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MINUTES–MORRIS CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING –DECEMBER 13, 2011

The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 13th day of December, 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 Webster, Miller, Storck and Mayor Giese.  Council member Carrington was absent.   Also present was City Manager Hill, City Engineer/Surveyor/Inspector Fier, Police Chief Beauregard, Finance Director Krosschell, Fleet Manager Searle, Public Works Director Dittbenner and City Attorney Jordan. 

CITIZEN’S COMMENTS:  Presentation of Thomas B. McRoberts Human Rights Award:  The Human Rights Commission noted that they have changed the name of the award to the Thomas B. McRoberts Award.  This year's award was given to Eugene and Darlene Pasche. 

Becki Jordan, Chairperson of the Commission, presented the award to Pasche’s.  Pastor Jack Baumgarn of Zion Lutheran Church said a few words about the recipients and their outstanding service to church and other areas in this community and beyond. 

Paul McDonald:  McDonald was present at the meeting to let the council know about the Legion state tournament that is coming to Morris in 2015.  McDonald stated the Baseball Association is planning to raise enough funds to expand the press box and put a permanent roof on the grandstand, with the city’s permission.  McDonald indicated the city of Morris has never hosted a Legion state tournament before and it could be a big money maker for the city.  McDonald will keep the council up to date as things progress.

ADDITION TO AGENDA:  Mayor Giese added an Application for Exempt Permit from the MN Deer Hunter's Association to the agenda.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  None

READING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  11/22/11 Regular Meeting Minutes:  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Webster, to approve the 11/22/11 regular meeting minutes.  Motion carried.

11/22/11 Condensed Version Minutes:  Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Storck, to approve the 11/22/11 condensed version minutes.  Motion carried.

CONSENT AGENDA:  Mayor Giese removed the Audit of City Bills from the consent agenda.  Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Miller, to authorize payment of the City bills dated December 13, 2011.  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.      Raffle License Report

         B.      November Transit Report

         C.      Application for Exempt Permit – MN Deer Hunter's Association

Motion carried.

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS:  Gambling Report from 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 Approving a Special Assessment Deferral for Lloyd M. Plocker:  Hill explained city code allows property owners to apply for a special assessment deferral based on certain criteria. Hill stated some of the criteria in the code is outdated.  Hill recommended that based on the two applications the deferral be granted for each one.  The assessment does continue to accrue interest.

Council member Storck moved, seconded by Miller, to adopt Resolution #3046-12-11, Resolution Approving a Special Assessment Deferral for Lloyd M. Plocker.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Approving a Special Assessment Deferral for Stella E. Hill:  Council member Webster moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to adopt Resolution #3047-12-11, Resolution Approving a Special Assessment for Stella E. Hill.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Adopting Assessment for a Current Service:  This current service assessment is for lawn mowing charges at 102 South Oregon.  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Storck, to adopt Resolution #3048-12-11, Resolution Adopting Assessment for a Current Service.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Setting the Annual Pension Benefit for the Morris Fire Relief Association:  Hill is recommending that the annual pension benefit from the Relief Association be increased from $1,700 to $1,750.  The city did not make the additional $21,750 contribution to the relief association because of the major cuts received in LGA and the Market Value Homestead Credit.  The relief association had another good year with investments and their most recent report to the State of MN indicates that they did not need the money and no additional contribution is required by law for 2012.  Miller suggested that it be added to the resolution as to when the increase takes effect, which is January 1, 2012. 

Council member Miller moved, seconded by Storck, to adopt Resolution #3049-12-11, Resolution Setting the Annual Pension Benefit for the Morris Fire Relief Association at $1,750, with the addition of an effective date of January 1, 2012.   Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

CITY MANAGER’S REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONS:  Appointment to Library Board:

Mayor Giese appointed Julie Monroe to the Library Board to fill the unexpired term of John Amundson. 

Application for Appointment to WCI Economic Development District Board:

It was the consensus of the council that Council member Storck be appointed as Mayor Giese's replacement on the WCI Economic Development District Board.

 

Gas Leak Donation from Centerpoint Energy:  Hill informed the council that Centerpoint Energy presented the city with a check for $2,500 for everything they did to assist Centerpoint during the emergency gas leak this fall. 

Amendment to CGMC Bylaws:  Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Miller, to approve the amendment to the CGMC Bylaws.  Motion carried. 

2012 Licenses:  Council member Storck moved, seconded by Miller, to approve the 2012 license renewals as submitted.  Motion carried.

City Manager Report:  Hill explained that the water meter conversion is going well.  Meters were read on the east side of town and bills were printed.  Hill pointed out approximately 50 leaking meters have been identified and Finance Director Krosschell has drawn up a notice to go out to these properties. 

Hill indicated he is working on negotiations but believes he is close to an agreement and hopes to finalize things next week.  Health Partners Insurance has come in 35% less than what the city is paying now.  Hill stated he doesn’t want to finalize the budget until negotiations are completed.  Hill stated he believes there is a good offer on the table. 

Hill informed the council that preliminary estimates are around $900,000 for demolition of the old school and that doesn't include landfill costs or asbestos removal so it would   probably be closer to $1.4 million.  The vandalism is getting worse and city staff is spending a lot of time over there.   

Beauregard stated the second round of compliance checks were completed and Pizza Hut failed, which is their first ever violation.

NEW BUSINESS:  None

OLD BUSINESS:    None

INFORMATIONAL ITEMS:  None

BUDGET MEETING:  Hill stated the city is at the will of the state for the majority of its funding.  The 2011 levy is $1,251,465, which is the same as the 2010 levy.  The tax levy is made up of $618,231 from the general fund, $48,500 from the library fund and $584,734 for debt service. 

 

Hill indicated the market value of property in Morris has continually gone up, which is a good thing.  The 2011 market value is $222,267,500, which is a 1.3% increase over last year’s value of $219,496,400. 

Hill reviewed a list of revenue and expense considerations which include an elimination of the contribution to the Fire Relief Association, maintaining the workforce, a draw on liquor store reserves, using reserves to pay for the city’s share of Pacific Avenue and no increase in the utility rates.  Hill noted he would have a recommendation for the council towards the beginning of next year for a storm sewer utility.

The total city budget for 2012 is $9,673,103, while the 2011 budget was $8,461,221 for an increase of 14.3%.  Hill summarized a breakdown of the general fund budget.

The Capital Improvement Fund includes $440,000 of road work, the majority of which comes from franchise fees.  The capital outlay fund is budgeted at $309,500 for capital equipment purchases.  The various debt service funds of the city are budgeted at $584,734.

The public utility fund has projected revenues of $1,088,664 and expenses of $1,028,844 for a net income of $59,820.  Money from the liquor store will be used to buy down the pumper truck debt.

Hill explained for the future the city will continue to rely on state aid.  Health insurance rates have dropped considerably for the coming year.  The city will need to continue to invest in its infrastructure and the old elementary school will have to be dealt with. 

Council member Webster asked about the school building and if the county’s economic development was seeking out interested people.  Hill indicated the city’s bond consultant is looking to see if there is any interest.  Hill noted the market is not good for building right now.   A TIF district is an option but that only works if development occurs to pay the taxes.   

Webster asked if the parks budget came out of the general fund and if there was the ability to add a special project in there, such as something for the state tournament.  Webster stated the budget seems to maintain the parks but he considers them to be part of the main attraction for Morris.  Hill indicated it would not be a problem to add a project to the parks budget.

Hill stated the bottom line is that the city is holding their own on spending and taxes and will have to sit back and wait to see what the legislature does next year.  The savings in health insurance will give the city a little bit of flexibility for the coming year.  

Resolution Approving the Final 2011 Tax Levy for Collection in 2012:  Council member Webster moved, seconded by Miller, to adopt Resolution #3050-12-11, Resolution Approving the Final 2011 Tax Levy for Collection in 2012.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:43 p.m.

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