January 18, 2022 City Council Minutes

A regular meeting of the City Council of the City of International Falls, Minnesota was held in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building on the 18th day of January, 2022 at the hour of 5:30 P.M.

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

MEMBERS ABSENT:         None.


APPROVED agenda as presented MOTION by Councilor Buller to approve the agenda as presented.  Motion seconded by Councilor Holden and carried unanimously.
APPROVED minutes of the January 3, 2022 regular City Council meeting MOTION by Councilor Holden to approve minutes of the regular City Council meeting of January 3, 2022.  Motion seconded by Councilor Krause and carried unanimously.
APPROVED minutes of the January 10, 2022 Committee-of-the-Whole meeting MOTION by Councilor Ditsch to approve minutes of the Committee-of-the-Whole meeting of January 10, 2022.  Motion seconded by Councilor Buller and carried unanimously.
ADOPTED Resolution No. 06-2022 approving transfers, payment of claims, and accounts payable MOTION by Councilor Holden to adopt Resolution No. 06-2022 approving transfers, payment of claims and accounts payable for the second monthly City Council meeting.  Motion seconded by Councilor Krause and carried unanimously.


A+ Pest Management Pest Control       425.00 72633
ACME Tools – Grand Forks Street Lighting – Capital Outlay    8,745.23 72634
Adam Mannausau Cat Team Travel Expense        381.02 72635
AlcoPro Inc Supplies – Police Dept.          27.00 72636
Amazon Capital Services Supplies – Ambulance          56.88 72637
Andrew Holler Lawn Cleanup – 420 9th St        157.00 72639
Andy Kittelson Boot Allowance        110.00 72640
Aramark Uniform & Career Apparel Cleaning Service     2,462.02 72638
Atlantis Global Supplies – Police           95.28 72641
Automatic Systems Co Maint/Repair – San Sewer        165.00 72642
Ben Mortenson Cat Team Training         140.00 72643
Bolton & Menk Inc Engineering Services   10,702.50 72644
Border Boxes Shipping – Water Plant         118.50 72645
Bound Tree Medical LLC Ambulance Supplies     1,066.88 72646
Brad Hagen Safety Boot Allowance         110.00 72647
Brian Briggs Annual Reimbursement – Water        241.73 72648
Brian Jespersen Police Benefit         150.00 72649
Brian Youso Police Benefit        150.00 72650
Bronko Nagurski Foundation Appropriation 2022   25,000.00 72651
Bureau of Crim Apprehension New Firefighter Background Checks (5)           75.00 72652
Cenex Voyager Fleet Gas – Grnds/Pol/Str/Gar/Amb/Wtr     5,689.54 72653
Cherryroad Media Inc. Dog/Cat License Ads, Agendas         967.50 72654
Citizens for Backus/AB Appropriation 2022    40,000.00 72655
City of Int’l Falls – Fund 401 Water/Sewer Funds Transfer    66,666.66 72656
City of Int’l Falls – Fund 403 Water/Sewer Funds Transfer   25,760.42 72657
City of Ranier Water – City Beach           11.55 72658
Complete Comfort Systems Unit Heater – Garage     5,526.15 72659
Costin Group Inc Gov’t Relations – Kerry Park     2,000.00 72660
Creative Product Source Inc Paws Antimicrobial Wipes           59.98 72661
Dakota Supply Group Supplies – Water Dept.        230.02 72662
DSC Communications Pagers – 5 Monitor VI, Radio Maint     2,942.50 72663
E Kooch Sanitary Sewer Dist. City Beach/Water Plant         195.00 72664
Erik Drewes Boot Allowance         110.00 72665
Expert Billing LLC Ambulance Transports     2,929.00 72666
Falls License Bureau 2020 Ford LL XPL Police     2,270.84 72667
Flaherty & Hood, Pa Job Class & Compensation Study         145.00 72668
Forest Hill Cemetery Assoc. 2022 Annual Allocation     8,000.00 72669
Forestland Sales & Service Parts – Park & Rec           42.95 72670
Friends Against Abuse Appropriation 2022     1,000.00 72671
Friend’s Garbage Service LLC Monthly Garbage Service     1,740.96 72672
Frontier Monthly Telephone Service     2,426.86 72673
Further Library     2,024.00 72674
Galls, an Aramark Co., LLC Cloth – Bombenger/Sweney/Tveit/Amb     1,405.68 72675
Gopher State One-Call Monthly Billing, Annual Fee           75.65 72676
Graybar Supplies – Street Lighting           90.40 72677
Hero 247 Ambulance Clothing         840.24 72678
Howards – Cenex LLC Gas – Street Garage        154.99 72679
Innovative Office Solutions LLC Supplies – Administration/Fire         139.81 72680
Int’l Falls/Kooch Cty 2022 Project Allocation    25,000.00 72681
Jefferson Fire & Safety Titan Pro Fire Helmets         405.11 72682
Justin Franz Clothing Allowance         200.00 72683
Kantor Electric Inc Sup-Str Light/Wtr Plnt Heat/VNP Range     4,685.60 72684
KCC TV Appropriation 2022   13,000.00 72685
Koerter’s Fuel & Car Wash Gas-Str/Pol/Str Lght/Strm Sew/Wtr/Sew     4,981.95 72686
Kooch Co Env Services Dept. Demolition      1,030.50 72687
Kooch County Auditor/Treasurer LEC Quarterly Lease    18,750.00 72688
Kooch County Public Health Water Sample Testing’s 2021      2,650.00 72689
Linde Gas & Equipment Inc. Oxygen – Ambulance     1,055.69 72690
Madden Galanter Hansen LLP Legal Services         798.00 72691
Mannco Trucking Inc Unit 061/864/062/Mack Plow, Parts-Gar     1,469.79 72692
Marco – LEC LEC – C368 Copier Agreement         246.71 72693
Melanie Clarity Sewing – Ambulance           28.00 72694
Menards International Falls Sup/Tool – Amb/Bldg Off/Str Lght/Gar         577.32 72695
Meyers Glass Door Repair – St Lighting         409.33 72696
Michael Musich Police Benefit         150.00 72697
Midcontinent Communications Internet – Water Plant         230.00 72698
Mid-State Truck Service Inc Unit 062 Street           96.00 72699
Minnesota Board of Firefighter License Renewal – Gedde/Sweney         100.00 72700
Minnesota Energy Resources Utilities     7,581.40 72701
Minnesota Industries Gloves – Sanitary Sewer         193.16 72702
Minnesota Power Utilities   33,621.80 72703
Minnesota Safety Council Membership Dues         580.00 72704
Mn Dept of Labor & Industry VNP Elevator #1002980         100.00 72705
Municipal Code Corporation City Code, Annual Code Host-2022     1,090.00 72706
N Kooch Area Sanitary District Effluent/Backwash/Surcharge   86,354.45 72707
Napa Falls Supply Tools – Water Dept.             7.99 72708
Nick Kittelson Safety Boot Allowance         110.00 72709
Northern Lumber & Hardware Sup/Tools-Wtr Plnt/Gar/Elect/Str Light         132.09 72710
Office of MNIT Services Wide Area Network(Wan) Services        267.73 72711
O’Reilly Automotive Inc Sup/Parts/Lube – San Sew/Str/Wtr/Gar         481.51 72712
Pelland Welding, Inc. Parts/Maint/Sup – Water/Garage         716.98 72713
PreCise MRM LLC Flat Data Plan – Five        100.00 72714
Rainy Lake Medical Center Pharmaceutical Supplies         467.32 72715
Rainy Lake Oil Fuel – Water Dept.           76.44 72716
Range Paper Corp Supplies – Bldgs & Grds/VNP     1,344.94 72717
Roche’s Towing Towing – Police/Street         185.00 72718
Ronning’s Safety Jackets – Public Works     2,735.82 72719
Shannon’s Inc Library Fireplace Project     2,000.00 72720
Sherri Stensland SHRM Membership         219.00 72721
South Country Health Alliance Ambulance Overpayment Refund         505.99 72722
Steve Boyum Construction Truck Rental     1,755.00 72723
Streicher’s Inc Clothing Allowance – Offerdahl/Franko         457.97 72724
Stryker Sales Corp Ambulance Supplies         147.60 72725
Taylor’s Plumbing & Htg LLC Bldg Maint – Ice Shelter        165.00 72726
Ted Brokaw Travel Expense – Storm Water    1,079.38 72727
Terry Christie Police Benefit         150.00 72728
Terry Wood Police Benefit         150.00 72729
The Isaac Sports Group LLC Consult-Kerry Park Revitalization Proj.     4,500.00 72730
TK Elevator Corp Water Plant Elevator Maintenance        771.07 72731
Tom Lynch Police Benefit        150.00 72732
UHL Company Inc Software Upgrade/Support     1,630.00 72733
Widseth Engineering Services    26,149.71 72734
Willi Kostiuk Police Benefit         150.00 72735
Xerox Corporation Maint/Monthly Charge – Water Plant           25.99 72736
Ziegler Inc Parts – Street Dept.      3,852.36 72737


The following checks were issued under blanket authorization:
AFLAC Supplemental Insurance 225.04 101234
AllState – American Heritage Supplemental Insurance 9.64 101235
Bremer Bank NA Federal Withholding 41,824.02 101236
I.U.O.E. Local Central Pen Fund Retirement 4,394.56 101237
City of Int’l Falls HRA – Police/Fire 520.00 101238
City of Int’l Falls Health Insurance – 49ers 404.00 101239
IAMAW District W33 Union Dues 1,720.00 101240
IF Fire Dept. Relief Volunteer Firemen Dues 322.00 101241
Intl Falls Ambulance Service Dues 140.00 101242
I.U.O.E. Local 49ers Health Reimbursement 910.00 101243
Justin Franz, Sec/Treas C.O.P.S 120.00 101244
MN Child Support Pmt Center Wage Assignment 614.39 101245
MN Department of Revenue State Withholding 8,006.23 101246
Empower Retirement Deferred Comp 9,193.00 101247
PERA Life Insurance 112.00 101248
North Kooch Area San Dist Health Insurance 425.00 101249
PERA Retirement 36,717.16 101250
Sun Life Financial Supplemental Life Insurance 61.46 101251
The Hartford Voluntary LTD Insurance 45.50 101252
United Way of NE MN Employee Donation 15.00 101253



APPROVED letter of support  for Voyageur Country ATV Club presentation by Tom Dougherty, Bruce Beste, and Representative Rob Ecklund


Tom Dougherty and Bruce Beste of Voyageur Country ATV Club presented to the Council asking for letters of support to accompany their funding requests for Phase Two of their trail expansion project.  It was noted that Phase Two of the ATV trail expansion project plans to connect the current trail system north to Ray, Ericsburg, Littlefork, and International Falls.  This project will bring tourism to the area and will allow for the potential for economic development.  Representative Rob Ecklund was present to explain that he will be working at the Capitol to secure funding for this trail expansion, noting the great benefit to Northern Minnesota if this project is completed.

MOTION by Councilor Buller to approve letters of support for the Voyageurs ATV Club.  Motion seconded by Councilor Krause and carried unanimously.

Heard from Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Conservation Officer Darrin Kittelson about the ban on feeding deer in Koochiching County Conservation Officer Darrin Kittelson, MN Department of Natural Resources (DNR), presented regarding the ban on deer feeding in Koochiching County effective December 30, 2021.  Officer Kittelson requested the public do their part in complying with this ban, noting that while the DNR is currently viewing this as an educational period and is not citing individuals at this time, it is necessary to comply.
APPROVED extension of Commercial Loan for Citizens for Backus/AB Kris Lassila, Border Bank, was present to explain the request to renew the City’ Commercial loan with Citizens for Backus/AB that was originated on 12/9/2009 and was subsequently renewed on 12/9/2014 at a rate of 3% for 7-years.  It was noted that COVID-19 has had a negative impact over the past two years on the events Backus was able to hold and has had significant financial implications as a result.  Lois Lundin, Executive Director for Backus and Hoa Sobczynski, Business Manager for Backus, were both present to make the request to extend the Citizens for Backus/AB Commercial Loan with the City.

MOTION by Councilor Krause to approve the request to extend the Commercial Loan for Citizens for Backus/AB.  Motion seconded by Councilor Holden and carried unanimously.


APPROVED Mayoral Proclamation declaring January 30 – February 5, 2022 as Catholic Schools Week at St. Thomas Aquinas School

MOTION by Councilor Holden to approve the Mayoral Proclamation declaring January 30 – February 5, 2022 as Catholic Schools Week at St. Thomas Aquinas School.   Motion seconded by Councilor Buller and carried unanimously.
APPROVED Design Phase proposal from Bolton & Menk for the rehabilitation project for Lift Station #7 MOTION by Councilor Buller to approve the Design Phase proposal from Bolton & Menk for the rehabilitation project for the Lift Station #7.  Motion seconded by Councilor Krause and carried unanimously.
APPROVED request to order two (2) Ford Police Utility SUV patrol vehicles MOTION by Councilor Ditsch to approve request to order two (2) Ford Police Utility SUV patrol vehicles from Tenvoorde Ford, Inc (State Bid Pricing) as budgeted items from Capital Outlay 402.41100.5800.  Motion seconded by Councilor Holden and carried unanimously.
APPROVED Forest Hill Cemetery Board Appointments MOTION by Councilor Krause to approve the Mayor’s appointments of Ward Merrill and Harley Droba to the Forest Hill Cemetery Board.  Motion seconded by Councilor Buller.   Councilor Buller explained that the initial reason that the Forest Hill Cemetery Bylaws were amended to allow for two City Council members to sit on the board was because the City was contributing $10,000 per year, the cemetery was in disarray and facing financial hardship.  Councilor Buller noted that he feels Forest Hill Cemetery is in a much better financial position than when he came onto the Board and feels there is a strong Board in place to carry on the functions of the cemetery after he and Councilor Krause are done.

Motion carried unanimously.

FAILED to Reinstate Human Resources Committee MOTION by Councilor Ditsch to reinstate the Human Resources Committee.  Motion seconded by Councilor Holden.

It was noted that when the 2022 Committee meeting schedule was approved at the December 20, 2021 City Council meeting, it was agreed that given the hire of a Human Resources Director, it eliminates the need for a Human Resources Committee.  It was agreed at that time items would be brought forward by the Human Resources Director to the Committee-of-the-Whole as required before being brought before the City Council.

Councilor Ditsch stated he feels it is important to keep the Human Resources Committee to ensure someone is looking out for employees given the Human Resources Director will be looking after the best interests of the City.  Councilor Holden stated he believes the Human Resources Committee can squash potential grievances and give employees somewhere to go if they don’t agree or aren’t getting the answers they are looking for.

City Administrator Bergstrom explained that there is a process for employees where they go to their direct supervisor, then union steward, then HR director, then Committee-of-the-Whole.

Councilor Buller stated he feels that the Committee-of-the-Whole is now taking on the duties of the Human Resources Committee.

Mayor Droba explained that he has concern about the place of a Human Resources Committee noting the confidential nature of many matters they are reviewing, noting that he feels it is most appropriate to have the Human Resources Director vetting this information before anything is brought to the Committee-of-the-Whole.  Mayor Droba further explained that he believes these items should be brought before the full Council acting as the Committee-of-the-Whole, rather that two persons on a Human Resources Committee.

Motion failed 2-3 with Councilors Ditsch and Holden voting “yea” and Councilors Buller, Krause, and Mayor Droba voting “nay”.

ADOPTED revised Resolution No. 05-2022 approving the International Voyageurs Snowmobile Club Gambling Premises Permit application for lawful gambling at TRM 5, Inc., dba Sammy’s Pizza, 301 3rd Ave, International Falls. MOTION by Councilor Buller to approve the revised Resolution No. 05-2022 approving the International Voyageurs Snowmobile Club Gambling Premises Permit application for lawful gambling at TRM 5, Inc., dba Sammy’s Pizza, 301 3rd Ave, International Falls.  Motion seconded by Councilor Ditsch.

City Administrator Bergstrom explained that the State of Minnesota Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division asked the City to modify its Resolution for the Sammy’s Pizza premises permit to remove restrictive language naming specifically which types of gambling the City will allow, as it makes it more challenging for them if an additional type of gambling were to be added.

Motion carried unanimously.


Reports of the Administrator, Attorney, and Department Heads

City Administrator Bergstrom noted that the City is still participating in bargaining unit contract negotiations.  City Administrator Bergstrom explained that there are several other large projects being worked on including the Ambulance Taxing District, Greentech Manufacturing, and the Kerry Park Rehabilitation Project study.

City Attorney Shermoen video-conferenced in from Maui, Hawaii, where he is working remotely for the month.  City Attorney Shermoen noted that while he is out of the area, he is still working remotely and is available should something arise requiring legal advice.

The December 2021 Fire/Rescue/EMS Activity Report was available for review along with the International Falls Police Department Activity Report for December 2021 and the 2021 Annual Report.

Reports of Mayor and Council Committees None.
ADJOURNMENT Mayor Droba stated that the next regular City Council meeting is scheduled for Monday, February 7, 2022 at 5:30 P.M.

The Mayor adjourned the meeting at 6:50 P.M.

Harley M. Droba, Mayor


Betty Bergstrom, City Administrator

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