7Minutes: August 3, 2023
Town of Iron River
Ad Hoc Housing Committee
Submitted by: Judy Gonzalez
Present: William Trautt, Karlan Williams, Chris Kopel, Joyce Ciembronowicz, Catherine Fleming, John
Rautio, Judy Gonzalez, Kelly Westlund
Call to order: The meeting was called to order at 6:13 p.m.Minutes: The minutes of the meeting of July
6, 2023, were reviewed and approved by unanimous vote (Rautio/Ciembronowicz) with the following
addition: naming of William Trautt as committee chair was approved verbally by Town Board Chair
Old Business. Review purpose of the committee: The life span of the committee is defined in the
Volunteer Job Description as 12 months. The geographic scope of the committee is stated to extend
beyond Iron River to include Delta, Oulu, Hughes, and Trip. However, the committee recognizes the
need to coordinate with the boards of those towns and will focus initially on Iron River. To brief board
members on actions under consideration, committee members/chair can meet with no more than two
supervisors at a time to comply with open meeting rules.
The description includes the statement “develop and implement” a plan to bring new housing. The ad
hoc committee, by definition, has no authority, and is subject to the Iron River Town Board’s decisions.
Therefore, the document should be amended to “develop and present” plans.
Trautt, as chair, will make quarterly reports to the full board. He stressed that any recommendation
come with revenue sources and anticipated cost of implementation
New Business: Westlund recently attended the “Home for All” conference in Osh Kosh. She has made
plans for information distribution at the upcoming Bayfield County Fair (Aug 10-13) in the exhibit hall.
Trautt recommended posting the hours the table will be staffed. Westlund noted that county funding
for a Housing Outreach intern who can help with the committee’s work and events has been posted.
Williams reported that a new energy efficient home in Duluth is being donated to a low-income family in
Ciembronowicz reported she handed out information on housing rehab at the recent Senior Dinner and
will attend next month and focus on providing handouts on energy assistance.
Gonzalez reported on ideas for communicating the committee’s work, beginning with an article in the
Connection announcing formation of the ad hoc citizens committee. She suggested focusing on
individual “markets” to ensure clear and concise information. Employers could be addressed in a
“Business After Hours” meeting. Landlords could be treated separately related to the committee’s work
and funding opportunities through Northwest Regional Housing Program (NRHP). The committee briefly
discussed whether home rehab should be treated separately, as distinct from the direction given in the
description document. No motions made. Other audiences include taxpayers and owners of blighted
property, with no interest/no payment funding available from NRHP.
Trautt and Westlund reported on a project in Ashland County for 50 units, from $300-$1100 per unit,
including both income-eligible and market rate units. The project received Low-Income Housing
Tax Credit (LIHTC) . The developer, Commonwealth Companies, is a nonprofit organization with
locations in St. Paul, MN, and Fond du Lac, WI. Trautt noted a plan in which developers can structure
to get investment back up front. Westlund noted a way developers can increase return by building
A 40-unit project is under consideration in Washburn. (Note: In an Aug 1, 2022, ADP article by
Danielle Kaeding it was reported that the County Board approved the plan to support development of
40-60 units on 10 acres adjacent to the county-run nursing home in Washburn. The county wanted a
developer to apply with WHEDA for housing tax credits.)
1. Trautt will send an email to all committee members, listing projects or “subcommittees” that
allow smaller groups to focus on a variety of aspects and refine our focus.
2. The committee approved by motion (Gonzalez/Williams) a plan for Westlund to move
forward with a WHEDA grant application due Aug. 11 to secure about $50K in funds to
purchase property. If approved in December. with a decision by the Town Board whether to
accept the funds. The grant will focus on a property near the Industrial Park, but changes in
the exact property can be made if the grant is approved. Application will not preclude
application to other entities but, if accepted, Iron River could not reapply in the following
year. The Town Board must approve the application at its Aug. 10 meeting before
3. Kopel will investigate a SharePoint workspace for the committee to archive documents and
work on projects.
4. Gonzalez will draft an article describing formation of the committee and its objectives..
Updates: Karlan Williams email address is email@example.com and Chris Kopel’s is
Adjourn: A motion to adjourn (Fleming/Westlund) was approved and the meeting adjourned at 7:46
Next Meeting: Thursday, Sept. 7, at 6 p.m. in the Community Center, Iron River