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Deer River, Minnesota

02/28/22 - Council Minutes



I. Call to order 6:00 P.M.


II. Present - Mayor Steve Geving, council members Pat Richards, Barb Serfling, Dan Graf, and Sharon Geving. Also present, Assistant City Administrator Sarah Nelson, Police Chief Brian Castellano, City Engineer Bob Beaver, and guests from the snowmobile club, Walter H., Kent Parks, Cody Parks, Jeff Herfindahl, and Mike Gullickson.


III. Pledge and Prayer


IV. Minutes - After discussion, motion by Pat, second by Barb to approve the February 14th regular meeting minutes as written. MCU. Motion by Pat, second by Barb to approve the February 15th working session meeting minutes as written. MCU.

V. Bills - After discussion, motion by Pat, second by Dan to approve payroll, the bills in the amount of $46,889.87 and inter-fund loans to cover negative fund balances. MCU


VI. Attorney - Andy was not present.

Snowmobile Club

VII. Snowmobile Club - Motion by Pat, second by Barb to move the snowmobile club up on the agenda. Kent explained to the council that they are trying to get a snowmobile route going north, out of town, up the grade and down highway 6. With the walking trail going in, it has been difficult due to it being a non-motorized trail. They would like to work with the city to figure out a way for both of the trails to coexist. Mike explained that the snowmobile trail has to be at least 12 feet wide to fit the groomer down the trail. With the walking trail going down highway 6, there isn’t much room being that it is private property. The council stated that they are more than willing to work with them to figure something out. Bob mentioned that he would be willing to sit down with Mark Box and a representative of the snowmobile club to look at different options. The council thanked the snowmobile club for attending.

Fire Dept.

VIII. Fire - Jordan wasn’t present for the meeting but sent a written report. The written report states that there are five new recruits to the fire department that have started their Fire Fighter 1 and 11 classes, which are being hosted at the fire hall. The new recruits are Katie Fieldsend, Werner Van Der Westhuizen, Darian Foster, Kyle Lyytinen, and Scott Mickle.


There was equipment ordered with the grant money from Enbridge and ARP through Itasca County. Some of the equipment ordered are the E-Hydraulic auto extrication tools, air packs, bottles, masks and fill stations. They have used the extrication tool at one of the trainings already.


The Chief’s squad had a new motor put in it and is now running great and should make the squad last several more years. This was a large cost savings over replacing the squad considering the prices of a used vehicle right now.


The spring bingo will be in the high school commons area this year, on April 14th at 6:30 PM. The fire department plans on having the gun raffle tickets printed and available for sale at bingo on the 14th. It will be a 10-gun raffle with a drawing the day after the Wild Rice Festival, July 11th.


Motion by Dan, second by Pat to accept the fire report. MCU

Police Dept.

IX. Police - Brian started with the January calls for services, which were at 204 in 2022 compared to 196 in 2021; 20 of the calls in were assists with five of the calls being occupied vehicles in the ditch/accidents.


A search warrant for stolen property and drugs was executed in town on January 25th, 2022. One adult male was arrested for Gross Misdemeanor and Felony charges. Methamphetamine and a handgun were seized as evidence.


There have been a few fraud cases involving people using checks that don’t belong to them. Brian stressed how important it is to check the driver’s license of the person writing the check to make sure it matches the information on the check. If the information does not match, do not accept the check.


The police department is still issuing tickets for overnight parking in the uptown and business area per City Ordinance, which states that there is no overnight parking in the uptown and business area. Also, per City Ordinance, vehicles parked on the street in the residential areas, must be moved every eight hours so the public works department can plow snow.


Brian let the council know that there have been complaints of snowmobiles going through town with extremely loud mufflers and also driving too fast. Brian asks that snowmobilers would please slow down when going through town.


Jeremy turned in his letter of resignation, with his last day being March 12th, 2022. Brian has a three man schedule put into place for when Jeremy leaves, until the new person gets trained in. Steve asked where Brian was on the hiring process. Brain let him know that it has been very slow due to the department being so busy and not being able to get to the background checks. He is planning on coming in this week to get them completed. He let the council know that background checks take a minimum of 10 hours, all the way up to 20. He plans on sending one of the officers for background training in the future.


Motion by Dan, second by Sharon to accept the police report. MCU


X. Administration - Sarah let the council know that we aren’t able to accept the project bid tonight. Bob then explained to the council that Rural Development needed a letter of concurrence from the USDA before we can accept the project bid. Bob wasn’t surprised that the bids came in a little bit higher than the estimate due to it being a big project and the rising prices within the last year.


Sarah informed the council that the Board of Equalization will be at the City Hall on April 27th.


Resolution 2022-06 was explained to the council. The State of Minnesota reestablished the boundaries of the voting precincts and polling places. The boundaries of precinct one and two did change within the city limits, but the polling places will remain at the City Hall. Motion by Dan to accept resolution 2022-06 to reestablish precincts and polling place, second by Barb. MCU


Sarah asked the council if the city would be able to estimate water meters next month, if needed, due to difficult accessibility. With there being so much snow, it is hard to get to some water meters. The council approved water meter estimations when they aren’t able to get to the water meter.


The council was reminded of the work session meeting on March 1st at 4:00.


Sarah presented the Financial Consulting Agreement between the City of Deer River and Northland Securities. This agreement states the services to be provided by Northland, the compensation and the assigned northland employee. This agreement is for the extension of the Rural Development construction loan that was discussed at previous meetings. Motion by Dan for the mayor to sign the agreement, second by Barb. MCU


One of the furnaces at the White Oak building has stopped working. Right now, the furnace is located under the building in the crawl space. Instead of the furnace standing straight up, it is lying on its side, in the dirt. Because of this, the side of the furnace and a lot of the furnace parts has rusted. Mr. Furnace recommended that the furnace should be replaced. Mark is meeting with Mr. Furnace on Wednesday to discuss some options. The estimate for a new furnace is $4,500 plus installation. If a new furnace is put in, it will be put in on the main level of the building instead of in the crawl space.


Motion by Sharon, second by Barb to accept the administrative report. MCU


XI. Other - Steve asked Bob if he had anything to add besides the bid. He let Steve know that he just came for the bids and to answer any questions that the council may have. Bob said there was a good range of bids with two of them being local, one from Duluth area, and one from the range area. The bid is for phase 2 of the South end. There will be 2 more phases after this that will include Comstock in the next phase and a catch all for some of the side streets for the last phase. The council thanked Bob for all the information.


XII. Adjournment - Motion by Sharon, second by Pat to adjourn. MCU. Meeting adjourned at 6:37 PM.


Respectfully submitted by, Sarah Nelson, Assistant City Administrator.


Approved by the City Council at the regular meeting on March 14th, and signed by Mayor Geving.


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