By LINDA LOBECK
IRON MOUNTAIN - Iron Mountain City Council approved Monday night a letter of understanding with the Iron Mountain Police Officers Association to try 12-hour work shifts.
The recently approved contract with the officers provides for an eight-hour work schedule, but the officers are requesting that a temporary trial of a 12-hour schedule be allowed through a letter of understanding.
"The 12-hour schedule will not increase costs to the city and may be canceled at the city's discretion. The trial period is for six months and would start immediately. The police chief is agreeable to having a six- month trial period," City Manager Jordan Stanchina said in his memo to the council.
With the new schedule, patrol personnel will be working either a day shift, which is from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., or a night shift from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.
According to Stanchina, the 12-hour shift gives a more permanent schedule for the officers and is similar to what is used in many other cities in the U.P. He told the council that the police chief will be monitoring the schedule and reporting on how it is working.
"It's also better for sleep schedules for the officers. They will be four weeks on days and then switch to four weeks on nights," Stanchina said.
Councilman Collin Jacobetti was in favor of the trial period.
"I think we should give it a try," he said. "We can abort it any time we feel it's not working out."
Council also approved a request to vacate a portion of Pewabic Street and a portion of Pine Street, located in the city's industrial development area.
The request for the vacated streets and alleys was made by Joseph Santi so his property in that area would become a "buildable lot." The industrial park area is zoned Industrial 2.
A public hearing held prior to council approval of the request showed no comments against the request, either written or verbal, said Stanchina.
Within the city's resolution to grant the request was also an easement for the city to maintain utilities and equipment, specifically a power pole and meter that feeds a nearby city-owned lift station.
"Vacating the these streets/alleys will not interfere with the operation of the lift station and the easement will allow access to the power pole. The two platted rights-of-way are undeveloped and would most likely never be paved," said Stanchina in his memo to the council.
He added that all property owners within 300 feet of the area were notified about Santi's request and although a couple of inquiries were made to the city manager, no issues were expressed concerning vacating the streets.
This parcel of land is in the industrial park area with undeveloped city-owned land to the north and east and south and the Inland Diesel parking lot to the west. In his report, Steve Mulka, zoning, code and planning officer for the city, said that a site plan had not been submitted for any new construction on the property.
In other action, the council decided not to approve a resolution at this time allowing for the fire department to conduct inspections of fireworks stands, both temporary and permanent in the city.
The council felt that the process could continue to be done by the state fire marshal rather than having a firefighter complete the additional training to inspect these facilities for selling fireworks. At the current time, there is one permanent structure and one temporary structure in the city.
Councilman Ted Corombos felt that the city would be incurring liability for conducting the inspections and not getting much compensation for doing this.
Council members unanimously agreed not to opt-in and have the fire department conduct these inspections of fireworks stands.
Stanchina also talked to the council about the state's recently passed legislation to reform personal property tax assessments. He said that one piece of the legislation eliminates personal property tax bills for those businesses with equipment value of less than $40,000 of taxable value.
"This would be effective starting with the September 2014 bill. The potential effect for the city of Iron Mountain would be that of an existing 636 personal property bills, 566 will be eliminated for a total loss of $60,000. This leaves approximately 70 personal property bills paying $340,000 in taxes. And under the legislation, this will also be phased out but not as quickly as those under the $40,000 taxable value," Stanchina said.
He added that this information is needed as the city continues with its five-year budgeting process. With the recent employee contracts settled, Stanchina said that he is currently getting information ready for the budgeting process that the council will be starting soon.
In other business, the council:
- Approved a pre-application agreement with the USDA Rural Development grant program for a new squad car. The grant would cover 25 percent of the cost of the new car, with the city spending a maximum of $34,000 for a vehicle. Stanchina noted that $25,000 is already budgeted for the car and 25 percent would be approximately $8,600 that could come from the grant for the additional money needed for a new squad car.
- Heard that the deer management program for 2012 is complete with 59 deer harvested. This is less than the previous year when the number was in the high 80s, Stanchina reported.
- Approved an assignment agreement with SBA Infrastructure LLC concerning the assignment of the tower lease. The council agreed that it is reasonable to allow assignment of it to an affiliate of the LLC.
- Heard that the Infrastructure Committee had met with Chuck Myers about the Millie Hill condominium project. Stanchina said that they will meet with the city attorney to discuss it Tuesday.
- Heard from Bob Moraska of the City Park Committee that work had been completed on the interior deer fence and some work is left to be done in the spring on the exterior fencing. He said that over the Christmas break they received help from some students from the local area who are now in college who came back and worked at City Park on the fence.
Linda Lobeck's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.