2017 November 13 Council minutes


November 13, 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, and the attached list of public.



Thank you letter from Rice Lake Fire Department Auxiliary for the contribution to the Halloween       Carnival.

Fox 21 article for Habitat for Humanity Northland Mayors join forces.  John W. participated in working            on a house in Superior.

General Correspondence – see folder


October 23, 2017 City Council minutes
October 23, 2017 Public Hearing Reassessment minutes
Executed Claims:
General fund checks – 12031-12099 and 448E- 450E
Payroll checks – 1023-1059
Fair Housing Authority –  none
Resolution 17-11-27 Resolution of Support for the Pursuit of a Regional                                        Inclusive Playground for Everybody

Bob made a motion to approve the consent agenda with a second by John G.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed.


Greg stated not a lot of things going on with utilities due to financial constraints
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. talking with various business on expanding into Rice Lake, have not had any good leads as Rice Lake does not offer any incentive packages.  Spent time working on the Habitat for Humanity house and talked with other Mayors in the area
Bob stated there was no MIC meeting, did have conference call regarding Federal funding for projects in Duluth/Superior area.  New fire truck is almost ready, should receive by end of the month
John G. there are some items for sale in the Rice Lake paper bumper, tailgate, safe.  Going to be working with Justin repairing burp boxes on W. Calvary road.


Financial Report: Council received copies of the cash report, expense summary and profit and loss statement. Joan read the cash report into record. Joan asked Council if they would like to continue to receive the profit and loss report monthly or would they like to see it semi-annually once apportionment is entered. It was agreed semi-annually.

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

Type of Permit Issued             # issued

      • Garage                                   2
      • New Home                            1
      • Roof/Siding/Windows       4
      • Attic Trusses                         1
      • Fill                                           1
      • Addition                                 2
      • Furnace/water heater         4
      • Gas Line                                 7         

    Total issued                                       22
    Total valuation of projects:      $  442,002.00
    Fines                                       $              0.00
    Total fees assessed:               $      3,253.96

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

            1. Citizen Complaint:  5
            2. Onsite Visits:   12
            3. Outgoing Correspondence:  1
            4. Minor Subdivision review:  1
            5. Zoning violations abated:
              1. Recreational Vehicle Violations: 3
              2. Progress towards compliance: 7
              3. Non-compliant home business: 1
            6. Education:
              1. Couri and Rupee Oct. 7th
              2. League of MN Cities Oct. 26th

    John W. stated he has talked with some citizens in the area on various complaints.  Teresa, Zoning Administrator, is working on them.

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

    Collected and sent annual water samples to MDH through UPS.

    – Assisted with final cleanup at City Hall and removed waste to MRC.
    – Removed old paints from Fire hall to HHW.
    – Removed 2 water meters from Cemetery for storage.
    – Assisted WWGeotch with installing pump #2 in L.S. 3.
    – Moved into New Ford F-350.
    – Activated recirculation pump at Water Tower.
    – Shut down and removed broken Air relief valve from West Calvary force main.
    – Disassembled and power washed broken air relief valve.
    – Produced parts list for future ordering to fix broken Air valve.
    – Exercised booster station pumps weekly.
    – Located and uncovered all 4 air/relief valves on West Calvary.
    – Located water leak at 4300 West Calvary.
    – Assisted Hydro Klean on 2nd Ave manhole repairs.
    – Patched Fayre road assisted by Justin.
    – Removed dead fall from roads after heavy wind storm.
    – Picked up 15 Locks from MN Locksmith.
    – Pumped down all Hydrants for winter months.
    – Observed HK with manhole rehab on Ryan road Two Harbors.
    – Fixed backwards meter at 3914 Brian road.
    – Started investigating Hydrant #52 isolation valve leak.
    – Cleared 34 of locates.
    – Replaced 1 water meter.

    John W. shared the fire hydrant at the end of Stavanger road is froze and is tagged out of order, the Fire Chief has been notified.  Suzanne asked if anyone took pictures of the Ryan Road manhole repair.  Joan stated Joe @ MSA will be bringing to the utilities meeting.

    Fire Department: Assistant Chief Zapp read the report into record.

    Total Calls:

            • October’s Total Calls Responded to was 15.
              • 11 Medicals
              • 1 Lift Assist
              • 1 Structure Fire
              • 1 Grass Fire
              • 1 10-52 car accident (mutual aid)

    Water Usage

            • The department’s water usage for October was 13,000 gallons over the normal consumption.

    Grass Fire

            • The department billed the DNR for the grass fire response on Rice Lake Rd in the road right of way and we received the $350 from the state. This $350 is the flat rate which covers the initial first two hours of a response. After the initial 2 hours, it gets broken down by type of equipment and personnel requested by the DNR that we can bill additionally for.

    New Engine 1

            • The department has our final truck inspection scheduled for Monday, November 20th. We have a group of 9 members headed down to review the truck.
              • After any deficiencies are addressed, the truck then will be driven back to the Twin Cities with a second inspection to be performed by the mechanics from McQueen. The truck will then be delivered to us before the end of the month.
              • Mark has an email out to our sales rep clarifying how final payment will be made and what the final cost of the truck will be and the outstanding balance.
            • The departments new equipment orders for the new engine has been placed, the bulk of which has been received. The only major items that are needed, but have yet to be ordered are the mounting brackets for tools and equipment, as well as, some additional hose adapters which may be required.

    Community Engagement

            • The department held an open house on Thursday October 12th from 5pm to 8pm. With record turnout from the community, the event was a considerable success, which is attributed to the outstanding planning and advertising efforts of the fire marshal office.
              • Highlights:
                • Life Link III joined us and landed a helicopter behind the hall.
                • We had tables setup to talk about volunteering as a firefighter, our ongoing smoke alarm campaign, the firefighting equipment we use, as well as, fire safety and prevention.
                • The department used the smoke trailer to offer families an opportunity to experience the realities of evacuating a fire situation.
                • The department’s vehicles were made available for public viewing.
                • Children were also able to enjoy many educational games and burn off some energy in a bouncy house provided by the department.
              • During the day of October 12, the department again invited the 3rd Grade classes from Homecroft to join us at the fire hall. Dividing the students into four groups, the students were able to move through four instructional stations one on fire prevention and evacuation, another demonstrating the use of a fire hose, a third demonstrating firefighter gear and finally an in depth look at our fire trucks. The students sent our department a wonderful stack of cards thanking us for the time we shared with them.

    Brandon read the fire department report into record.  He shared thank you cards from the 3rd grade children at Homecroft School with Council.  John W. stated the work with the 3rd grade Homecroft children was well controlled and they seemed to have a good time, especially with the hoses.  John reiterated the new fire truck, which cost around $482,000, is almost ready.  All of the funds came from money that were saved from previous fire fighters setting it aside.  No taxpayer or Rice Lake City money was used on this truck, very nicely done.  Suzanne asked how the DNR reimbursement for the grass fire reimbursement works, Brandon explained in further detail.  Bob also asked for some clarification on the new fire truck manufacturer.  Brandon explained Pierce manufactures the truck, McQueen distributes it.

    Park: None

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

            • Hours worked                          26
            • Miles driven                             72
            • License fees collected            $0
            • Citations issued                      0
            • Fines issued                            $0
            • Dogs to kennel                        0
            • Dogs to pound                        0

    Utilities: Joan read the following report into record

            • Monthly meter readings were done
            • WLSSD exceedance in October
            • Working 3rd Ave. S. PFA (Public Facilities) application
            • Received rate increase notice from WLSSD
            • Utilities Commission started working on new I&I ordinance

    John W. asked about the imbalance on the sewer year to date is 10,000,000 million gallons different from WLSSD is showing.  We have some issues

    Sheriff: None

    Sewer and water report: In Council’s packet


    Health insurance:  Joan shared a copy of the employee health insurance renewal with Council.  It showed last year to this year premium and had three competitive estimates.  John G. and Suzanne attended the meeting with the insurance agent to discuss the options.  Suzanne stated the HR Councilors are recommending to Council to renew the existing plan.  There is a 11% increase with the existing plan, which makes the monthly premium around $6,000.   John G. made a motion to adopt the plan as stated, renewing the existing plan.  Suzanne second the motion.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed.

    St. Louis County tax forfeit land:  Joan shared copies of two parcels that are tax forfeited, one on the Nelson road and the other the Fiskett road. The property on the Nelson road is the small parcel that is under the road.  Council stated the City has no interest in either parcel.

    Calvary Bond: Joan shared a spreadsheet with Council showing that the City is currently underfunded for the W. Calvary bond. The spreadsheet shows the bond payments remaining, the revenues coming in, and the balance.  We are currently approximately $40,000 under funded annually for the next 12 years.  John W. stated some of the issues are people not paying their taxes, which leaves us short.  Cindy Endicott, Chair of the Utilities Commission, asked what have we done previously.  John W. stated when we refinanced in 2013 there was a misinterpretation of what would be needed for the bond payments going forward which has contributed to the shortage.  Everyone understood we needed to contribute $40,000, but did not realize it was an annual contribution not a one-time contribution.  After much discussion, Greg made a motion to take $40,000 from the communication tower fund for 2018 and will have to increase the City levy going forward.  John G. second the motion.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed


    Transfer of funds:  Joan stated at the agenda meeting, Suzanne had asked if we had enough cash available in the general fund to transfer if needed, we do not.  Joan is asking for a revised motion to transfer funds from the utility checking account, which has $93,000, into the general checking account if needed.  This would be paid back once the apportionment money is received.  Suzanne made a motion to transfer funds from utility checking into general checking.  Bob second the motion.

    WLSSD CAF permit:  Joan shared a copy of an email in which Joe @ MSA talked with WLSSD.  Joe stated the updated CAF permit does not reduce our capacity in the Woodland interceptor.  He is recommending we sign the permit.   John G. made the motion to approve the CAF permit.  Greg second the motion.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed

    Resolution 17-11-26 Application for a PFA loan:  Joan shared an updated copy of the resolution and cost estimate for the project.  At the agenda meeting the question came up as to if the engineering fees were included in the estimate, they were not.   Greg stated the engineering fee increased the estimate approximately $50,000.  Greg made a motion to approve resolution 17-11-26.  Bob second the motion.  John W. asked what our share of the cost of this project is.  Joan stated she is unsure until the application is reviewed and the PFA lets us know.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed.

    Cell tower ladder:  Joan shared an email from Scandia Consulting which contained an estimate of $51,900 to manufacture and install the cell tower ladder.  John W. stated he talked with Joan asking her to talk with Mike Couri, City Attorney, on the benefit of AT&T going higher on the cell tower.  John W. agreed the cost is substantial, he disagrees the current step system is not safe as it was used substantially this past summer.  Council agreed this is a City cost and we will get further estimates and replace next summer.  AT&T does state in their email; if the ladder needs to be done can they do at a later date. John G. stated he would be in support of letting AT&T move their equipment and discuss the ladder later.  Council agreed to let AT&T move, and let them know we are going to relook at the increasing the lease.  John W. moved to table the ladder issue for a later date.  John G. made a motion to table.  Bob second the motion.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed.

    City Hall updates: Joan gave Council a copy of the costs to date.  We have two outstanding estimates, one electrical for breakers and misc. items.  The other is the roof repair for the west wall and the bathroom tile work.  Electrician was here and the hand dryers were installed.  They are going to start working on the three-phase work.  Hanco is going to be bringing the three-phase wiring to the building.  Electrician is hoping to be done this week.  McGarry Construction Cleaning is going to start cleaning city hall this week.

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