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City of Mountain Iron, Minnesota

Meeting Minutes for October 30, 2006



OCTOBER 30, 2006

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 was: Craig J. Wainio, City Administrator; Jill M. Forseen, Municipal Services Secretary; Larry Nanti, Recreation Director; Sally Peterangelo, Librarian; Tom Cvar, Fire Chief; and Steve Norvitch, Assistant Fire Chief.

The Mayor stated that the purpose of the meeting was to review the 2007 budget.

It was the consensus of the Council to meet November 8, 2006 at 6:00 p.m. to hold a special meeting to canvass the General Election.

The Mayor advised the Council that He and the City Administrator met with Representatives from Virginia, Eveleth, and Gilbert regarding a proposed project for a Regional approach for Water/Wastewater Treatment Plants. The Mayor said that it would cost the four Cities approximately $20,000 to research the project with approximately $14,000 being reimbursed by IRRRA grants funds and the remaining balance being charged to the Cities based on population. The Mayor said they are looking into the long term requirements for these types of facilities. 

The Fire Chief submitted a revised 2007 budget proposal to the City Council. The Fire Chief said that the Mountain Iron Fire Department has responded to a number of fire calls to Virginia amounting to $4,100 for mutual aid calls, year to date. He said that the Fire Department has had a total of 62 calls for this year, year to date, with 57 total calls in 2005. The Fire Chief stated that he will be over budget this year after reviewing the comparisons with the 2005 fire calls. The Fire Chief also mentioned the following that would impact his budget:

Training four new firemen to train at a cost of approximately $2,100 per fireman to fe trained to be qualified to respond to fire calls. 

Total fire calls to Virginia was nine this year, year to date, and in 2005 there was six. The total man hour costs increased from $2,700 in 2005 to $4,100 in 2006, year to date. 

Addition wages for the officers for a total of $1,500 per year.

Additional payroll taxes for the City�s Mechanic to work on the fire department equipment.

In 2007 the Fire Department may have to hire 2-3 new firemen. One of Mountain Iron�s Firemen may go to work with the Virginia Fire Department and he can not work on both departments.

Additional NIMS training to be in compliance. He said that the Firemen have completed the IS100, IS200 and IS800 on their own time. The Fire Department Officers have to be IS200 and IS800 and all other Firemen have to be IS100 to be in compliance. He said there is additional training that is being proposed and that may amount to 4-5 days to complete the training for the officers. Each fireman is required to have 24 hours of training in-house every year.

Maintenance. Should be completing physicals with each fireman every year or at least every other year, have not completed these in the past. The Fire Department has required maintenance and testing on air packs and one pump being tested every year which would put the pump testing in a three year cycle.

Relief Association. Would like this to actually reflect the dollars that pass through from the State of Minnesota State Fire Aid to the Relief Account. There are no additional dollars to the City, this comes in as revenue and is expended out to the Relief Association, and the aid that comes to the City is approximately $14,000 per year. This is actually not an additional funding increase, but reflects a revenue passing through the City and being expensed out of this account. 

Capital Outlay Items. 4 x 4 utility vehicle at an approximate cost of $29,000, currently have a 1990 with a 130,000 miles on it and it is not safe while pulling the trailer. Fire apparatus pickup at a cost of $125,000 to fight grass fires, the current vehicle being used is 21 years old.

FEMA grant. The Fire Chief said that Joe Buria has prepared the FEMA grant applications and the Fire Department has been awarded a FEMA grant in the amount of $34,000 with a 5% City grant match to replace bunker gear at a cost of $1,800 per fireman for jackets, hats, pants and boots, and they were requesting the Council to allocated $9,000 for expanded metal lockers for the new gear because the new gear will not be able to be machined dried, but must be hung up to dry.

Insurance coverage in the City. The Fire Chief questioned whether the Fire Department has replacement insurance for the vehicles and equipment. The Administrator would look into the cost for the replacement insurance.

At 7:11 p.m., Councilor Roskoski left the meeting.

At 7:13 p.m., Councilor Roskoski returned to the meeting.

Councilor Nelson stated that he had no problem with the $85,000 budget for the Fire Department because this is such an important component of the City. Councilor Prebeg said that the Council needs to consider the Fire Department with the entire 2007 budget. Councilor Irish said that the Fire Department request would reflect a 27% increase in their 2007 budget. The Mayor stated that he would like to see the $125,000 fire apparatus spread over a three year period. 

The Fire Chief advised the Council that the Fire Department reviewed the hydrant situation at the wood chip location. He stated that all of the new hydrants, the steamer connection, do not match up to any of the Cities hoses. The Assistant Fire Chief said that it would cost approximately $200 per hydrant for adaptors for each truck with a spare. The Council requested the Fire Chief to contact the owners of the Laurentian Biomass and Walgreens to request them to have their hydrants adaptable to the City�s fire trucks. The Fire Chief also said that there should be more than two hydrants in the Laurentian Biomass area. 

Councilor Prebeg questioned the City Administrator if extra funds were allocated for the dump site cleanup. The City Administrator said that this expense would be out of the 2006 budget capital improvement budget.

The Librarian would like to see an additional $4,000 allocated for technology for the 2007 Library budget to replace five computers for a total 2007 budget of $121,000. 

The Mayor began to review the 2007 budget beginning with the revenues.

Councilor Roskoski questioned why the Intergovernmental Revenue was increased by so much. The City Administrator stated that amount reflects all aid that the City receives.

The Mayor continued on with the 2007 budget review with the expenditures. The Mayor reminded the Council that the final 2007 budget will be formally adopted in December, 2006.

Councilor Roskoski asked what the transfers account represents. The City Administrator said that this includes the capital improvement expenses because those are expended out of a different fund. 

It was the consensus of the Council to allocate $80,000 in the 2007 budget for the Fire Department plus the cost of the lockers for the new equipment from the FEMA grant. 

It was the consensus of the Council to allocate $120,000 for the 2007 budget for the Library.

The Council discussed the allocation to the Virginia Regional Medical Center. The Municipal Services Secretary advised the Council that the final payment for the five year commitment was made in 2006. The Council directed the Administrator to check with the Virginia Regional Medical Center to see if they would be requesting additional funds to make the original commitment.

The Council discussed the transfer for Capital Improvements with regard to the following:

Allocating additional funds for fire apparatus in the amount of $30,000 for the purchase of a 4 X 4 and allocate $35,000 to be reserved for the future purchase of fire department apparatus for grass fires; and further, allocate $9,000 for the FEMA grant match and lockers for the new equipment 

16th Avenue-it was the consensus of the Council to have the City Administrator check on the status of the $250,000 IRRRB grant for the 16th Avenue project, how much is actually allocated to the City of Mountain Iron 

T21 grant in the amount of $35,820.00 to allocate the matching funds in the amount of $143,280

Greenwood Cemetery Association $12,500, if the City of Virginia approves of the matching funds

City Hall carpeting and customer service window partial closure at an approximate cost of $12,000

ATV Trail System carry over from 2006, $21,000 because this would represent 30% of the grant

Mesabi Trail Signs carry over from 2006, $5,000

The Council discussed the Emergency Medical Technician�s (EMT�s) 2007 budget and it was the consensus to increase their budget from $3,000 to $12,000 to allow reimbursement payment for callouts at $10.00 per hour per call and to pay for training. The Council discussed the Good Samaritan Law regarding payment to the EMT�s and to check with City Attorney regarding the payment/reimbursement to the EMT�s and the liability.

Councilor Roskoski requested that the Council carry over the Mesabi Trail signage budget to 2007. Councilor Roskoski also requested that the Council carry over the amount allocated for the sidewalk by Duane�s Marine. Councilor Prebeg questioned what was happening with the “Quiet Zone” designation with regard to making any upgrades by the railroad tracks. 

Councilor Roskoski requested that the following items be considered for the 2007 budget:

South Grove Recreation Complex for the restrooms renovation – $30,000

South Grove Central Park � allocate for a 10 foot by 14 foot shelter. Councilor Prebeg said that the South Grove area already received funding for improvements in 2006 and the residents there should wait a year or two for anything additional. The Mayor said that there will be St. Louis County grant funding again in 2009.

Merritt Days Celebration-Special events-$8,000 in 2006. There is currently $12,000 budgeted in Recreation Department for Special events in 2007 to be allocated for the July 4th, Easter Egg Hunt, Merritt Days and the Halloween carnival. The consensus of the Council was to not change this line item. 

Downtown School Yard Light � it was the consensus of the Council to allocate this out of general operating expenses.

Request to have the sign at the corner of Mineral Avenue and Main Street made larger. This may be able to be allocated out of the T-21 grant.

Sidewalk along County Road 103 from the Mud Lake corner to Enterprise Drive South intersection. It was the consensus of the Council to wait until 2007 and get some feed back from the area residents.

Kinross area. Good crushed rock and gravel for the streets. Councilor Prebeg said that this would be for regular road maintenance through the Street budget.

Mountain Iron Drive area sidewalks to budget $10,000 in 2007 for this. It was the consensus of the Council to request Walgreens to authorize the City to add a sidewalk in that area.

Add a sidewalk from the Nichols Town Hall corner to Little Joe�s. Councilor Nelson stated that there is a wide shoulder on Nichols Avenue for the residents to walk on.

Councilor Irish requested that the following item be considered for the 2007 budget:

More advertisement for the Downtown area by posting a sign for the Iroquois Mine Dump area for tourism in the amount of $5,000. 

The Librarian requested that the Council consider adding a Library sign on Highway 169. Councilor Irish stated that the Minnesota Department of Transportation stated that there were too many signs posted on the Highway 169. Councilor Roskoski stated that there are currently no signage for the high school and the library and this should be posted. 

At 8:52 p.m., the Mayor adjourned the meeting.

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