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MINUTES– MORRIS CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING–JANUARY 11, 2011

The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 11th day of January, 2011, 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, Miller, Storck and Mayor Giese.  Council member Webster was absent.  Also present was City Manager Hill, Finance Director Krosschell, Fleet Manager Searle, Police Chief Beauregard and City Attorney Glasrud.

CITIZEN’S COMMENTS:  None

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  DEED Application:  Jodi DeCamp and Alice Rasmussen from the Stevens County HRA were present at the meeting.  DeCamp explained they are proposing to submit a grant to the MN Department of Employment and Economic Development for the cities of Morris and Donnelly.  They are looking at rehabilitating 15 owner occupied houses in Morris and Donnelly, initially 10 in Morris and 5 in Donnelly. 

DeCamp stated this grant may also have money available for value gap financing to help a local business that is having difficulty finding rental housing for their employees.  This business is proposing to build up to 5 new rental houses, but would not receive any financing until the housing is completely built. DeCamp stated this is a good situation because it improves the neighborhoods and increases the tax base.  DeCamp indicated it is also very difficult to build rental properties and rent them to low income families and maintain a cash flow.

DeCamp stated Morris is the lead city for this program and this has been done in the past with the city of Hancock.  The applicants have to be counties or cities, but the HRA applies on the city’s behalf, with the HRA handling most of the details.

Giese asked who makes the decision on the applicants that apply.  DeCamp stated there are pre-applications to be filled out now that will be submitted with the application.  Those would be at the top of the list, after that it would be on a first come first serve basis.  There are income guidelines that have to be met as well.    

Resolution in Support of a Small Cities Development Program Project:  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Storck, to adopt Resolution #2972-1-11, Resolution in Support of a Small Cities Development Program Grant.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution to Approve a Cooperative Agreement By and Between the Cities of Morris and Donnelly:  Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Carrington, to adopt Resolution #2973-1-11, Resolution to Approve a Cooperative Agreement By and Between the Cities of Morris and Donnelly, Minnesota.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Citizen Partnership Plan for Morris and Donnelly MN Small Cities Development Program:  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Storck, to approve the citizens partnership plan for Morris and Donnelly Minnesota Small Cities Development Program.  Motion carried. 

READING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  1/4/11 Organizational Meeting Minutes:  Council member Carrington moved, seconded by Miller, to approve the 1/4/11 regular meeting minutes.  Motion carried.

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

         A.      Audit of City Bills

         B.      December Transit Report

         C.      Gambling Reports

Motion carried.

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS:  None

ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS:  Resolution Amending the City of Morris Employee Handbook:  Hill stated his plan is to present the council with a non-union policy but in the meantime there are a couple of things that need to be approved.  Hill pointed out health insurance now recognizes two separate levels of contribution.  The single coverage is frozen at the 2010 level of $855 per month and family coverage increases to $966 per month.  The severance language will continue through December of this year.  Hill stated he is a firm believer in that things should be written the way they are going to work.   

Miller questioned whether or not everyone that receives a clothing allowance wears a uniform.  Hill stated public works uses the allowance for things like reflective coats and steel toed safety boots.  Hill stated there are obvious positions where you need safety clothes because of the job you have.  Storck pointed out that some of the highest paid people are the ones getting a clothing allowance.  Hill stated there may be times it is in the best interest of the city to have a shirt with a logo on it, such as the liquor store employees.  Hill indicated part of the discussions at negotiations has been what the clothing allowance is being used for.  Hill noted the city can't be buying clothing when there are services that need to be paid for.

Council member Carrington moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to adopt Resolution #2974-1-11, Resolution Amending the City of Morris Employee Handbook.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Authorizing the Submission of the 2011 Pay Equity Report:  Hill explained that pay equity is a mandate by the State of Minnesota to look at positions and make sure that female dominated positions are not underpaid.  Hill stated the city has no issues with underpayment of female positions. 

Council member Miller moved, seconded by Storck, to adopt Resolution #2975-1-11, Resolution Authorizing the Submission of the 2011 Pay Equity Report.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Renewing Engineering Agreement with WSN for 2011:  Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Carrington, to adopt Resolution #2976-1-11, Resolution Renewing Engineering Agreement with WSN for 2011.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Ordering the Plans and Specifications for the Pacific Avenue Improvement Project:  Hill stated this is a very interesting project that evolved because of a problem the city had with the storm sewer.  In the meantime, the federal government had some money become available through the STIP program and Pacific Avenue from County Road 22 to West 7th Street is eligible for these funds.  This would be similar to what happened with the airport project in that the city would have to front the engineering money prior to reimbursement.  In addition, City Engineer Fier and WSN have recommended the sanitary sewer be redone in this area.  The STIP money would pay for storm sewer (as long as it is within what the STIP program allows), along with the road.  Hill indicated there are no water issues on this project, but it makes no sense to leave the sanitary sewer undone if the road is torn up.  Hill noted this may be the breather the city needs so it doesn’t have to finance another project.

Council member Miller moved, seconded by Storck, to adopt Resolution #2977-1-11, Resolution Ordering the Plans and Specifications for the Pacific Avenue Improvement Project.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Approving a Policy Statement for the City of Morris Revolving Loan Fund:

Hill stated the city has two revolving loan funds that aren't really doing anything so SCEIC Director Michael Haynes asked that the policy be revised to include the renovation of store fronts and a gap financing program.  The council questioned the difference in interest rates between the two programs, as the store renovation is at 1% and the gap financing is at 3%.  Hill noted the city does not want to be in competition with the banks.  Hill feels the storefront renovation program probably wouldn’t be utilized unless there's a little more incentive.

Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Carrington, to adopt Resolution #2978-1-11, Resolution Approving a Policy Statement for the City of Morris Revolving Loan Fund.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

CITY MANAGER’S REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONS:  Scheduling of Board of Review for 4/7/11:  Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Miller, to schedule the Board of Review for Thursday, April 7th at 5:15 p.m.  Motion carried.        

City Manager Report:  This was informational for the council.

Snow removal tickets were discussed and whether or not the current system works.  Police Chief Beauregard stated overall there has only been around 40 tickets and tows issued with all the snow alerts. 

With regard to the Neil Simonson claim, Hill stated he does not believe anything the city did created a problem but Simonson has filed a claim with the city’s insurance and they will make a determination.

NEW BUSINESS:  None

OLD BUSINESS:  None

INFORMATIONAL ITEMS:  None

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:17 p.m.

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