By Beth Bily
Two auto accidents in the same location within a year is “two ambulances too many” Magnetation Environmental, Land and Governmental Affairs Manager Mike Twite told the Coleraine City Council at its Monday meeting.
To address what the company views as a public safety issue, plans have been drawn to construct a deceleration lane on Highway 169 near the company’s Jessie Load Out facility, located between Grand Rapids and Coleraine.
Although the highway is a state trunk highway, the company has already received a permit for the construction from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Preliminary plans call for a construction cost of about $50,000, which city and company officials hope can be obtained through a new Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation grant program – the mining impact program.
The program was launched this year to “address impacts on the daily lives of residents located near mining operations, while preserving the present and future of mining activity due to its economic importance to the region.” Cities and townships within the IRRRB service area are eligible to apply for the grants, which have a limit of $125,000.
Following Twite’s overview of the deceleration lane project, the city passed a motion in support of the project and agreed to apply for the mining impact grant funding.
Any contractor selected by the city for the project will be instructed that if grant funding falls short of costs, the contractor will forgive the balance. Further, if the chosen contractor begins construction before grant funding is obtained, they do so at their own risk.
In other business, the council:
• Approved the minutes of the April 28 work session and council meetings.
• Listened to a report on activities from the street department. There was some discussion about the issue of dogs in the park and the council verbally agreed to gather more information through the Itasca cities collaborative about restricting dog access.
• Discussed the issue of parking on Clemson Ave. when school is in session with regard to buses and snow removal and reviewed options for the 2014-2015 school year.
• Discussed the issue of overtime costs for city police protection at the arena. Police Chief Jeff Kuck told the council that the Joint Rec Board expressed concern about the additional costs, however, the police contract with the city requires the most senior officer has first right of refusal for the work. Mayor Mike Antonovich noted that if the rec board no longer wished to use the city’s police for the service, they were free to explore other avenues for security.
• Listened to an update from Magnetation executives on plans to monitor potable water in Coleraine, Bovey and Taconite. The goal is to ensure the water is not adversely impacted by the company’s drawing from the Canisteo Pit.
• Approved revised regulations for new or replacement fences, as recommended by the city’s planning commission.
• Approved the city’s equipment and tools lending policy, which prohibits city employees from lending out city equipment/tools.
• Changed the date of the second May council meeting from May 26 to May 27.
• Tabled a decision on possible mitigation for a local landowner who addressed the council about a sinkhole problem. The council verbally agreed to have the city engineer and city staff look at the property in question.
• Approved proceeding with a labor attorney to consult on a grievance submitted to the city.
• Adopted a fee schedule for rental property inspections as follows: $100/single family home; $150/duplex; $200/triplex; $250/four plex; $50/per apartment unit. Inspections need to take place every four years.