2018 March Work minutes

March Work Meeting Minutes

March 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, Fire Chief Mark Niemi; and attached list of public.

John G. made a motion to approve the February 5, 2018 Work meeting minutes with a second by Suzanne.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed.


Fire Department Equipment plan:  Mark stated Mayor Werner requested him to update the fire department’s capital replacement plan.  Mark gave the Council an updated plan which notes a contribution from the City to the equipment fund of $45,000 in 2018 and $50,000 in 2019.  The capital replacement plan that had been submitted previously noted the purchase of a new Tahoe for approximately $60,000.  Mark stated he has found a used 2010 Tahoe, available for purchase in a couple of months, in Eden Prairie for approximately $12,500.  The vehicle has 100,000 miles but has been well maintained by the Eden Prairie’s fleet maintenance. The vehicle is already equipped with most things, we will need to add some equipment, which we already have, and we may need to purchase one medical bag. Eden Prairie rotates their vehicles every 7 years, which is why they are selling the Tahoe.  Mark stated this vehicle would be a take home that would float between the Rice Lake firefighters.  If they have the vehicle they would be required to respond to any calls received.   Being able to take the vehicle home would allow the firefighters to respond quicker, approximately 7 or 8 minutes faster.  Suzanne asked if the vehicle would go to the firefighter’s work, Mark stated no.  The vehicle would not be allowed to be outside the Rice Lake/Woodland area unless on a call.  This would assure Rice Lake has someone available to answer calls without having someone stay at the fire hall.  The Tahoe would be an additional vehicle for the department.  Mark stated the fire department would also like to add rehab equipment to their existing rescue vehicle which would allow for a cooling or heating area as needed for the firefighters during fire calls.  Mark stated any money we receive from selling the old 1986 engine would be used to offset the cost of the new Tahoe. The remaining cost would come from the equipment fund. The next truck that will need to be looked at is the tanker/tender in 2022, at that time it will be 31 years old, we will need to look at replacing the tank from steel to stainless steel.  In 2027, the current engine 2 will be 30 years old, so may need to replace that engine also.  If the City thinks we would like to purchase the Tahoe for $12,500, we need to let the Eden Prairie Fire Department know, and they will hold the vehicle for us.  John W. stated he would like to have the vehicle inspected before we commit to purchasing to ensure there is no rust. John G. stated his concern is the condition of the Tahoe, he would like to see the service records and see the truck itself to ensure it runs properly and to check for rust.  John W. agreed someone from the fire department and one Councilor should go and check it out prior to the final decision. Suzanne made a motion to move this decision to the next Council meeting for further action with a second by Bob.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed.  John W. stated with the new capital replacement plan all old plans be destroyed.  Bob and Suzanne stated they are glad the Chief is looking at used vehicles as well as new vehicles, there has been concerns in the community about all the new vehicles.  Bob has been reiterating to the public the new fire truck money was from the trust fund.

Paid Volunteer Fire Department: John W. stated he has been watching what other fire departments in the state are doing with paid volunteer requests.  John W. stated he does not know how the City of Rice Lake could pay for paid volunteers, the cost would be approximately $100,000.  The pay would be based on the number of calls and the number of people who respond, at $5.00 – $10.00 per person.  Mark stated he does not believe it would cost as much as John W. stated.  There are options on what the City could do, Mark’s plan would be less than half the cost.  Mark stated the department is not requesting any pay at this time, but it may be something that will have to be looked at in the future if they cannot get volunteers. Suzanne asked how the department is finding volunteers, and Mark stated mainly through Facebook and referrals from other fire departments.  Mark stated with volunteer numbers dropping, the Minnesota Fire Service is pushing the Legislature to allow for fire taxing districts.   This would mean all communities that belong to that district would pay for the department, it would be like how Cloquet’s district is set up.  Mark stated the fire department is not looking to make a change to this at this time.

Public Works lighting: John W. stated he would like to change the lighting in the building to LED to reduce our electrical consumption and cost.  There are Minnesota Power rebates being offered. This is to be brought to the next Council meeting for action.

City Street Lighting: John W. shared a proposal he received from Minnesota Power to change out the existing street lights to LED.  The proposal is to change out 49 lights at a cost of $14,700.  If the light is over 10 years old Minnesota Power would replace at no charge.  The City is responsible for all costs related to street lighting in the City. Bob and Suzanne commented they are surprised there is not a greater savings.  This is not something the City is looking to do right now due to cost, it is just something to think about in the future.  John W. said another option is to go solar, he is still investigating this option.

Road and Bridge budget: John W. shared that the City did not receive the MNDOT grant for Chicago Ave., so we are going to try again next year.  In the meantime, we need to start saving to do the road project.  John W. stated he would like to do minimal road work this year and pull $150,000 from the budget and set it aside in an investment fund for Chicago Ave, in case we do not get the MNDOT grant again next year we can still proceed.  If we get a disaster, the money would be available if needed.  John W. went through what costs we must pay for and the estimated amount we could set aside.  It was agreed to bring to the Council meeting for further action.


Everbridge – St. Louis County Emergency Notification System:  Joan shared an email from St. Louis County stating there is no cost to create a “group” on Everbridge.  The Council needs to decide if they want to create a group or not.  It is Council’s understanding the initial setup is free, there will be an article put in the local paper.   Suzanne went on to explain that there is two parts to this.  IPAWS is the emergency notices St. Louis County would control and Northland Alert is the part where residents must sign up.

Mike Couri, City Attorney, visit:  John W. informed the Council Mike will be coming up on Monday, March 12th for a visit.  John W. noted to let Joan know if any Council Members want to meet with Mike.

Council Reports:

John G. stated he was receiving lift station alerts and was unable to get ahold of Justin S., the Utility worker. John W. stated he received a message from Justin S. noting the electrical would not reset and Sycom will be coming up on March 8th to fix.

Suzanne stated she knows that Teresa is working with Mike Couri on investigating some zoning issues.

Bob: nothing

John W. stated he will be going to the Legislature on March 13th and March 21st.  He and Gary Cerkvenik, the City’s Lobbyist, will be talking with our Legislatures about bonding money.

Conference Room at City Hall:  John W. stated the demo is complete, he and both Justin’s have been working on the project.  John had AW Kuettel remove some piping for $1,000, so walls could be removed.  John W. shared estimates he received for some electrical and plumbing to be done.  The plumbing will be $3,095 this includes baseboard heating similar to what is already there.  He also shared an estimate for electrical to install receptacles, LED lights, and controls for $3,975 from Duluth Electrical.  John W. stated we will need to install insulation for sound proofing too.   Bob recommended we install an intercom from the front office to the back for better communications when the staff is at a minimum.  This is something to look at in the future.  Council stated to bring the conference room estimates to the Council meeting for further action.

City Hall roof: John W. stated Council will need to decide what type of roof we want to install on City Hall, sloped or flat.  John G. stated the flat roof is less expensive, but he feels the sloped metal roof would be a better long-term investment.  The flat roof would give a 20-year life span versus the sloped roof would give a 50-year.   Bob stated he feels the same as John G.  Bob asked where the funds are coming from, John W. stated LGA and possibly using some funds from the tower investment fund and then reimburse the fund back. Suzanne stated she feels the flat roof would be a better option as the architect encouraged the flat roof and the cost would be $65,000 vs. $198,000 for the slope metal roof, which would mean it could be replaced three times for the cost of the slope roof.  Suzanne stated, there is an uncertainty of the continued use of the building and if City Hall will even be there.  John W. stated the building is 35 years old and we have already put two roofs on it.  If we do the flat roof it would be the third roof in 35 years.  John W. stated every year we have issues with ice buildup 6”- 8” on the roof which causes leaking.  He stated as far as the building still being used as City Hall that is an unknown, but the building would still be used as something such as a community center.  It was agreed to bring this to the Council meeting for action.

PUBLIC COMMENT: Cindy Endicott stated she agrees with Suzanne on putting a flat roof on City Hall.  Cindy asked on the conference room who is going to be doing the drywall and painting.  John W. stated he will volunteer the labor and the City will pay for the material costs. Jayme Heim agreed with Suzanne as well on the City Hall roof and she loves that the fire department has presented new options for their equipment.  Bill Rosenbush asked if the architectural costs are included in the costs we were given for the roof.  John W. stated yes, the costs include, from bidding to project completion and he thinks the cost was $14,000.

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