The International Falls City Council Tuesday agreed to send items of concern in the city's charter and provided several items a for closer review by the city's Charter Commission.
Mayor Harley Droba pointed out the following areas that he believed should be the first focus of the commission:
- Deletion of a requirement for the city to conduct a referendum to authorize bonds;
- Removal of reference to a city clerk and addition of the term city administrator;
- Removal of a Police Civil Service Commission;
- Removal of Fire Civil Service Commission;
- Revision of wording regarding a city engineer;
- Deletion of a board of health.
However, a three-page list of items the charter should consider was developed by Droba and city Administrator Ken Anderson and also would be forwarded to the commission.
Audience member Reynold Calder asked about a plastic bag policy in the city. He suggested the council consider some kind of plan, similar to the one put in place recently by Fort Frances, Ontario, in an effort to lessen use of plastic, which is a large part of the world's garbage problem.
Droba said the issue has been discussed by the city's Land Use and Legislation Committee, and has received Duluth's ordinance which calls for a 5-cent per bag charge beginning April 1.
Droba said he'd discussed the idea with Dave Stewart, former owner of a local grocery store, who said such an ordinance could have saved him $70,000 each year. Miner's Inc., he said, which now owns Super One stores here and in Duluth, have indicated it is in "a holding pattern" to consider how to move forward.
Droba said city officials are interested in moving some sort of plastic bag policy forward, but will gather information and consider its implications after Duluth implements its ordinance.
Based on a recommendation from its consultant, and after lengthy discussion, the council Tuesday agreed to rescind the language it deleted Jan. 21 in the city's comprehensive plan.
The change is in the second amendment and deletes the word “close" in reference to annexation. The language deals with the city's annexation process and coordination with county officials.
The council also supported the application by Voyageurs National Park for Dark Sky Park designation, an initiative that encourages people and businesses to use lighting that does not interfere with the area's dark sky and ability to often see the stars and northern lights.
The designation also encourages tourism to the area to view the dark night sky here.
Committee recommendations approved by the council include appointing Ted Brokaw public works director on a permanent basis. The position was left vacant when longtime director Gary Skallman retired, and Brokaw was appointed interim director.
The council scheduled a closed session for 4:30 p.m. March 2, just prior to the next regular meeting, to conduct a performance review of the city administrator.