Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Moose Lake levy to increase 6 percent


The Moose Lake City Council approved a levy increase of 6 percent — $531,865 — at the monthly meeting of the council on Wednesday, December 14. That amounts to a $60 tax increase per year on a $100,000 property, said City Administrator Tim Peterson.

During the Truth in Taxation portion of the meeting, Peterson reviewed the budget for 2017 and noted changes from the 2016 budget.

A new Skidsteer will be purchased for the street department to assist with the city’s portion of the Arrowhead Lane upgrade project during the next construction season and for use beyond the project, said Peterson.

Mayor Ted Shaw and council member Kris Huso stated they didn’t want the levy to be raised any more than 5 percent but, in the final vote, the motion passed three to two. Councilors Doug Juntunen, Mike Peterson and Jim Michalski voted in favor of the 6 percent increase, and Huso and Mayor Shaw voted against.

Pam Jensen, coordinator of the Aging Well Information Network (AWIN), reviewed the past year and a half partnership with the city and the projects the organization has accomplished.

“We received a grant for $50,000 from the Northland Foundation in 2015 to help senior citizens,” said Jensen. “A mission statement was created, brochures printed and mailed to residents in the area and, with a partnership, Arrowhead Transit began service in Moose Lake in 2015. There has been an average of seven riders each of the two days a week the bus is in town.

“In 2016, handicap access door openers were installed on five doors in the community center in partnership with the city. We contributed $5,000 for the project. And we coordinated with the Arrowhead Area Agency on Aging to have the dishwasher and stove replaced in the Senior Dining Center. Those totaled $12,000. We funded the purchase of a computer with a large screen and a keyboard with large numbers and letters on the keys for the library and we set up educational programs for seniors and bingo.

“The Northland Foundation will not be funding our organization after this year. Our part of funding the bus service is done. I hope you continue it. Thank you for your support and for partnering with us.”

The council will discuss continuing the bus service during the cold months at the January council meeting, said Mayor Shaw.

Bill Carlson, a cable TV subscriber, met with the council to support setting up a citizens advisory committee and do a periodic evaluation of the service.

“This is the second time I’ve asked that a citizens advisory committee be set up,” said Carlson. “It’s been three years since the adoption of the cable TV ordinance. The citizens advisory board would be a neutral body where application of new technologies, access channels, municipal use of cable and subscribers' complaints may be discussed.”

Carlson said citizens from the city, Moose Lake Township and Windemere Township, who pay fees to Mediacom, be on the board.

Mayor Shaw apologized to Carlson that a board has not been formed. He said there will be a call for members and Peterson would look into a periodic evaluation, as required by the ordinance.

Tom Thackery of ERS Utility Solutions met with the board to discuss overcharges for water use paid by Mercy Hospital and the Wellness Center.

Thackery had been hired by Mercy Hospital, it was explained, to review utilities and determine if the hospital was paying too much.

It was found a faulty meter was responsible for the overpayment of $33,420.28 in the past three years, the time limit stated in a state statute, but Thackery asked the city pay back for a longer period of time, as it was felt the hospital overpaid for approximately four years. That amount would be $42,325.

The city administrator and the hospital were directed to work together to come up with a plan for the city to make payments on the overcharges.

Police Chief Bryce Bogenholm reported a new Zurker computer system is being purchased for all of the law enforcement agencies for five counties in the region, including Moose Lake. The new computer system is more user friendly and is used by law enforcement agencies in 50 percent of the state.

Public Works Superintendent Phil Entner reported the new main lift station is working well. The old building will be demolished. The council approved payment of the funds for the demolition.

The council passed a motion to pay the amount of $25,000 the city had retained to Magney Construction, Inc. The company had removed the paving on Park Place Drive, smoothed the roadbed and repaved the street. The two-year warranty period began that day, it was said.

It was announced the city provided $25,000, along with $100,000 provided by the Hockey Association, as matching funds for a $250,000 James Metzen Mighty Ducks Grant for Riverside Arena.

The grant funds will be used to finance the improvement of the arena's indoor air quality or the elimination of R22 refrigerant, and to purchase a new electric Olympia ice resurfacer.

“That’s a pretty big win for the arena,” said Peterson.

The council passed a motion to purchase the ice resurfacer.

It was reported a recount of the ballots voting for city council members did not reveal any errors. The vote count stayed at 387 for Huso, 337 for Greg Sarvela, and 332 for Jim Michalski. Only the top two were elected to serve on the council.

Michalski was thanked for his years of service on the council.

The reorganizational meeting of the Moose Lake City Council was set for Wednesday, January 11, at 6 p.m., with the monthly meeting to follow at 6:30 p.m.


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