2018 April 9 Council minutes


April 9, 2018

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 Suzanne Herstad, Bob Quade, Greg Andrews, and John Goman; Clerk/Treasurer Joan Jauss, and the attached list of public.



Email from Ryan Niesen asking about hooking up to natural gas.  Joan referred him to Comfort Systems.

Thank you from Terry Jensen, Solway Clerk

Email from Jessie Marus in reference to an Emerald Ash Borer workshop.  Joan stated Jessie also called in reference to webinar on some DNR grants available for replacement trees. Joan stated she tried to log into the webinar but was unable to.  Bob stated he feels the grant money is geared more to boulevard trees, he feels we should pass for now.  Suzanne agreed and asked how would we distribute the trees if we did participate, we are not staffed for it.

General Correspondence – see folder



March 26, 2018 Council minutes

Executed Claims:

General fund checks – 12419-12450 and 457E

Payroll checks – 1207-1242

Fair Housing Authority –  none

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


Suzanne stated she went to the League of Minnesota Cities (LMC) workshops, she felt the topics were on the mark.  There was a workshop on ISO fire rating, how to file worker compensation claims, and miscellaneous HR issues.   The subjects were all good top picks

John W. stated he and Suzanne went to the meeting at Midway on impaired streams.  They asked questions that they did not have answers to.  Sea Grant is the funding that is backing this program.  We have interest in what is happening as there are five streams in the City on the MPCA list with issues.  John W. stated work has already been done on Miller Creek and the next stream is Amity, which starts at Mud lake and runs SE, bank erosion is the challenge here.  Chester Creek by Ridgeview Road across the Norton Road.  Tischer Creek for turbidity and bank erosion at Ridgeview Golf Course and Howard Gnesen Road, and Lester Creek is last on the list this starts behind City Hall.  John W. stated he asked about our authority on private property and they have no answers and most of this land is private.  Not sure where this is going, just watching at this point.  John W. stated he and John G. went to St. Louis County to talk about Ditch 14.  The $11,000 that the Council approved is to do the feasibility study and get the process started.  This will take about a year to do.

Bob asked about the donated property at 5028 Rice Lake Road, John W. stated we have signed the documents, and the tentative close date is May 22.  John W. stated this property is being offered at no cost with an $8,000 clean up check.  Bob stated he also went to the EAB workshop and found it to be mostly on boulevard trees.  Bob went to the impaired streams meeting in Chester Park.  Duluth Urban Water Advisory Committee (DUWAC) has confirmed they will be coming to talk with the whole Council on April 24th at 6:00.

Greg stated he went to the LMC workshop at the DECC, they talked about computer safety, handling hazardous situations for employees, and record keeping.

John G. stated he felt the same as Suzanne, the classes on human resources were enlightening, especially hiring and background checks.


Financial Report: Council received copies of the Financial Report and Revenue and Expense Summary.  Joan stated there is $209,114 in general checking.  We had $132,752 in expenses in March and $71,347 in revenue

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

Type of Permit Issued             # issued

  • Remodel                                 1
  • Sign                                         1
  • Furnace                                  1
  • Siding/Roofing                     1         

Total issued                               4

Total valuation of projects:      $   104,400.00

Fines                                       $              0.00

Total fees assessed:               $          655.60

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

  • Complaints: 1
  • Zoning Land Use Violation: 1
  • Subdivision Violation: 1
  • Commercial sign review: 1
  • Onsite visits: 5
  • Outgoing correspondence: 4
  • Approved Minor Subdivision: 1
  • Approved Home Occupation: 1
  • Review Ordinance #22 with Planning Commission for proposed revisions.

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

  • Assisted with deconstruction and construction of the new conference room at city hall. Used loader to remove sheet rock to dumpster, removed copper piping and cut to lengths, removed metal studs, ceiling tiles, took apart electric outlets, carpet, floor tiles, cleaned and assisted with new sheet rocking.
  • Exercised booster pumps as required.
  • Assisted Justin with putting chains on 5 Ton.
  • Ordered 4 new stainless-steel panel bolts for lift station #3 and installed.
  • Assisted Justin with location of frozen culverts via metal detector and loader.
  • Sold F-350 air dam to resident.
  • Used loader to push banks as required at City Hall, Fire Halls 1 and 2 and Public Works.
  • Drove Justin to Red Wing to buy boots.
  • Setup bulk water meter for Rasmussen well drilling.
  • Opened up ditch at the end of Gothenberg to allow water to flow and placed 4 cones.
  • Showed Justin hidden culverts prone to flooding.
  • Attended trench safety and confined space entry classes.
  • Assisted Justin with removing power pole off Berglund Road.
  • Changed oil in F-350
  • Investigated recommend locator by Frank from MRWA.
  • Recalibrated Gas monitor.
  • Picked up 2 gallons of paint and painted back room at City Hall.
  • Met F and I sales at Public Works to have fire extinguishers inspected.
  • Assisted Justin with fixing Gothenberg complaint.
  • Assisted Justin with fixing roads via loader and grader.

Road and Bridge:  Joan read the following report into record as prepared by Justin Aleshire.

  • Checked roads every day for snow drifts, plugged culverts and ice.
    • Sanded- 5 times
    • Plowed 1 time.
    • Graded- 3 intersections.
  • Moved shelves out of the City Hall storage closet.
  • Took down old sheetrock in the conference room, peeled up old tile, Mopped floor after each day of demo, brought more metal studs from public works storage for the new construction. Had taken down extra pipe hangers and brackets that were not needed. Put up some new drywall. Primed the storage room. Picked up more sheetrock with John W. at Menards. Painted the storage room. Cleaned all garbage and demo from City Hall.
  • Scrubbed and washed the 1 Ton and it’s parking stall.
  • Picked up an office chair thrown in the ditch off Rutter & Willard Rd.
  • Used grader to wing back snow banks.
  • Put chains on the 5 yards because we had a prediction of freezing rain but did not happen.
  • Checked for downed trees because of a wind storm-
    • Lonely Pine Dr-Tree
    • Charles Rd- Tree
    • Luzerne Rd- Tree
    • Moved some brush to get past Beyer & Summers Rd.
      • Brought an old Tire, rug and office chair to the dump with Justin S.
      • Swept and mopped public works every Friday. Rinsed out all the rugs.
      • Plugged culverts-
    • 16 called in culverts from just me.
      • Brought two truckloads of brush to Ricks Tree service.
    • Reid rd.
    • Gothenberg rd.
    • Drake & Gothenberg rd.
    • Kingston & Drake rd.
      • Cleared snow at Chalstroms so people could reach the postings on the board.
      • Completed train on trenching, excavation and confined space.
      • Took down and old wood phone pole on the Berglund rd with Justin S.
      • Picked up 1 1/4″ rock from Darrel Johnson’s house for the Gothenberg rd.

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

Total Calls:

  • March Total Calls Responded to was 23.
    • 15 Medicals
    • 2 Lift Assists
    • 2 Electrical Fire
    • 1 Oven Fire
    • 1 Brush Pile Fire
    • 1 Smoke Investigation
    • 1 Hazardous Materials – Spill

Special Recognition

  • On March 23rd, 5 members of the Rice Lake Fire Department along with assistance from 148th Air National Guard Fire Department, and the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office responded to an unresponsive male and they were able to successfully resuscitate the individual after 40+ minutes of CPR.

Water Usage

  • Nothing above the normal consumption.

 Total Number of Hours Volunteered by All Members

  • Total hours Volunteered by the membership in March – 662


  • We received the Kwik Trip grant award for $1,000
  • Received the MN Power Grant award of $10,000 for the extrication equipment.

Training Notes

  • In March we were able to practice our Ice Rescue skills on Rice Lake due to the increased temps and deteriorating ice conditions it made for a perfect opportunity to get out and get those hands-on skills that we don’t have a chance to practice each year.
  • Also, we were able to send 9 members to the Duluth Fire Officer School. The members were able to sit in on a wide range of different training topics and bring a lot of that newly attained knowledge back to the department for those that could not attend.
  • Lastly, we have set up a joint training session this coming week with our Auto Aid partners (Gnesen, Lakewood, Canosia, 148th, and the DNR) to refresh and prep for the upcoming wildfire season and improve on our interoperability.


  • Swore in 2 new members to probationary status.
    • Scott Beeman – Previous RLFD member that has now returned to the area.
    • Sebastian Knox
  • Greg Haugen will be retiring May 1st after 23 years of service.
  • Ryan Dahnke will be resigning this month as he was hired on a fire department in Colorado.
  • Brings our overall roster to 24 members
    • 21 Active (with 5 in probationary status and still accumulating their training)
    • 2 Currently on a Leave of Absence
    • 1 Member currently deployed with the 148th.
    • 2 Members actively participating in our fire department reserve.

John W. asked Chief Niemi if the fire department would be interested in have a controlled burn at 5028 Rice Lake Road once the City owns the property.  Mark stated he will investigate.  Bob asked if there are any concerns about spring grass fires, Mark stated it is hard to say if this will be an issue, it depends on how quickly things green up.

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

  • Hours worked                          35
  • Miles driven                             112.1
  • License fees collected            $64.00
  • Fines issued                            $0
  • Dogs to kennel                        0
  • Dogs to pound                        0

Utilities: Joan read the following report into record.

  • Monthly meter readings were done
  • 3rd Ave. S. replacement sewer line and two lift station removal bid has been held due to a financing glitch, hope to award in the next 30 days, hope to start project in June.  Working on getting construction easements, still missing one.
  • Working on getting additional funding for the E. Calvary water loop project
  • Was awarded WLSSD grant for GIS mapping
  • Applied for Star grant for GIS equipment
  • Utilities Commission is working on new I&I plan/ordinance as required by WLSSD
  • Sent out quarterly delinquent water and sewer letters to applicable residents.
  • Bulk water rates were increase 5%, last increase was in 2016.

Sheriff: none

Sewer and water report: In Council’s packet



 Transfer of funds from investment to general checking: Joan asked Council permission to transfer $75,000 from the general investment fund and $70,000 from project investment fund to general checking.  Greg made a motion to approve the transfer from investments to general checking with a second by Suzanne.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed.

Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (COGMC):  Joan shared the cost to join the COGMC with the Council.  The first year would be $1,710, the second $3,419, the third $5,129, and the fourth year $6,838.  John W. asked what we currently pay League of Minnesota Cities (LMC), Joan stated she is unsure.  She will investigate and bring back to Council.

3rd Ave. S. sewer project: John W. shared there was some confusion with the Public Financing Authority (PFA) on the amount of funding the City will qualify for.  The PFA called back and stated tentatively we will receive $312,083 in forgivable loan and $78,021 will need to be paid back.  This is an 80/20 split.  The next step with the PFA is to get the MPCA certification.  The E1 grinder stations are on the way to public works.

WLSSD grant: Joan shared we received the WLSSD grant to GIS our sewer system and stated she forwarded the agreement to Mike Couri for review, she will bring to the next meeting for signature.  John G. asked the amount we received, Joan was unsure, she will let them know at the next Council meeting.

City Hall conference room: John W. stated the room is in the process of getting painted this week and we are hoping to add heat, ceiling, and electrical the week of April 23rd.  John W. shared a flooring estimate from Johnson Carpet and Tile for $1,848 to install the same flooring that is on the Council podium.  Council agreed to proceed, no motion is needed due to the dollar amount.

City Hall roof: Joan shared an email from Bob Fern Architect stating the warranty cost does not include copper/zinc panels.  John W. stated when he talked with Bob he said it did include copper/zinc panels.  There is still some confusion on the panels and the panel gauge.  Joan suggested a meeting be held with the whole Council and Bob Fern to clarify the panel gauge and type.  John W. stated he is going to talk with Bob and get some clarification.  No decision was made on the 30-year extended warranty.


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