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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Ely Airport is the February airport of the month

Catie Clark
Posted 2/21/24

ELY- “People forget that we have an area airport here in Ely, which has been an economic driver for the city,” Mayor Heidi Omerza remarked when announcing the airport of the month …

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Ely Airport is the February airport of the month


ELY- “People forget that we have an area airport here in Ely, which has been an economic driver for the city,” Mayor Heidi Omerza remarked when announcing the airport of the month designation to the Ely City Council at its Feb. 20 meeting.
The Minnesota Flyer Magazine didn’t forget Ely’s award-winning airport because it named it the airport of the month for February. Ely’s airport received the best project award from the Minnesota Council of Airports in April 2023. The airport is also the U.S. Forest Service’s air support base for fire suppression.

Meeting cancellations
Omerza noted that no public meetings can be scheduled against an election, which prompted the council to move its regular March 5 meeting to March 12, at 5:30 p.m., due to a conflict with the upcoming Presidential Primary.
Ely Clerk-Treasurer Harold Langowski added that the party caucus meetings are next Tuesday, Feb. 27. Because it conflicts with the caucuses, the Ely Economic Development Authority meeting scheduled for that day has been canceled. The caucus meetings for the DFL and Republican Parties will both be at the Vermilion Campus of Minnesota North College, 1900 E. Camp St. Registration is at 6:30 p.m., with the caucuses starting at 7 p.m.
In addition, the Ely Area Ambulance Joint Powers Board meeting, which is also a special meeting of the Ely City Council, has been postponed. It was originally scheduled to meet at 4 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 26, at the Winton Community Center. As of the Timberjay’s presstime, a new meeting date had not yet been determined.
In other business, the city council:
• Heard from Langowski that the city’s skating rink was back open, though he noted, “The rink will look great for the rest of the week, but next week, when it gets into the 50s, it might be a different story.”
• Approved memorandums of understanding between Ely and the three unions representing its employees regarding the health insurance savings realized from changing the city’s insurance provider from Health Partners to Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS). The paperwork included in the agenda packet for the meeting noted, “For the first time in over a decade, another provider (BCBS) proposed a considerably less expensive plan with very similar coverage.”
• Approved the first reading of City Ordinance 375 2nd Series, which will add to the city code, section 2.66 provision to set up a housing trust fund. Langowski remarked, “This action is following the advice of the Minnesota Housing Partnership, who we have been working with, to set up a trust fund, which under Minnesota law, requires a city ordinance. From the levy, we currently have about $300,000 in the housing fund (to create a trust fund). It wouldn’t be available until this summer, but setting up a trust fund will allow us to maximize the money we can get from the state for housing projects in general.”
• Approved city and Ely Utilities Commission claims for payment for Feb. 20 for $411,811.
• Approved the payment of Invoice No. 461208 from SEH for work on the Prospector ATV Trail.
• Approved the employment agreement between Ely and the Ely Supervisors of Other then Essential Employees, effective Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, of this year.
• Approved a residential rehab loan application for Charlotte Ackerley for up to $10,000 at 226 E. Conan St. for an upgrade to a propane furnace pending proper paperwork and fees. The city council directed city attorney Kelly Klun to work with the applicant and proceed with the loan application.
• Approved Resolution 2024-010, to support the grant application from the Prospector ATV Club to the Dept. of Natural Resources’ Federal Recreational Trail Program to purchase trail maintenance equipment to maintain the Prospectors Loop Trail. Langowski explained that Ely’s support is necessary for the grant application since Ely is the fiscal agent for the funds used for the trail by the club.