2017 March 13 Council Minutes


March 13, 2017

 The meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m. by Mayor Werner.  The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by those in attendance.  Present for the meeting: Mayor John Werner, Councilors Greg Andrews, Suzanne Herstad, Bob Quade, and John Goman, Clerk Joan Jauss, Treasurer Holly Herstad, and the attached list of public.


Jayme Heim, The Fall Inn, asked with the new law for off-sale liquor sales on Sunday, has the City Council decided if Rice Lake establishments can sell off-sale liquor on Sundays starting in July 2017.  John W. stated the Council has had no discussion on this issue yet and advised Jayme to write a letter to the Council if she is in support of Sunday liquor sales.  The City will need to discuss and review its ordinance.

Sue Graber, 3955 West Tischer, has a complaint about the house next to her.  Sue stated the residence next door is causing damage to her property from debris flying off the house onto her home. She feels the house is ready to collapse, and is a fire hazard, it also has septic issues.  She had talked to the St. Louis Co. Health Department, per the City’s recommendation the last time she reported issues and the County told her that the City would have to deal with these issues.  John W. said the septic falls to the County Health Department. The City can have the building inspector look at the house, from the outside to make sure it is structurally sound.  Sue stated she will give the City Building Inspector permission to go on her property to inspect the neighboring house/property.


Duluth Urban Watershed ditch network letter of support:  Joan shared a copy of an email she received from the Duluth Urban Watershed requesting a letter of support for a grant application for funds to map the ditches and culverts that feed into and from the Amity Creek watershed.  Greg said the Duluth Urban Watershed has been discussing how water is feeding into Lake Superior.  Greg shared the watershed group is breaking down into five or six categories of areas they are going to focus on, he is planning to attend the ordinance and policies group.  Greg will bring the City’s ordinance/policies to the next Duluth Urban Watershed meeting.  John W. noted the letter referenced the Amity Creek watershed, he is concerned about the water retention and culvert/ditching and how it will impact the City.  John G. and Bob stated this seems like an overlap of agencies pertaining to watershed in this area and they are not in support of the Duluth Urban Watershed request.  John G. mentioned that FEMA advised the City after the flood to increase the size of culverts and to improve ditches.  Suzanne is also concerned about Duluth Urban Watershed getting taxing authority and is not in support of it.  Council is not in support of sending a letter.

MNDOT Utility Coordination meeting:  Joan shared a copy of a letter she received from MNDOT showing all the state roads that are going to have work done in Northeast Minnesota.  John W. stated there are no MNDOT roads in the City.

WLSSD redlined amended I&I ordinance revision:  Joan gave the Council a copy of the revised draft of the I&I ordinance she received.  There will be a public meeting on March 22 if any of the Council would like to attend.  Greg stated he will go.

2017 MDS Noxious Weed list:  Joan shared an email she received from St. Louis County Weed Inspector noting there will be training classes coming up for the local weed inspectors, also attached was a noxious weed list.

General Correspondence: See folder


February 27, 2016 City Council minutes
March 9, 2017 Public Hearing John Werner – utility easement vacation
March 9, 2017 Public hearing Roger Werner – utility easement vacation

Executed Claims
General fund checks – 11441-11500 and 420E – 422E
Payroll checks – 758-791
Fair Housing Authority –  none

        1. Resolution 17-03-10 Minnesota Government Data Practices Act City Hall Procedures

Motion was made by Suzanne to approve the consent agenda with a second by Bob.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed.


Greg stated utilities are going well.

Bob said the City now has a seat on the MIC Council.  He has found the MIC meetings are very informative about transportation and feels it is a good organization to be a part off.

John G. stated he and Suzanne were at the Capital today testifying in the House of Representatives trying to get the City LGA.  John G. also stated he and John W. attended a DNR Trail meeting, to discuss the trail extension from Sunset to the Martin Road Trail Head.  Temporary easements were obtained for 2017 and permanent easements are being worked on. John said extending the trail will help keep snowmobiles off the roads.


Treasurer: Cash, profit/loss, and expense reports were in the Council packet.

Building Department: Joan read the following report into record for February as prepared by Toni


Type of Permit Issued               # issued

House Addition                                      2
Window                                                   1
Driveway                                                 1       

Total issued                                       4

Total valuation of projects:      $ 179,200

Fines                                       $  0

Total fees assessed:               $ 2,842.67

Planning & Zoning report: Joan read the following report into record for February as prepared by Teresa Koivula.

        • Citizen Complaint: 5
        • Agriculture Inquiries: 4
        • Outgoing Correspondence: 12
        • Junk/salvage yard clean up in progress: 4
        • MPCA investigations: 2
        • DNR investigations: 1
        • Development inquiries: 1
        • Variance application: 1
        • Meeting with City Planner: 1
        • Annual AWAIR meeting: 1

Public Works/Road & Bridge: Joan read the following report into record for February as prepared by Justin Schendel.

Road and Bridge

        • Sanded all paved roads as needed
        • Plowed all City properties as needed
        • Used loader/backhoe to clear eight culverts for steaming


        • 10 Gopher One State locates in February
        • Exercised booster pumps as needed
        • Attended confine space entry class
        • Studied for wastewater test in March
        • Replaced one water meter


        • Got old brush fire truck ready for sale
        • Assisted Quality Garage in replacing springs on overhead door #1
        • Picked up for disposal two fax machines from fire hall and one from city hall along with old telephones

Fire Department: Chief Niemi read the February report into record.

Total Calls: February Total Calls Responded to was 15.

        • 9 Medical
        • 2 Lift Assist
        • 1 Carbon Monoxide Alarm Sounding
        • 1 Structure Fire (mutual aid in Normanna)
        • 1 Vehicle Fire
        • 1 Medical/Rescue on snowmobile trail

Water Usage: We used approximately 3,000 Gallons of water above the normal consumption

Training: We had multiple members spend extra time training last month on a wide variety of topics including:

        • Large Scale Incident Response (Natural Disaster)
        • Leadership Development
        • Pipeline Safety Training
        • Wildland Fire Tactics

Smoke Alarm Campaign: So far we have had very good response to the campaign with minimal advertising

        • We have visited 7 homes
        • Installed 36 smoke alarms so far
        • We have requested more alarms from the Red Cross
        • We have approximately another half dozen homes waiting to be scheduled

ISO Rating: I’m sure most of you are aware we have received our ISO rating back after the December review          period.  The ISO inspector has given us a rating class of 5/10, which is an improvement from our previous Class 6 rating. Any homes that live beyond 5 road miles from either fire station would have a Class rating of 10, while those within the 5 road miles are a Class 5.  This rating improvement puts our fire department in the top 40% of the departments tested across the country. (approximately 50,000)

We received a total score of 54.73/105.50

        • The Fire Department piece of the equation scored a 30.69 out of 50 possible points.
          • The largest impact areas on our score were training and deployment analysis
        • Need an additional 5.27 points to improve to a Class 4 rating – very attainable

Areas I believe can positively impact our ISO rating next time they come around are:

        • Improving our response/deployment model by not solely relying on a volunteer structure. (6.43 additional points possible)
        • Improving our existing training curriculum and documentation (6.97 additional points possible)
        • Improving the water supply system (18.47 additional points possible)
        • Creating an annual inspection and flow testing policy of the city’s hydrants and documenting the records, performed by the city public works department. (4.6 additional points possible)

John W. suggested the fire department should put an article in the paper on the ISO rating.  Mark also shared they made some repairs to the main engine for a bad solenoid.  John W. noted Justin, the Utilities Worker, should be able to do some flow testing this summer to help with our ISO rating.

Animal Control: Joan read the following report into record for February as submitted by Gloria Dallum.

        • Hours worked                          40
        • Miles driven                             146
        • License fees collected            $156
        • Citations issued                      0
        • Fines issued                            $205
        • Dogs to kennel                        0
        • Dogs to pound                        1

Utilities: Joan read the following report into record for February.

        • Monthly meter readings done
        • Continue to work on Ordinance #44 Establishing water and sewer trunk and connection fees
        • Worked on reducing the water run-off to prevent I&I on 3rd Ave. S. manholes

Park Department: None

Sheriff: None

Sewer and water report: In Council’s packet


Hall rental donation for 5K Red Run: Joan received an e-mail from Marilyn Lepak asking if the Council would donate a hall rental for the 2017 5K Red Run.  A motion was made by John G to donate a hall rental with a second by Greg.  All voted in favor.  Motion passed.

Advertisement in City Paper for 5K Red Run: Joan said Marilyn Lepak asked if the Council would waive the charge for a full-page ad in the paper for the 5K Red Run.  Greg mention in the past the Relief was not charged for these types of things as this is a community event.  Mark said all funds raised go to the Relief fund to purchase equipment etc.  A motion was made by Greg waive the charge for the 5K Red Run ad in the City paper with a second by Suzanne.  All voted in favor.  Motion passed.


Small area development planning proposal: Suzanne stated the City’s Comprehensive Plan has areas that should be updated.  John Klaers has submitted a proposal for $4,160 to create a small area development plan for the Rice Lake Road Corridor.  Suzanne stated, at the Agenda meeting, John Klaers stated he can have the plan completed by the end of 2017. Suzanne stated she sees in her packet a document from the City Attorney recommending an agreement detailing what the proposal entails, the cost, and the timing.  Suzanne is in support of this.  A motion was made by Suzanne to approve the proposal from John Klaers for $4,160 to create a small area development plan for the Rice Lake Road Corridor with a second by Bob. Joan clarified that the motion is contingent upon receipt of a written agreement with Mr. Klaers as per legal counsel’s advice, Council agreed.  John G. stated the cost is a not to exceed cost, if John K. feels he is going to exceed the amount in the proposal, he will need to come back to Council for approval. All vote in favor.  Motion passed.

MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT: Greg made a motion to adjourn the meeting with a second by Suzanne.  All vote in favor.  Meeting was adjourned.