January 18, 2019 Committee-of-the-Whole Meeting Minutes





11:15 A.M., Friday, January 18, 2019

CALL TO ORDER: A meeting of the Committee-of-the-Whole of the City Council of the City of International Falls, Minnesota was held and called to order by Mayor Anderson in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building, 600 Fourth Street, International Falls, Minnesota, on the 18th day of January 2019 at the hour of 11:27 A.M.


MEMBERS PRESENT: Mayor Anderson and Councilors Buller, Ditsch, and Krause.


MEMBERS ABSENT: Councilor Droba.


OTHERS PRESENT: Honorable Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk; Honorable Representative Rob Ecklund; Paul Nevanen, KEDA Executive Director; and Ken Anderson, City Administrator.


MEET WITH STATE SENATOR TOM BAKK AND REPRESENTATIVE ROB ECKLUND FOR A LEGISLATIVE REVIEW AND DISCUSSION OF LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES: Mayor Anderson welcomed our legislators to the Committee-of-the-Whole meeting. The Mayor prepared a list of six discussion items to review with the legislators.


Sales and Use Tax: The first discussion item was the local sales and use tax bills that will be before the legislature for consideration, including the 1% sales and use tax approved by International Falls’ voters at the November 6, 2018 election. Representative Ecklund confirmed he has submitted a Bill for consideration and the Reviser’s Office has assigned a bill number. The committee review and approval process was discussed. Senator Bakk emphasized that documentation showing Chamber of Commerce support, engineering numbers demonstrating need, cross-border traffic numbers, and other arguments will be key. He suggested two or three copies of the information should be sufficient when meeting with the respective committee chair persons and 20 copies for committee members.


Further discussion ensued over the following topics.


  • Loss of manufacturing jobs in the community – Bildrite 50 employees and Bergstrom Wood Products 20 employees.
  • United Health Care announcement of their pending move from office to home processing of claims and the need for adequate Broadband will be critical for some employees to be able to work from home.
  • The Falls International Airport – Mayor Anderson reported Runway 13/31 and taxiway will be rebuilt over four years at a cost of $30 to $40 million, with additional MnDOT Office of Aeronautics participation of $200,000 needed each year (MnDOT share is 2.5% of project costs). A budget supplement or bonding bill were identified as options.
  • Housing and community blight were identified as concerns. Reference was made to the recently completed Koochiching County Housing Study that was organized by the Housing Collaborative and funded by many organizations throughout the county and city.
  • Local Government Aid (LGA) was discussed. Both legislators support increasing LGA to higher levels comparable to that existing in 2002 before cutbacks occurred.


The meeting concluded with a discussion of scheduling an Airport Grand Opening at the conclusion of the Terminal Building expansion project. A good time would be the legislatures Easter break from April 13 – 22, 2019.


Mayor Anderson thanked everyone for their attendance and contributions to the meeting.


ADJOURNMENT: The Mayor adjourned the
Committee meeting at approximately 1:15 P.M.




Minutes respectfully prepared by Kenneth R. Anderson, City Administrator



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