Deer River Police Chief Tammy Perry announced her retirement at the Tuesday, Nov. 12, Deer River City Council meeting. Perry will have 19 years and four months with the department at the time of retirement. Deer River Firefighter Jason Lundquist also brought to the council’s attention that Fire Chief Steve Jurvelin and Bill Brink announced their retirements from the department after 22 years and 31 years, respectfully. This was announced to the public at Turkey Bingo recently.
“It was brought up to the public,” Lundquist said. “They’ll be missed.”
Perry informed the council her last day of employment would be May 2, 2020 and asked for the city to post her position internally with the hopes that a current officer would be interested. She also informed the council that one of her part-time officers has resigned to take a full-time position with the Hibbing Police Department. The council approved the request to post the chief’s position internally and to also post the part-time position simultaneously.
In other business:
• A public hearing on assessments from last year’s projects was held prior to the regular city council meeting.
“Notices have been published,” City Administrator Mark Box stated.
Bob Beaver, City Engineer with Short Elliot Hendrickson (SEH), explained calculations as to how the assessments were figured whether it be for sidewalk ($18.32 per square foot), curb and gutter ($7.28 per square foot) or bituminous ($19.19 per square foot), with assessments being for 20 years with a four percent interest rate.
“You have 30 days now to pay it interest free,” Beaver said, adding one could pay it off at any point within the next 20 years.
Councilor Barb Serfling had concerns for property owners with assessments that wanted to sell their property.
“They try to start with a clean slate when there is a sale,” Beaver said, saying they prefer homeowners pay assessments prior to a sale, however, they can be carried over.
It was questioned whether there were any complaints.
“The biggest thing we had was the speed bumps,” Serfling said. “That was about the only thing.”
“How did you come up with the assessed footage?” A resident asked. “They only did about 30 feet of my property, and I’m being assessed at 100.”
“We can look into that,” Beaver said. “It’s a good point. We’ll look into that and have an answer for you.”
This resolution, 2019-37, was approved setting the terms of the assessment later in the meeting.
• The council approved the regular meeting minutes from October 28, 2019 and work session minutes from October 29, 2019.
• Bills in the amount of $155,225.81 were approved.
• Nancy Graham, project engineer for the 2020 Highway 6 project, with MnDOT, was present to discuss the agreement between the City of Deer River and the State of Minnesota. She had two resolutions, one to allow the state to work outside of their right of way while working on the water main located within the fire hall parking lot, as well as a resolution agreeing to provide payment for the city’s cost on the 2020 State Highway 6 project. Both resolutions were approved.
• Bush Wacker Snowmobile/ATV Club representative, Mike Gullickson, asked the council if the City would consider selling the property located between Division Street and First Avenue Northeast. Gullickson explained the snowmobile trail crosses the property and it would be an ideal location to store the club’s groomer and other equipment.
“The trail goes right by there,” Gullickson said.
Itasca County Property Tax website has the property valued at $13,700. The council approved the purchase of the property, at the current appraised value. Box would work with Deer River’s City Attorney to draft a purchase agreement.
“How many years has there been a snowmobile club?” Serfling asked, with Gullickson stating before 1991.
• Beaver stated he met with Box and Jason Lundquist to create a plan for the 2020 south end construction project. The remaining street and infrastructure south of Highway 2 would be completed in the next two years.
Lundquist stated the condition of Second Street Southeast would not hold up to a whole summer of detoured traffic and that the city would be spending money to keep the passable street while under detour. The council approved the 2020 south end project design recommended by Beaver.
Mayor Steve Geving expressed his concerns about getting the streets done with the most infrastructure first.
• Jason Lundquist with public works, gave his report and stated the second pond’s discharge has started, and if a third is not able to be done, the ponds are at a good height for the winter.
“It was very good, and are working on transferring down the primaries,” Lundquist said. “We should be sitting pretty good, as long as we don’t have a big rainfall this spring.”
Lundquist also discussed lift station nine had a large number of rags in the pump, and the property owner has been contacted and brought to their attention. Annual water well checks have been completed, resulting in well number four to be pulled next summer.
“We had a few issues,” Lundquist said, in regard to some of the pumps.
Serfling asked Lundquist to prepare an estimate, after he brought up the topic of getting power to the big fish area, which is estimated at $1,600.
“Bob [Beaver] and I met with Itasca Utilities,” Lundquist said.
“I mentioned it to the ladies of the auxiliary,” Serfling said, with a possibility for a donation from either the men or the women if Lundquist would write up a paragraph as to what the money would be used for. “I’m so for that.”
• The city will soon start hanging their holiday lights.
• Box gave his report and brought forth a resolution to appoint Gayle Guthrie as the driver’s license agent for the Deer River office, which was approved by the council.
Box asked the council if he could start implementing a special event permit, as well as start the process of taking out an equipment bond to purchase a new fire truck. Council approved Box to apply for an equipment bond to purchase the fire truck.
“The total cost of the truck is around $212,000,” Box said. “Our general fund doesn’t have that kind of funds.”
“I would like to know about the penalty for paying it off early,” Serfling said.
Box asked the council to do a permanent transfer from the forestry fund to the general fund for $5,000 for the city to take over the White Oak Society building, which was approved.
• City Forester John Tornes had prepared an estimate of $100 to $200 per acre for spraying the newly planted pine trees, with a total of approximately 30 acres to complete.
• The council approved resolution 2019-41 to approve several cigarette, liquor, beer and dance licenses.
• Serfling asked to review the snowplowing ordinance.
All council members were present, with the next scheduled regular city council meeting being Monday, November 25, 2019.