International Falls

The International Falls City Council Monday heard that revenue from building permits has increased in 2020 beyond what was anticipated.

Kelly Meyers, city building and zoning, reported 100 permits issued in the third quarter of 2020, with project valuations at $1.53 million, compared to 83 permits at $1.35 million and 77 in 2018, at $774,000, in the same period. Permit fees gained in third quarter of 2020 were $15,731, compared to $12,589 in same quarter of 2019 and $10,547 in 2018.

Mayor Harley Droba said that while people may not be building new homes, they are improving their homes, which results in increased revenue from the issuance of building permits and increased project valuation for the city of about $200,000.

In other business Monday, the council approved a developer's agreement with Holiday Stationstore, based on changes to a site plan for the new structure at 1501 Second Ave.

The revisions address concerns voiced earlier by area residents about lighting, sound and traffic.

The council tabled action on a request for an annual hauler's license for Friend's Garbage Service to allow for a discussion between city officials and Friend's about concerns at its shop on Highway 53 and other sites in violation of city's blight ordinance.

City Attorney Steve Shermoen said a criminal case is pending against owners of the business on other blight issues, while progress on other blight issues involved have been resolved.

Meanwhile, the council:

  • Approved publishing tips about how to celebrate Halloween safely during the pandemic. Officials noted the city is not canceling Halloween, but instead encouraging people practice safety guidelines.
  • Tabled action to award quotes for two heating units at the South Falls Fire Station, payable from Fire Department budget, to seek additional quotes to consider at the Nov. 2 council meeting.
  • Approved purchase of software for a citizen portal to allow for online building permit processing. The money will come from the city's portion of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds.

The council also met as the International Falls Economic Development Authority Commission.

The commission agreed that $20,000 budgeted for 2020 for distribution to Rainy River Community College for its nursing program would be allocated from the EDA instead of the City.  The city received a request from RRCC for funding in the 2021-2022 school year. The EDA/City will reevaluate that request sometime in 2021.