FIRST REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING
March 7, 2011 7:00 p.m.
MEMBERS PRESENT: Mayor Gary Tibbitts; Council Members Scott Sherman, Julie Miller,
Keith Nentl; City Clerk Kathy Brophy
MEMBERS ABSENT: Council Member John Larson
ALSO PRESENT: Brian Pisarek, Jeanne Schram, Steve Fenlon, Georgia Johnson
1. Call to Order. The meeting was called to order by Mayor Tibbitts at 7:00 p.m.
2. Pledge of Allegiance.
3. Approval of Agenda. Insurance Committee was added to Committee Reports. A motion to
approve the Agenda with the addition was made by Sherman, seconded by Miller. All aye.
4. Approval of Minutes. A motion to approve the minutes of the Second Regular Council
Meeting of February was made by Nentl, seconded by Miller. All aye.
5. Fire Department Report. By Fire Chief Brian Pisarek. Pisarek reported that the Department
had five runs since his last report, bringing the year-to-date total to 10. He reported that 80%
of the firefighters in the Department have been certified at the Fire Fighter I level. Training
for Fire Fighter II certification is underway. Pisarek further reported that the 1976 ladder
truck passed the certification inspection and should be picked up this week by the City of
Pisarek reported that he and Seth Jacobs from the Fire Department met with Ray Morris of
Spencer Township, along with Mayor Tibbitts and City Clerk Brophy, on Friday, February
25th to discuss Morris’s concerns with the Fire Department budget. Morris plans to present
to Spencer Township the idea of billing Spencer Township property owners for fire calls.
Township Input. Mayor Tibbitts called for any input from Township representatives. No
input was received.
A motion to approve the Fire Department Report was made by Miller, seconded by Nentl.
6. Street Department Report. Street Commissioner Bob Nicko was not present; therefore, no
report was received.
7. Public Hearing - Aitkin Health Services – Resolution Giving Preliminary Approval. At this
point, Mayor Tibbitts opened the Public Hearing on the proposal of St. Francis Health
Services of Morris, Inc., and its subsidiary Aitkin Health Services, to refinance outstanding
commercial indebtedness incurred to acquire, renovate, expand and equip a 48-bed skilled
nursing facility located at 301 Minnesota Avenue South in the City of Aitkin including
demolition of an adjacent obsolete structure, and paying costs associated with the financing.
The estimated total amount of the proposed revenue obligations will not exceed $6,200,000.
Steve Fenlon of MHC, a non-profit tax-exempt finance specialist, appeared before the
Council on behalf of Aitkin Health Services and St. Francis Health Services of Morris, Inc. to
explain that his client is looking to refinance taxable debt for the project with tax-exempt
bonds. He has been meeting with various banks. He stated that the City will be the issuer;
however, the City will not be liable for the debt. He stated that the refinancing will save
money for his client, allowing them to pay employees a livable wage and provide good care
Mayor Tibbitts opened the floor for public comments. Property owner Georgia Johnson
stated that Aitkin Health Services is a nice facility and the employees have been very
knowledgeable when she has inquired. With no other public comments offered, Mayor
Tibbitts closed the public hearing. A motion was then made by Sherman, seconded by
First Regular Council Meeting
March 7, 2011
Miller, to adopt the Resolution Giving Preliminary Approval to a Project Under Minnesota
Statutes, Sections 469.152 through 469.165 and Referring the Proposal to the Minnesota
Department of Employment and Economic Development for Approval. All aye.
8. Riceland Whitetails Chapter of MN Deer Hunters – Application for Exempt Permit. A
motion was made by Miller, seconded by Nentl, to approve an Application for Exempt
Permit for the Riceland Whitetails Chapter of MN Deer Hunters to hold a raffle at the 40
Club Convention Center from September 30th to October 1st, 2011. All aye.
9. Committee Reports. Public Utilities Commission. Council Member Sherman reported on
the February 15th PUC meeting. He stated that issues have been resolved with the contractor
of the 2010 Waterloop Project. He reported that strategies for the upcoming flood season
were discussed. The PUC audit is complete. Plans are underway to rebuild the power
system at the Southgate Center. And, he stated, the land lease option appears to be the most
economical for dealing with the disposal of bio-solids.
Fit City Aitkin. City Clerk Brophy explained that the third event in the Moonlight Series was
to be skiing and snowshoeing at Savanna Portage. However, the Committee would like to
change the event to be a winter hike at the City Park. The event would include a bonfire, hot
chocolate, smores, with luminaries along the loops. A motion was made by Sherman,
seconded by Miller, approving the change and the use of the City Park. All aye.
Aitkin Airport Commission. Mayor Tibbitts reported on the March 3rd meeting. He stated
that the hangar expansion project will be removed from the Environmental Assessment
report, which will eliminate the concerns posed by the US Army Corps of Engineers and,
hopefully, move the EA forward to completion. The goal is to have purchase agreements in
place for the proposed land acquisition, bids for the obstruction removals, and bids for the
public fuel facility all in hand by August so that a grant can be requested from the FAA.
Tibbitts further reported that a Valspar paint grant has been applied for through the Northland
Foundation for a Compass Rose to be painted on the apron. The Flying ‘99s have
volunteered to do the work.
Insurance Committee. Mayor Tibbitts reported that the Insurance Committee met with Bob
Cummings, the Agent of Record, regarding the liability coverage renewal. Cummings
reviewed the various rate changes that affect the renewal period, with some rates increasing
and some rates decreasing. The Council was then asked to consider whether or not they want
to waive the monetary limits on tort liability established by Minnesota Statutes 466.04. After
discussion, a motion was made by Sherman, seconded by Nentl, not to waive the monetary
limits on municipal tort liability as established. All aye.
10. Mayor’s Report. Mayor Tibbitts informed the Council that the County has scheduled Aitkin
County Day at the Courthouse for Friday, March 11th, from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Property owner
Georgia Johnson asked if this event was open to the public. The City Council did not know
the answer to this question and directed Johnson to contact the County. City Clerk Brophy
offered to contact County Administrator Patrick Wussow as well.
11. Old Business. City Clerk Brophy reported that the auditors are here this week doing field
work for the 2010 audit.
12. Comments from Visitors. Mayor Tibbitts asked for any comments from visitors. No
comments were offered.
13. Approval of Bills. Bills were presented for payment as follows:
City checks 30704 to 30745 in the total amount of $97,549.21; and
Liquor Store checks 16757 to 16773 plus an EFT to the MN Department of Revenue in
the total amount of $25,742.96
First Regular Council Meeting
March 7, 2011
A motion to approve Bills Payable March 7, 2011, as presented was made by Sherman,
seconded by Nentl. All aye.
14. Adjournment. A motion to adjourn was made by Nentl, seconded by Miller. All aye. Time