“As you can see it’s been an actually fairly busy month,” Deer River Fire Chief Jordan Osse said of the nine calls, at Monday’s regular Deer River city council meeting. “Anything from the smell of gas, to a full blown structure fire.”
Osse explained the new fire fighters are in the process of getting their physicals done, and their HEP B vaccinations. Their training classes are scheduled to start in February.
“Classes are blended to be online and live,” Osse said.
“The only thing I don’t like about online training is they can’t ask a question,” Councilor Pat Richards said.
Osse recently traveled to Iowa to see the new fire tanker truck that is scheduled to be delivered in March.
“That’s assuming their are no setbacks,” Osse said. “With that said, 214 will have to go at some point.”
The department, as a whole, will have discussion on the different ways to sell the truck.
Osse informed the council of the new officers: Chief Jordan Osse, First Assistant Chief Jason Lundquist, Second Assistant Chief Brandon Berndt, Training Officer Richard Fieldsend and Safety Officer Josh Tyler.
“Everything is moving forward and working well,” Osse said.
In other business:
Deer River Police Officer Brian Castellano explained calls were up from the previous year with 152 calls in December 2019, with 15 assists outside of the city of Deer River. Calls from 2017 to 2019 have increased by 395.
“We’re going to do a better job of keeping track of what an actual assist is,” Castellano said, as not all calls take them out outside of Deer River city limits.
“Calls are not necessarily increasing, its just being more proactive,” Deer River Police Chief Tammy Perry said.
Castellano said they would like to move forward with background checks on two of the three applicants.
“How long does it take for a background check? Councilor Barb Serfling asked.
Hopefully by next council meeting, Perry explained, the department will be asking for permission to hire.
“I’ve heard good things lately when I’m visiting with people,” Richards said.
Jason Lundquist, Deer River Public Works, stated, “We had some breakdowns [with the plowing]. Some were electrical, some were mechanical.”
“We’ve been getting it done, but it’s been a fiasco lately,” Lundquist explained, as at times they were down to one truck. “We are getting to scraping on the streets, but we were short handed today, but will be back at it tomorrow.”
Lundquist said quality flow finished up the repairs last week and that he recently attended a meeting in Bemidji with Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDot) to discuss the Highway 6 project.
“That was a good meeting to sit through,” Lundquist said, adding, they have been “trying to get ice dams off our shop roof. Pretty much our whole office part from front to back is leaking.”
“The leak has subsided,” Lundquist said, after they were able to get up there. “It’s something we will have to look at this summer.”
Down the road, he would like to see something budgeted in to redo the slope.
Lift station number six shifted with the frost, and when this occurred, a wire broke. He explained a temporary service has been installed until spring.
He will be attending the annual water and wastewater classes on March 3-5 in St. Cloud, Minn.
“You guys are doing a good job,” Mayor Steve Geving said.
City Administrator Mark Box gave his administrators report.
“Mr. Mayor, you have some appointments to make,” Box said, with Geving stating he would like to leave appointments the same.
The following are 2020 appointments: Fire Department (Dan Graf), Police Department (Serfling), Administrative Office/ License Bureau (Richards), Public Works (Chris Reed), Grand Rapids Herald-Review (City’s official newspaper), MCU Financial institutions (Northview Bank Deer River, Woodland Bank Deer River, Deer River Credit Union, League of Minnesota Cities 4-M Fund and Northland Securities), meeting dates unless otherwise posted will be the second and fourth Mondays at 6 p.m., work sessions will be held on the second and fourth Tuesdays at 4 p.m., Civil Defense Director (Steve Jurvelin), City Attorney (Shaw Law Office), City Personal Attorney (John Licke), City Engineer (Short Elliot Hendrickson (SEH)), Planning Commission for a two-year term (Jurvelin, Serfling and Richards), City Administrator and Zoning official (Box), building inspector (Murray Ward), Deputy Clerk/Deputy Registrar (Gayle Guthrie), Police Chief (Perry), City Forester (John Tornes), Personnel Committee (Reed and Serfling), Ordinance Committee (Richards and Graf), Blight Committee (Graf and Serfling).
“At some point would our defense person become Jordan?” Reed asked, with Box stating it use to be two different people.
“I guess I’ve never even thought about it, Jurvellin has been the chief for so long,” Geving said.
Box gave the council an update on the bonding bill proposal.
“I don’t know where our level is,” Box said. “But if we can get the house and senate to agree on something.”
“We are on the Governor’s bonding bill list,” Box added.
Avenue of Pines By-Way committee would really like someone from the city of Deer River on the committee.
“It’s becoming a pretty good committee, and they would like to see someone from the city of Deer River part of that,” Box explained. “It doesn’t have to be the same person, but that way the city would have a voice. It’s about a two hour meeting, with the next one in Deer River.”
“What’s the goal of this group again?” Richards asked.
“We are at the start of the Avenue of Pines,” Box said. “It’s strictly economics to get people here and visit the area.”
The license bureau remodel is nearing completion.
“It’s proceeding,” Box said, with him adding they are just waiting for the camera.
The board of review training is available until February 1, 2020, with everyone but Reed needing to recertify. According to Box, the city of Deer River needs to have members certified to hold the board of appeals meeting in Deer River.
Looking at closing out the 2017 Highway 2 project, with Box needing authorization. Motion was carried with no discussion.
Approved the regular city council minutes from January 13, 2020 with minor changes from Serfling and Richards.
Approved bills in the amount of $35,675.14.
Nothing to report from City Attorney Andy Shaw.
Councilor Dan Graf was absent.