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The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 12th day of July, 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, Webster, Miller, Storck and Mayor Giese.  Also present was City Manager Hill, Finance Director Krosschell and Assistant City Attorney Economou.  Council member Carrington arrived at 5:17 p.m.

ADDITION TO AGENDA:  Mayor Giese added to the agenda an Application for Exempt permit from St. Mary's School. 

CITIZENíS COMMENTS:  None

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  None

READING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  6/28/11 Regular Meeting Minutes:  Council member Storck moved, seconded by Miller, to approve the 6/28/11 regular meeting minutes.  Motion carried.

6/28/11 Condensed Version Minutes:  Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Webster, to approve the 6/28/11 condensed version minutes.  Motion carried.

CONSENT AGENDA:  Mayor Giese removed the Audit of City Bills from the consent agenda.  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Webster, to authorize payment of the City bills dated July 12, 2011.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all voting in favor and Mayor Giese abstaining, motion carried.

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

         A.      June Transit Report

         B.      Revenue & Expenditure Report/Fund Summary

         C.      Application for Exempt Permit – Humane Society

         D.      Application for Exempt Permit – St. Mary's School

Motion carried.

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS:  MN Small Cities Development Program Grant and Resolution Accepting the Same:  The city received a small city's development grant in the amount of $362,420 for residential owner rehabilitation activities and the construction of five rental houses.  Mayor Giese asked about a program from years ago he thought was available to help to take down houses that were in poor condition.  Hill wasnít aware of anything like that but he would look into it.

Council member Webster moved, seconded by Miller, to adopt Resolution #3019-7-11, Resolution Accepting a Small Cities Development Program Grant.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Census Information:  The April 1, 2010 population estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau for the City of Morris is 5,286.

ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS:  Resolution Approving Plans and Specifications and Authorizing Advertising for Bids for the Pacific Avenue Improvement Project:  Jeff Kuhn of WSN was present at the meeting.  Kuhn explained the process for the structure of the road.  It is designed for the 10 ton vehicle traffic that goes by there.   

Miller stated he is concerned about access in the springtime since there are many farm related businesses along the project. Kuhn indicated he is relying on the city to see when they want to start.  Kuhn noted a provision could be put in the contract so that the contractor has to maintain access to businesses.  Kuhn stated this is not an oversized project and would take a month and a half to two months to complete.

Giese asked if anything different was being looked at with the outlet on Lake Crystal. Kuhn explained since the project is being done with federal monies they didn't want to look into that.  Hill stated city staff will talk with the DNR and see what can be done.  The city would like to put a pipe in there and cover it up.    

This resolution would call for bids to be opened on August 11th and be presented to the council at their August 23rd meeting.

Council member Miller moved, seconded by Storck, to adopt Resolution #3020-7-11, Resolution Approving Plans and Specifications and Authorizing Advertising for Bids for the Pacific Avenue Improvement Project.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

CITY MANAGERíS REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONS:  Motion to Change the Pacific Avenue Public Hearing Date:  Hill is recommending that the public hearing for the Pacific Avenue improvement project be held on the 23rd of August.  This will allow the council to add the storm sewer assessment to the eleven additional properties that they approved at their June 14th meeting.   

Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Webster, to change the date of the public hearing for the Pacific Avenue improvement project to August 23, 2011. 

Budget Guidance:  Hill explained the 2012 budget is very similar to the last budget.  The two key items are wages and insurance.  Hill stated he is recommending a wage freeze for 2012 and to try and bring the cityís insurance in line with the market and what other cities the same size as Morris are doing. 

Miller asked about the old elementary school property.  Hill suggested putting money aside to solicit proposals from developers.  Hill stated the city could possibly set up a TIF district with improvements being used to help pay for the site clearing. 

Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Storck, to approve the 2012 budget guidance.  Motion carried.

Resolution Indicating the City's Intent to Negotiate an Attorney Contract with Stevens County:  Hill indicated the county has been doing a lot of work looking for a county attorney and have found a lead candidate, Aaron Jordan, that they are looking at hiring.  Jordan is interested in coming to Morris but he would like a full time position.  Hill stated it would be a good fit for the cityís purposes to contract with the county to hire this person as the city attorney.  Hill recommended the cityís cost not exceed $35,000 for attorney services. 

Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Storck, to adopt Resolution #3021-7-11, Resolution Indicating the City's Intent to Negotiate an Attorney Contract with Stevens County.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Council member Storck moved, seconded by Webster, to authorize the services of Bill Watson as interim city attorney, as needed, at $105.00 an hour.  Motion carried.

Resolution Setting a Bid Opening for the 2011 Milling Overlay Projects:  Hill stated the bad news about this project is that it is more expensive than staff originally thought.  After talking with Jeff Kuhn of WSN it is estimated to cost between $400,000 and $700,000 for all of the projects on the list.  Kuhn indicated a disclaimer would be put on the bid provisions that the project is subject to the finances of the city.

Kuhn stated part of the project is a mill and overlay area on the southeast part of town, while over on East 8th and 9th Street it is called a bituminous reclaim.  One way the city could come back in line with the budget would be to cut those areas in half or just do one or the other, not both.  Kuhn stated city staff would get back together and reprioritize after the bids have been opened.   

Hill explained on the current project there are property owners along the block of East 8th from Columbia to Montana Avenue that are having sewer problems and the majority would like to petition the city to a new sewer put in.  Kuhn stated it is his understanding that the water in this area is okay. 

Webster asked if these projects would tap out the franchise fee fund.  Hill indicated it would but more funds come in every year.  Hill noted now there is a process and areas that need to be done have been identified.  In February or March the city will solicit bids for projects for 2012.

Webster wanted to make sure other areas of interest are represented such as trees.  Miller stated the franchise fee money is for roads that are neglected.  Webster asked if

that was spelled out somewhere.  Hill acknowledged there may be another area where that type of stuff should be coming from.   A good time to discuss this is when the budget is brought to the council.

Council member Storck moved, seconded by Miller, to adopt Resolution #3022-7-11, Resolution Setting a Bid Opening for the 2011 Milling Overlay Projects for Tuesday, August 9th.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

City Manager Report:  Hill indicated he has talked to Cindy Perkins from Community Ed and she has suggested that instead of having a joint meeting she will present a written report to the council on what community ed is doing.  Carrington suggested getting copies of the community ed minutes on an ongoing basis.

NEW BUSINESS:  Storck asked about the waterways on Birch Avenue and if they could be cut out and some hot mix put in there.  Hill indicated he has talked to Public Works Director Dittbenner about this. 

Mayor Giese stated the bleachers behind home plate at the Wells south ballfield should be looked at.  Storck stated he believes the city should quit renting out the bleachers because it's too hard on them.

OLD BUSINESS:  None

INFORMATIONAL ITEMS:  None   

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:21 p.m.

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