MINUTES– MORRIS CITY COUNCIL
REGULAR MEETING–DECEMBER 14, 2010
The regular meeting of the
Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 14th day
of December, 2010, by Mayor Giese in the Council Chambers of the Morris Senior
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE: The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
ROLL CALL: Roll call was taken with the following
members present: Council
member Carrington, Miller,
Storck and Mayor Giese. Council
member Webster was absent. Also
present was City Manager Hill, Finance Director Krosschell, Fleet Manager
Searle, Public Works Director Dittbenner and City Attorney Glasrud.
CITIZEN’S COMMENTS: Presentation of Human Rights
Commission Award: Ann Streed,
Becki Dingman and Brady Jansen of the Human Rights Commission presented the HRC
Award to Argie Manolis, who was nominated by Andrew Israels.
PUBLIC HEARINGS: East 2nd Street
Improvement Hearing and Resolution Adopting Assessments in Conjunction with the
East 2nd Street Improvement Project: Mayor Giese opened the public hearing at 5:20 p.m.
City Manager Hill stated
this public hearing is for presenting the final assessment values for the East
2nd Street project.
Hill explained anyone receiving an assessment was sent a letter. Anyone has the right to object to an
assessment, however, written notice must be given. Hill indicated the project started a little late but got
done right at the end. There are
still some things that have to happen next spring with some landscaping and
final paving. Hill stated one
written objection was received, which leaves the possibility of appeal
City Engineer Fier thanked
everyone for their cooperation. Fier
explained there are five parts to the assessment and they are curb &
gutter, storm sewer, sidewalk, sanitary sewer and water. Fier reviewed how each item was
calculated. There are four
properties on the project whose watermain connects into the alley. The city anticipates abandoning that
12” watermain, so at a certain point these properties will have to hook into
the East 2nd Street line.
At the time they do hook in and the curb stop is turned on they will be
assessed. The property owners
include Dave Evenson, John & Deb Leutmer (2 properties) and Timothy Bartram
& Ursula Mentges. The University ended up paying over $245,000 for this
Rod Koehler, who lives at
the corner of 2nd Street and Montana, noted the contractor knocked some
curb out in front of his house and that still hasn't been fixed. Fier stated he would make sure it got done
in the spring.
Hill noted that next
spring City Engineer Fier will go back and check the work to see if anything
has cracked over the winter and needs to be replaced, as there is warranty on
the work. Hill stated the city knows
that the concrete got poured late so that will be watched closely. If the assessment is adopted tonight, a
follow up letter will be sent outlining the payment options.
Jerry Wright, representing
Lutheran Campus Ministry, asked about the repair to their sprinkler system. Fier indicated that would also be fixed
in the spring. Fier stated the
boulevards would be seeded and fertilized in the spring as well.
Neil Simonson, 302 East 2nd
Street, stated he does not want to, but feels he needs to file an objection to
the assessment due to the fact that prior to the project he had a dry basement
and now he has water seepage in the basement. Simonson asked if the city could check the chlorine content
of the water to see where it's coming from. Simonson stated he has no other recourse because there is no
explanation other than something that went awry or amiss on this project. Simonson stated his hope is that he can
convince the city’s great project engineer and great engineering firm to have a
look at this and see what went awry.
Hill stated there are two parts
to the written objection, the first is to the water problem in the basement and
the other is to the value of the assessment. Hill explained one of the things the city has done on the
past few projects is hired an appraiser to pre-appraise the value of an
assessment project. The appraisal
on this project came out ahead of the project cost, because the bid ended up
being even lower than anticipated.
Simonson clarified that
what he was referring to was the fact that having water in the basement would
decrease the value of the assessment, not increase it. Simonson stated he has also put notice
of claim into the city’s insurance company.
Hill recommended, with
City Attorney Glasrud’s approval, that the council adopt the assessment. Simonson would then have 30 days in
which to appeal to district court.
Hill stated the last objection to an assessment was actually mediated
before it went to district court.
Fier stated if it is the
city’s problem it would be remedied one way or another. Fier noted it may be harder to figure
out now that it’s winter. Simonson
indicated he heard from an anonymous source that the drainage equation from
certain lots changes during a project.
Fier explained that usually the sewage and water follows it's way out to
the street. The service line was
put in up to the curb stop which is all imbedded in rock and gravel. Fier acknowledged this is an unusual
thing but staff would continue to look into it.
Council member Storck
moved, seconded by Miller, to adopt Resolution #2961-12-10, Resolution Adopting
Assessments in Conjunction with the East 2nd Street Improvement
Project. Upon a roll call vote
taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.
READING AND APPROVAL OF
MINUTES: 11/23/10 Regular
Meeting Minutes: Council
member Miller moved, seconded by Storck, to approve the 11/23/10 regular
meeting minutes. Motion carried.
Version: Council member
Carrington moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to approve the 11/23/10 condensed
version minutes. Motion carried.
CONSENT AGENDA: Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council
member Miller, to approve the consent agenda which included the following
A. Audit of City
B. Pay Estimate #6 –
East 2nd Street
C. November Transit
D. Raffle License
PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND
Application from American Legion:
Council member Storck moved, seconded by Miller, to accept the gambling
application from the American Legion.
Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor and Mayor
Giese abstaining, motion carried.
Increasing Sewer and Water Utility Rates for 2011: Council member Storck moved, seconded
by Mayor Giese, to adopt Resolution #2962-12-10, Resolution Increasing Sewer
and Water Utility Rates for 2011, increasing rates by approximately 3%. Upon a roll call vote taken and all
present voting in favor, motion carried.
Resolution Setting Fees
and Charges: Hill stated one
of the overall things taken into consideration in looking at fees is that it takes
a considerable amount of time to do things. Hill explained the city revenue sources are limited to the
tax levy and LGA so the city is getting to a point where it has to look at what
it’s providing for services.
Hill stated one of the
first things looked at was the building fees, because this year the city is not
going to make enough to even pay for the building inspector. The water turn off and on fee for delinquency
was increased to $25 each, but a new customer is not charged to have water
turned on. Dog licenses were increased to $5. Another item that was discussed is the
water/sewer connection fee. Hill indicated
the new fee schedule will have a connection fee for sewer that is the rolling
average of what it costs to put in the infrastructure to support the unit, which
the council knows from this meeting is very expensive. This year that cost is approximately
$2,200, which is a big change from $275.
Storck stated, as he has
in the past, that he doesn’t think it’s right to charge people for building
permits for things like shingling or siding when they’re just trying to make
their house look better. Storck
asked that the city crew follow up on excavation permits and make sure the gas
company is doing what they’re supposed to.
Hill stated in order for
someone to move a house into town now they need to have a moving permit and pay
Council member Miller
moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to adopt Resolution #2963-12-10, Resolution
Setting Fees and Charges. Upon a
roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.
the Installation of a Computer Read Utility Meter System: Hill stated city staff has been looking
into a computer read meter system.
This would allow the city to bill on a monthly basis and to catch up and
make bills current. The process would
be to go ahead and install about 100 of these units and do a test to train
people on how it's going to work.
Direct deposit would also be available with this system. The cost of the system is $370,000,
which does not include installation.
Glasrud questioned the bid
law with this purchase. Hill
indicated the meters are purchased separately, which the city is buying on a
continuous basis. The system
itself is less than $100,000, along with some additional software that is
needed. The money to purchase the
system would come from within the utility fund and the city would gain about
two months worth of usage in the first 4-6 months to help offset the cost.
discussion, it was the consensus of the council that this is a good purchase
but to table the item so City Attorney Glasrud could advise on the bid law aspect.
Council member Miller
moved, seconded by Storck, to table Resolution Authorizing the Installation of
a Computer Read Utility Meter System.
Resolution Approving an
Amendment to a Ground Lease Agreement and Approving a Wind Facilities Ground
Lease and Easement Agreement with UMM: Hill explained there are two agreements, the first being an
amendment to the ground lease agreement and the second a wind facilities ground
lease and easement agreement. The city
has a current ground lease agreement to lease PDT land to WCROC for their
scenic overlook. An amendment to
that would also allow the placement of a wind turbine on a corner of PDT Park that
wasn't originally part of the ground lease.
Glasrud explained if
anyone would have a claim against the turbine it would be the University’s
responsibility. There would be a
one time payment of $3,000 from the University for the land. Glasrud suggested the council approve these
agreements, subject to the specifics being worked out between the attorneys.
Council member Miller
moved, seconded by Storck, to adopt Resolution #2964-12-10, Resolution
Approving an Amendment to a Ground Lease Agreement and Approving a Wind
Facilities Ground Lease and Easements Agreement with UMM, subject to City
Attorney’s approval of contract language.
Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion
BUDGET PRESENTATION: Hill stated one change with regard to the
Library Fund budget is that the city is required by State Statute to provide a
minimum amount of funding to the library and for 2011 that amount is $277,328. Hill noted if there is a cut in state
aid, the library is the only operation that is guaranteed funding.
The levy for 2010 is
$1,251,465, which is 5% over last year.
This includes a new debt levy of $100,000 for the East 2nd
Street project. Market values are
estimated at $220,129,800, which is about a 1% increase. The 2011 tax rate is 52.217%, which is
an increase of 6.286%.
Hill reviewed a list of revenue
and expense considerations as follows:
wages should be frozen for 2011 and probably 2012; LGA will be cut by
the legislature, law enforcement center rent is up $10,000 because of the new
building; fuel costs continue to fluctuate; market value of property is
continuing to rise; all street signs need to be replaced; infrastructure needs
continue to use resources; the workforce should stay the same; insurance rates
continue to rise, especially workers compensation; provision of $150,000 to the
capital outlay fund for equipment; estimate of aid to be cut between 8% and
16%; freeze all capital equipment purchases; limit all travel expenses; update
of fee schedule to help recovery costs; raise utility rates by 3%.
The 2011 proposed budget
is $8,466,442, which is a total budget decrease of .18%.
Council member Miller
moved, seconded by Storck, to adopt Resolution #2965-12-10, Resolution
Approving the Final 2010 Tax Levy for Collection in 2011. Upon a roll call vote taken and all
present voting in favor, motion carried.
Mayor Giese moved,
seconded by Carrington, to adopt Resolution #2966-12-10, Resolution Adopting
the Final 2011 Budget for the City of Morris. Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor,
CITY MANAGER’S REPORTS
& RECOMMENDATIONS: 2011
Licenses: Council member
Miller moved, seconded by Storck, to approve the 2011 licenses as submitted.
Appointing Morris Sun
Tribune as Official Publication:
Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Storck, to appoint the
Morris Sun Tribune as the official publication for the City of Morris. Motion carried.
City Manager Report: This was informational for the council.
NEW BUSINESS: None
OLD BUSINESS: None
INFORMATIONAL ITEMS: None
ADJOURNMENT: There being no further business, Mayor
Giese adjourned the meeting at 7:15 p.m.