Regular Meeting Ely City Council – November 16, 2021

Regular Meeting Ely City Council – City Hall, Council Chambers
November 16, 2021

CALL TO ORDER
The regular meeting of the Ely City Council was called to order by Mayor Skraba at 5:30pm in the Council Chambers.
Pledge of Allegiance

PRESENT: Council members A.Forsman, Kess, Debeltz, Callen, Campbell, and Mayor Skraba
ABSENT: Council member Omerza

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Campbell/Kess moved to approve the minutes from the November 2, 2021 Regular Council Meeting and November 4, 2021 Special Council Meeting. Motion Carried 6-0-1 with Omerza Absent.

ADDITIONS OR OMISSIONS TO AGENDA:
A. Additions 8.A Budget Committee
B. Additions 9.B.i. Fire Department Meeting Minutes
C. Additions 9.E.iii. Hazardous Buildings at 726 E Camp St, 1811 E Chapman, 1945 E Harvey St – Schedule Public hearings for these properties on December 7, 2021 726 E Camp St at 5pm, 1811 E Chapman St at 5:10pm, and 1945 E Harvey St at 5:20pm.
D. Omission 12.B 2nd Reading Ordinance No. 348 2nd Series, An Ordinance of the City of Ely, Minnesota, Adding to the Ely City Code, Chapter 20, Section 20.1.25, Entitled Zoning Map Amendment. (Need Updated Legal Description)
E. Additions 13.A. Resolution 2021-053 Resolution 2021-053 Resolution Authorizing the purchase of State Tax Forfeited Land
F. Additions 13.E. Resolution 2021-054 Resolution Authorizing City of Ely to Make Application to and Accept Funds from the FY 2022 Community Infrastructure Fund Program.
Debeltz/Callen moved to accept the Additions and Omissions A-F. Motion Carried 6-0-1 with Omerza Absent.

MAYOR’S REPORT:

CONSENT AGENDA:
A. Motion to waive readings in entirety of all ordinances and resolutions on tonight’s agenda.
B. Approve the RAMS annual meeting on Wednesday, December 29, 2021 at the Mt. Iron Community Center as a Special Council Meeting so all Council members can attend if they choose.
Callen/Kess moved to approve the Consent Agenda items A and B. Motion Carried 6-0-1 with Omerza Absent.
REQUESTS TO APPEAR:
A. Grant Spickelmier, Executive Director, and Krista Harrington, Interpretive Center Director from the International Wolf Center
Krista Harrington the Interpretive Center Director indicated that after Covid they have seen a rise in the visitor numbers at the Wolf Center. This summer they had a new pup named Rieka which brought in a lot of people. Admissions in 2020 were around 12,000 people and in 2021 they have already seen close to 26,000 visitors. It was great to see people out and about again. Harrington indicated that like a lot of businesses they struggled with getting enough and keeping interns and workers, they are looking at increasing the stipends for 2022 and having yearlong internships for 2022 to try to keep workers.
Grant Spickelmier the Executive Director indicated for 2022 they are looking at expanding the programming at the wolf center. They are looking at expanding the Wolflink Virtual Learning Program by reaching schools throughout the country and in other countries including Vietnam and Mexico. The International Wolf Symposium is being held at in Minneapolis in October 2022 and will attract around 400-500 biologists and scientists. They are also launching a fellowship program for undergrads.
Spickelmier indicated that the facility is currently 30 years old and they are looking for money from state bonding for HVAC replacements, roof replacement, general drainage improvements, redo the front entry and lobby, and complete some other exterior repairs/site improvements including window replacements, re-stain building exterior, and sidewalk repairs. Spickelmier indicated that they would approve the City Council supporting their bond request.
Debeltz/Campbell moved to write a letter of support for the International Wolf Center’s bonding project. Motion Carried 6-0-1 with Omerza Absent.

COMMITTEE REPORTS:
Standing/Special
Cemetery Committee – Minutes included in the Council Packet

Projects Committee
Callen/Debeltz moved to approve the recommendation from the Projects Committee to have Bear Island Surveying mark the lot lines and mark or set the corners on the Spaulding lots on Sibley Court for $2620.00. Motion Carried 6-0-1 with Omerza Absent.

Callen/A.Forsman moved to approve the recommendation from the Projects Committee to sell the 0.487 acre piece of land on Savoy Road to Pat and Brielle Loe for $19,700. Motion Carried 6-0-1 with Omerza Absent.

The new Zups Store and Subway are working together to provide additional parking for workers, RV’s and boat trailers on tax forfeited land between the Chamber and 16th Ave. St. Louis County controls this tax forfeited land and is drafting a use agreement for the City to allow use of the land for parking. Zups and Subway are working together to develop an agreement on maintenance and usage of the land. The property could be conveyed to the City at no fee for public use or purchased and resold to Zups at the current value of $64,100 for Zups and Subway to maintain and use as parking.
Langowski indicated that at the projects meeting it was discussed that this being forfeited land it could be conveyed to the city at no fee for public use. Since the projects meeting we have spoken with the adjacent land owners and it was decided that they would rather purchase the land and share the lot. One of the major points is it would get put back on the tax rolls, it has been tax forfeited for years, the liability, the maintenance will be managed by the owner. We have a resolution later on in the agenda for the purchase of the state tax forfeited land.
Callen/A.Forsman moved to approve authorization for City of Ely City assignees and successors, the right to enter onto State tax forfeited lands in St Louis County for temporary overflow parking for use by Zups Grocery and Subway. Motion Carried 6-0-1 with Omerza Absent.

Callen/A.Forsman moved to approve the recommendation from Projects Committee to award the Community Center hazardous material testing to Braun Intertec for $4230.00.
Kess asked if the money for this would come out of Capital Expenditures. Langowski indicated that yes it would.
Motion Carried 6-0-1 with Omerza Absent.

Employee Relations/Interview Committee
Debeltz/Kess moved to approve the recommendation from the Utility Billing Clerk Interview Committee to hire Kimberly Koivisto for the positon of Utility Billing Clerk pending background check.
A.Forsman asked why when we get these presented to us we do not see any applications or information on the applicants, as the council we are then asked to approve of something that just the committee reviewed.
Langowski indicated many of the applicants that apply for the positions do not want their existing employers to know they applied for another job. We keep the applications and names confidential until the position is offered. The job descriptions are approved by the council and the hiring committee is approved by the council. Langowski indicated that this is not an easy task or something that comes lightly, especially when you are scoring applicants and you have to tell some of them that they are not going to be offered the position.
Motion Carried 5-1-1 with Omerza Absent and A.Forsman Voting No.

Budget Committee
A.Forsman/Debeltz moved to approve the recommendation from Budget Committee to approve changing the PERA Volunteer Firefighter Benefit Level from $1,800 to $2,200.
Fire Chief Marshall indicated that this is the allocation for the retirement for the pension fund the annual amount the firefighters earn towards their retirement. There are criteria before this would be paid out to the firefighters, 50 years of age, 20 years on the department, etc. The fund is managed by PERA and the goal is for the fund to be self-sustaining.
A.Forsman indicated that the fund has been self-funded for years, there have been a couple of occasional instances where the city has had to contribute, but the way it is managed by PERA right now it will still be able to be self-funding. It looks like we will be able to make this move without having the city be on the hook for more money.
Fire Chief Marshall stated that once we converted to PERA 5 years ago we were locked into that rate for 5 years, which was one of the covenants of bringing the funds over to PERA.
Callen indicated he will be abstaining since he benefits from this.
Motion Carried 5-1-1 with Omerza Absent and Callen Abstaining.

A.Forsman/Callen moved to approve the recommendation from Budget Committee to approve transfer of $215,000 from the Airport fund to the Equipment Replacement Fund for the purchase of an Airport Fuel Truck.
Mayor Skraba indicated that the current fuel truck is a 1980 and after this summer’s fires it was realized that the new fuel truck was needed.
Kess indicated that the amount of fuel we have sold with help to purchase this truck.
Langowski stated that the Airport gravel sales also helped to pay for the truck.
Motion Carried 6-0-1 with Omerza Absent.

A.Forsman/Campbell moved to approve the recommendation from the Budget Committee to approve the current Levy increase of 4.52% over 2021 or $1,977,900 to be presented at the Truth-in-Taxation meeting on December 7th at 6:30pm. (Time was changed to 6pm since that is what was published on the 2022 proposed tax statements)
Kess stated that all the budgets are tight, if we would cut in any way we would have to cut capital improvements, 4.52% is not extra ordinary.
Motion Carried 6-0-1 with Omerza Absent.

Housing & Redevelopment Authority (HRA)
Campbell indicated that the HRA is working on putting together a taskforce to study the West End Development and workforce housing for the future.

Range Association of Municipalities & Schools (RAMS) - Minutes included in the Council Packet

DEPARTMENTAL REPORTS:
Clerk-Treasurer

Fire Chief
Fire Department Meeting Minutes
Chief Marshall thanked the council for approving the PERA increase. Marshall indicated that he doesn’t think any fire department member does the job for the money.
Chief Marshall discussed some of the current calls they had.
Chief Marshall indicated that they brought the ladder truck to Early Childhood Readiness to talk about fire safety with the kids.

Library Director
Heinrich indicated that the story stroll is in today along the Trezona Trail. Heinrich thanked the Public Works for helping to install it and thanks to Mark Fisher Estate for the donation.

Police Chief
Chief Houde gave an update on the hiring process for the Assistant Chief and new police officer; they are both going through the background process. Houde indicated that he is anticipating a mid-December start for the Assistant Chief and beginning of the New Year for the police officer.
Houde indicated that the last couple weeks they have been giving out warnings for Calendar Parking and they are now starting to give out tickets.

City Attorney
A.Forsman/Debeltz moved to approve the purchase Agreement between Brielle and Patrick Loe and the City of Ely.
Attorney Klun indicated that this allows us to move forward with the purchase process.
Motion Carried 6-0-1 with Omerza Absent.

Campbell/Kess moved to approve the 1st Reading of Ordinance 349 An Ordinance of the City of Ely, Minnesota, Adding Chapter 20, Section 20.2.56 Sales of Land City Code of the City of Ely.
Attorney Klun stated that this is the 1st reading of the ordinance for the sale of land to Pat and Brielle Loe; we are still waiting on the complete legal description which will be added before the 2nd reading of the ordinance.
Roll Called: Council Member A.Forsman – Yes, Kess-Yes, Debeltz-Yes, Omerza-Absent, Callen-Yes, Campbell – Yes, Mayor Skraba- Yes. Motion Carried 6-0-1 with Omerza Absent.

Debeltz/Callen moved to schedule a Public Hearing for Sale of Land – December 7, 2021 at 4:45pm. Motion Carried 6-0-1 with Omerza Absent.

Callen/Campbell moved to Schedule Public hearings for the Hazardous Buildings at 726 E Camp St, 1811 E Chapman, 1945 E Harvey St on December 7, 2021: 726 E Camp St at 5pm, 1811 E Chapman St at 5:10pm, and 1945 E Harvey St at 5:20pm.
A.Forsman stated that it is difficult to act on when these are added to the agenda and we do not have time to look at the additions packet.
Attorney Klun indicated that the reason these are late is relative to trying to get these properties classified as hazardous before the end of the year.
Motion Carried 6-0-1 with Omerza Absent.

City Engineer

COMMUNICATIONS: None
CLAIMS FOR PAYMENT:
A. City and EUC claims for November 16, 2021 - $233,327.63
B. Pay estimate #5 for the 2021 City Infrastructure Improvements Project to Utility Systems of America for $123,971.07.
C. Community Economic Development Joint Powers Board 2021 Dues Invoice for $400.00
Mayor Skraba indicated that the Joint Powers Board is working on the Legislative Dinner again for December 20th at the Grand Ely Lodge. If anyone has any agenda items let Clerk Langowski or Skraba know.
Debeltz/ Callen moved to approve the claims for payment items A-C. Motion Carried 6-0-1 with Omerza Absent.

OLD BUSINESS:
A. Callen/Campbell moved to approve advertising for a committee opening on Planning and Zoning Commission with Dave Huberty taking the Planning and Zoning Administrator Position. Motion Crried 6-0-1 with Omerza Absent.

B. (Omitted) 2nd Reading Ordinance No. 348 2nd Series, An Ordinance of the City of Ely, Minnesota, Adding to the Ely City Code, Chapter 20, Section 20.1.25, Entitled Zoning Map Amendment. (Need Updated Legal Description)

C. Kess/Debeltz moved to approve 2nd Reading Ordinance No. 350 2nd Series, An Ordinance of the City of Ely, Minnesota, Amending Chapter 11, Section 11.40 Regulating List of Permissible and Conditional Uses. Roll Called: Council Member A.Forsman – Yes, Kess-Yes, Debeltz-Yes, Omerza-Absent, Callen-Yes, Campbell – Yes, Mayor Skraba- Yes. Motion Carried 6-0-1 with Omerza Absent.

NEW BUSINESS:
A. Debeltz/Callen moved to approve Resolution 2021-053 Resolution Authorizing the purchase of State Tax Forfeited Land. Roll Called: Council Member A.Forsman – Yes, Kess-Yes, Debeltz-Yes, Omerza-Absent, Callen-Yes, Campbell – Yes, Mayor Skraba- Yes. Motion Carried 6-0-1 with Omerza Absent.

B. Kess/Debeltz moved to approve the bids received for the Airport 3,000 gallon Jet A Refueler. Recommendation the fuel truck is purchased from SkyMark for $197,250 plus tax. The funds for the purchase are airport fund balance and will need to be transferred to the capital equipment replacement fund. Motion Carried 6-0-1 with Omerza Absent.

C. RAMS – Notice of Nominations for RAMS Board of Directors
A.Forsman/Callen moved to nominate Paul Kess for the RAMS Board of Directors. Motion Carried 6-0-1 with Omerza Absent.

D. Kess/Callen moved to approve the Temporary On-Sale Liquor License for the Ely Folk School on December 11, 2021 at Semer’s Park. Motion Carried 6-0-1 with Omerza Absent.
E. Campbell/A.Forsman moved to approve Resolution 2021-054 Resolution Authorizing City of Ely to Make Application to and Accept Funds from the FY 2022 Community Infrastructure Fund Program.
Langowski indicated that we are looking at applying for 2 separate phases for a total of $300,000 from the IRRR for the Wastewater Treatment Improvement Project.
Roll Called: Council Member A.Forsman – Yes, Kess-Yes, Debeltz-Yes, Omerza-Absent, Callen-Yes, Campbell – Yes, Mayor Skraba- Yes. Motion Carried 6-0-1 with Omerza Absent

OPEN FORUM: None

ADJOURN:
Debeltz/Campbell moved to adjourn the Ely City Council Meeting at 6:32pm. Motion Carried 6-0-1 with Omerza Absent.

Casey Velcheff
Deputy Clerk

Ely Echo December 11, 2021