The Coleraine City Council Meeting of July 13 went into a closed session as city officials discussed the possibility of a new hire for Public Works. Councilors emerged after 12 minutes to offer a job to an unnamed person, contingent on the applicant passing drug and background checks.
Police Chief Lonnie Mjolsness has retained Samuel Hussman, Adrian Nelson and Tanner McCartney as new part-time patrol officers. Officer Dain Peterson has received a conditional job offer from Bayfield County Wisconsin. According to the monthly report, Coleraine PD responded to 113 versus 82 calls for Bovey PD and Trout Lake FD was alerted to four ambulance and no fire runs in June of 2020.
The city of Coleraine was able to approve $146,000 in COVID-19 money through the CARES Act. According to information released by Stay Safe MN, the CARES Act required that COVID-19 testing be covered without cost-sharing. This applies to the COVID-19 test and not the doctor’s-office visit. The official COVID-19 testing centers in Itasca County are listed as Deer River Hospital, Grand Itasca Clinic and Scenic Rivers Health Services in Bigfork.
City Clerk Briana Anderson released the minutes of the Western Mesabi Mine Planning Board meeting where a representative from Prairie River Minerals gave an update confirming that the technical testing will continue and potential buyers are satisfied with the low level of impurities in the product. The scram mining company plans to assemble a demonstration plant to produce 130 tons for the confirmed buyers in the next two years. Prairie River Minerals currently operates at the former Magnetation Jessie Loadout site.
Also, from the WMMPB meeting, Twin Metals has reportedly submitted key documents and will announce new information regarding project status and plans to move forward.
Councilors took a Roll-Call Vote to approve the Teamsters Local 320 Tentative Agreement where members will be allowed hazard pay of 1.25 times regular pay if a pandemic is declared in Coleraine and as long as funding is received from the state of Minnesota or the federal government. In the contract, on-call pay for city workers will be increased from $2.50 to $4.75 per hour while city employees are on-call.
Managers from the Eagle Ridge Golf Course were too busy to attend the council meeting, but Joan Barle was able to send an email to Clerk Anderson to verify that they are operating at capacity and the green fees are up $10,000 from last year.
The Minnesota Dept. of Employment and Economic Development issued a report listing the Central Minnesota region as having applications for Unemployment Insurance (UI) slowing down during the past few weeks. However, the rate of UI applications were still 800 percent higher than in May of last year. The report stated that 13 of the 20 best-performing counties are located in Southwestern Minnesota.
In other business, the council:
• Voted to pass a resolution to request the transfer of parcel 88-430-0440 from Itasca County.
• Decided to let the vacant lot at 210 Hartley go to public auction after exploring several options.
• Announced that the new swing set will be installed by Jim Ohman Construction for $2,100 including materials and labor.
• Approved three donations to the Public Library with $1,000 being given by the Greenway Area Community Foundation, a laptop computer from Iona Meyer and $200 from an anonymous donor.
• Identified 39 different public works projects in Coleraine and the Annexed Area.
• Resolved to start a special revenue fund using Coleraine’s share of the now defunct Bovey/Coleraine sweeper fund.
• Voted to accept $1,287.44 from the Coleraine Centennial Committee for new trash receptacles at the Longyear Pavilion.
• Agreed to allocate 10 percent of the cost to upgrade the rail crossing at Gunn Road.
• Learned that the city pickup truck needs heavy repairs that could cost as much as $12,000.