2017 December 11 Council minutes


December 11, 2017

 The meeting was called to order at 6:00 pm 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, Mike Couri City Attorney, and the attached list of public.

PUBLIC DISCUSSION: Teresa Koivula, Zoning Administrator, gave the Council an update on indoor shooting ranges.  She investigated Ordinances #22 Zoning and #8 Dangerous Weapons, as well as the DNR and OSHA, she found there is no information on private shooting ranges, only commercial.  Teresa did inform the applicant they need to talk with OSHA and the DNR about indoor air quality.  At this time, Rice Lake had no regulations on it. Teresa also talked about a comprehensive plan workshop she attended.  She stated she received an outline for the process of updating our comprehensive plan.  They talked about ways to gather information and what to do with it once received. It was stated the best time to do an update is when the census is done. It could take up to a year to do once we start.


Email from Jill Jacoby about light pollution.

General Correspondence – see folder



November 27, 2017 City Council minutes

November 28, 2017 Truth in Taxation minutes

Executed Claims:

General fund checks – 12130-12176 and 451E

Payroll checks – 1060-1095

Fair Housing Authority –  none


Resolution 17-12-32 Resolution setting the 2018 levy

Gambling permit for Yeti tour

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


Greg stated not much going on. Still waiting to find out if manhole repair work can be done in the winter, has not heard back from Joe at MSA.  John W. stated he talked with Brian Boder at St. Louis County public works and they stated if the manhole on Howard Gnesen Rd and Willard Rd being offset is their fault, they will look into it.

Suzanne still looking for a Planning and Zoning member. Being a member is a good way to understand what happens in the Planning and Zoning world.  Good opportunity.  Contact the Clerk if interested

John W. stated the North hydrant on Stavanger Road has thawed and is working.  It was spraying water, so it was closed and pumped down.  Ditch 14 is a county contract ditch installed in 1923, this ditch needs to be cleaned.  We can petition and assess the costs, or we can make a request for a proposal. The cost for this proposal would be $3,000-5,000 John W. stated to put this on the Agenda meeting agenda for more discussion in January.  He attended a meeting with the City of Proctor and City of Hermantown about the City of Duluth water rates.  All cities agreed to send an appeal letter to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, within 90 days of the increase.  Council will need to authorize our attorney to do the letter, this can be discussed further at the Agenda meeting.

Bob stated the Councilors went to the Airport Zoning meeting in which there was discussion about re-writing the zoning at the airport.  There was no MIC meeting this month.  The new fire truck should arrive this coming week.

John G. stated he is working with Justin on repairing burp boxes on W. Calvary Rd, another one has failed so it was shut down to prevent any sewer overflows. There are two water leaks, one at W. Calvary and another one at Rice Lake Road, the W. Calvary leak seems to have quit, the one on Rice Lake Rd has slowed down, we are still watching.  They are exercising the valves to see if that will resolve the issue.


Financial Report: Council received copies of the Cash Report, Expense Summary, and Profit and Loss Statement.

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


Type of Permit Issued         issued

  • Garage                                    1
  • Deck                                        1
  • Demo                                      1
  • Furnace/water heater          3
  • Gas Line                                 4         

Total issued                                 10

Total valuation of projects:      $  36,035.00

Fines                                       $           0.00

Total fees assessed:               $       821.57

Planning & Zoning report: Teresa Koivula read the following report into record.

  • Citizen complaint: 2
  • Onsite visits: 5
  • Outgoing correspondence: 1
  • Preliminary lot line/minor subdivision review: 3
  • Zoning violations abated: 2
    1. Progress towards compliance: 4
  • Workshop Nov. 15 and 16: Comprehensive Planning

John W. asked if Teresa is working on any subdivisions, she noted she is working on one on the Schultz Road.  John W. also asked if all citizen complaints have been addressed, Teresa noted all have been addressed personally.

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

  • Reassembled APCO air combination valve with new internals, external valves and piping.
  • Installed APCO air combination valve on West Calvary assisted by MSA to ensure proper operation of the valve assembly.
  • Plowed all City facilities as required.
  • Replaced lift station carbon filters on lift stations 3 and 10.
  • Assisted Brent’s Septic with pumping 4 Air Valve vaults on West Calvary.
  • Duct sealed internal conduit piping on lift station # 10 to prevent odors from escaping through the panel and to increase effectiveness of the vent pipe carbon filter.
  • Cleaned Bay # 3 catch drain.
  • Exercised Booster stations as required.
  • Calibrated gas monitor as required.
  • Removed 2nd APCO air combination valve from West Calvary Road and Rutter assisted by John Goman.
  • Reassembled APCO air combination valve with new internals, external valves and piping.
  • Met with OSHA at Public Works.
  • Picked up rock from LakeHead and placed into side walk depression at City Hall assisted by Justin Aleshire.
  • Brought F-350 to UTB to fix the head light wiring issue.
  • Successfully tested proper operation of 2nd APCO air combination valve at Public Works.
  • Removed Ice rink behind Public Works via Loader.
  • Successfully installed 2nd APCO air combination valve on West Calvary and Rutter road.
  • Cleared 8 Gopher State One locates.

John W. expressed we should not get any invoices from United Truck Body for the repair work.  Also, Justin is to notify the Fire Chief or Asst. Chief of any hydrants that are down or back in service.

Fire Department: Chief Niemi read the report into record.

Total Calls:

  • November Total Calls Responded to was 18.
    • 11 Medicals
    • 3 Structure Fire
    • 1 Vehicle Fire
    • 1 Water Emergency
    • 1 Lift Assist
    • 1 Powerline down hazards

OSHA Update

  • Violation for our Respiratory Protection Program, specifically:
    • Medical evaluations not be conducted
    • Fit testing not being performed
  • I have contacted Fairview Range Job Care out of Hibbing to come down with their trailer and perform these tests on site December 21st. I have everyone signed up to come in at their scheduled time on this date except for one member, who will be driving to Hibbing to take the tests at the clinic.
  • By being able to get them down to our site for testing prior to the 1st deadline of abatement, we can receive an additional reduction in our fine from $600 to $420. Joan is filing the necessary paperwork for this.
  • Cost for having these tests done will be approximately $3,000 for 23 individuals.

Mark stated it will $3,000 for all 23 firefighters to have their FIT test, it is approximately $127 per firefighter.  Mark also explained that the OSHA fine started out at $3,000 with credits we received, they were able to get it down to $420.

Staffing Issues

  • We have had a significant difficulty with call response during the daytime, as well as some other issues with call response during other times of the day as well throughout this year. This year we have missed approximately 18 calls for help within our city limits. Approximately 2/3rds of these have been covered through mutual aid requests, while the others have had no fire department response.
  • Call volumes are continuing to increase each year. To date (12/7) we have been paged for response 235 times.
  • We are looking into possible solutions to staffing issues however we are not sure what that is quite yet.
  • We had one member take a year leave of absence. Not sure what will happen after this.
  • We will be having 2 more retirements at the end of this year and likely a couple more beginning of the year next year.
  • As of January 1st, 2018, our active roster will be 23 members.

New Engine 1

  • We should be receiving delivery of our new apparatus on Wednesday at 5:30pm. Final Payment due at that time.

Equipment Maintenance

  • Current Engine 1 had some issues pumping on one of our Structure fires last month. Thankfully we were able to be on scene quickly and able to knock down the fire with a dry-chemical extinguisher. We had EAM come up the following day to figure out the issue and they found a loose wire on a solenoid.

John W. asked when the truck is received, will there be training done.  Mark stated eight people will get the initial training and they will train the rest of the fire fighters.  The existing engine will be moved to the North fire hall and the old engine at the North fire hall will be put in the fenced area at public works.  John G. and Mark will work together on selling it. Truck 6 is going to temporarily be put at an individual’s home until we can get it back into the hall.

Park: None

Animal control: Joan read the following report into record as prepared by Gloria Dallum

  • Hours worked                          28
  • Miles driven                             45
  • License fees collected            $
  • Citations issued                      0
  • Fines issued                            $120
  • Dogs to kennel                        1
  • Dogs to pound                        0

 Utilities: Joan read the following report into record

  • Monthly meter readings were done
  • Submitted 3rd Ave. S. PFA (Public Facilities) application
  • Rice Lake water and sewer rates were increased effective January 2018
  • Utilities Commission started working on new I&I ordinance

John W. asked if 3rd Ave. S. is ready to go out for bid.  Joan stated she told MSA to proceed on getting the bid together and an agreement for MSA to do the engineering and construction for this project.

Sheriff: Joan gave the Council the July, August, and September reports.  John W. stated there were 200 calls for service and 35 crime activity reports for August. 192 calls for service and 35 crime activity reports for September and in July 213 calls for service and 36 crime activity reports.

Sewer and water report: In Council’s packet


Ditch 14:  John W. stated to put this on the Agenda meeting agenda for discussion.

 Sander: John W. stated we are looking to sell the small sander that fits on the one-ton truck.  It has a stainless body and works well.  John G. will get an estimate from United Truck Body on the value.  Greg made a motion to consider selling the sander with a second by Bob.  It was agreed to bring back to Council for agreement once we know the selling price.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed.

Council meeting date change: Joan stated in December of 2018, the Council meeting would be on the 24th.  What date would the Council like to move it to.  It was agreed to move to December 26, 2018.


Move utility checking balance into investment: Joan asked Council permission to take the balance of $93,570 from the utility checking and move it to utility investment.  Joan would have the bank cut a check directly to RBC Investments and close out the utility checking account.  Suzanne made a motion to move the funds from utility checking to utility investment with a second by John G.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed.

Move levy money to investment: Joan asked Council to move the levy money we received in our December apportionment to project investment.  Greg made a motion to move the levy money to investment with a second by Suzanne.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed.

City Hall updates: John W. stated the air handler was started but it needs to have some general maintenance done.  We are waiting for the countertop for the council podium, once received John W. will finish repairing and the electricians are working on finishing.

Sheriff agreement: Mike Couri stated he has been working with the St. Louis County (SLC) Sheriff’s Office on the agreement for patrols.  He stated there were four changes, two are no problem, but the other two are on Paragraphs 6 and 11, they are related to liability.  As written, the City would pay any damages and indemnify SLC.  This seem unusual, as the officers are the Sheriff’s employees, and they hire them, train them, and direct them.  Mike stated he struck the language and used language from a different contract noting SLC will indemnify the City but SLC rejected that language.  Liability is a large issue, without this clause the City will have to pay extra for insurance.  There is also an issue between State tort liability law and Federal tort liability law.  State liability has a $1.5 million tort cap.  Under Federal law “1983 claim” there is no tort limit and we are not insured for anything over $1.5 million.  John W. stated his concern is, currently we are getting extra patrols so what is our liability on those patrols.  Mike stated he is not sure as he has not seen that contract.  Joan stated we currently don’t have a contract, just a request for extra patrols.  Mike stated, if we don’t have a contract, we are not liable.  John W. said because we are paying for the extra patrols, what is the difference between the contract and our letter requesting extra patrols. John W. asked Mike to talk with the SLC attorney and discuss options on the contract.  Mike is advising we not sign the contract as is and asked Joan to ask the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust what it would cost to carry additional insurance for this agreement.  She will work on.  We need to keep communicating with SLC.

Motion for Adjournment: Having nothing further to discuss, Suzanne made a motion to adjourn the meeting, Mayor Werner adjourned the meeting.