City of Pembina, ND

Oldest Settlement in the Dakota Territories

Official Minutes for December 13th, 2021, Pembina City Council Meeting

Council Members Present: Mayor Mike Fitzgerald, President Jeff Watts, VP Ron Fritz, Greg Koropatnicki, Jennifer Martin, and Allen Huttunen

Absent: Pat Burton


City Employees Present:  Lisa Hall/Auditor, Gary Helland/Public Works Superintendent

City Attorney Present:  Rob Fleming

City Engineer:  Brad Bail


Others present:  Blaine Eisenbeis and Mason Peters


Public Portion-      Called to order at 6 p.m.  Mason here to request an easement for his new sign that is within the city right of way to stay where it is.  He put up the sign using other objects along street for location.  Front yard is full of fiber optic so limited space available to put it up.  Location was determined from that and being able to see from down the street. 


Meeting called to order by Mayor Fitzgerald at 6:03 p.m.


Changes to Agenda


Under Lisa add new computer and appliance bins, under attorney add Mike’s Parcel sign,  under new business add committees, garbage truck, pool, semis and salary increase, under employees add snow removal at the city office and community center and Rural Water Conference.  Motion by Huttunen second by Fritz to approve agenda with changes.  Ayes all present.  Motion carries.


Motionby Fritz,second by Huttunen to approve November’s meeting minutes.  Ayes all present. Motion carries.


Old Business

  • Ambulance budget- Report was given for one month.   Mayor Fitzgerald reviewed the report and stated not what he had discussed.  He had given a copy of the fire department’s budget for an example.  Motion by Watts second by Koropatnicki to make an open records request to the ambulance for last three years of payroll.  Ayes Martin, Fritz, Koropatnicki and Watts.  Nay Huttunen.  Motion carries.
  • Drainage ditch west of Gastrak- There is a meeting tomorrow morning available via zoom.  Gary will be calling in on this meeting with the water board and Gastrak.
  • Generator at school – Tabled.  Nothing still yet from State Side Electric.
  • Garbage rates- Discuss with garbage truck under new business.
  • Tourism Ad- Lisa emailed JDA but didn’t get a reply and deadline to submit is past.  Will be an item for next year.


Committee Reports:   

  • Fire Department- Chief Eisenbeis let council know that the 2 baseboard heaters in the office are not working and need to be replaced.  Each heater is around $100.  Fire department has put over $13,000 into repairs in the building.  Requesting the city pay for the new heaters since it is a city building.  Also let council know that the fire departments propane tank was being used by the community center as well.  This has been fixed but they would like to be reimbursed for the extra that would have been paid.  Fire department would like the city to help pay some of the utilities since it is their building.  Motion by Watts second by Martin to pay for the two heaters for the fire department office.  Ayes all present.  Motion carries.


Employee Report/Concerns-

  • Water board meeting- Previously discussed in old business.  
  • Cutting edge bids- Koropatnicki had asked Gary to get some bids.  Council reviewed the bids from RDO Equipment.  The rubber edge is $2,774.62, steel edge is $1,535.02 and carbide $4216.68.  Motion by Koropatnicki second by Fritz to purchase the carbide edges from RDO for $4,216.68.  Ayes all present.  Motion carries.  Koropatnicki would like to look at the rubber edges we currently have before going forward on those.
  • Report on sewer line cleaning- J&R Wastewater was unable to get to Pembina this year but we will be at beginning of list in the spring. 
  • Snow blower/skid steer update – A hose blew on the blower and the glass on the door shattered.  The door that came was incorrect one and so was the hose.  True North brought correct glass and ordering the correct hose that should be here next week.  New glass is in the door.
  • Snow removal at Professional building and community center- Mayor Fitzgerald brought up the snow removal for professional building and community center.  Lisa will talk to Gary Crotty about the professional building.  The community center always has the ice issue with the run off the roof and no gutters. 
  • Rural water conference- This year it is in Fargo February 1st-4th and Gary is requesting to attend for continuing education.  Motion by Huttunen second by Fritz to attend as long as snow removal is covered.  Ayes all present.  Motion carries.


Engineer Report/Brad Bail     

  • Pembina River Bridge- The inspection has been done just waiting on the load rating.  The ARPA funds cannot be used for the bridge.  The current funds are for water and waste water projects.  They can also be used for preliminary engineering type things. 
  • Street/Alley repairs-Spring will be next time to look at what should be repaired.  Supposed to be getting data on the back alley behind city office.
  • Maps-Lisa had requested new maps for in the office.  Brad brought new ones but are still outdated.  Recommends updating all the maps and are all georeferenced.   ARPA funds could be used to pay for the LiDAR mapping.  The cost of updating these maps by LiDAR will cost between $30,000 and $40,000.  These would be highly accurate and beneficial when doing projects.


Attorney Update / Rob Fleming-

  • Towed cars- The auction is on the 15th out at BK Towing.    
  • Wade Crotty lots- Wade will have the survey papers by next meeting and then Rob will be able to draw up quit claim deed.
  • Mike’s Parcel sign- Utilities are where they are supposed to be and is why we have a right of way.  Fleming has two big concerns.  First one is snow removal.  When Gary is pushing snow the sign could get hit or the pile of snow that will be left there.  Second is safety concern of visibility from people pulling out of his parking lot being able to see traffic coming in either direction.  Future concerns could be if we ever wanted to put a sidewalk past there or if we were to widen the streets and make a turning lane wouldn’t be able to because there is a sign in the way.   The city could waive and allow him to keep his sign in current location but this causes possible liability issues.  Huttunen suggested addressing in the spring.  Mr. Fleming advises not to give Mike’s Parcel an easement.  Right now it is illegal unless council gives him a pass.  Most likely the sign is frozen into the ground now.  There are multiple signs that would be encroaching the right of way.  Signs discussed were the Masonic sign, electronic sign at school and Border Parcel on corner of 5th & Stutsman.  Motion by Huttunen to give a one month waiver to think about a permanent solution.  No second motion dies.  Mayor Fitzgerald made suggestion that the Building and Zoning committee meet before the next meeting.  Huttunen amends his motion to have a Building and Zoning committee before the next council meeting.  Second by Koropatnicki.  Ayes all present.  Motion carries.  Mason asks Mayor for permission to speak.  He told council clearly he made a mistake no argument there.  When driving around town there is an unequal application of the law.  Mason stated that if today is the day you start to apply the law and he is the first victim so be it but I encourage to say let’s apply equally around town.  Fleming did remind him to keep in mind as driving around town the streets are all different widths.  There may be publication requirements if allowing something in city right of way.


Update & Business:  Mayor

  • Police contract- Fleming hasn’t heard anything from Terry.  Lisa informed that official census Pembina population is 512.  Mayor Fitzgerald did say that he has noticed the increase in their presence in town.


Update & Business:  City Auditor/Lisa Hall

  • Motion by Watts second Huttunen to approve November financials and December bills as presented.  Ayes all present.  Motion carries.
  • Water Rates- Lisa informed council of the yearly 3% increase that Northeast Regional water does yearly.  Reviewed current rates and what we are charged per thousand.  Motion by Huttunen to increase the water rates to $7.56 per thousand due to Northeast Regional Water’s increase.  No second motion dies. 
  • Living local app- Tabled.
  • Update on 422 N 5th St- Lisa was contacted by new owner and he is planning on being up before end of the year to put a garage door on and look at his new property.  Lisa asked Rob to wait on having the inspector come up.  Motion by Huttunen second by Fritz to proceed with condemnation process on 422 N 5th Street.  Ayes all present.  Motion carries.
  • Career & Tech Ed initiative fund request- Tabled until after the school board has their monthly meeting on Wednesday to see what their thoughts are and what they decide.
  • Computer-Lisa informed council that the bid from Polar they previously viewed was no longer available.  She presented the new bid of similar computer but increased cost to $870.12.  Motion by Watts second by Martin to approve the purchasing of the new computer at the cost of new bid.  Ayes all present.  Motion carries.
  • Appliance Bins-Lisa presented information from Russ’ in Grafton to get a bin for appliances.  She gave the list of items people had called her on that they would like to dispose of.  Tabled.  Talk to Blake about utilizing his bin because not enough participation to fill an entire bin. 


New Business

  • Committees- Martin brought up that she recalled last summer Mayor Fitzgerald requesting that all the committees have a meeting and update the council.  There have been no committee reports presented to council to date.  The committees need to get members that want to participate and do things.  Mayor Fitzgerald will address the issue.
  • Pool- Martin informed council of some substantial donor’s wishing to bring a pool to town instead of a splash pad.  A couple different possible locations are south of the school basketball pad and the lot where the Spot Bar used to be.  Motion by Huttunen second by Fritz to establish a pool committee of five members two of which would be council members.  Ayes all present.  Motion carries.  Mayor appoints Fritz and Martin to be the council members on the committee.
  • Semis- Motion by Fritz second by Martin to put a load limit of 60,000 lbs from the 4-way stop at the school east and on all streets other than South Fifth Street in industrial park.  Ayes all present.  Motion carries.  Gary will order new signs to replace the old ones.
  • Salary increases- Fritz brought up that Gary and Lisa have not had a raise in two years.  Raises were froze pending employee evaluations July 2020.  The evaluations were recently completed.  Mayor Fitzgerald informed Fritz that employees were told during evaluations that it will be addressed in January.  Table raises until January 2022 meeting.
  • Garbage truck- Koropatnicki received a call from Chip the Mayor in Drayton regarding needed repairs to one of the garbage trucks.  Repairs will run around $20,000.  Lisa told council Ardis had called this afternoon about getting a Valley Landfill meeting scheduled to discuss.  Koropatnicki would like to see rates from other companies also and get hard numbers to get a comparison. 

Motion to adjourn by Fritz at 7:49:p.m. 

      By:  Mayor, Mike Fitzgerald

   Attested to:  Lisa Hall, Auditor