2018 March 12 Council minutes


March 12, 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, and John Goman; City Attorney Mike Couri; Clerk Joan Jauss, and the attached list of public.



General Correspondence – see folder



February 6, 2018 AWAIR minutes

February 26, 2018 Council minutes

Executed Claims:

General fund checks – 12362 – 12390 and 456E

Payroll checks – 1174 – 1206

Fair Housing Authority –  none

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


Suzanne stated she has nothing at this time.

John W. stated he is preparing for his visit with the State Legislators.

Bob stated he will be unable to attend the MIC meeting this month, he will be at the Legislative conference.

John G. stated he is working with Chief Niemi to sell the 1986 fire truck. Utilities are on hold until spring.


Financial Report: Council received copies of the Financial Report, Revenue and Expense Summary.

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

Type of Permit Issued         # issued

  • Addition                                  1
  • Siding                                      1         

Total issued                                 2

Total valuation of projects:      $    46,400.00

Fines                                       $             0.00

Total fees assessed:               $         544.20

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

  • Complaints: 0
  • Onsite visits: 4
  • Outgoing correspondence: 1
  • Home Occupation: 1 certificate issued
  • Lot line adjustment Reviews: 2
  • Pre-concept development review: 2
  • Planning Commission member appointment: 1
  • AWAIR training: 1
  • Ordinance #22 reviews and proposed revisions with Planning Commission

John W. asked Teresa if there have been any Joint Airport Zoning Board meetings, she stated there has been one this year, there was no quorum. There has not been a quorum for the last year, usually City of Duluth and/or Hermantown are not there.  Rice Lake’s resolution of support for changing Airport Zoning has been submitted to the Committee.

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

  • Exercised Booster station as required.
  • Greased booster station pump bearings.
  • Tested PH at City Hall.
  • Deiced all lift station locks.
  • Attended AWAIR safety meeting.
  • Assisted Justin with replacing reflective material on all road barriers.
  • Scraped away ice near overhead doors at Firehall via loader.
  • Assisted John W. with reinstalling quilt at City Hall.
  • Ordered a new bottle of Combination gas for confined space gas monitor.
  • Greased loader and removed excessive grease.
  • Lubricated chain and guide wheels on electric fence at Public Works.
  • Took apart all pipe wrenches and removed rust and greased with Aero Kroil.
  • Applied Grip tape to Lift gate on F-350 to prevent possibility of slipping.
  • Benna Ford replaced faulted tire pressure sensor on new Ford F-350.
  • Assisted Teresa with installing her new desk.
  • Assisted Justin with removing ceiling tiles from city hall and brought to MRC.
  • Plowed out and shoveled all City facilities as required.
  • Assisted Justin with plowing turnarounds as he was shorthanded this month.
  • Pushed snow banks at City hall and both firehall’s via loader.
  • Used snowblower to create path from recycle shed to City Hall for Bryan.
  • Shoveled sidewalk at # 1 Firehall.
  • Cleared 1 emergency locate.
  • Called in 1 frozen culvert to county at 3810 Birchwood Road. Opened up culvert via loader.
  • Checked oil in the Colorado.
  • Unclogged #2 bay drain with pressure washer assisted by Justin.
  • Cleared 12 locates.
  • Replaced 1 of water meter.

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

  • Drive the roads each morning to check for adverse road conditions (Drifts, Ice, trees, ditches and culverts).
  • Picked up 50/50 salt sand mix to melt all the ice buildup on all the paved roads and approaches.
    • Preventative maintenance on all vehicle such as grease the 5 yards after every snow storm or when in long use. Pull apart the sander and make sure it is cleaned and working properly.
    • Cleaned, mopped and swept the public works building at the end of the week.
    • Pick up sand or salt to have ready for the next big storm or slippery roads
    • Went with John Werner to Liftpro to get some new chains made up and certified.
    • Added some wood blocks to the Lawson nut and bolt bins.
    • Taken apart old 3 stage road closed barricade signs and added new reflective tape.
    • Disassembled old road signs to be recycled.
    • Worked overtime to plow and sand roads after the snow fall.
    • Raised a road sign that was to low (Road weight restriction) on the corner of W. Calvary and Rutter Rd.
    • Packed lose items from the shop and put them in the upstairs storage.
    • Attended the “Awair” safety work meeting.
    • Worked on two more of the stage 3 road closed barricade signs and added new reflective tape.
    • Cleaned out the floor drains in the 5-yard bay.
    • Washed vehicles after each use (most if the time when we have a chance to do so).
    • Helped install the quilt in the display case at City Hall with John Werner, John Goman and Justin Schendel.
    • Picked up the new and recertified chains from Liftpro.
    • Finished the rest of the stage 3 road closed barricade signs with Justin S.
    • Degreased and cleaned up the old grease guns in the shop.
    • Spent the morning at Ziegler with the mechanic running through the maintenance process during and after an oil change so we can do our own oil and maintenance on our equipment.
    • Used the grader to cut ice and move back large snowbanks after the snow storms.
    • Started the demolition of the old office at City Hall (ceiling tiles).
    • Picked up abandon trash on Chicago Ave and brought it to the dump.
    • Came in to plow snow and sand roads on the weekends when needed.
    • Added a 3/4″ spacer on the post of the hydraulic wing stop.
    • Cleaned and washed the grader.
    • Fixed a broken wire on the wings warning light that was pulled out.
    • Picked up Justin S. From Benna Ford so that some issues that were under warranty could be fixed. Also dropped Justin S. off to pick up the truck after it was all done.

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

Total Calls:

  • February Total Calls Responded to was 10.
    • 5 Medicals
    • 2 Structure Fire
    • 1 Chimney Fire
    • 1 Car Fire
    • 1 Car Accident with injury

Water Usage

  • Used approximately 9,000 gallons above the normal consumption.

Total Number of Hours Volunteered by All Members

  • Total hours Volunteered by the membership in February – 421

Sale of 1987 Fire Engine

  • No hits on the engine since last council meeting.

      Sale of Used Extrication Equipment

  • This was recently posted and had one inquiry so far.


  • Kat Hiti wrote a grant to Kwik Trip for us and we were awarded. The grant will be used to purchase additional scba air bottles.


  • Recently we had one member resign
  • We swore in, Ben Prestidge, to his probationary status for one year.
  • One member chose to take a 6-month leave of absence for family reasons.

Tahoe Acquisition

  • Maintenance Officer, Devin Sonnek and myself went down last Friday to put eyes on the vehicle and test drive it.
  • Mechanically the vehicle is in great condition. No signs of any leaking fluids etc. If council has any questions, I asked Devin to show up tonight.
  • Body Condition – Some hail related dings on the hood of the vehicle, wheels have some early stages of rust, which we plan to mitigate by getting them sand blasted and powder coated or just replacing the wheel (whichever is more cost effective). The passenger side mirror is cracked which we can look for a replacement online (cost is $40-60).
  • Brakes were done in 2015 Front and 2017 Rear
  • Tires have 30,000 miles on them and still have a good amount of tread left.

John W. asked if there was any “blow by”, Devon stated none, and it idled well, no vibrations.  Devon stated he check the maintenance logs, all was good, and the four-wheel drive worked well.  Mark stated for the public that this is a 2010 used Tahoe, to be used as a take home vehicle.  If the firefighter has the vehicle they must respond to all calls.  By taking the vehicle home, the firefighters can reduce their response time by 40-50% and it ensures all calls are responded to.  Bob reiterated this is a used vehicle.

Animal control: Joan read the following report into record as prepared by Gloria Dallum.  Gloria also did an annual report for 2017.

  • Hours worked                          28.05
  • Miles driven                             75
  • License fees collected            $103.00
  • Fines issued                            $0
  • Dogs to kennel                        0
  • Dogs to pound                        1

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 to be awarded and working on getting construction easements.  Hope to start project in June 2018
  • Working on getting additional funding for the E. Calvary water loop project
  • Applied for 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

Sheriff: none

Sewer and water report: In Council’s packet


Tax forfeit land: Joan shared a copy of a letter from St. Louis County showing four properties that have gone tax forfeit.  Council reviewed and did not have any interest in purchasing the properties.

Park field fertilization agreement: Joan shared a copy of the park field fertilization renewal agreement from Duluth Lawn Care for 2018.  This cost of fertilization went up $60 from last year. The agreement is for four fertilizations and an aeration.  John G. made a motion approve the Duluth Lawn Care proposal with a second by Bob.  Bob asked Bill Rosenbush if he was aware of any issues at the park, Bill stated no.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed.


3rd Ave. S. sewer project: John W. read MSA Professional (MSA) City Engineer, bid recommendation letter into record.  The lowest responsible bidder was A Plus Landscaping.  John G. made a motion to accept the bid from A Plus Landscaping for $311,765 under the condition MSA is on site anytime work is being done.  Bob second the motion and reiterated the need to have the engineers on site as the City is not familiar with the contractor.  Suzanne asked what a lowest responsible bidder is, Mike explained it is a responsible bidder that can do the job at the lowest price.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed.  John W. read into record the estimated timing of the project, starting in June and finishing in August.

City Hall conference room: John W. stated the demolition is done and sheetrock is up. The rough-ins for the electrical and heating need to be done as well as sheetrock taping.  John W. stated he has received a proposal from AW Kuettel for the heating for $3,095, Duluth Electrical for $3,975 and Quality Drywall for $4,560 which includes the sheetrock, taping, sanding, and ceiling.  We are doing the sheetrock ourselves, so the actual cost will not be this high.  John W. has not gotten an estimate for the flooring yet.  Bob explained to the public this is for the removal of an office and addition of a conference room.  John G. made a motion to accept all three proposals and move forward with the conference room work with a second by Suzanne.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed.  Bob abstained from voting as he has a relative with Duluth Electrical.

City Hall roof: John W. stated the Council needs to make a decision tonight as to what type of roof should be put on City Hall, a flat roof with a 20-year warranty for $65,000 or a metal sloped roof with a 50-year warranty for $198,000.  John G. stated he is tempted by the flat roof but due to all the leaking we have had on this roof for so many years he would advocate for the sloped roof for $198,000 and if the bids come in higher than that amount, revisit before the City proceeds.  Suzanne stated she would advocate for the flat roof for $65,000 as this is the option the architect promoted, and for the cost of the sloped roof we could replace the roof three times.  Suzanne stated the roof has been fine, otherwise this would have been discussed with the five-year plan done last year.  Bob stated he liked what Suzanne said but the flat roof is not good for Northern Minnesota, the flat roof material is better than it used to be, but the sloped roof run off would be better.  John W. stated he is concerned with durability and life of the flat roof as the building was built in 1975 and there have been two roofs already put on the building.  The last roof is 16 years old and has leaked for the last 8 years. The flat roof holds ice which makes it hard to find the leaks and with the new sloped roof, there will be three-foot overhang, which will protect the concrete walls from moisture.  He is in support of the sloped roof.  Teresa Koivula asked if there are any load bearing issues with either roof, John W. stated there are no issues with either roof.  John G. made a motion to approve the sloped metal roof for $198,000 with a second by Bob.  John W., John G., and Bob voted aye, Suzanne voted nay.  Motion passed.

Road set aside money: John W. explained Chicago Ave. is going to get tore up when the new water line is installed in 2019 which makes it a perfect time to repair the road. It is estimated the cost to repair the road will be $300,000. The City applied for a MNDOT grant but did not receive it.  We will apply again next year, but if we are not awarded again, we need to have the funds available to do the road repairs.  John W. would like to set aside $150,000 from the 2018 road budget into the project investment fund for the road repairs. Road work for 2018 will be reduced to accommodate the new budget. The funds will be set aside after the City receives it’s July apportionment money.  Suzanne made a motion to support moving $150,000 from the road budget to investments with a second by Bob.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed.

Public Works lighting: John shared an estimate he received from Duluth Electrical to change out all the lighting to LED for $14,950.  Minnesota Power is offering rebates for LED lighting again this year.  John G. asked if the LED lights need warm up time like the high bay lights we currently have, John W. stated no. The City does have funds set aside to do the work. Suzanne made a motion to support installing LED lighting for $14,950 with a second by John G.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed.  Bob abstained from voting as he has a relative with Duluth Electrical.

Fire Department used Tahoe: Mark stated there is a mobile radio currently in the vehicle that will be removed by Eden Prairie.  We will have to purchase a mobile head or possibly a new radio for the vehicle.  Mark suggested using the funds from the sale of the old extraction equipment to pay for a new radio.  Devon stated he could rewire the truck to accommodate what the fire department currently has, or it will be $2,600 for a whole new radio system.  If we purchase the used Tahoe the City will save $48,000 as opposed to purchasing a new one.  Suzanne made a motion approving the purchase of the 2010 Tahoe for $12,500 with a second by Bob.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed.  Devon stated it will cost $50 per wheel to get them sandblasted and powder coated to remove the rust.  The vehicle should be available for pickup in May.

Clarification of Zoning/Attorney calls: Teresa asked for clarification, in the past she was able to contact the City Attorney as needed, but during the last Council meeting this changed.  Joan stated the reason Teresa brought her request to Council is to have the City Attorney write some violation letters, which could lead to litigation.  In the past, anytime we could enter into litigation, Council needs to be made aware.  It was agreed there was some confusion and Teresa does have the right to contact the City Attorney as needed and the Council does want to be notified if it could lead to litigation.

Legislative Conference: Joan reminded Council the League of Minnesota (LMC) Legislative Conference is March 21 and 22.  All Councilors are registered to attend.  John W. stated there seems to be a lot of similarities with the LMC conference and the Small Cities Conference.  Depending on how it goes, John W. may not go to the LMC session.  He will let Joan know.

PUBLIC COMMENT: Teresa said thank you to the Council for allowing input for the public.

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