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City of Mountain Iron, Minnesota



Meeting Minutes for October 20, 2003

MOUNTAIN IRON CITY COUNCIL

OCTOBER 20, 2003

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; and Karen Luoma, Librarian.

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

Add the following items to the agenda:

IV. A. 5. New Phone Book Mailing Addresses

Early Retirement Incentives

Blight Ordinance

Approve the minutes of the October 20, 2003, 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 2003, totaling $99,284.56, (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, 2003, totaling $354,695.17, (a list is attached and made a part of these minutes).

The motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.

The Council discussed the 6% utility rate increase. It was the consensus of the Council that the motion that was approved by the City Council at the September 15, 2003 meeting was that the 6% increase in the electric utility rates were based on the old rates.

During the public forum, Terry Malmstrom, was present and spoke to the Council regarding the sale of his lot in Unity Addition. He said that Randy Rosandich and Brian Wilson would like to purchase his lot and split it and he would need the Councils approval to divide the lot. It was the consensus of the Council to check with the Planning and Zoning Commission to see if they made a recommendation regarding the subdivision. The Council requested that the City Attorney make a recommendation to the Council regarding the matter.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Irish to have legal counsel take care of the legal ramifications of allowing the sale of one individual lot to divide the lot with the two neighbors, have staff provide the dimensions of all of the Unity Addition lots, and see if the IRRRB funding of the project would be affected by the sale. And further, reconsider the matter at the November 6, 2003 City Council meeting. The motion carried.

Wilbert Johnson, 5621 Nichols Avenue, asked what the status was on the blight complaint regarding his neighbor. The City Attorney said that the case is going to court next week. 

Paul Fisher, 5493 Aster Avenue, asking about his assessment on his property. He asked if the property owners across the street from him are being charged assessments also. The City Administrator said each side of the street is treated equally with regard to the special assessments.

The Mayor reported on the following:

Mountain Manor Update. A meeting was held on October 8th with Rural Development in Duluth to discuss the Mountain Manor. The City Administrator, the Mayor, Larry P. Johnson, and Ed Roskoski attended the meeting. He said that the meeting was a very positive meeting. He said that only 17 units out of 40 are currently rented. He said that a housing marketing study had to be completed and the City Administrator completed and submitted this survey. He said that they might lower the minimum age for renting apartments below 62 and possibly make some of the one bedroom apartments into two bedroom apartments.

HRA/EDA Update. He said that they are looking at the process to make changes to have an EDA. He said the reason behind this is to have City input on money that is put into public projects.

Area Mayor�s Meeting Update. The Mayor asked the Deputy Mayor Roskoski to update the Council because the Deputy Mayor attended the last meeting. The Deputy Mayor said that the following items were discussed:

a. Possible sharing a City Assessor with the City of Virginia by using the Mining Effects funds.

b. Possible coordination of library service hours between the Virginia and Mountain Iron Library to offer better services for both communities.

Rural Renaissance Report. Distributed a copy of the executive summary of Senator Norm Coleman�s Rural Renaissance Initiative. 

New Phone Book Mailing Addresses. 

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Roskoski to direct the City Administrator to provide a list of the residents of Mountain Iron who get their mail elsewhere, i.e., Iron, Virginia, etc. to get the zip codes corrected for the next phone book publication. The motion carried with Councilor Nelson voting no.

Early Retirement Incentives. The Council said they would discuss the union proposal further at the budget meeting in November. 

Blight Ordinance. The City Attorney reviewed the administrative fines system set up for the City of Mountain Iron. The Attorney said that there would be some challenges in the state regarding the administrative fines set up. The blight ordinance will be presented to the Council at the November 3, 2003, city council meeting.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Irish to direct City Staff to purchase a 5� x 8� American flag for the Range Recreation Civic Center. The motion carried on the following roll call vote: Nelson, no; Irish, yes; Roskoski, yes; Prebeg, yes and Skalko, yes.

The Council reviewed the fee list. It was the consensus of the Council to have all fees, including utilities rates, utility hookups, and equipment rental fees added to the list. The Council requested that the list be updated and brought back to the Council for further consideration.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Prebeg to set a special committee of the whole meeting for Monday, November 24, 2003 at 6:00 p.m. in the Mountain Iron Room of the Mountain Iron Community Center to discuss the 2004 Budget and to direct Staff to invite all Department Heads to the meeting. The motion carried.

Councilor Roskoski asked the City Administrator if the City had been in contact with the residents in the newly annexed area of the City with regard to fire protection. The City Administrator stated that a letter had been sent regarding fire protection. 

It was moved by Irish and supported by Prebeg to direct the City Administrator to contact U. S. Steel Corporation to see if a public bon fire for special events could be held at the stockpile area off of Mineral Avenue. The motion carried.

Councilor Irish questioned the City Administrator regarding the revised special assessment notice that he received regarding the work on Grant Street.

The Director of Public Works updated the Council regarding the St. Louis County letter regarding County Road 102 (Old Highway 169).

Councilor Roskoski asked the Director of Public Works why the power outage on October 14, 2003 was done from 3-5 p.m. The Director of Public Works stated that it was the best time for the school to have this outage.

Councilor Roskoski asked what the progress on the angle parking on Mountain Avenue was. The Director of Public Works stated that Erik Wedge recommended not painting the angle parking stripes until the work was completed at the library. 

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Nelson to allow the Recreation Director to advertise for winter temporary workers for the Park and Recreation Department. The motion carried.

The Recreation Director advised the Council that U. S. Steel Corporation would be giving the City a tire stand for Locomotive Park. Councilor Prebeg said that it would be a good time to decide whether they wanted any other equipment moved around at Locomotive Park when the tire stand is being placed. 

At 7:56 p.m., Councilor Prebeg left the meeting. 

At 7:58 p.m., Councilor Prebeg returned to the meeting.

The City Attorney reported that he and Rod Flannigan met with Mr. & Mrs. Randy Cernohlavck, Plumbing and Heating Direct regarding the easement issues on his property and they have agreed to a compromise regarding the matter. 

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Prebeg to ask the Mountain Iron-Buhl School District if the City could have approval to have the land adjacent to Unity Addition appraised by a neutral appraiser to see what the land value is. The motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.

It was moved by Nelson and supported by Prebeg to adopt Resolution Number 25-03, Calling a Hearing, (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried. 

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Roskoski to table Resolution Number 35-03, Accepting Roads. The motion carried.

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Nelson to approve the amendment to services agreement to the Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association, (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes). It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Nelson to amend the motion to add to direct City Staff to check on the possibility of using mining effects taxes for this purpose. The amended motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Roskoski to have the Director of Public Works use a two inch minimum of snow fall before the city crew would be called out, after hours, for snowplowing and to have the Director of Public Works or the Foreman use their discretion for sending out the sanders when there is freezing rain. The motion carried on the following roll call vote: Prebeg, no; Nelson, no; Irish, yes; Roskoski, yes; and Skalko, yes.

The Council discussed the land sale with Tom Cvar. The Council requested that Mr. Cvar go to the Planning and Zoning Commission first. 

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Irish that because of constituency comments and liability concerns that the use of any City vehicles by any City Employees for personal use be prohibited during the time which is normally interpreted as lunch/dinner/noontime and this policy will go into effect on October 21, 2003, and will stay in force until rescinded by specific City Council action. The implementation of this policy will become the responsibility of the City Administrator. The motion carried.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Irish that: 1) it be determined who does not have city water on Heather Avenue, 2) that our Engineering Firm, working with City Staff, put together a basic cost analysis for bringing City water to whatever said properties that do not have public water, and 3) with the deadline for this project being February 1, 2004 or sooner if possible. The motion carried with Councilors Prebeg and Nelson voting no.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Irish to direct the City Engineer, working with City Staff, to study the water shed area of Heather Avenue and draw up a plan and cost analysis to remedy the area of standing and storm water drainage with a deadline of February 1, 2004 or sooner if possible. The motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.

During the open discussion, Councilor Irish asked for an update on the Library grant with regard to the Librarian building consultant. The City Administrator said that the City Council would be hiring the consultant. He also reminded City Staff that the Library Grant for renovations is due November 7, 2003 and to submit the grant information to Mr. Pomarantz the week prior to the due date. 

Also during the open discussion, Councilor Nelson said that he was up at the Wacootah Overlook recently and it looks like a small sanitary landfill. He said that the chain link fence is down and there is no garbage can up there. 

Also during the open discussion, Councilor Nelson said that he was concerned about the Anderson Conditional Use Permit on Heather Avenue. He said that the Conditional Use Permit needs to be reviewed and to have it on the next City Council agenda for further discussion. 

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

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