the Grant Street property owners have volunteered to be assessed at 25%.

Councilor Prebeg stated that there were no houses located on Grant Street when the road was originally completed and the street improvement was not completed with City funds, but with grant funding, that is why there were no special assessments charged to the property owners. He further stated that the residents living on that road now have a paved road in front of there homes and they should be assessed like all other residents are paying. He also stated that the 25% assessment was developed only for Grant Street by Councilor Irish and Roskoski because of the City hauling debris and snow down to the end of Grant Street and then a motion was made eliminating the hauling of debris and snow on Grant Street.

Mayor Skalko felt that the 25% assessment on Grant Street was a steal for the residents and they should have been charged a minimum of a 50% assessment.

Councilor Irish said that the residents living on Grant Street completed a survey and the traffic on Grant Street was only 25% from the abutting property owners. He said that there was also curb and gutter damage by City Vehicles. Mayor Skalko stated that there is no curb and gutter on Grant Street, only on Mineral Avenue, which there are no assessments on because it is a County Road.

Steve Papin, 5456 Park Drive, Mountain Iron, stated that there was a ponding problem by his house and he felt that the road work was not completed very well. 

Terry Malmstrom, 5408 North Court, Mountain Iron, submitted a letter to the City Council stating his objections to the assessments on North Court due to the significant cost increase. The City Administrator explained that the project cost increases were associated with a motion made by Councilor Roskoski at the September 29, 2003, City Council meeting.

Brian Hill, 5410 North Court, Mountain Iron, questioned why the costs for the North Court Project went up so much. Mr. Hill was given a copy of the motion made by Councilor Roskoski from the September 29, 2003, meeting.

Ed Roskoski, 5409 North Court, Mountain Iron, protested the amount of his assessment also and he also submitted a letter to the Council. 

Councilor Irish questioned whether they could call witnesses regarding the proposed assessments. He stated that the City Engineer was not present and could not be called as a witness. The City Attorney stated that the Council would have the opportunity to recess the public hearing on the proposed assessments to a later date. 

At 7:18 p.m., it was by Nelson and supported by Prebeg to adjourn the public hearing on street assessments and reconvened the regular meeting. The motion carried.

Councilor Irish questioned the Mayor whether he could add an item to the agenda. The Mayor asked Councilor Irish if he had background material. Councilor Irish stated that he supplied background information to the Council prior to the meeting beginning. The Mayor stated that according to the motion passed last month, the information must be submitted by City Staff prior to the meeting and he would not allow the additional item on the agenda. Councilor Prebeg stated that if he has something to discussion, without formal action, this could be discussed during open discussion. The Mayor requested that the motion regarding agenda items be submitted to the Council for further review.

During the Mayor�s report, the Mayor reported that he was invited to the movie premiere of “North Country”. He said that the movie was well worth seeing and encouraged others to attend the movie. 

The Mayor announced the Chamber of Commerce�s “Business after Hours”, on Wednesday, October 26, 2005, in Virginia.

The Mayor said that he was contacted by Mrs. Peterson, 5482 Heather Avenue, regarding a problem with skunks. The Mayor stated that some of the residents in Unity Addition also had issues with skunks. The Sergeant said that he had not received any complaints regarding skunks.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Prebeg to adopt the purpose and format for the Labor-Management Committee, (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes), with a copy being submitted to the Union Representative and the Union President. The motion carried.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Nelson to set a Committee-of-the-Whole meeting for Wednesday, November 16, 2005 at 6:00 p.m. with the City Council submitting their priorities to the City Administrator by the November 7, 2005, City Council meeting. The motion carried.

Councilor Prebeg asked the Mayor to update the Council regarding the meeting held on October 4, 2005, regarding the State Bonding Bill. The Mayor informed the Council that this was a dinner scheduled with 20-30 Senators to promote the Energy Park Project for funding from the State Bonding Bill. The Mayor said that Gary Cerkvenik presented the project well to the Senators. 

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Irish to accept the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Commission and approve the Conditional Use Permit to John Hanson, 8749 Highway 101, Mountain Iron, to operate a home business on Parcel 175-0071-05175. The motion carried.

During the City Administrator�s report, the Administrator informed the City Council that the Capital Improvement Plan that was submitted was informational. 

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Nelson to accept the Marigold Storm Sewer Project as presented by the Director of Public Works with an approximate cost of $10,000 for materials, $5,500 for an excavator to do the installation, and utilizing the City Staff to complete the work. The motion carried on the following roll call vote: Nelson, yes; Irish, no; Roskoski, no; Prebeg, yes; and Skalko, yes.

Councilor Roskoski questioned the Director of Public Works on the Ann�s Acres Water Building. He asked why there were two pipes sticking up on the site. The Director of Public Works stated that the only thing that remains on the project is the abandonment of the two wells located on the property. He stated that there is a problem with one of the wells because the contractor for the building demotion cut the pipe on one of the wells and the well dropped down about ten feet. The Contractor must rectify the situation with Petersen Well Drilling and the City Engineer. 

Sergeant Rasch submitted the Sheriff�s Department monthly activity report for the month of September. Councilor Nelson expressed concern with traffic traveling fast on Enterprise Drive North and that there is no speed limit posted on the road. Sergeant Rasch said signage would be helpful and he could increase patrol in the area. Councilor Prebeg asked if there was anything out of the ordinary that the City Council should be concerned about in the City. The Sergeant said that nothing had seemed out of the ordinary.

The Recreation Director had nothing to report. 

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Irish to accept the recommendation of the City Engineer and approve payment request number one to V & S Consulting Incorporated in the amount of $16,499.60 for the Ann�s Acres Water Building and Tank Demolition. The motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.

The City Attorney updated the Council regarding a meeting held with P & H MinePro, with the Zoning Administrator, the Sergeant, the Blight Officer, the Mayor and the City Attorney in attendance. They reviewed some information received from the League of Minnesota Cities and an ordinance from another City in the State with regard to acceptable levels of noise in various zoning districts. The City Attorney advised the Council that he would be preparing a report for the Council and having the City Engineer complete some sound testing for the next regular Council meeting. The City Attorney said this may entail a possible adoption of a new ordinance with regard to noise that would pertain to the entire City. Councilor Roskoski asked if the air pollution and waste concerns would be taken care of. The City Attorney said that those issues are regulated by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Councilor Roskoski asked if the noise created could cause hearing damage. The City Attorney said that the ordinance would cover testing at the affected locations, i.e. Roskoski�s, Malmstrom�s, etc. 

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Irish to authorize the Fire Chief to proceed with option number two, replace the Darley Pump with new Hale 1000 GPM Pump, on Engine 88, Luverne Pumper Fire Truck. The motion carried on the following roll call vote: Roskoski, yes; Prebeg, no; Nelson, no; Irish, yes; and Skalko, yes.

At 8:18 p.m., Councilor Prebeg left the meeting.

At 8:21 p.m., Councilor Prebeg returned to the meeting.

It was moved Roskoski and supported by Skalko that if there is problem with dust, that would be unhealthy and unsafe, that the City Administrator and the Librarian would be given the authority to close the Library for necessary amounts of time for safety and health concerns. After further discussion, Councilor Roskoski withdrew his motion and Mayor Skalko withdrew his support. Councilor Roskoski asked the City Administrator to have the issue on the next meeting agenda. Councilor Nelson felt that a motion was not necessary, that the Librarian would have the authority to close the library if there is a problem with safety for the employees. The City Administrator will advise the Librarian that she has the authority to close the Library if there are safety concerns. The City Attorney confirmed that the Librarian has the authority to close the Library for safety reasons.

Councilor Nelson, Liaison for the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z), said that the P & Z said that a refund should not have been given to Frank Oberstar. The P & Z felt that this was inappropriate because the fees are for the advertising and the paperwork to hold the public hearing. Also, Councilor Nelson said that the P & Z would like to see a change in the ordinance with regard to discharging fire arms in the Mashkenode Lake area. 

It was moved by Nelson and supported by Prebeg to adopt Resolution Number 32-05, Adopting Assessments, (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried with Councilor Irish and Roskoski voting no.

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Skalko to adopt Resolution Number 33-05, Setting a Hearing on Vacation, (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried.

It was moved by Nelson and supported by Prebeg that there be no use of City Staff time, resources, or expenditures of city funds take place for the development of any motorized or non-motorized trail without prior approval of the City Council. The motion carried on the following roll call vote: Prebeg, yes; Nelson, yes; Irish, no; Roskoski, no; and Skalko, yes.

During the open discussion, Councilor Roskoski questioned Councilor Prebeg regarding how long it would be before U. S. Steel Corporation would be crossing County Road 102. Mayor Skalko stated that the letter that the City received from U. S. Steel Corporation regarding how long before they would consider crossing County Road 102 was written in February of 2004 and in that letter they said they would not cross County Road 102 for 8 to 10 years.

During the open discussion, Councilor Nelson felt that the Director of Public Works and the City Employees should be acknowledge for the excellent work completed on the new recycling area. He said that the blacktopping, gate, and site were a quality recycling area for the residents to use. 

It was moved by Irish and supported by Roskoski that the City of Mountain Iron sees the benefits of an ATV trail between Biwabik and the OHV Park in Gilbert for recreational area uses and local businesses and supports its funding. The motion carried.

The Mayor said that he wanted to close the meeting by stating that the City Council has to work together and there are more issues than ATV Trails, sewage plants, and street assessments and he hoped that the Council would remember that and work together as a team and not individuals.

At 8:57 p.m., it was moved by Roskoski and supported by Prebeg that the meeting be adjourned. The motion carried.

COMMUNICATIONS

League of Minnesota Cities, a request for nominations to serve on the Board of Directors.

Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, forwarding the September 22, 2005 update.

Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, forwarding the October 6, 2005 update.

Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, forwarding the registration form to attend meetings.

Tim Anderson, Fire Chief for the Minntac Fire Department, forwarding a thank you to the Mountain Iron Fire Department Personnel.

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