2017 October 9 Council minutes


OCTOBER 9, 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; Treasurer Holly Herstad, and the attached list of public.



MPCA email on TMDL webinar; Joan stated MPCA is having a webinar about impaired streams in the region.  This will affect Rice Lake on Amity creek and possibly more streams.  John W. requested staff get a copy of the webinar and report back to Council on the content.

General Correspondence – see folder



September 25, 2017 City Council minutes

Executed Claims:

General fund checks – 11957 – 11998 and 444E and 445E

Payroll checks –  992 – 1022

Fair Housing Authority – none


Resolution 17-10-15 Calling for a hearing on proposed re-assessment of  Parcel 520-0019-00150

Resolution 17-10-22 Support to apply for Local Board Improvement Program for Paving and Safety Improvements of Chicago Ave.


Updated Ordinance #8 Dangerous Weapons

Gambling Permit:

Ducks Unlimited Inc. at The Other Place Bar on October 20, 2017

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


  • Greg stated W.W. Goetch repaired and re-installed the pump on Lift Station 3. After televising Howard Gnesen Road, found an I&I problem coming from the south side of Lift Station 3, there are two residents hooked up on this side of the lift station. Joan stated she has sent a letter to the residents requesting to set up a time for a sump pump and floor drain inspection.  John W. stated he received a phone call from one of the residents upset no notice was given and no explanation was given as to what they needed to do.  John W. explained the reasoning and requested they contact the city hall to set up a meeting for an inspection.
  • Suzanne stated she went to the Buckthorn Meeting at the park last Tuesday. The presenters that put the seminar on did a good job answering questions of the people who attended.  She also attended a legal seminar with Greg and Teresa that was put on by Couri & Ruppe.  Topics were on road ordinances, open meeting laws, subdivision ordinance, annexation, and cemeteries, she felt it was very informative. There was a very good attendance at the seminar.  Suzanne requested Mike Couri hold a class for the Council next time he visits on open meeting law.  Suzanne stated there was no Planning and Zoning meeting last month.
  • Bob said he and his wife spent some time at the hall touching up paint and helping getting things ready for staff to come back. John W. asked that Bob thank his wife for coming and helping also.  He stated the seminar on Buckhorn went well and was attended by about 30 people.  Bob thanked Bill Miller and Stephanie Hemphill and speakers Lori Sealy and Jeffery Florrie who did a great job.
  • John G. stated he has put a lot of time in at the City Hall helping getting things ready. The old Rice Lake Police Safe was removed and will be put up for sale.   When W.W. Goetch was here they were “burping” the pumps, John G. recommended drilling a small air hole to prevent the air lock, it worked great.  Justin is to drill the rest of the pumps so this will resolve the issue.  The utility truck is back at Benna Ford, to get the backup camera fixed.
  • John W. is working with St. Louis County on cleaning ditch 14, this is a contract ditch, which means it is not maintenance free, but it has not been maintained since 1923. The City is looking to schedule a meeting with St. Louis County Public Works to discuss further.  John W. is working with Joe from MSA to apply for a grant thru MNDOT for cities under the population of 5,000, the application needs to be submitted before the end of year. This grant would be to rebuild Chicago Avenue, which will be done at the same time as the E. Calvary water loop project.
  • There was a meeting with the sheriff department about hiring sheriff in Rice Lake for 8-12 hours per day, as we have a crime and drug problem in the City. According to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s office we have more calls than other areas of the region.  The cost would be covered by the City’s LGA.


Treasurer: Cash, profit & loss, and expense summary reports in the Council’s packet.  John W. stated the report says road and bridge fund has a negative cash balance in North Shore checking of ($115,739).  John asked when did we set up a checking account for road and bridge.  Holly stated that is the fund portion of North Shore checking.  John W. asked so we have a checking account for road and bridge.  Holly stated North Shore checking has an account attached to it, every fund that uses the checking is identified by the fund number and that account number.  Holly stated this is an FYI as the account has a negative balance and if it remains negative at the end of the year she may ask Council for approval to transfer money into the fund.  John W. asked if we have received our full allocation of tax payments from St. Louis County, Holly stated and if you look at what we should get in December you are about $90,000 but she doesn’t know what may happen in October thru December.  Holly noted if there is still a negative balance after the second payment, we may need to make a transfer.  John W. asked about the negative balance in Road and Bridge and where Holly got the numbers, it does not match the expenditure or profit and loss statement attached.  Suzanne wanted to know how council should look at the profit and loss summary versus the cash shortage.  Holly stated this is a major fund and it has a separate financial statement, as Council knows because Mary went over it with them.  Right now, when you carry the balance through general ledger it is saying in the North Shore checking account, we have a negative balance.  Holly stated Mary has said if we go negative we have to make a transfer at the end of the year.  Holly stated she will relook at in December and ask Council to make a transfer to cover the negative.  Suzanne asked how they should look at the profit and loss summary.  Holly stated this the is current balance for the year, it goes away at the end of every year and we start again and it shows the revenues and expenditures.  John W. stated he is confused and may have to come see Holly to get a further explanation as the expenditure summary and the profit and loss report does not match on the end balance.  Holly stated it is because one is revenues and one is expenditures, the expenditure summary is based on the budget, so that is actual vs. budget.  Holly stated the profit and loss is revenue minus the expenditures.  Holly is stating she is wondering how many more expenses road and bridge is going to incur and if we are negative we are going to have to do a transfer.  John W. stated he did three road projects this year, the remainder of the costs are due to the excessive rains which has caused flooding and more maintenance issues and culvert replacements.  John G. asked as a point of clarification, do we have a separate checking account for road and bridge, Holly stated no, it is in the North Shore checking account, all in one account.  Joan stated we have never transferred money in the past and did not think it will need to be done once the December tax payment is received.  John W. stated we will wait until we get the tax payments for this year and see where we are at.

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

Type of Permit Issued        # issued

  • Garage                                      3
  • New Home                              2
  • Roof                                          1
  • Driveway                                 1
  • Foundation                             1
  • Deck                                         1
  • Furnace/water heater          4
  • Gas Line                                14       

Total issued                               27

Total valuation of projects:      $  582,301.00

Fines                                       $          200.00

Total fees assessed:               $      4,916.98

John W. asked if we have received any more complaints on the building inspectors’ s responsiveness.  Joan stated she had not heard of any recently.

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

      • Citizen Complaint: 3
      • Onsite Visits: 1
      • CUP compliant reinspect: 2
      • Outgoing Correspondence: 1
      • Zoning violations:

    Non-compliant wood processing abated:  1
    Other violations abated: 2

    • Progress towards compliance: 6
    • Joint Airport Zoning Meeting: 1
    • Meeting with City Attorney; Mr. Couri: 1

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

    • Exercised booster station pumps weekly.
    • Removed dead fall from road right of ways and necessary.
    • Cut and removed overgrowth inside of cell tower. Sprayed with roundup.
    • Fixed broken stand pipe at 5146 Arnold road.
    • Painted new hydrants installed on Martin road.
    • Picked up needed supplies from Ferguson water works.
    • Tested new Milwaukee Hole Hawg for proper operation.
    • Assisted Roger Werner with laying crushed rock and fixing fence at park.
    • Greased Caterpillar loader.
    • Assisted Hydro-Klean with cleaning Howard Gnesen sewer line and all lift stations.
    • Removed abandoned junk from roads and necessary.
    • Filled in potholes at recycle shed.
    • Cut rubber matting for new truck tool boxes.
    • Cleaned Public Works air exchanger.
    • Replaced 2 of water meters.
    • Cleared 47 of locates.

    John W. stated there seems to be an excessive amount of junk on the roadsides recently.

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

    Last Friday, the Mayor brought to my attention an issue I am sure you are all aware of, this has since been resolved.  I would encourage any of you to feel free and walk through our fire halls at any time if there are any doubts/questionable actions you are concerned about.

    Total Calls:

    • September Total Calls Responded to was 17.
      • 9 Medicals
      • 2 Lift Assists
      • 2 Powerline down hazards
      • 1 Structure Fire
      • 1 Illegal Burning
      • 1 Propane Leak in a Home
      • 1 10-52 car accident

    New Engine 1

    • We received 2 quotes from 2 different sales reps/companies for the equipment we have outlined for the new engine.
      • Heiman Fire Equipment – $7,206.79
      • Alex Air and Equipment – $7,570.10
    • We would like to go ahead with the order of equipment from Heiman Fire for the above-mentioned price.
    • We then would also like to go forward with the purchase of “Rescue Stabilizing Struts” from Alex Air, cost of $2,945.

    Equipment Maintenance

    • Hose testing was performed this past month. In all a total of 4,000 feet of hose was tested, and it passed testing and inspection requirements, with the exception of a couple sections of hose. All of the old hose that will be getting replaced with the engine purchase was not tested since it is being removed from service this year.
    • We had a total of 8 members that helped with the testing of hose this year, which takes approximately 5-8hrs to complete. By us taking the time to test the hose ourselves, instead of an outside company, we are able to save roughly $3,000.

    Apparatus Maintenance

    • Annual DOT inspections and maintenance were completed on Tanker 3, Tanker 5, and Rescue 4 through Maney International.
    • We are holding off on the DOT inspection for Engine 1 until new engine is here and in service.
    • Currently Engine 2 is out of service due to a power steering failure. Band aid fix is to run a bypass hose.
    • Engine 1 pump test was completed on Friday by EAM and passed. There is one valve that needs to be replaced, however it does not cause any operational issues at this time.

    Community Engagement

    • Fire department Open House will be held Thursday, October 12th from 5pm to 8pm. Everyone from the community is welcome.

    Mark informed the Council they are going to Pierce for a project review on the new fire truck.  Mark shared two estimates for “outfitting” the new truck once it is completed.  Mark requested the Council go with the estimate from Heiman for $7,206.79, this is the less expensive estimate.  They would also like to go forward with the purchase of “Rescue Stabilizing Struts” from Alex Air, cost of $2,945.  John W. said Greg could approve it because it is under $10,000.  Greg approved both estimates.  Mark also shared the fire department received a 50/50 grant for new hoses, the cost of the hoses will be $4,800.  John W. asked if there will be any other additions for the truck, Brandon stated there will be some smaller items that will be purchased locally.  Mark noted there will be some additional mounting brackets.  Suzanne asked if the camera and lights are included in the original design, Mark noted yes.  John W. asked if they are keeping a log of all the hose testing, Mark stated they are.  Mark shared that engine 2 had a power steering issues, it has been temporarily repaired.  John W. asked how many members do they currently have, Mark stated 25 active members plus two on honorary reserve.  John W. asked Mark to write an article for the paper recognizing East End Auto for donating junked cars for the fire department to practice on.  John G. thanked Mark for the use of the Fire Hall during the City Hall construction.

    Park: None

    Animal control: Joan read the following report into record for September 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 for September

    • Monthly meter readings were done
    • WLSSD exceedance in August
    • Howard Gnesen sewer line cleaned and televised
    • City of Duluth passed water rate increase of 4.7% effective January 1
    • WLSSD passed a sewer rate increase of 2% effective January 1

    John W. stated the pumphouse was not locked, and asked Joan to tell Justin to check it to make sure it is always locked.

    Sheriff: None

    Sewer and water report: In Council’s packet


    Eagle Scout project: moved to next council meeting

    RBC: Steve Patronas from RBC introduced himself to the Council as Rice Lake’s new RBC representative, Mike Rosenzweig, our current representative, will be retiring at the end of October.  He thanked Rice Lake for the business and letting RBC handle the City’s investments.

    MSA proposal for Chicago Ave. rebuild: Joan shared with Council an estimate from MSA for engineering of Chicago Ave. from E. Calvary to Austin St. the estimate cost is $20,000.  This would coincide with the E. Calvary water loop project.  John W. asked if the design and plans need to be done before we can apply for the grant.  John W. asked Joan to find out and bring back to next meeting.


    Internet email:  Joan shared an email from Kristine Barnes about poor internet service in Rice Lake.  Council stated they have discussed this issue previously.  Kristine stated Lakewood is doing a survey of its residents and is requesting Rice Lake do the same.  Bob stated maybe this is something that can be brought up at Duluth Area Townships meeting to see what others are doing.  John W. stated we do not set the boundaries for the various communication companies.

    St. Louis County Commissioner meeting:  The St. Louis County Commissioners are meeting Tuesday, October 10, 2017 at 9:30 am at Rice Lake City Hall.   

    Public Works/Utility truck: John G. stated the backup camera still needs to be repaired.  The light bar is on now, some of the features include flood lights, arrows to direct traffic, and multiple light patterns, there are six switches for the different pattern options.  John G. stated Equipment Rental did a good job of labeling the switches.

    City Hall update:  John W. stated the 10-ton unit will be set this week, a new gas line will need to be installed.  There are still a few things that need to be finished, such as air dryers, mirrors, and door controls.  John W. thanked everyone that helped fix, touch-up, and clean the hall.

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