September 7, 2021 Public Hearing and Input Meeting Minutes

A Public Hearing and Input Meeting of the City Council of the City of International Falls, Minnesota, was held in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building on the 7th day of September, 2021 at the hour of 5:03 P.M.


MEMBERS PRESENT:       Councilors Buller, Ditsch, Holden, Krause, and Mayor Droba.

MEMBERS ABSENT:         None.

STAFF PRESENT:              Betty Bergstrom, City Administrator

Emma Rud, Administration Support Specialist

OTHERS PRESENT:          Pete Kalar, International Falls Charter Commission Chairman


  1. Introductory comments and explanation of purpose for public hearing – Mayor Droba
  2. Pete Kalar, Chairman of the International Falls Charter Commission
  3. City Council questions/comments.
  4. Public input/questions/comments.
  5. Close the public hearing.


Introductory comments and explanation of proposed amendments to the Home Rule Charter, Mayor Droba Mayor Droba welcomed and thanked all of those in attendance at the meeting.  Mayor Droba thanked Pete Kalar, Chairman, and the rest of the International Falls Charter Commission for their hard work to update the International Falls Home Rule Charter.  This public hearing is to hear a presentation regarding proposed amendments to the City of International Falls’ Home Rule Charter, as well as hear public comment on the matter.

Mayor Droba noted the extensive work completed by the Charter Commission to review and make recommendations to update the Home Rule Charter.  Mayor Droba stated that the Charter Commission met every month for almost two years to make updates to the Charter, with most of the updates scheduled to be voted upon by the public at the next regular election in November 2022.  Mayor Droba explained that the amendments that the City Council will be voting upon affect the City’s bonding requirements and will allow the City to bond money more easily.

Pete Kalar, Chairman – International Falls Charter Commission Pete Kalar, Chairman of the International Falls Charter Commission, presented the proposed amendments to the International Falls Home Rule Charter for the City of International Falls.  Mr. Kalar noted that residents are well aware of the outdated infrastructure in International Falls, including water/sewer mains and roadways.  Mr. Kalar explained that with these changes in Charter bonding requirements, it will allow the City to bond for projects and fix problems as they arise, rather than waiting until all of the funding has been saved up to finance a project.  Mr. Kalar noted that under these amendments, the City would follow state guidelines, which protect voters from frivolous spending.  Mr. Kalar noted that this is a more streamlined process for considering the Charter amendments and eliminates the need to hold a costly special election.
City Council questions/comments Councilor Buller noted that he has had conversations with the Director of Public Works about bonding and pointed to the fact that bonding opens the doors for additional grant funding from entities such as Minnesota Rural Water that is not possible without bonding.

City Administrator Bergstrom echoed Chairman Kalar’s comments regarding the proposed bonding requirements following state guidelines and that these guidelines provide protection for taxpayer dollars.  It was noted that there must be unanimous vote of the Council to pass these amendments, with requirements for a first and second reading of the proposed ordinance, as well as a ninety (90) day waiting period.

Public input/questions/comments Chrystal Clance, 2707 Crescent Drive, spoke as a member of the Charter Commission.  Ms. Clance noted that the Charter Commission was thorough in its review and revisions of the International Falls Home Rule Charter.  Ms Clance said they had thoughtful discussions that were inclusive, listening to each member of the Commission’s ideas.  Ms. Clance stated that it was a lot of work, but the Charter Commission is proud of the revisions it is suggesting, as they believe it will benefit citizens for years to come.

Mayor Droba stated that he believes the recommended changes by the Charter Commission is a triumph for the City Council and noted the importance of gaining fresh perspectives on committees in order to accomplish long term goals.

CLOSED the public hearing


There being no further public comment, Mayor Droba closed the public hearing at 5:17 P.M.
ADJOURNMENT Mayor Droba adjourned the meeting at 5:17 P.M.


Harley M. Droba, Mayor


Betty Bergstrom, City Administrator

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