IRON RIVER—During its Jan. 15 regular meeting, the Iron River City Council voted to sponsor the 2014 IronLine sled dog race with $2,500 after hearing goals presented by event organizer Josh Brindle.
Brindle asked that the city and Downtown Development Association jointly sponsor the race, as they did last year where the DDA matched the city’s donation.
When asked what money he needed, Brindle said $6,300 would hit their high target, but they were looking for anything from $3,000 to $6,000. If the DDA matches the city’s sponsorship amount, the total donation would be $5,000.
The budget allows for $9,000 to be spent on community promotions and the city had approximately $6,000 left before the IronLine.
In addition to the money, the council also agreed to allow the IronLine to use the Apple Blossom Trail, RV Park and snow fences.
According to Brindle, several mushers have signed up without any question, and he is hoping to have twice as many spectators this year.
In addition to the IronLine sponsorship, the board also voted to sponsor the U.P. Rodeo in the amount of $2,000.
During public comment, Darren Mercier asked the board to hold some of its meetings during the evenings so that people who work can still attend the public meetings.
Mayor Terry Tarsi said the council had tried to hold evening meetings in the past for that reason, but only had one or two members of the public attend.
Mercier also asked about snow removal on sidewalks and parking lots. He asked why the city’s ordinance requiring snow removal on sidewalks in front of businesses isn’t being enforced.
City Manager Perry Franzoi said there are certain areas that aren’t considered part of the business district and do not fall under those ordinance stipulations. Some areas, he said, do need to be enforced.
City attorney Mark Tousignant said the Department of Public Works (DPW) needs to coordinate with business owners when they can plow snow into the streets in time for the city’s plows to pick it up, as it has been done in the past.
Mercier also stated it is unfair for business owners to create large snowbanks on the sidewalks that take until May to melt when they are plowing their parking lots.
Tarsi said the police chief and Franzoi need to sit down and work on enforcing the snow removal code, coordinating it with the DPW.
Another resident asked about the safety of the streets, even though there is a DPW director. He also asked why plows are cutting into the corners so far and said he is concerned that the plows will wreck the curbing.
Also during public comment, a citizen complained about an apparent blight ordinance violation at a auto service business located next to his house. He said vehicles are constantly parked in front of a fire hydrant or on the sidewalks, while other unlicensed vehicles have been parked for over a year. He asked the board to do something about the violations.
Tarsi directed Franzoi to get the police chief and write citations for each ordinance violation at the shop.
The board also discussed the City Council vacancy that must be filled in 30 days to avoid a special election. A special meeting was scheduled for Feb. 12 at 5 p.m.
The board agreed to have Franzoi go forward with the EVIP consolidation, which is the revenue sharing program. The city is in the second phase of this, and Franzoi asked for permission to go ahead with submitting the consolidation services.
Currently, he wants to consolidate the water meter reading technology with Iron River Township and the certified evidence technician with Caspian and Gaastra.
Franzoi brought a copy of the International Property Maintenance Code for the council members to review, but no decision was made.
“It’s only as good as the city will enforce,” said city attorney Tousignant.
In the city manager’s report, Franzoi updated the board on the street lights. He asked UPPCO to remove four lights on M-189 between Division Street and Hiawatha Road to serve as a small test to see what, if any, impact their removal will have.
Franzoi also asked Lloyd Jacobson to look into the cost of getting iPads or notebook computers for the City Council to use in place of written City Council agendas, in order to reduce the cost of preparing the monthly agenda packets. The cost for one unit is roughly $500.
In other news, the board
--Appointed Rick Commenator as deputy mayor.
--Voted to keep depository locations the same as the previous year.
--Appointed Rosemary LaRoux and Janet Stello to the Board of Review
--Appointed Jere Fritche and Darren Mercier to the Planning Commission. The commission still needs one more member.
--Approved Tousignant’s invoice of $1,601.25
--Approved the Utility Sales and Service Invoice of $3,069.50 for repair to the city’s lift truck.
--Approved the Energenecs invoice of $2,915.