The Taconite Capital of the World

City of Mountain Iron, Minnesota



Meeting Minutes for September 15, 2003

MOUNTAIN IRON CITY COUNCIL

SEPTEMBER 15, 2003

Mayor Skalko called the City Council meeting to order at 6:31 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; Rod Flannigan, City Engineer; Karen Luoma, Librarian; Tom Cvar, Fire Chief; and Joe Stewart, Sergeant.

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

The following items were added to the agenda:

IV. A. 5. Northland Annexation

6 2004 Proposed Budget

Length of the meetings

V. B. Mesabi Trail-New Route

VI. C. 1. Library Roof Update

Approve the minutes of the September 2, 2003, City Council meeting with the following corrections:

Page 4, paragraph 2, Councilor Roskoski handed out and reviewed a drawing indicating the proposed work needed on North Court.

Page 7, paragraph 7, �.and to include how many handicapped parking places that are necessary, so the parking spaces can be striped.

Page 9, paragraph 4, �..City Council packet or earlier. And further, to have Councilor Irish appointed as the Council liaison.

3. 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.

4. To acknowledge the receipts for the period September 1-15 2003, totaling $1,081,024.73, (a list is attached and made a part of these minutes).

5. To authorize the payments of the bills and payroll for the period September 1-15, 2003, totaling $109,100.00, (a list is attached and made a part of these minutes).

The motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.

During the public forum, Jim Lamoine was present and advised the Council that he was interested in moving to the Wiinanen farm. He stated that he would live there and would like to open a business this Fall. He said that he would need to have the property rezoned and have water and sewer lines extended to the property. He said that it would be a machinery shop with a 5,000 square foot facility. 

The Fire Chief was present and advised the Council that he had applied for another State of Minnesota, Department of Natural Resources grant to purchase backpacks. The cost of the two backpacks is approximately $5700. He requested that the Council budget for these items for 2004. 

The Council expressed their gratitude to Joe Buria for writing the grant application for the Federal Emergency Management Agency Grant and being awarded $202,500 towards the purchase of a fire truck. The City�s contribution to qualify for the grant would be $20,250. The Fire Chief said that this amount also would need to be in the 2004 budget. 

The Council reviewed the Fire Department Activity Report for the month of August 2003. The Council requested that the Fire Chief add the type of fire to the report. 

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Prebeg to direct City Staff to fly the Finnish flag below the American flag on the Community Center flagpole on Thursday, September 18, 2003 and approve the proclamation declaring “Pentti Mahonen Day” in Mountain Iron on Thursday, September 18, 2003, (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried.

The Mayor spoke and stated that he was upset that the application for the Community Development Block Grant was submitted after the due date. He said that the application was for $50,000 for the library ADA upgrades. The Mayor said that the information was acquired from the Architect in March 2003, the required public hearing was held in July for the application, and the application was due August 1st. The City Administrator stated that the Architect never supplied him with the updated figures that the City Council had requested, so the application did not get submitted on time.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Roskoski to strongly request that at the Special Library Board meeting on September 16, 2003 that the Library Board give the City Council the vote to obtain the State grant. The motion carried with Councilor Nelson voting no.

Councilor Irish said that after receiving a letter from City Staff regarding the library renovation project, he requested permission from the Mayor to forward the letter to the City Attorney for his advise regarding the policies and procedures that this Council had followed and if any local violation occurred or if any actions by this Council created any condition that had or could expose this public project to susceptible liability. He requested the attorney to comment. The City Attorney said that the City Council had been following all of the City policies and procedures concerning the Library renovation issues.

The Council requested the Librarian to prepare a report on the Arrowhead Library System costs and benefits for the next regular City Council meeting.

The City Council discussed the Plumbing and Heating Direct utility easement. The Council directed the Director of Public Works to set up a meeting as soon as possible with himself, the City Engineer, and the City Attorney to meet with the owners of the Plumbing and Heating Direct Owners to discuss the easement in questions. 

The Council discussed the Northland Annexation that was approved by the Judge.

The Mayor requested that the City Council, City Staff, and Union Employees review the 2004 proposed budget and prepare a list of costs savings for 2004 and have it available for the October 20, 2003 meeting. The Mayor requested that a memo be sent to the City Garage requesting this information.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Irish that there are no meeting time limits on this City Council. The motion carried with Councilor Prebeg and Nelson voting no.

The Mayor requested that a joint meeting be scheduled with the City Council and the Mountain Iron Housing and Redevelopment Authority to discuss the Mountain Manor.

The Mayor informed the Council that he would be attending a conference in Duluth on September 17, 2003 to meet with Minnesota Department of Transportation Staff regarding ISTEA Grant funding for vintage street lighting for Downtown Mountain Iron. 

It was moved by Nelson and supported by Prebeg to adopt Ordinance 02-03, as amended, (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried on the following roll call vote: Nelson, yes; Irish, yes; Roskoski, yes; Prebeg, yes; and Skalko, no.

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Nelson to authorize the City Engineer to review the sewer line failure, approximately 300 feet of line and two manholes, between Falcon Street and Eagle Avenue to calculate costs to repair. The motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Irish to direct the following: the City Administrator, the Director of Public Works, the City Attorney, the City Engineer, the Foreman, and the Librarian, that when items are placed on a Council meeting agenda that backup information be provided. The motion carried with Councilor Nelson and Prebeg voting no.

Councilor Irish asked the Director of Public Works what the status of the Water Treatment Plant painting was. The Director of Public Works stated that the contractor would be coming back in October to complete the work.

It was moved by Irish and supported by Skalko to authorize the Director of Public Works to work with the East Range Secondary Cooperative Class at the Virginia High School Campus to construct a 12 x 16 building to be used for a skating warming building with the City purchasing the construction materials. The motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.

Councilor Roskoski stated that he is the teacher for the East Range Secondary Cooperative Class and they would not complete any electrical work and if it does work out and the class completes the project, the building would be completed by May 21, 2004, and the City would be responsible for moving the building. Councilor Prebeg said that there has been no formal discussion by the Park and Recreation Board whether there would actually be a rink constructed in Downtown Mountain Iron. The Recreation Director said that if it is not used for a warming building, the City could use it for a concession stand. 

Councilor Roskoski questioned whether a letter was sent to the Mountain Iron-Buhl High School regarding making a small skating rink, using water from the cafeteria, and building a small sliding hill out of snow in the High School park area. The Recreation Director said that a letter had already been sent.

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Nelson to authorize $1500 for advertising in the Iron Trail Visitor�s Guide. The motion carried unanimously on a roll call vote.

The Council reviewed the HRA/EDA opinion given by the City Attorney. The Mayor set up a Committee to review the HRA/EDA information. The Committee consists of: Mayor Skalko, Councilor Roskoski, HRA Member Larry Johnson, HRA Member John Filander, the City Attorney, and the City Administrator. The Mayor said that he would set a meeting date and time for the Committee to meet.

The City Attorney updated the Council on the proposed Blight Ordinance. The City Attorney stated that he would prepare a sample ordinance to include blight and smoking enforcement. 

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Irish to direct the City Attorney to review the ownership records to determine the true ownership of Mining Avenue. The motion carried with Councilor Nelson voting no.

The Council reviewed the Sheriff�s Department Activity Report for August 2003. The Council requested that the Sheriff�s Department review the speeding problems on Parkville Road.

It was moved by Nelson and supported by Prebeg to accept the recommendation of the Utility Advisory Board and adopt the proposed electric rate increase of approximately 12%. The motion failed on the following roll call vote: Nelson, yes; Irish, no; Roskoski, no; Prebeg, yes; and Skalko, no.

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Nelson to make a 6% electrical rate increase this year and make a 6% electrical rate increase next year effective 30 days from now. The motion carried on the following roll call vote: Irish, no; Roskoski, no; Prebeg, yes; Nelson, yes; and Skalko, yes.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Prebeg to direct the City Administrator or the Director of Public Works to compose a letter, for the Council to review at the next regular meeting, to be sent to all of the electric customers, stating the following: 1) that this is the first rate increase since 1985; 2) the electrical utility has lost approximately $100,000 in 2003; 3) since 1998 all of our utilities, electric, water garbage and sewer, have been operating in a deficit; 4) that the new rate will be phased in over a year. The motion carried with Councilor Irish voting no.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Irish that the Mesabi Trail route through Downtown be changed temporary to the following because of mining company land concerns. Going west, connect to Main Street via the sidewalk on the south side of the east end of Main Street (this would be technically east of Ken Jacobsen�s alley) follow the south side of Main Street and use, where necessary the street, the boulevard and the sidewalk, to the corner of Main Street and Marble Avenue. At that point, the trail would turn north and go up Marble Avenue on the east side of Marble Avenue, using the avenue, the boulevard and the sidewalk where necessary, to where it would connect to the original plan main trail route on Locomotive Street. And further, direct the Recreation Director to contact Bob Manzoline as soon as possible and advise him of the new route. This new route will be in effect until the original route problems can be rectified. The motion carried.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Skalko to set a special meeting on Monday, September 29, 2003 at 6:30 p.m. to review the proposed street projects and consider Resolution Number 27-03 and request that the City Engineer and the City Attorney attend the meeting. The motion carried.

At, 9:31 p.m., the Mayor recess the meeting. 

At 9:38 p.m., the Mayor reconvened the meeting.

It was moved by Prebeg and supported by Nelson to adopt Resolution Number 32-03, Ordering Assessment Role, (a copy is attached and made a part of these minutes). The motion carried on the unanimously on a roll call vote.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Roskoski to postpone Phase I, Sitework, for the Mountain Iron Library ADA Renovation Bids and award Phase II, Interior Renovation, to Lenci Enterprises, Virginia, Minnesota in the amount of $64,500. The motion carried on the following roll call vote: Prebeg, yes; Nelson, no; Irish, yes; Roskoski, yes; and Skalko, yes.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Irish to authorize $1,500 to have Range Cornice look at the Library roof to provide an accurate estimate for the roof replacement charges. The motion carried on the following roll call vote: Nelson, no; Irish, yes; Roskoski, yes; Prebeg, yes; and Skalko, yes.

The Council reviewed the proposed agreement between the City of Mountain Iron and Independent School District 712. It was the consensus of the Council to discuss this item further at the next regular meeting.

It was moved by Skalko and supported by Roskoski to direct the five City Management Staff on the 25th of each preceding month Councilors would be sent out monthly reports stating their scheduled days off. Also, if you will be attending a meeting or workshops and will be late for work or leaving early to let the Office Staff know where you will be. This would be effective November 1, 2003 with the first report being sent out October 25, 2003. The motion carried with Councilor Prebeg and Councilor Nelson voting no.

Councilor Irish and Councilor Roskoski requested what the hours of work are for Management Staff, how the compensation time is taken care of and who documents it, and to have copies of the management contracts. 

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Irish that one more street classification be added under definitions, page 1, of the City�s Local Improvement Policy number 1997-00, with said additional classification that would be named “minor arterial” and have an assessment rate of 25% to adjoining property owners. All other pertinent language throughout the said Improvement Policy will be changed to reflect the new classification. The definition of a “Minor Arterial Street” would be “a minor arterial street is a principal route that gathers traffic from residential streets or collector streets or connects to or goes between arterial streets, under normal situation the normal through traffic accounts for roughly 75% of the street use”, with these changes becoming effective immediately. The motion carried with Councilor Prebeg and Councilor Nelson voting no.

The Council discussed the yellow curbing along the west side of North Mineral Avenue by the Catholic Church. The Director of Public Works said that he would review the situation.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Irish to direct the City Administrator or the Director of Public Works to write a letter to Bob White of the Saint Louis County Public Works Department, by the end of October, and state to him that at a recent meeting between Minntac Officials and City Councilors and Staff that Minntac Officials stated that it was going to be on the outside of seven years before they doing any type of mining in the Parkville area by Old Highway 169. And, because of that the County should really look closely at resurfacing Old Highway 169 and County Road 102 (Mineral Avenue). And further, to send a copy of the letter to Saint Louis County Commissioner Keith Nelson. The motion carried with Councilor Nelson voting no.

It was moved by Irish and supported by Skalko to authorize Councilor Irish to contact Jim Miles, Minnesota Department of Transportation, and request a guide sign application for the installation of some or all of the following signs along Highway 169 going both the east and west direction: Community Center and City Offices, West II Rivers Reservoir Recreation Area, Mountain Iron Recreation Complex next right, High School next right, and the Merritt Auditorium, and obtain the costs for the signs. The motion carried with Councilor Prebeg and Councilor Nelson voting no.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Skalko to authorize Councilor Irish to continue pursuing the Department of Natural Resource ATV trails project. The motion carried with Councilor Nelson voting no.

It was moved by Roskoski and supported by Skalko to direct City Staff to recalculate the Grant Street special assessments with regard to public or private ownership and have the new information for the special meeting on September 29, 2003. The motion carried.

Councilor Roskoski asked City Staff if the Marion Drive special assessments were calculated correctly at 90%. The Director of Public Works stated that the hearing notices that went out were correct.

Councilor Irish asked the Director of Public Works why 15 working days and one weekend were needed to flush hydrants. The Director of Public Works stated that all of the hydrants in the area are checked and repaired. And further, when they get into the Higgins Industrial area that has to be completed on a weekend because of water needs for a business located there due to the set up of the old Ann�s Acres Water Company lines. 

At 10:57 p.m., it was moved by Roskoski and supported by Skalko that the meeting be adjourned. The motion carried.

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