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City of Mountain Iron, Minnesota

PSHB 9-30-20 Minutes

Mountain Iron

Public Safety and Health Board Meeting Minutes

Mountain Iron Community Center

September 30, 2020


The meeting was called to order by Chairperson Al Stanaway at  6:30 P.M.


  1. Members present: Margaret Ratai,  Steve Skogman, Margaret Soyring, Al Stanaway. Also, present: St. Louis County Sheriff Sgt. John Backman, MIFD Fire Chief Gerry Knapper, Craig Wainio,  City Administrator .


  1. Consent Agenda
  2. Consent Agenda approval: Motion by M. Ratai and second by M. Soyring to approve the Consent Agenda with change to reflect Minutes of January 22, 2020 meeting.  Chairperson Stanaway recommends meeting include updates and review since January due to COVID 19 restrictions to hold public in person meetings. Motion carried.
  3. Motion by M. Ratai and second by S. Skogman to approve January 22, 2020 minutes with Correction to II read “ Motion by M. Soyring and second by M. Ratai to approve the  minutes”. Motion Carried.
  4. Communications: 8-19-20 email from C. Wainio, Administrator,  January to July, 2020  Mesabi Human Society Animal Control Report.  7-13-20 email from M. Madden, MIFD Asst. Fire Chief, Liaison Alternate with Quarter 1-2, July MIFD Call and Mutual Aid Report and Call and Response Report.



III.       Public Forum: None


  1. Committee Staff Reports
  2. First Responders: September First Responder Calls Report emailed 9-30-20 to Board Members by M. Madden, MIFD Asst. Fire Chief and Liaison Alternate.  First Responders were at 6 out of 27 calls. Currently 4 active First Responders.  New firefighters have shown an interest in becoming First Responders.  Will approach staff when initial firefighter training is completed.
  3. Fire Department Report: MIFD Call and Mutual Aid Report and Call and Response Report from January thru September 15th emailed on 9-21-20 by M. Madden ,MFID Assisted Chief and Alternate Liaison. Year to Date: Total Calls – 49, Mutual Aid Calls – 26, Fire Hours – 82, Mt. Iron Call Man Hours – 96, Mutual Aid Man Hours – 215, Mutual Aid Hours – 311, Mutual Aid Hour % – 69%, False/Canceled Alarms – 20, Working Calls, 29, FF/Working Calls – 103, FF/False/Cancel Alarms – 61, Total Responders – 164, FF per Call 3.33, FF per Working Call – 3.73, % Member Response – 29%.  Roster total = 13. Enrolled 9 new firefighters into 10-01 firefighter training program which should be done in January.

            Plan to notify firefighters in October that are under 30% of committed hours to complete requirements for PERA yearly contribution.  60 day notice needed.

  1. Sheriff’s Office Report:

                        Due to changes in criminal history for employment, City

            employees will need to get fingerprinted with a report by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).

            Discussion held on need for a new department vehicle  One of the squads is can no longer be repaired.  Due to COVID 19, law enforcement cars are no longer being manufactured at this time until May 2021 at the earliest.  Currently Suburban, Durango and Ford F Series trucks are available for law enforcement.  Due to COVID 19 the price of a new vehicle has increased since last year.

            Motion by S. Skogman and second by M. Ratai to recommend the City Council purchase a Chevrolet Suburban and have the item on the agenda for the second City Council meeting in October.

            Sgt. Backman will explore rental options with St. Louis County Sheriff’s Department to rent a vehicle until a new one can be purchased to fill out the fleet.

            No officers have had COVID 19 to date. CDC guidelines are being followed.

  1. Other – Refer to Mesabi Human Society Animal Control Report received 8-19-20.



  1. Unfinished Business 


  1. Discussion held about Election of Officers.  Election was deferred in January until full Board could be present at the meeting.   Chairperson Stanaway will contact S. Hunter if he can participate in a Zoom meeting or by phone call to hold election of officers.
  2. No action has been taken by the MI Fire Department staff about preference for salary increase vs PERA contribution increase due to no change in the 2020 budget from 2019.  Chief Knapper will bring the issue back to the Department.
  3. No feedback from City Attorney has been received about review status of the proposed changes to Ordinance Paid On-Call Fire Department and First Responders, Animal Control and Public Nuisance. Chairperson Stanaway will check on the status.
  4. Review of Ordinances: Fire Prevention Code, Open Burning and Knox Box by updates from MIFD are in process.   Chief Knapper will discuss Knox Box Ordinance with Mountain Iron – Buhl Schools Maintenance head, Dan Hendrickson.
  5. Status of Chapter 115 Tobacco Ordinance revisions to reflect the federal law change effective December 21, 2019 with age change from 18 to 21 and approval by City Council is still pending. C. Wainio, Administrator will check on status and report back to the Board.
  6. Chief Knapper reports that changes were made with St. Louis County  9-1-1 Communications for the Clinton Fire Department to be the first call out.
  7. No action has been taken about providing new Public Utility customers information about the City’s recycling program and site, city website resources.




  1. New Business
  2. Craig Wainio, City Administrator, provided a report about the August 18th  joint  informational meeting of the Mountain Iron and Virginia City Councils for a presentation about the proposed full merger of the Mountain Iron and Virginia Fire Departments into a new Fire District model and draft Joint Powers Agreement. Council members received a written report of the Committees recommendations and Joint Powers Agreement draft. The Fire Department Services Planning Committee meets monthly via Zoom.  A new timeline for the merger has not been developed to date.  Request by M. Ratai and M. Soyring to be notified of future meetings.
  3. Discussion held about having meeting via Zoom or with Zoom for members that cannot attend in person due to COVID-19 restrictions.
  4. C. Wainio, City Administrator, reports that City is still in State of Emergency due to COVID-19 and will continue with the City Plan per State of Minnesota regulations. 

                        Currently City building remain closed to the public with no plans to open until State restrictions are lifted. New window has been installed in from of the City Hall clerks.  Recommendation by S. Skogman to have speakers installed.  Curbside recycling is on hold. Hand sanitizers are in each building entrance.  COVID screening with temperature checks is done if one comes into a City building.  There has been discussion to develop a plan to open the Senior Center with no action at this time. City computer systems have been updated to allow employees to work from home.  MI Library work stations rearranged to allow for social distancing. Library has a policy and practice in place for book distribution and returns. Returned books are separated from other items and cleaned 3 days after return using a UV wand to disinfect.  Plexiglass installed at checkout desk.

                        General election will be held in the Community Center and other designated polling locations following CDC guidelines.  Plexiglass was used in the primary election and will be used again in the general election.


 VII.           Announcements

  1. Next Public Safety and Health Board meeting will be held on October 28, 2020 at 6:30 PM


VIII.         Motion by S. Skogman and second by  M. Soyring to adjourn the meeting. Motion carried. Meeting adjourned at 7:31 PM  P.M.


Respectfully submitted by:


Margaret Ratai






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