Coleraine City Council

August 01, 2019

    At last week’s Coleraine City Council meeting, Tim Frits, forestry and shoreland specialist with the Itasca Soil and Water Conservation District, presented the Coleraine Storm Retrofit Assessment along with Engineer Bill Westerberg to the city council. 

    The assessment was compiled by H.R. Green Engineering, which released several charts and diagrams of the retrofit project. The Itasca Soil and Water Conservation District also can be credited with securing the funding through grant writing for the stormwater assessment by H.R. Green. 

    Westerberg explained the strategy of containing and slowing the advance of as much of the stormwater runoff as possible before the water reaches Longyear Park, which is the last stop before the drainage reaches Trout Lake. Rain gardens and stormwater tree planters located next to the street in about 44 locations around Coleraine would absorb the runoff using bio-retention technology as well as being the home of several species of native plants, which would complement the aesthetics of residential Coleraine.

    Other methods of stormwater retention include subterranean chambers located eight inches below the pavement and one large underground vault that would cost $400,000 and would be located on the north side of the Hodgins-Berardo Hockey Arena. The underground vault would not affect parking at the arena. Council members voted to go forward with the grant-writing process for the approximately $1 million retrofit project. 

 Councilors agreed to donate $200 for advertising the Second Annual Oktoberfest, which is a fund-raising event put on by the Greenway Area Community Fund. In a news release, GACF Advisory Committee stated that they have already raised $153,000 so far toward their goal of $200,000 by Dec. 31, 2019. This year’s Oktoberfest will be held at Marble City Hall on Saturday, Oct. 5 and will include food, beverages, music, games and raffles. 

    Councilors learned the window damage of nearly $2,000 at the old firehall was caused by two 10-year-old boys. Councilors debated on how to proceed with legal action.

    Council Member Joe Pollard said the CBT Force Main construction is a week ahead of schedule. 

    The announcement was made that the Minnesota Department of Health will add $2.36 to the service connection fee quarterly. A letter from MDH explained that the need to raise the service charge is due to expanding federal regulations for safe drinking water. 

    In other business, the council:

    • Voted to amend the city employee policy to reflect the new Minnesota Hands-Free-Driving Law.

    • Tabled any action on a $45,000 repair job for the water tower.

    • Approved a liquor license for RJ’s Market.

    • Authorized the city clerk to investigate if an employee can change unions.

    • Voted to pay the last two bills to TNT Aggregates (formerly Hammerlund Construction) for $24,253.43 and invoice Bovey for one half of that bill.

Coleraine approves strategic plan for ski and outing club

July 22, 2019

 Last week’s Coleraine City Council meeting was held on schedule in the City of Coleraine Council Chambers where council members approved a strategic plan for the Itasca Ski and Outing Club.

    The plan was presented by Club Administrator Catherine McLynn, who noted the club’s 501 (c) 3 non-profit status. The ISOC manages the grounds and facilities at Mt. Itasca in cooperation with the state of Minnesota, Itasca County, the city of Coleraine, Greenway Joint Recreation Association, Mt. Itasca Nordic Ski Association and the Northern Lights Ski Club. 

    McLynn said that Mt. Itasca is the only place in Northern Minnesota that has a combination of six ski jumps and a biathlon training ground as well as dedicated slopes for alpine skiing, snowboarding and tubing. Mt. Itasca also has the capacity to make snow on demand. 

    City Clerk Briana Anderson released a report from the Minnesota Department of Health where the Coleraine municipal water has 3 micro-grams of lead per liter, well below the limit of 15 micro-grams per liter. Copper was recorded at 1170 mg/L again below the limit of 1300.

    Public Works Supervisor Harry Bertram updated the council on the Cotton Beach raft where city crews have anchored the raft by two points with help from twin 250 lb. concrete anchors so the raft will not tip over. In addition to that, Bertram indicated that Public Works has called back repeatedly to repair the anchor rope after it has been severed by vandals. 

    In other business, the council:

    • Voted to approve a $481,781.57 payment for the force main project.

    • Learned that MnDOT is not yet in agreement regarding the Stormwater retrofit project.

    • Approved a $1,000 expenditure for two concrete slabs in front of the post office.

    • Voted to approve a draft of a revised legal description of the old fire hall property. 

Coleraine City Council

March 16, 2019

    The Coleraine City Council convened for the last week in February and all council members were present to welcome Cavour Johnson, acting as a Project Manager, who proceeded to brief council members on the status of the Coleraine Storm Water Retrofit Project. 

    Johnson requested permission to apply for a Minnesota DNR Conservation Partners Legacy grant in the amount of $50,000 for the design and installation of rain gardens and storm water planters, in order to take advantage of the rain that falls on the city. 

    In a related matter, Clerk Briana Anderson reported that she has organized a meeting with Matt Johnson of the Minnesota Board of Soil and Water Resources, to discuss the City of Coleraine’s legal responsibility to the Minnesota Wetland Conservation Act as it applies to the Storm Water Retrofit Project. 

    Johnson also released an addendum to the 2015 Comprehensive Reuse Plan for City Hall and the Nyberg Center. The addendum identified three issues of priority following the Minnesota Historical Society evaluation of the city hall building, and these being to repair of the open seams on the EPDM membranes as well as the EPDM and flashing at the scupper connections, replace the gutters and down spouts and finally to rebuild the masonry at the southeast corner of the building. Councilors voted to approve the addendum. 

    In other business, the council:

    • Authorized Cavour Johnson to apply for the Minnesota DNR CPL Grant for the Stormwater Retrofit Project.

    • Agreed to continue plowing the old fire station property until the spring thaw.

Coleraine City Council

November 01, 2018

    At last week’s Coleraine City Council meeting, councilors voted to accept the ASFCME union proposal on health insurance for Coleraine city employees. Union officials agreed to open the contract only for the purposes of establishing a new mode of health insurance following the dissolution of the Arrowhead ProCare Insurance pool earlier this year. 

    In a related matter, the city of Coleraine has been assessed a bill of $23,000 by Itasca County in the wake of the Arrowhead ProCare demise in order to cover outstanding insurance claims. The amount is based on the number of employees each city has to insure. Councilors voted to pay the $23,000 at this time. 

    Councilors entered in a roll call vote to pay $3,000 for a communication equipment breakdown. The council also discussed adding several more water users to the list of customers who will pay a metered rate and specifically Vandyke, Greenway High School, the football field and the minerals research lab.

    In other business, the council:

    • Voted to advertise for rink attendants for the outdoor rink.

    • Voted to allow Police Chief Lonnie Mjolsness to advertise for bids on a confiscated 1994 Harley Davidson motorcycle.

    • Rescheduled the first city council Meeting in November for Tuesday, 11-13-18, because of Veterans Day.

    • Scheduled a public hearing for the proposed amendment to the rental ordinance on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 5 p.m.

    • Set a public hearing date of Nov. 13, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. on the Hawkins Ave. assessments.

    • Voted to approve the bid for the CBT Force Main project.

    • Passed a motion to assess $16,389.41 to the property in order to recover the cost to demolish the Barber house.

    • Approved a rental agreement with the Boys and Girls Club for $400 per month in in-kind services. The club occupies the space that was formerly the Coleraine Police headquarters in city hall.

Coleraine City Council

September 23, 2018

    At last week’s Coleraine City Council meeting, Councilor Mary Drewes gave a ski hill update saying that the side boards are in place on the landing area for the 70 meter jump thus making the 70 meter compliant with safety rules for international competition. 

    Catherine McLynn was interviewed for more information and she said it took 10 volunteers and six days to complete the project. McLynn said they are preparing for a tournament on Saturday, Dec. 29 where Olympic athletes are expected to compete on the 70 meter jump. 

     Councilor Ryan Stish said they have had 207 fire calls already this year and added that they have a shortage of firemen. Stish said the national night out held on the Sunday before Labor Day had a nice turnout. 

    Street Commissioner Harry Bertram gave kudos to the summer workers who painted the crosswalks and curbs as well as cutting brush. He said everything went well this summer. Currently, city crews are finished flushing hydrants and will soon begin the winterizing process. 

    Bertram reported an overheated motor in one of the lift stations that was possibly caused by a diaper that was found in the pump’s intake port. One water main break was reported and a zone valve was closed until repairs can be made on that break. No customer service was affected by the break. 

 Interim Police Chief Lonnie Mjolsness was evidently called away to an emergency during the course of the meeting and was unable to give the police report. However, Councilor Drewes made a point to thank the police department for their work as far as breaking-down the vicinity of calls during the month of August. 

    In the report submitted by Chief Mjolsness, for the 109 calls, 53 incidents were responded to within the city of Coleraine, 26 calls were incidents within the Coleraine annexed area, 16 calls were to the city of Bovey. The 12 mutual aid calls to distant agencies included 5 calls to the city of Grand Rapids and 7 calls where the Coleraine police responded along with Itasca County Sheriffs Office. 

    In other business, the council:

    • Voted to change the speed limit signs on Greenway Drive to 15 miles per hour.

    • Passed a motion to not waive monetary limits on municipal tort liability.

    • Agreed to pay one third of the amount of a tax increment financing plan.

    • Voted to let a resident plow his own road for $400 as long as he assumes liability.

    • Voted to pass a change order to the Kerr Avenue street repair project that was more than 10 percent over budget ($648) for a total cost of $5,508. 

City council mulls police department merger questions

September 06, 2018

    Last week’s Coleraine City Council meeting was delayed by 15 minutes because council members were engaged in closed session contract mediation with Teamsters officials.  Mayor Jim Hagen said the meeting ended with no agreement.

 

    The position of Coleraine Police Chief is currently designated as a Teamsters position, and this represents another possible sticking point with the proposed police merger because the Bovey Police Chief’s position is associated with the AFSCME union.  

    The police merger collaboration committee has compiled a 400 page policy manual for the new combined police department, but it has yet to be approved.  Councilor Mary Drewes said the manual has no provision for documentation of time spent by officers at various locations.  

    All of the talk on police policy ignited a firestorm of debate on the issue of local officers being called to remote jurisdictions.  One area merchant complained that when he was robbed, the Coleraine officer was assisting at a call in the city of Pengilly, 12 miles away.  Police Chief Lonnie Mjolsness argued that the reciprocity agreement with other agencies is valuable if the Coleraine police need backup and an Itasca County deputy is only minutes away.         

    Councilor Peg Smith relayed news from the Coleraine Public Library that the Pie Social and band concert brought in $377. The new/refurbished computers have arrived and are in the process of being installed. Drewes added that there are five new sewing machines at the library. 

    Council members voted to spend $4,860 to repave the section of Kerr Avenue where the water main break occurred before school starts.  The Kerr Avenue water main break brought to light another issue with the water main.  It was discovered that the water main runs directly underneath the Greenway High School building, and council members wondered what they would do if that main ruptured under the school building.

    George Delich praised the new safety glass in the Hodgins-Berardo hockey arena, and indicated that Anderson Glass donated four of the windows.  Delich also stated that the electrical cost at the arena went up by $1,600 per month.  

    Delich gave an update from Director Pat Guyer on the Greenway Joint Rec’s responsibility to Itasca County from the Procare insurance mishap.  Greenway Joint Rec. has two employees and will need to pay $4,366.82. Delich warned that amount could increase by one to two thousand dollars before it all is finished.  The cost is dependent on the number of people insured and the amount of usage of the insurance.

    City Clerk Briana Anderson announced that a quarter million dollar IRRRB grant for the CBT force main project was approved.  

    Anderson released the expense report of the primary election.  The cost to pay the election judges was $1,092.16.  A total of $3,000 was budgeted for the 2018 election season.

    In other business, the council:

    • Indicated that Attorney John Dimich wants a legal description of the old fire hall.

    • Mentioned that Chris Fulton of the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation wants to set up an endowment for the Eagle Ridge Golf Course.

    • Discussed the maintenance mechanic job opening in the Public Works Department.

    • Explored the possibility of amending the rental ordinance to require a government-certified septic system be in place as a prerequisite for approving a rental permit.                                                                                                                                        

Coleraine City Council

August 23, 2018

    At last week’s Coleraine City Council meeting, nine areas of concern were identified with respect to rough streets and roads in town. Two of these with the highest priority were the corner on Brock Lane and the Pear Lake Road culvert project.  

    The city council voted to allocate $15,610 to fix Brock Lane and ordered six loads of class 5 aggregate to Pear Lake Road at a cost of $950.  The Pear Lake Road project is still waiting for permission to go ahead from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

    Former City Council Member Holly Guyer took the podium to complain about the acrid smell she thinks is coming from the animal crematorium.  Guyer said she wants the crematorium to be shut down.  Council members said they will investigate the complaint and said the fine would be $385 if the crematorium is violating city ordinance.

    In another matter, Council Member Mary Drewes updated the city council on the damage to the city of Coleraine caused by the Arrowhead Procare insolvency issue.  Drewes said she spoke to Itasca County Auditor Jeff Walker and found with nine employees, the liability to the city of Coleraine would be not more than $50,000 to pay for the attempted bailout of Arrowhead Procare health insurance.      

    Interim Police Chief Lonnie Mjolsness made a request for a resolution to accept a donation for body armor for Officer Hutton that was sponsored by the Warba Church.  City Clerk Briana Anderson took a roll call vote and councilors approved the donation.  Mjolsness also stated that the fire department has had 170 calls so far this year.   

    Several people have shown interest in buying the old fire station and council members have found the 4,200 square foot building is worth about $250,000.  City officials indicated that they would need to advertise for bids if the building was to be sold.  The old fire station is currently being rented on a temporary basis.

    In other business, the council:

    • Changed the speed limit on Midway Lane from 30 to 20 miles per hour.

    • Passed a resolution to buy a swing set for Longyear Park at a cost of $2,536.  The city has $1,250 with $1,000 from the Beefy Lawson Memorial Fund to pay for the swing set leaving a balance of $1,286.  The city was faced with using the $1,000 grant or losing it.  

    • Agreed to provide meals to the election judges during the general election.  The judges are on duty from 6 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. on election day.

    • Voted to pay Retired Street Commissioner Randy Savich $45 per hour to help keep the filter plant up and running because he has a current water license.                                                                                                         

Coleraine City Council

July 05, 2018

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    At last week’s Coleraine City Council meeting, officials discussed a possible data security breach of sensitive information about city employees.  City Clerk Briana Anderson provided a police report from the Itasca County Sheriffs office where an employee alleges that the cleaning crew in the clerk’s office have on several occasions discovered sheets of paper in the waste basket with names, social security numbers and financial information that had not been shredded.  Several documents were provided to show a list of 220 names and a blacked-out column where the social security numbers would be.  Investigator Mark Greiner determined that there was no violation of the law.   

    It was a tough call for council members to rename County Road 440, because they needed to use a name that has not been used in Itasca County in order to avoid conflict with the 911 system.  Councilors voted to rename the county road Autumn Lane.  Other action included renaming the road between Division Street and County Rd. 10 to Roosevelt Street.  The council also voted to assign physical addresses to the Hollywood area and change Division St. to Cotton Park Drive.

    It was brought to the council’s attention that the library fountain in the front of the building has water that runs dry and starves the electric pump.  The designer, Aaron Squadroni, has been notified.  Councilors voted to accept two cash donations and one stove for use at the library.  Also, Jim Blaha is ready to rebuild the big wooden door at the library main entrance.

    In other business, the council:

    • Was apprised that the golf course fundraiser dinner went well. Approximately 110 people were served for dinner and 60 golfers brought in a total of $2,500. 

    • Voted to appoint Harry Bertram to job of Public Works Supervisor, conditional on receiving the proper licenses within six months.

Coleraine approves professional services agreements with school district

June 20, 2018

     At last week’s Coleraine City Council meeting, counselors used their authority to approve and enforce two Professional Services Agreements. Both agreements are with the Independent School District 316 for 2018-19. In one agreement, the library will accommodate the school district with weekly scheduled time for classroom activities and the ISD 316 will pay for a maximum of 308 hours at $16.31 per hour for staffing, reimburse the library $1,000 for books as well as $1,000 for custodial services.

    The second agreement will provide the Greenway High School with an on-duty police officer for every school day at a cost of $21.60 per hour to the school district. 

    Councilor Mary Drewes was the sole dissenter on the School Resource Officer Agreement. When asked why she voted “no,” she replied that the city would have its second squad car stationed at the school and the maintenance for that second squad car would be paid for by the city instead of ISD 316. Drewes said that has never been the arrangement until now. 

    During the police briefing, Councilor Peggy Smith described the tactics local kids use to cross the street in front of Vandyke and asked about having a painted crosswalk at that location. Police Chief Lonnie Mjolsness said that to make a designated crosswalk would sacrifice at least four parking spaces. No action was taken. Also, during the month of May, 128 police incident reports were filed and 13 of those where the TLFD was summoned.

    Mayor Jim Hagen said the solar power group has sent a contract for the proposed solar power farm and described the contract as very lengthy and having language that is convoluted. City Attorney John Dimich will review the 20-year agreement proposal and report back to the council. 

    Councilor Ryan Stish reported from the public hearing on the County Road 440 name change. Itasca County GIS Analyst Dave Bily was at the meeting to provide guidance and legal criteria. Duane Ranger stated that the new name could be ‘Summit’ and either Drive, Lane, Road, or Street. The final decision has not been made. 

    Mayor Hagen gave an update on the city employee health insurance crisis where the AFSCME Union will not open the contract. The city will be obligated to buy insurance that is on par with the existing insurance for the next six months from Northeast Service Coop at a substantial increase in premiums. Mary Drewes said the demise of the current insurance co-op, Arrowhead ProCare, as being caused by a declining membership pool.

    Public Works Supervisor Harry Bertram gave an update on the new bucket truck and they are waiting on the State of Minnesota to provide the title card for the truck. Also, Bertram said the new generator is online but there are still some minor problems because the generator causes the feed-water pumps to start out of sequence.

    In other business, the council:

    • Voted to hire a part time casual worker.

    • Voted to accept a refrigerator from the City of Bovey.

    • Agreed to allow Coleraine police officers to hire out for Nashwauk’s July 3rd Street Dance.

    • Passed a motion to advertise the fact that Cotton Beach has life guards on duty.

    • Discussed the fish die-off and wondered if an aerator would have prevented this.

    • Voted to send a response letter to the state auditor.

    • Passed a proposal to have Paramount Safety and Training service fire extinguishers.

    • Agreed to take lawn mower off the list of light equipment.

Police matters, solar power top Coleraine agenda

April 19, 2018

At last week’s Coleraine City Council meeting, police protection and solar power were on the agenda. Interim Police Chief Lonnie Mjolsness discussed the City of Marble’s request for police presence from the Coleraine Police Department for random patrolling and blight ordinance enforcement. Mjolsness issued a statement in his monthly report indicating that Marble could be charged a proposed rate of $58 per hour and a mileage rate of .54 cents per mile for travel to and from Marble but no action was taken. 

Mayor Jim Hagen said they are taking the next step toward solar power after consulting a designer of solar systems. He said the designer has described a system that would be a joint venture between the cities of Coleraine and Bovey and he would need to locate some property in order to build a solar field. 

Hagen also addressed the Christmas decorations on Roosevelt Ave. The reason decorations are still in place is because the city is waiting on the new/used bucket truck. In an interview, Councilor Mary Drewes said Minnesota Power is going to replace the turbo on the bucket truck before they release it to the public works department, which should be within the week. 

During the interview, Drewes also gave the Scenic Range NewsForum an exclusive update on the status of the former Coleraine fire station building saying that at least two different groups are interested in leasing the building on a temporary basis. Rapid Rooter wants to lease the building until they can get access to a permanent building or possibly construct a new building in the Coleraine Industrial Park. A second group wants to make the abandoned fire station an education center and activities venue for the Boys and Girls Club, which currently leases space in city hall. Drewes said she is glad they didn’t sell the building outright because new ideas are forming all the time as for possible uses. 

In other business, the council:

• Voted to proclaim April 9-13, 2018 Boys and Girls Club Week. 

• Voted to not take action on tax forfeit property in town.

• Voted to share the maintenance responsibilities of East Rangeline Rd. and Baich Rd. with Trout Lake Township.

• Agreed to offer $25 for a 3x5 foot photograph of the old Trout Lake Concentrator Plant. 

• Noted that the second city council meeting in May will be held on Tuesday the 29th.

• Agreed to organize an interview committee for the Public Works Supervisor position. 

• Confirmed that parts have been ordered for the fire suppression system in the Nyberg Center kitchen. 

• Designated May 16 as cleanup day.

Coleraine City Council

March 22, 2018

At last week’s Coleraine City Council meeting, Councilor Mary Drewes reported that Mt. Itasca General Manager Jeff Fortune has resigned and that Ron Maki could possibly be named for that position. Drewes said it was a good year at the Ski Hill and tubing hill was booked all winter.

Public Works Supervisor Harry Bertram reported two water main breaks and those were promptly repaired by city crews with some assistance from Casper Construction. Bertram said the fire suppression system in the Nyberg Center is non-operational and suggested having Joel Kvilvang of Paramount Safety and Training provide an estimate. Councilors voted to bring the fire suppression system in compliance with the state building code at a cost not to exceed $2,000.

Police Chief Lonnie Mjolsness gave the police report with the news that part-time Officer Meyer has taken a full time position with the Deer River Police Department. Mjolsness said Nicholas O’Toole has been hired as a part-time officer and that McKenzie Grossell is working as the part-time school resource officer. Councilors questioned the level of security at the Greenway High School and Mjolsness confirmed that the exterior doors are locked when school is in session and the school police officer is equipped with a loaded firearm while on site. 

Drewes commented on the Minnesota Management and Budget prediction of a $3.3 million state surplus and bonding money is available for sewer systems. Drewes said Rep. Sandy Layman has recommended that the city of Deer River be given the benefit of bonding money and the CBT force main project was not mentioned by Layman. Drewes said that Coleraine was above Deer River on a state priority list for sewer systems in need of funding.

In other business, the council:

• Tabled discussion of an employee who wants to switch to the Teamsters Union.

• Welcomed Briana Anderson as the new Coleraine City Clerk. 

• Voted to make an accounting transfer of $128,176.20. 

• Passed a resolution to apply for funding to the IRRRB as the city of Coleraine being the fiscal agent for CBT Joint wastewater.

• Approved forgiveness on three 10-year mortgages associated with the Kootasca home improvement program.

• Learned that the old fire station has been approved as the location for the 2018 Prom.

• Noted that the library is looking for a backup person.

• Gave permission to Cavour Johnson to apply for a reuse grant for the city hall.

Coleraine approves road maintenance agreement

March 08, 2018

 At last week’s Coleraine City Council meeting, council members voted to approve the road maintenance agreement with Itasca County. The contract covers 8.8 miles of roads at a cost $700 per mile for snowplowing. Grading will be at a rate of $700 per mile and chloride dust control will cost approximately $2,100 per mile for one application over the term of the contract, which runs from May 2018 to May 2019.

 

Councilors provided an update on the city of Coleraine Clerk / Treasurer job opening. The position formerly held by Sandy Bluntach will be filled by Briana Anderson, who is scheduled to start on Monday, March 12. 

Council members received an inspection report on the 1918 vintage Gayley Ave. bridge from the Itasca County Highway Department. The county engineer has determined that the load rating should be lowered and the bridge will be posted at 24/40/40. 

The Coleraine Public Library has published the monthly report showing total circulation has increased 4.2 percent from a year ago. The statistical break down shows that adult circulation is up 20 percent and juvenile circulation is down 2 percent from a year ago. The use of the club room has more than doubled from this time in 2017.

Deputy Clerk Mary Roy released a letter from Minnesota Historical Society to the city of Coleraine announcing a $10,000 Cultural and Historical grant to be used for “condition assessment” of the city hall building. 

In other business, city council members:

• Discussed industrial property north of the ball field which may have been misfiled with the county at an earlier date.

• Voted to amend the budget in order to purchase a newer model bucket truck for $31,000. 

• Commended Deputy Clerk Mary Roy for working to get the public utilities list of delinquent bills to less than $2,000 for the month of February.

• Voted to pay the city of Coleraine’s share of the 2018 CBT Wastewater Capital Replacement fund of $28, 535.67.

• Discussed renting the old fire hall for six months for the purpose of bicycle rental and repair.

Coleraine amends blight, nuisance ordinances

February 22, 2018

At last week’s Coleraine City Council meeting, city officials voted to approve an amended version of the public nuisance and blight ordinances. They were written to provide legal recourse to issues such as fugitive dust, noxious smoke and junk within the city limits. The revised blight ordinance will be found in Chapter 8 of the city code and as a continuation of the public nuisance ordinance. The new Section 8.5.1 redefines what is a Public Nuisance and likewise identifies the legal parameters of what constitutes Blight within the city of Coleraine. 

Any unlicensed automobile stored in the open will now be considered junk and after a complaint is made, the property owner will have 10 days to fix the problem. The city has reserved the right to take action against property owners to remove any junk forcibly and charge the property owner with the cost of removal and disposal. The revised ordinance will become legally binding at the time of publication. 

 Attorney for the CBT Joint Waste Water Commission John Dimich was present to report the progress made on the CBT force main project where land easements are being drawn-up in order to secure a right-of-way for the new pipeline. The landowner, being the City of Coleraine, will grant permission to the CBT Joint Wastewater Commission to maintain a right-of-way for the force main. CBT Joint Wastewater will assume liability with respect to the CBT force main and will pay an undisclosed sum to the attorney for legal services provided. Councilors voted to approve two easements. 

In a related matter, officials voted to approve a resolution to be the fiscal agent for the $3,127,000 loan to pay for the force main project. Financing will come through the Department of Agriculture. 

Deputy Clerk Mary Roy released a document describing an emergency meeting held by the Coleraine City Council at 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 1, 2018. All members were present with the exception of Mayor Jim Hagen. According to the document, council members discussed candidates for Coleraine’s Clerk/Treasurer Position. During the meeting, councilors voted unanimously to offer the job to Brian Mayry, pending successful completion of a background check and a drug test.

In other business, the council:

• Agreed to allow technicians to update the defibrillators used by the police and fire departments. 

• Voted to give the responsibility of the sweeper account to the city of Bovey. Coleraine and Bovey share the expense of operating the sweeper with Coleraine paying for sixty percent of the overall cost.

• Voted to employ one high school student at the public library for the summer of 2018.

• Learned that the Trout Lake Fire Department has been called 41 times since January first of 2018.

• Noted that the city will no longer stock first aid kits with medications for personal use such as ChapStick.

• Declared a recess of the regular meeting at 5:27 in order to conduct a closed session.

Coleraine mulls old fire station uses

January 25, 2018

At the Jan. 8 Coleraine City Council meeting, guest speaker Christa Berg presented council members with an alternative business model in order to utilize the old fire station. 

Berg advocated the old fire station be used for children’s programming for the summer of 2018 and possibly as a permanent location for area recreational activities. She requested the city council appoint a citizen’s liaison to the help form a business plan for the vacant building. Councilors took no action. The old fire station is adjacent to Cotton Beach and has traditionally been a focal point for the Greenway Area Recreational Fishing Tournament - held on the last Saturday in January.

Interim Public Works Supervisor Harry Bertram reported that a 2011 bucket truck is available to replace the city’s current 1984 model truck. He described the 2011 vehicle as having 180,000 miles and as being fleet-maintained with all service records intact. In addition, the 2011 truck is equipped a crane hoist for pulling hydrants and is outfitted with a fiberglass box, complaint with the OSHA safety code. The cost of the 2011 truck would be $30,000. 

Bertram added that the street department has some of its budget left from 2017 to help pay for the truck. Two other options conveyed by Bertram would be either a tree service truck that was sourced at an auction for $25,000 or repair the 1984 truck, at a cost between $3,000 and $10,000. Councilors voted to purchase the 2011 truck for $30,000 and sell the current city truck.

Interim Police Chief Lonnie Mjolsness provided a summary of law enforcement activity for December 2017 when police responded to 91 calls during the month, compared to 68 calls for the same time period in December of 2016. 

City officials gave notice to amend the parking ordinance to reflect the changes made to have parking tickets processed through the state of Minnesota. A standard parking violation will be about $42 and the vehicle owner has a 30-day grace period to pay the fine. Noncompliance would result in an arrest warrant for the vehicle owner. The amendment is available for public viewing at the city clerk’s office. 

Trout Lake Fire Chief Lonnie Mjolsness also provided year-end statistics, noting the TLFD responded to a total of 240 calls during the year 2017.

In other business, the council:

• Voted to approve a snow plowing contract.

• Voted to accept the low bid for disposing of the burned-out house at 210 Hartley.

• Debated the possibility of renting the former police office in City Hall.

• Discussed that the city of Coleraine is home to some of the 15 percent of Minnesotans that still don’t have residential water meters. 

• Agreed to set up an interview committee for the city clerk’s assistant job.

• Considered an offer to sell an industrial lot north of the football field for $1,000.

• Approved a donation of $100 to the Greenway Prom.

• Voted to transfer the sweeper account to Bovey city officials.

• Voted to authorize Sterle and Company to complete the 2017 annual audit at a cost of $7,950.

• Agreed to investigate the use of solar power to supplement some of the $79,000 the city spends each year on electricity.

Coleraine holds the line on 2018 levy

December 21, 2017

At last week’s Coleraine City Council meeting, city officials held a public hearing at 6 p.m., right after the regular meeting, to set the tax levy for 2018. The floor was open to public comment and some people in attendance told councilors they were shocked to find their high rate of taxes compared to other small towns in the area. 

Mayor Jim Hagen reminded people that their taxes could increase even if the City of Coleraine does not raise the levy because the county and school district tax levy are independent of the city. 

Hagen made the assertion that close to $1 million worth of public works projects need to be paid for, including the CBT force main. 

Councilor Mary Drewes argued to keep the 2018 levy the same as 2017 because main street commerce is coming back using the example of the old animal shelter which is now a thriving business and that the Peterson Hardware building has been purchased by an entrepreneur and is now awaiting renovation. A roll call vote was taken where Council or Peggy Smith cast the only vote to raise the levy. The council voted to not increase the tax levy for next year. 

During the regular meeting, Interim Public Works Supervisor Harry Bertram reported that the rink has been flooded and is ready for use. The hours of operation have changed slightly. On Saturdays the rink will be open sooner at 10 a.m. and will close at 10 p.m. Weekday hours will be from 3:30 to 9 p.m. and the rink will be closed if the temperature gets to 10 below zero. Bertram also reported that the clutch when out in the bucket truck and the cost to repair the truck would be an estimated $3,000.

Mayor Hagen announced that a sewer service company has shown interest in purchasing the old fire hall by inquiring about the city’s asking price. One resident in attendance said that the city needs to expand its tax base and should sell the building. Another resident cautioned the council about selling the property for various reasons such as unintended blight in the business district.

Also mentioned was the importance of verifying the staying power of the new business because if the new business owner were to default, the old fire hall would go to the county. The same resident suggested leasing the property in the short term.

In other business, the council:

• Voted to accept the resignation of Sandy Bluntach from CBT Wastewater Commission to be effective on Jan. 31, 2018.

• Voted to approve the Pay Estimate Number 3 for the Hawkins Ave. Project in the amount of $2,717.

• Voted to contract snow plowing a quarter mile stretch of Hoopman Road at $300 for the year.

• Heard Coleraine Police Officer Pete Hussman’s request to join the Teamsters labor union. 

• Thanked Deputy Clerk Mary Roy for helping to bring the water and sewer billing delinquency list from over $10,000 down to about $2,000 by using door hangers. 

• Voted to update signature cards for the municipal bank account.

• Voted to accept Randy Savich’s resignation for the Public Utilities Committee and CBT Joint Wastewater Commission.

• Voted to permit Mary Roy to advertise for filling vacant committee and commission seats.

• Voted to approve the language on the new AFSCME collective bargaining contract.

• Passed a motion to donate $600 to the Fire Department Christmas Party for children on Dec. 20.

Coleraine City Council

December 07, 2017

At last week’s Coleraine City Council meeting, Zoning Officers Lloyd Anderson and Duane Ranger reported on the new blight ordinance where the only thing left is to fine-tune the wording of the ordinance before it is approved by the city council. 

Ranger spoke of possibly having a specification for height and distance of vegetation in relation to a dwelling, and this being apparently for fire safety reasons. Planting restrictions on the city boulevard were discussed as another possible safety issue.

George Delich provided news from the Greenway Joint Rec. Association where the new heaters have been installed along with the new score board in the Hodgins-Berardo Arena. Also, a zero-polluting electric Zamboni is en route to the arena as well.

In other business, the council: 

• Voted to contact a temp agency for help in city hall.

• Appointed Harry Bertram to the Public Utilities Committee.

• Scheduled the final levy meeting for Dec. 12.

• Appointed Harry Bertram to the CBT Wastewater Commission.

• Permitted use of the old fire station for the fishing tournament on Jan. 27.

• Approved the New Year’s Eve Celebration in the park.

• Voted to remove Retired Clerk Sandy Bluntach’s signature from the city’s bank account.

Coleraine City Council

November 23, 2017

Last week’s Coleraine City Council meeting was paused at 5 p.m. to allow for a public hearing on the Coleraine, Bovey and Taconite (CBT) Force Main Project. 

Coleraine City Engineer Bob Beaver covered some basic elements of the project and residents were invited to voice their opinions. 

Beaver updated the council on the Hawkins Ave. project where most of the work is finished. The remaining items being the punch list and the wear course on Hawkins Ave. is scheduled to be applied next spring. Councilors voted to authorize pay estimate number two for $111,090 for the Hawkins Ave. project. 

Councilors weighed their options to demolish a burned-out house on Hartley. The city cannot do a controlled burn and a professional razing of the structure would cost $30,000. In a case like this, the IRRRB would contribute $8,000 and another grant worth $3,500 has been secured. The presence of asbestos in the house is an important factor to be considered.

Police Chief Lonnie Mjolsness reported that the city of Marble has requested minimal police presence from the Coleraine Police Department for the purpose of enforcing blight complaints. Mjolsness said this could be accomplished with a joint powers agreement with Marble and they would be charged by the hour.

In other business, the council:

• Accepted the resignation of Street Commissioner Randy Savich.

• Accepted the resignation of City Clerk Sandy Bluntach. 

• Cancelled the city council meeting scheduled for December 25, 2017.

• Appointed Cavour Johnson as project director in the City Hall Reuse Grant Initiative.

• Authorized city employee unused sick leave to be transferred to HRA.

• Voted to advertise for street attendants.

• Announced the donation from Mobility Media of a handicap accessible picnic table.

• Agreed to accept a $631 bid on a 1994 Ford truck.

• Voted to increase the benefit level to the Trout Lake Fire Dept. Relief Association from $1,400 to $1,500 per year starting in 2018.

• Voted to allow a retired city employee to transfer over $10,000 from a retiree health insurance fund.

Coleraine debates job description language

November 02, 2017

    At last week’s Coleraine City Council meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Peggy Smith and council tried to pick through the union language of the job description as to what constitutes a heavy equipment operator versus a light equipment operator and whether a lawn mower should be classified as light equipment. No consensus was reached.

    The monthly report from the Carnegie Library was made available, showing the circulation and attendance stats for September of 2017. The attendance for last month has climbed 3 percent with 1,254 people using the library in September compared with 1,216 users a year ago. Adult circulation is up 20.8 percent while juvenile circulation is down 5.7 percent from last year. Total circulation has risen over nine percent from 2016. 

    In other business, the council:

    • Set a budget meeting for Nov. 13 after the city council meeting to set the levy.

    • Agreed to donate $100 to The 2018 Blast yearbook for Greenway High and half of that donation coming from Eagle Ridge Golf Course.

    • Approved a resolution authorizing officials to issue warrants in accordance to Minnesota State Law. 

    • Voted to approve a specification for the Vandyke School Kiosk Project.

Coleraine OK's kiosk project

October 19, 2017

    At last week’s Coleraine City Council meeting, Deputy Clerk Mary Roy initiated a roll call vote and councilors voted to approve the consent agenda to start the week’s meeting. 

    City Engineer Bob Beaver reported no change orders on the Hawkins Ave. project where the curb and gutter has been removed along with the pavement and the sewer and water lines have been removed and replaced. The next step includes installing the storm sewer as well as recasting the new curb. Councilors approved the first pay estimate, minus a 5 percent retainage, in the amount of $186,593.78. 

    Greenway Science Teacher Aron Schnaser addressed the council representing his engineering class. Schnaser related to a project where the engineering students have sent a letter to Mayor Hagen wanting to obtain permission to build a system of kiosks along the forest trail near Vandyke Elementary School. The kiosks would engage children to read the story line while teaching aspects of nature along the trail. The project would be funded by an ALI grant. The city council voted to approve the request.

    Councilor Mary Drewes reported news from the Mount Itasca Winter Sports Center, also known as the Ski Hill, where the chalet is ready for events after a new roof has been constructed on the building during the summer. Drewes praised the volunteers from Affinity Plus who performed hundreds of hours of work at the Ski Hill. 

    Drewes announced that the Pisten Bully trail groomer has been purchased and she recognized the people who made significant contributions including $75,000 from the Jerry Miner family and $20,000 from Tom Sloan as well as matching grants from IRRRB. The Ski Hill Open House will be held on Oct. 23 beginning at noon and refreshments and a program are scheduled for 6 p.m.

    Street Commissioner Randy Savich updated council members on the Pear Lake Project where they are waiting for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to approve the construction plans for the new culvert, which will be used to ward off flooding on Pear Lake Road. He said they will have the rink open again this year and attributes the success of last year to the fact that they were able to find three good kids to work as rink attendants. Water usage reportedly was down from 130 to 84 thousand gallons per day and subsequently, the sewer volume was down 48 percent.

In other business, the council

    • Discussed the old fire hall property and if selling the property would affect the city’s access to the lake.

    • Voted to subordinate a mortgage.

    • Voted to place a 1994 F150 up for bids with the deadline being Nov. 9.

    • Voted to adopt a new policy as far as insurance reimbursement.

    • Learned that the Planning Commission has notified Itasca County in reference to a noncompliant septic system.

    • Received a bid of $30,000 to raze a burned-out house on Hartley Ave.

    • Discussed the multitude of homeless cats within the city limits.

Coleraine sets preliminary levy

October 05, 2017

    At last week’s Coleraine City Council meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Peggy Smith initiated the process of setting the levy for 2018 by giving a brief overview of the city’s finances. 

    The city is running in the black having what Smith calls a cushion, but this excess of capital is not enough to fund any major public works projects or emergencies that might arise next year. 

    According to documents released by city officials, revenue from property taxes for 2017 came in at $768,969. To raise the levy 6 percent would give the city a net increase of $46,138 during 2018. Council members voted to set the preliminary levy at a six percent increase. The final levy will be set in December.

    Mike Barle gave an end-of-season report from Eagle Ridge Golf Course where management is looking to replace 20 electric golf carts which are seven years old and have battery failure. He confirmed the completion of a 14x24 foot storage building equipped with a cooler to facilitate the concessions business at the course. Barle also expressed the need to increase revenue by expanding concessions and possibly raising fees.

    Mayor Pro Tem Smith fielded questions from a resident about the annual audit and specifically an apparent discrepancy on the employee mileage reimbursement log. City Clerk Sandy Bluntach gave an explanation of the system used to reimburse city employees.

    During the clerk’s report, Bluntach stated that her goal was to retire on Nov. 20, 2017. No discussion on a replacement took place.

    In other business, the council:

    • Voted to pass the meeting agenda with one addition.

    • Agreed to accept the bid for a Jeep in the amount of $1,251.01.

    • Voted to accept the high bid for a dirt bike in the amount of $526.83.

    • Passed a resolution to hold a public meeting on the Taconite forced main on Nov. 13, 2017 at 5 p.m. 

 • Authorized Cavour Johnson to apply for a reuse grant from the Minnesota Historical Society with respect to the city hall building. 

    • Discussed a failed inspection of a septic system in town.

    • Conducted a closed session to discuss employee issues.

Coleraine City Council

September 21, 2017

    At last week’s Coleraine City Council meeting, council members voted to sign a contract with Kootasca Community Action where Kootasca will assist the city with respect to occupied home and commercial rehabilitation. The funds involved would originate in DEED grants from the state of Minnesota. Compensation for services will be based on costs incurred by Kootasca as well as a fixed rate of 14.5 percent for costs incurred. 

    During the ‘public comments’ portion of the meeting, a concerned resident gave an opinion on the old fire hall next to Cotton Beach and stated that the city should hold on the property and building for now because it could be the new home for the city clerk’s office and/or the Nyberg Center, both currently located in the city hall building.

    Interim Police Chief Lonnie Mjolsness commented about the National Night Out, held on the Sunday before Labor Day and indicated that he was very pleased with the number of people who attended. Mjolsness thanked council members for being at the event saying that it shows their commitment to community involvement. Other news worthy items include the fact that an officer on patrol hit a deer on Highway 169 and major damage to the squad was averted by having the brush guard on the vehicle. Mjolsness reported a rash of burglaries, all of which have been solved and almost all of the stolen property has been returned.

    In other business, the council:

    • Voted to have City Attorney John Dimich begin the process for selling the old fire hall.

    • Passed a resolution to authorize independent contractor Greg Stoltz inspect a septic system in town. 

Coleraine City Council

August 24, 2017

     At last week’s Coleraine City Council meeting, council members voted to pass a resolution to sign a contract with the non-profit Kootasca Community Action Inc., which offers several programs to serve low income residents of both Itasca and Koochiching Counties.

    The council welcomed Kootasca Director Isaac Meyer to explain the finer points of the deferred loans, energy assistance and many housing and home-buying programs available through Kootasca.

    Street Commissioner Randy Savich said they are starting to paint the crosswalks before school starts and also, that the city is officially making the transition to Light Emitting Diode street lights that use less electricity. The original street lights will be replaced with LED units when the old ones need replacing. 

    Savich also reported vandalism at the gazebo and gave a progress report on the new generator where a one inch gas supply line will be replaced with a 1-3/4 gas line, as specified.                

    Interim Police Chief Lonnie Mjolsness provided the monthly police report saying that Sept. 3 is the designated National Night Out for 2017 and the hub of activity for both Bovey and Coleraine will be located at the new combination police station and fire hall on old highway 169 from 4 to 7 p.m. Mjolsness says he is expecting several demonstrations and free hot dogs in what he described as a community block party for the residents of Coleraine and Bovey. This is a chance for citizens of both communities to socialize and also be an open house for the new Trout Lake Emergency Center. 

    In other news, Mjolsness said a 2001 Grand Cherokee and 2004 Honda CR will be ready for sealed bids in the near future and released documents showing the Coleraine Police responding to 95 calls during the month of July and five of those where the Trout Lake Fire Department was alerted.

    In other business, the council:

    • Recognized Public Works Employee Harry Bertram on earning his Class C Water Plant Operators License.

    • Voted to pass a resolution to award the Hawkins Street Project to Casper Construction.

    • Listened to a concerned resident regarding property in town that they viewed as blighted.

    • Voted to increase the pay of Police Transcriptionist Karla Merhar to $16.16 per hour to be consistent with the city of Bovey.

    • Voted to hire Hans Viren as the new beach supervisor.

    •Discussed the $300 license that would be needed to show movies at the beach on fundraising night.

    • Set a mediation date for Aug. 29.

Coleraine City Council

August 03, 2017

    At last week’s Coleraine City Council meeting, PGA Golf Pro Gordy Skaar was present to give the monthly report from Eagle Ridge Golf Course in Coleraine. 

    Skaar described the course as dry, however, this summer the course is much cleaner thanks to over 1100 feet of newly paved golf cart paths. This year home owners near Eagle Ridge can open their windows on a nice day without the chronic dust that once plagued the course. August is going to be a busy month because aside from the weekly specials, several events are scheduled at the golf course.

    Councilor Mary Drewes updated the Scenic Range NewsForum on news from Mount Itasca where the Pisten Bully is back on track thanks to a generous donation. 

    During a telephone interview Drewes related the recent attempts to secure funding for the Pisten Bully machine which would be used to groom ski slopes and trails. A $75,000 federal grant they were hoping to get was issued elsewhere in Itasca County and with that $75,000 of additional fund-matching grants would be lost as well. 

    Drewes said that after hearing of the misfortune, a business owner from Grand Rapids promptly made a $75,000 contribution to Mount Itasca and the Pisten Bully will now become a reality for the Mt. Itasca ski hill. Drewes said they are not out of the woods yet as far as funding the quarter million dollar machine, but credit needs to be given to the board members of Mount Itasca and the countless hours of time they have dedicated to writing grants and soliciting funds for the ski hill.

    Drewes also relayed more news from the CBT Joint Wastewater where the commission was not able to get any bonding for the force main project because the Minnesota Legislature allocated only $500 million for this type of construction this year.

Commission members were able to find a low interest loan from Rural Water Association of Minnesota to cover the balance of the $3 million dollars to pay for the badly-needed force main from the city of Taconite to the sewage treatment facility. Drewes said one key aspect of receiving the loan was the teamwork shown by the new joint powers agreement that was accepted by the cities of Coleraine, Bovey and Taconite to run the wastewater plant and pipeline system.

    Zoning Officers Duane Ranger and Lloyd Anderson reported on some brain storming going on in the planning commission during the last two weeks. 

    Ranger described some ideas for improving the blight ordinance by making the wording more specific and also by possibly by adding a multiple offense clause to the ordinance where if a property owner was cited three times during the course of a year, that person would have to make a mandatory court appearance. No action was taken on the blight ordinance.

    In other business, council members:

    • Voted to renew a liquor license 

    • Voted to promote the head life guard to replace Jenna Krautkremer, who has moved out of town. 

    • Discussed an inquiry with the Minnesota Department of Transportation about the possibility of a right turn lane in front of the bank.

Coleraine City Council

July 27, 2017

     At the July 10 Coleraine City Council meeting, the council agreed to retain an architect to study city hall to determine the feasibility of repurposing the building. The building has merit in being registered as a historical building, but the cost of heating and upkeep for the benefit of one tenant is not cost-effective. 

     Street Commissioner Randy Savich reported that city crews recently responded to a sink hole on Wyss Road near the junction of Pear Lake Road. Savich described the hole as being three feet wide and five feet deep and a passerby had marked the potentially dangerous cavern by placing a roadside bush in the hole. Jim Ohman Construction brought some recycled concrete to fill the sink hole as a temporary repair and the road was reopened. 

    Savich also reported that the new generator at the filter plant is now on the verge of being commissioned into service approximately one year after the original generator was destroyed in a fire. The new drinking fountain was installed at the pavilion in Longyvear Park. 

    In other business, city officials:

    • Voted to approve bills, receipts and disbursements for the month.

    • Passed a resolution to accept the engineering plan and advertise bids on the Hawkins Avenue project.

    • Agreed to hire an attorney to help secure funding for the Peterson Building. 

Coleraine City Council

July 13, 2017

  At the June 26 meeting of the Coleraine City Council, council members voted to amend the Coleraine liquor ordinance to reflect the recent changes in Minnesota state law. Liquor stores can be open on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., which began July 2.

 

  Councilor Mary Drews asked the council for support for her effort to save the Peterson Hardware building from demolition and council members held an extended discussion on the subject. The issue at hand was to protect the commercial tax base and at the same time try not to get involved in a private business venture. The building on Roosevelt Ave. is now vacant and available for use, however, the roof needs to be rebuilt for $40,000 and the taxes need to be brought up to date.          

    No buyers have been willing to take on this project and city officials are afraid that if the building is demolished, the site will remain as a vacant lot, indefinitely. 

    Drews reported on the ski hill where funding for a new trail groomer has come to a halt. The trail groomer in question is a Pistenbully brand name and made in Germany. The machine costs over $200,000 to purchase new.  

  In other business, the council:

    • Voted to give KMDA an easement to the north of the building.

    • Passed a resolution to adopt the Data Practices Act General Retention Schedule.

    • Tabled any action for more lighting at the golf course.

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