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MINUTES–MORRIS CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING–OCTOBER 26, 2010

The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 26th   day of October, 2010, by Mayor Giese in the Council Chambers of the Morris Senior Citizens/Community Center.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE:  The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

ROLL CALL:  Roll call was taken with the following members present:  Council member   Carrington, Webster, Miller, Storck and Mayor Giese.  Also present was City Manager Hill, Finance Director Krosschell, Public Works Director Dittbenner, Fleet Manager Searle, Police Chief Beauregard, City Engineer/Surveyor/Inspector Fier and City Attorney Glasrud.

CITIZEN'S COMMENTS:  None

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  Public Hearing on East 8th & 9th Street and Arizona Avenue Improvement Project:  Notice of the public hearing was provided to all property owners and published noticed was also given.  Hill explained if the council decides tonight to continue with this project they will pass a resolution for plans and specs to be drawn up.  The council will then look those over and decide if they want to call for bids.  Hill indicated they will be looking to do that in March, with the project starting in the middle of May.  There are two hearings that the public is involved with, the preliminary hearing tonight and the assessment hearing, which would probably be held in November of next year.

Jeff Kuhn of WSN was present at the meeting and stated the project consists of the reconstruction of East 8th Street from Columbia over to College Avenue, East 9th Street from Columbia to Arizona Avenue & Arizona from East 9th to 7th Street.  The street conditions are old, the sewer and water is beyond the useful life and there are depth issues from some of the individual homes in the area.  The sewer flow currently goes over to a lift station on Columbia Avenue but city staff is looking at rerouting the sewer to a lift station on Iowa Avenue to gain some additional depth.  There will be new 8” sewer and water mains.  Storm sewer is a smaller portion of the project but there are some minor improvements needed.  Currently the street width is right around 37', and it will be similar or just a little bit narrower. 

As far as costs, Kuhn estimated the project cost to be $1.5 million of which the sanitary sewer is $244,000, water $210,000 and storm sewer at $60,000.  The city pays for 25% of the sanitary sewer and watermain costs.  The estimated unit assessment cost for individual property owners is $2,800 for sewer, $2,400 for water, $1,300 for sidewalk (which is based on $5.20 a square foot) curb & gutter of $570 (based on a 50 ft lot), storm sewer between $500-$600 for a total of $7,650.  Kuhn stated in the last few years there have been some great bids on projects that have come in quite a bit under the estimate. 

Hill explained that some people along East 7th Street received a notice because the storm sewer area might affect some of the properties along there, but it should be minimal. 

Melissa Sax asked if a property would be assessed again if they were already assessed along 8th Street for storm sewer that had previously been fixed. Kuhn stated probably not if the property drains away from the storm sewer area, but he didn't want to rule it out.  Sax asked if the water and sewer systems were functioning okay.  Kuhn explained there have been a lot of issues with the sanitary sewer and the water is an older system that needs to be updated before the road is done.  Fier added that the current system is too small and undersized.  Sax also asked if a property would have sidewalks put in if they didn't currently have sidewalks.  Kuhn indicated that at this time there are no plans to add additional sidewalks unless property owners want them.    

Sid Wilcox stated he has a property on the corner of Arizona and East 7th Street and was concerned that some of this stuff should be put on hold for a couple of years.  Wilcox stated he, and maybe some others along the project, are on social security and that has been frozen for two years.  Currently his property taxes are $2,800 and with the school levy and new courthouse, taxes are already going up.  Wilcox stated his home on the corner of East 3rd & Columbia has already been charged for all the drainage to the East and Wilcox figured he would be charged for his drainage that goes to the south for the East 2nd Street project.  Wilcox suspected the city's budget would not stay the same so another 5% could be added.  Wilcox estimated all these things would put his taxes at around $4,200.  Wilcox suggested the council think about finding some additional revenue or putting a hold on some of these projects because right now it seems like spending is a little out of whack. 

Scott Heinrich stated he didn't see the video for 8th Street but he did for 9th Street and the person that ran a demo of the camera equipment said it was some of the most prestine sewer he'd ever seen.  Heinrich stated he didn't see how waiting a year or two could hurt.  Storck indicated some of the water and sewer is 50-60 years old.  When it plugs up and fills a basement then it's the city's fault.  Storck stated somewhere along the way everyone has to have a new road.  Storck noted other tax payers are paying for a portion of the project because the city picks up part of the cost.  

Heinrich referenced the letter he received and asked what the unaccounted $768,000 of project costs was for.  Hill explained that amount is the actual cost of building the road, including the base underneath, and is borne by the entire city.  Heinrich expressed his disgust with the contractor on East 2nd Street and did not believe they were doing a good job on the road work.  Heinrich stated he pities the contractor that gets the 9th Street job because he will ride them like a diaper on a baby.  Beth Heinrich stated the city of Donnelly is the perfect example of poor work because their streets are only two years old and are already cracked.  Council member Miller stated they didn't do much of a rebuild of the roads in Donnelly. 

Miller agreed that times are tough but projects have been coming in at a good price.  Miller stated he feels the city should move ahead and see what kind of bids come in.

Fier added, the other thing with this project that Kuhn touched upon is that everything now goes into the Columbia Avenue lift station.  This project would eventually allow the city to eliminate that lift station and cause less overloading in a residential part of town. 

Wilcox asked how much money comes from the taxes on utilities.  Hill stated a couple hundred thousand comes in from franchise fees but is used for road maintenance such as overlays and seal coats.

Sax asked if the curb & gutter would be replaced even if it was in good condition.  Kuhn stated City Engineer Fier has been a strong advocate to not replace it if it doesn't need it.  However, there are some situations where the grades don't always work out. 

Fier indicated an advantage is that 4” drain tile will be put in behind the curb so property owners can hook up their sump pumps if they want. 

Hill explained that it would make no sense to redo the sewer and not redo the water at the same time.  The whole goal of a project is to make sure a road is built that's going to be there for a long time.  These projects are picked based upon the issues in the neighborhood.  In this area there are sewer issues and the road and infrastructure is bad.  There are projects on the table for the next five years for things that can't be put off.  Hill stated the irony is that it probably isn't the best time to add any cost to the taxpayer, but it's the best time to get a contractor and the bond market is very good for borrowing money.  Hill pointed out the city also hires an appraiser to evaluate the value of the project and the estimation is that this project will add between $8,000 and $12,000 of value to a property.   

Mayor Giese closed the public hearing at 5:50 p.m. and brought the matter back to the council for action.  It was the consensus of the council that there have been problems in this area and to at least see what the bids come in at. 

Council member Storck moved, seconded by Miller, to adopt Resolution #2953-10-10, Resolution Ordering the Plans and Specifications for the East 8th & 9th Street and Arizona Avenue Improvement Project.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

READING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  10/12/10 Regular Meeting Minutes:  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Webster, to approve the 10/12/10 regular meeting minutes.  Motion carried.

10/12/10 Condensed Version Minutes:  Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Storck, to approve the 10/12/10 condensed version minutes.  Motion carried.

CONSENT AGENDA:  Mayor Giese removed the Audit of the City bills from the consent agenda.  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Carrington, to authorize payment of the City bills dated October 26, 2010.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor and Council member Storck abstaining, motion carried.

Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Webster, to approve the consent agenda, which included the following items:

A.             SCMC Administrative Report

B.             Gambling Report

C.            Application for Exempt Permit

D.            Application to Conduct Off Site Gambling

E.       Planning Commission Minutes, 9/21/10

         F.       Revenue & Expenditure Report

         G.      Library Board Minutes, 9/27/10

Motion carried.

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS:  Gambling Report – American Legion:    Council member Miller moved, seconded by Storck, to accept the gambling report from the American Legion.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all voting in favor and Mayor Giese abstaining, motion carried.

ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS:  Resolution Directing the Distribution of Parking Fines and Other Petty Misdemeanor Fines Between the City of Morris, UMM and Court Administration:  Hill stated it is his understanding that there has been an audit of the court and they need to have documentation of how things are being paid.  Hill indicated this is more of a housekeeping item to verify what is currently being done.

Council member Webster moved, seconded by Carrington, to adopt Resolution #2954-10-10, Resolution Directing the Distribution of Parking Fines and Other Petty Misdemeanor and Misdemeanor Fines Between the City of Morris, UMM and Court Administration.  Upon a roll call vote take and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

CITY MANAGER'S REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONS:  Scheduling of Budget Worksession:  Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Miller, to schedule a budget worksession on Monday, November 8th at 5:00 p.m. in the council chambers. 

Scheduling of Canvassing Board:  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Council member Webster, to hold the canvassing board meeting at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, November 8th, with the budget worksession to follow.  Motion carried.

Information on School Levy:  This was informational for the council.

City Manager Report:  Hill thanked Jim Beauregard, all the law enforcement agencies, UMM and everyone that was involved with the anhydrous leak.  Hill indicated it was amazing to see all the things that happened in a short amount of time.        

With regard to East 2nd Street City Engineer Fier stated things should be finished if they get 3-4 good days of weather.  Fier indicated he hopes a project will never start this late.  Fier noted he is quite happy with the project, but they struggled in the beginning with the University area because there were no records. 

Storck noted he feels this project is a bigger mess compared to the Highland Homes Addition.  Kuhn stated it all comes down to timing with subcontractors.  Fier explained that Koehl did a lot of the work and had more people on Highland Homes, where East 2nd Street has more contractors to try and coordinate.  Fier stated Central Specialties has been extremely difficult to work with. 

NEW BUSINESS:  Mayor Giese appointed Tim Dudding to the library board to fill the vacancy left by Steve Dudding.

OLD BUSINESS:  The access channel was discussed and the need for a new, updated system. 

INFORMATIONAL ITEMS:  None

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:20 p.m.

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