2018 February Work minutes

February Work Meeting Minutes

February 5, 2018

The meeting was called to order by Mayor John Werner at 6:00 p.m.  Present for the meeting; Mayor John Werner, Councilors Suzanne Herstad, John Goman, and Bob Quade; Deputy Clerk Toni Blomdahl, and attached list of public.

Bob made a motion to approve the January 2, 2018 Work Meeting Minutes with a second by Suzanne.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed.


Tax forfeit properties: Toni shared with the Council some properties that have gone tax forfeit and noted there are delinquent utilities on one of the properties.  Council asked if they needed to vote to reassess the assessments.  Toni will follow up with Joan.

Destroying checks from utility checking account: Toni stated we have some checks remaining from the utility checking account that was recently closed.  A motion was made by Suzanne to destroy the checks with a second by Bob.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed.

Ordinance to create Clerk/Treasurer position: Toni presented Council with an Ordinance to combine the clerk and treasurer positions as prepared by Mike Couri, City Attorney.  Suzanne questioned the term of office and noted it says, “shall be appointed … on the 1st Monday of January in each year”.  John G. stated the Clerk and Treasurer used to be elected positions before, but the residents voted to change to appointed due to the complex nature of the job.  Suzanne stated she would like to change it, so it is not an annual appointment.  Toni will check with Mike Couri on this issue.

Office of the State Auditor Call: John W. stated Joan received a call from the State Auditor who is questioning Council and Mayor pay and we may need to make some changes such as changing to salary or hourly vs. meeting pay.  Toni stated Joan talked with Mike Couri and he noted we shouldn’t make any changes until we see what the State Auditor tells us we need to change.  John W. stated Joan will keep Council apprised of updates.

Purchase Chairs for City Hall: Toni stated Joan has requested permission to purchase more folding chairs for City Hall as many of the old ones are in disrepair and have been thrown away.  John G. made a continuing motion to get rid of the bad chairs and to allow Joan to purchase more chairs until the rack is full, with a second by Bob.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed.


Everbridge – St. Louis County Emergency Notification System: John W. stated the Council had a meeting with Everbridge to discuss the new emergency notification system and noted information will be put in the next City paper telling residents how they can sign up for the service.  John W. stated Rice Lake can customize services if we want, such as notifying residents with utility emergencies.  Suzanne stated there are two systems, IPAWS and Northland Alerts and people can sign up for one or both.

Annual I&I Report: Toni presented Council with the Annual I&I Report prepared by Joe from MSA, City Engineer.  John G. made a motion to approve the report as presented with a second by Suzanne.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed.

East Calvary water loop bond money update: John W. read the email from Gary Cerkvenik, City Lobbyist, regarding a bonding bill for the East Calvary Water Main Project.  John W. read the bonding bill needs to accomplish two goals; first a grant for $358,153 to make up the project shortfall and second to extend for an additional year the $1.168 million grant from the 2014 bonding bill.  John W. explained the new watermain will fix the East Calvary and Kolstad watermain breaks we have experienced as we will go around the peat bog on East Calvary which is the cause of the breaks.  John W. stated about $450,000 will be Rice Lake’s bill for the project after the grants and we are hoping to put it out for bid in December.  John W. noted we are trying for a MNDOT grant for repairing Chicago as well.

Conference Room at City Hall: John W. stated he wants to develop a conference room for smaller meetings and would like to turn the back office and former jail into a conference room.  John W. stated he is planning on using volunteers from the community to demo and put a steel stud wall in and sheetrock.  John W. stated we would need lights and heat run into the room and someone to mud the sheetrock and we may use the electrical rebate we will be receiving from the City Hall electrical upgrades.  John G. made a motion that he is in favor of creating a conference room and the City should proceed with the project with a second by Suzanne.  John W. called for a roll call vote on the matter.  Councilor Herstad, aye; Mayor Werner, aye; Councilor Quade, aye; Councilor Goman, aye.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed.

MIC meeting date change: Bob read an email from Barb Peterson with MIC noting there was an erroneous email sent stating the MIC meeting was changed to February 14th and Barb wanted to clarify that the meeting is actually on February 21st.  Bob is planning on attending the meeting on the 21st.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) from Duluth Urban Watershed Advisory Committee (DUWAC): Toni stated she is not sure if Council needs to take any action on this at this time.  The Council agreed they don’t feel the DUWAC is needed as there are already six different agencies that handle these matters.  John W. stated we should bring this MOU to Council for further discussion.

City Hall Roof: John W. went over the information and drawings from Robert Fern, architect, for a new roof on City Hall.  John W. stated we made all kinds of interior improvements to City Hall, but the roof leaked so we don’t want to damage the new ceiling tiles and insulation that was recently installed so we are looking at two different roof options to fix the leaking issue.  John W. stated one would be a flat roof replacement at around $65,000 and the other would be a sloped roof option at around $198,000.  John W. stated the sloped roof would last twice as long as the flat roof and we have had nothing but problems and annual repairs with our current flat roof.  Council agreed flat roofs are not a good option in our area.  Nellie asked if we have considered installing solar roof panels with the new roof design or leasing the roof to MN Power for solar power.  John W. stated he has a contact he can talk to for more information if Council would like.  Council agreed they would like to research solar options as long as the benefits outweigh the costs.  John W. will do some research on the matter.

City Street Lights: John W. stated Joe from MSA had talked about solar panels for the City’s street lights so John will follow up with Joe to see what we need to do next.

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA): Toni stated Mark Niemi, fire chief has asked Joan about the fire fighters getting a monthly stipend in order to retain and attract fire fighters to the department.  Toni stated Joan spoke with Mike Couri regarding this matter and he noted this is the trend in all departments around the state and we need to be careful to make sure we are following the rules and laws that govern this.  John G. stated we should check with the Bloomington Fire Department to see how they are handling paying their volunteers.  John W. stated Mark is preparing a packet to present at the next Council Meeting and noted the Fire Department was on the news showing off their new truck which replaced the 1986 truck.

Administrative Enforcement Ordinance: Toni presented Council with a draft Administrative Enforcement Ordinance.  There was discussion as to how this ordinance would help the city and how we would administer it.  Council agreed this needs more discussion and will be brought to the next Council Meeting.

Water Rates: John W. stated he attended a meeting with the City of Duluth regarding their water rates they are charging the surrounding communities and their proposed increases.  John W. stated Duluth has agreed to a set water rate for all the surrounding communities, so this proposal will be presented to the Duluth Public Utilities Commission on February 22nd and if it passes there, it will go on to the Duluth City Council for approval.


Having nothing further to discuss John G. made a motion to adjourn the meeting with a second by Suzanne.  John W. adjourned the meeting