Council Minutes - January 21, 2020 Regular Meeting

Ely City Council – City Hall, Council Chambers

Council Minutes - January 21, 2020 Regular Meeting Ely City Council – City Hall, Council Chambers

Mayor Novak called the Ely City Council meeting to order at 5:31pm.

2. PRESENT: Council members A.Forsman, Kess, Debeltz, Omerza, Callen, Campbell, and Mayor Novak

Debeltz/Callen moved to approve the minutes from the January 7, 2020 Regular Council Meeting. Motion Carried Unanimously.

A. Addition 8.A. Recommendation from Airport Commission to approve proceeding with the quote process for the snow removal equipment.
B. Addition11.B. SEH Invoice 379962 for $129.00 for the Prospector ATV Trail.
Additions A and B were added without objection.

Council Member Committees for 2020- Mayor Novak asked the council to get their list of committees they would like to be on by the next meeting to Casey.
Mayor Novak reminded the citizens to not pile snow in front of fire hydrants and to clean the snow around them for safety reasons.

A. Motion to waive readings in entirety of all ordinances and resolutions on tonight’s agenda
B. Approve Council and Staff to attend the Coalition of Greater MN Cities Legislative Action Day on March 11, 2020 in St. Paul.
Debeltz/Omerza moved to approve the Consent Agenda Items A and B. Motion Carried Unanimously.


Heritage Preservation Commission – Minutes included in the packet

Projects Committee
Callen/Debeltz moved to approve the recommendation from the Projects Committee to approve the refund check to Kuehl’s Logging totaling $5,232.25 for the 2015 timber sale contract that has been completed. Motion Carried Unanimously.

Callen/Omerza moved to approve the recommendation from the Projects Committee to award the archaeological study for the Hidden Valley Trails federal grant to Duluth Archaeological Center for $1,906.40. Motion Carried Unanimously.

4th Quarter Emergency Management Update – Matter of Information, report in the packet.

Lodging Tax Board –
Kess stated that hopefully the reorganization of the Tourism Board will help these numbers.

Housing & Redevelopment Authority - Minutes included in the packet

Ely Area Ambulance Service Board of Directors Meeting -
Mayor Novak indicated that at the Board of Directors Meeting last week the board decided that until they are directed by the hospital to move the new Ambulance facility is on hold.

Airport Commission
Kess/Callen moved to approve the recommendation from Airport Commission to approve proceeding with the quote process for the snow removal equipment, including a formal request to Orr for entitlement funds.
Langowski indicated that the current snow blower out at the airport is a 1977 model. This has been slated for replacement. The FAA and MnDot Aeronautics are able to put together a funding package for us, so we would get 90% funding from FAA and 5% from MnDot Aeronautics. We would be using our entitlement fund which is the $150,000 that we are given per year by the FAA. The overall package is around $450,000 for the equipment so we would need to dip into the 3rd year of entitlement funds. Langowski asked for a transfer from Orr, so our entitlement funds that would be coming in 2022 would go to Orr.
Motion Carried Unanimously.

Omerza stated that the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities has updated their website and logo.
Omerza gave an update from the League of Minnesota Cities board meeting. They talked about their priorities for the year. Omerza stated that a couple other issues came up that they discussed. One of which was a discussion on the cannabis issue. They indicated that legalizing cannabis could take up to 2-3 legislative sessions to get it passed, the legislatures are talking about the local control, sales tax issues amongst other things in order to get it passed.
Omerza also stated that the Board talked about the Presidential Nomination Primary in great detail.
Velcheff discussed how the Presidential Nomination Primary(PNP) is going to work. Each person that comes to vote in the PNP is going to have to declare a party affiliation. This information is private. For the PNP the 4 major parties had the option of having candidates on a ballot, but only the Republican Party and the Democratic Party have submitted candidates for the ballots. Each party will have a separate ballot for the PNP. When you come to vote either Absentee or in person on Election Day you will have to declare your party by checking which parties’ ballot you will receive. Absentee voting has opened and you can request a ballot at or come visit us in the Clerks Office to vote.

A. Clerk-Treasurer
Omerza/Debeltz moved to approve the Lucky Boy Pond Agreement with the Golf Course.
Langowski indicated that the Lucky Boy Ponds are used for irrigation for the golf course. The DNR and City have concerns with the beaver issue with the dams. The Golf Course is willing to work with us, the city will go out to clear debris, etc two times a year and the Golf

Course will control the beavers by pulling the proper permits to trap the beavers to control the water levels of the ponds. Langowski indicated that this is a draft that will be brought to the Golf Course for approval.
Motion Carried Unanimously.

A. Fire Chief

B. Library Director
Library Director Heinrich gave an update on the upcoming events at the library which can be located on the Library website. Heinrich also indicated that the Library Journal has awarded its annual star libraries again and the Ely Library received a 4 star rating this year, only 2 other cities in Minnesota have received star ratings.

C. Police Chief

D. City Attorney
Debeltz/Campbell moved to approve the Note and Mortgage for the commercial renovation loan Commercial Renovation Loan for E Sheridan Street Properties, LLC for 228 E Sheridan St for insulation, wiring, and to rough in plumbing on 2nd theater space in Salerno building for $17,500. Motion Carried Unanimously.

E. City Engineer
Langowski indicated that the City Engineer participated in the CDBG presentations for the James Street Project which the city received $125,000.

A. 2019 Passport Sales
B. Correspondence from the Ely Chamber of Commerce regarding Northwoods Business Incubator
C. Correspondence from Amanda Block regarding 1041 E Washington St.
Kess stated that current zoning does not allow for small houses, but there has been a trend for smaller houses.
Kess/Debeltz moved to have planning and zoning reexamine the issue with smaller homes and code requirements.
Callen indicated that Planning and Zoning has been working on this.
Kess stated that in discussion with Riley the Planning and Zoning Administrator he indicated that P&Z would like some direction from the Council.
Langowski stated that this has come up in the past and that issuing a variance for these small houses is difficult for the need to have a specific reason. It would be appropriate for the council to give some direction on the code.
Kess indicated that the small house should be a permanent structure not on wheels and with utilities attached.
Mayor Novak indicated that this was brought up to the Projects Committee and they did not have any issues with the recommendation to go to Planning and Zoning.
A.Forsman stated that when looking at the ordinances he likes to think about what he would like next to his house, he does not see any reason to be against this.
Mayor Novak stated that the HRA housing is to the west of this lot and does not see it being an issue.

Campbell stated that there has been some discussion with the HRA about possibly purchasing the lot and putting garages on this lot for the Vermillion Homes.
Debeltz indicated that at this time we are not getting any income from this property so it would be good to sell it.
Motion Carried Unanimously.
D. News Release from the St Louis County Sheriff’s Office regarding public comment sought for county’s Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan.
E. Join the 2020 Census Team at $24 per hour in St Louis County

A. City and EUC claims for January 21, 2020 – $830,997.84
B. SEH Invoice 379962 for $129.00 for the Prospector ATV Trail.
Debeltz/Callen moved to approve the Claims for Payment A and B. Motion Carried Unanimously.


A. Callen/Omerza moved to approve Resolution 2020-003 approving the plans for the James Street Project. Roll Called: Council Member A.Forsman- Yes, Kess-Yes, Debeltz-Yes, Omerza-Yes, Callen-Yes, Campbell – Yes, and Mayor Novak-Yes. Motion Carried Unanimously.

B. Debeltz/Campbell moved to approve Cody Perkins to tap the maple trees on the 300 Block of James Street in 2020.
Langowski informed Perkins that construction on James Street is starting this spring and the trees will be removed at some point.
Motion Carried Unanimously.

C. Bids for New Plow Truck for the Public Works Department
Callen/Debeltz moved to accept the low bid for the new plow truck for the Public Works Department to Lundgren’s for a 2020 Ford F-550 for $63,193.52 plus taxes and fees.
Mayor Novak indicated that with tax and license there is approximately $7100 difference in the two bids.
Debeltz indicated that we have to be careful how we spend taxpayer money. Debeltz indicated he would like to buy local, but with the difference in the bids, it is not right to spend the taxpayer’s money that way.
Callen indicated that he would also like to keep the purchase local, but the bids are not close.
Motion Carried Unanimously


Mayor Novak adjourned the meeting at 6:22pm without objection.

Casey Velcheff
Deputy Clerk