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MINUTES      MORRIS CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING     MAY 24, 2011

The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 24th      day of May, 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   Miller, Storck and Mayor Giese.  Council members Carrington and Webster were absent.   Also present was City Manager Hill, Finance Director Krosschell, Police Chief Beauregard, City Attorney Glasrud and Public Works Director Dittbenner.

ADDITION TO AGENDA:  Mayor Giese added to the agenda an Application for Exempt Permit from Assumption Catholic Church under the Consent Agenda.

CITIZEN’S COMMENTS:  None

READING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  5/10/11 Regular Meeting Minutes:  Council member Storck moved, seconded by Miller, to approve the 5/10/11 regular meeting minutes.  Motion carried.

5/10/11 Condensed Version Minutes:  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to approve the 5/10/11 condensed version minutes.  Motion carried.

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

A.             Audit of City Bills

B.             Pay Estimate #1 – East 8th/9th/Arizona

C.            Pay Estimate #7 – East 2nd Street

D.            SCMC Administrative Report

E.             Gambling Reports

F.             Application for On Sale Liquor License

         G.      Revenue & Expenditure Report/Fund Summary

         H.      Planning Commission Minutes - 4/19/11

         I.       Application for Exempt Permit – MDHA

         J.       Application for Exempt Permit – Assumption Catholic Church

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 present voting in favor and Mayor Giese abstaining as an officer of the legion, motion carried. 

ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS:   Resolution Providing for the Issuance and Sale of $1,050,000 G.O. Improvement Bonds, Series 2011A:  Brian Reilly of Ehlers and Associates was present at the meeting to review the results of the bond sale.  Reilly stated three bids were received with the low bid coming from the local firm of Bremer Bank of Alexandria/Morris with an interest rate of 3.0076.

Reilly indicated a nice thing that happened with this bid is that Bremer has offered a par bid which means the approximate $13,000 for underwriting costs is essentially waived and these dollars can be moved into the construction costs to be available for the project.  Reilly stated if the money doesn’t get spent it would be put into the debt service for the bonds and used to buy down some of the levy over the next few years.  Reilly reviewed the city’s A1 rating from Moody’s Investors and the repayment schedule which will take place over the next fifteen years.

Council member Miller moved, seconded by Storck, to adopt Resolution #3001-5-11, Resolution Providing for the Issuance and Sale of $1,050,000 G.O. Improvement Bonds, Series 2011A.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  Public Hearing and 2nd Reading of Ordinance No. 87, An Ordinance Vacating a Portion of the Utility Easement in Block One of Riley's Skyview Estates:  Hill indicated two lots have been purchased from Don Sperr and the new owner would like to put a house in the middle of the lots and in order to do that a utility easement vacation must take place.  Hill stated Otter Tail Power had an electric line in there that has since been moved.  Glasrud noted it appears the easement is not needed so everything should be fine.  Mayor Giese suggested the portion of the ordinance that indicates a 4/5 vote of the council is needed should be removed since City Attorney Glasrud has determined that just a majority vote of the council members present is sufficient.

Council member Storck moved, seconded by Miller, to accept this as the second reading and approve Ordinance No. 87, An Ordinance Vacating a Portion of the Utility Easement in Block One of Riley’s Skyview Estates 1st Addition, with the above mentioned change.   Upon a roll call vote taken and Miller, Storck and Mayor Giese voting in favor and Council members Webster and Carrington absent, motion carried.

Resolution Accepting a Bid and Authorizing a Contract for the Automated Water Meter Reading System Project:  Hill stated the city had two companies that asked for specs for this project but the one company found they couldn’t comply with the specs having to do with the changing out of the batteries on the meters.  The only bid received for the project was from Ferguson Waterworks for $427,088.07.    

Kim Foster from Ferguson Waterworks and Ian Coburn from Neptune Meters were present at the meeting.  Foster stated they have a staff that will come to Morris and install the meters over a 60 day period.  This system will allow for the city to detect leaks much faster.  It is also possible the city may recoup some additional revenue from the replacement of old meters.  The city would also have the option to go to once a month billing instead of every two months, which Hill indicated staff is leaning towards.  This technology is capable of reading up to 10,000 meters in an 8 hour day, so based on that it should only take a couple of hours to do the whole town.  The quote the city received comes with a hand held device but there is an option to upgrade to a laptop. 

Police Chief Beauregard asked about the employees that will be going into the homes.  Foster stated they do extensive background checks on their employees and also get daily reports of what areas of town they have been to and where they will be going the next day.  All employee information would be submitted to the police department. 

Foster explained that the city would send out information about the process and ask people to call their office, which has Spanish speaking capabilities, or go online to schedule an appointment.  A total of three notices are sent out and after that the city will have to decide how they want to handle non-responsive customers, which Foster stated is usually about 5%.  One option is to terminate water service until the customer complies with the request.  The average time it takes to change out the meter is a half hour.  Foster noted they are not in the business of replacing valves and that is something the homeowner would have to line up on their own.   

Council member Storck moved, seconded by Miller, to adopt Resolution #3002-5-11, Resolution Accepting a Bid and Authorizing a Contract for the Automated Water Meter Reading System Project.  Upon a roll call vote taken and four voting in favor and Webster voting against, motion carried.

Resolution Approving an Assessing Agreement with Stevens County:  Hill explained the assessing fees have been frozen for the last two years and Stevens County is asking for a slight increase in the two year agreement with $26,000 for 2012 and $27,000 for 2013.   Don Gieselman is the licensed assessor the County contracts with and Hill believes the price is fair as he does a great job for the city. 

Council member Miller moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to adopt Resolution #3003-5-11, Resolution Approving an Assessing Agreement with Stevens County.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried. 

First Reading of Ordinance No. 88, An Ordinance Establishing a Zoning Map for the Orderly Annexation Area Outside the Morris City Limits:  Hill stated this area was basically given to the city for watching over back in 1978.  The area in question for the zoning map is the area between the red line of the city limits to the outer brown line on the proposed map.  Hill explained a couple of farmers to the west of town felt their farmland shouldn’t be in the Municipal Conservancy zone and the Planning Commission agreed so that change was made to Farm Residence.  Hill noted the commission is also working on zoning changes within the city limits and notice will be given to everyone for a public hearing that will be held sometime this fall.  Hill pointed out the city has no authority over University property.  There will also be a signature block added to the maps so they will officially be signed. 

Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Storck, to accept this as the first reading of Ordinance No. 88, An Ordinance Establishing a Zoning Map for the Orderly Annexation and to set the second reading and public hearing for 5:20 p.m. on June 14, 2011.  Motion carried.

CITY MANAGER’S REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONS:  Disposal of Excess Property – Transit Bus:  Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Miller, to authorize the sale of the 2000 transit bus.  Motion carried.

City Manager Report:  The legislature was discussed.  Hill suspected the state would shut down by the second week in July. 

Hill congratulated City Attorney Glasrud on his appointment as judge.  Glasrud noted that Assistant City Attorney Economou would continue until the city decides what they’re going to do.  Hill stated the city would wait to see how the county proceeds and believes they will make a decision sometime in June.

There has been continued vandalism at the old elementary school and Hill feels something needs to be done within the next couple of years.    

NEW BUSINESS:   Public Health Building:  With regard to the old public health building Hill doesn’t believe it will work for what the city needs.  Storck suggested the south side of the building be made into parking for transit buses and there is room in the back of the building for employee parking.  Storck feels the existing City Hall is a bunker and should be torn down for senior center parking.  Storck stated the public health building has a nice atmosphere and doesn’t see how the city could go wrong purchasing the building.  Hill indicated some of the issues are the lack of a conference room and space for an engineering office.   Hill stated they are asking $200,000 for the building and additional money would be needed for rearranging the outside and remodeling of the inside.  Hill stated it is not on the city’s agenda and there is no money for it.

Franchise Fee Money:  Storck asked about the $400,000 of franchise fee money and why streets are not getting fixed.  Storck stated on average is takes $14,000 to do a city block and a lot of blocks could be done for that amount of money.  Hill explained that in the past City Engineer Fier has overseen the road work and that process needs to be changed because Fier doesn’t have time to do it.  Hill stated another issue is whether or not the infrastructure needs to be done before a road is paved.  Considerable discussion was held on the condition of the roads in town.  It was the consensus of the council and staff that a meeting be held in the next few weeks to plan what needs to be done.

OLD BUSINESS:   None

INFORMATIONAL ITEMS:  None

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:40 p.m.

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