City Council  |  Contact the City  |  Home

MINUTES– MORRIS CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING–SEPTEMBER 11, 2012

The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 11th day of September, 2012, 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, Wilcox, Miller, Storck and Mayor Giese.  Also present was City Manager Hill, Finance Director Raasch, City Engineer/Surveyor/Inspector Fier, Police Chief Beauregard and City Attorney Jordan.

CITIZENíS COMMENTS: None

PUBLIC HEARINGSPublic Hearing on the Small Cities Development Grant:  Jodi DeKamp of the Stevens County HRA was present at the meeting to review the progress of the Small Cities Development Grant.  DeKamp stated the official start of the project was in the middle of the summer of 2011.  The goal of the grant was to rehabilitate 14 houses in Donnelly and Morris.  DeKamp indicated four homes have been completed with a fifth house being 95% completed.  Three of the five homes had a lead hazard correction made.  The grant will close in December of 2013.  There are currently another 45 households that have submitted applications to have home repairs so they are looking at the possibility of applying for another grant. 

Wilcox asked if there were any strings attached when receiving the grant.  DeKamp noted a grant recipient has to live in their house for seven years and if not the money must be repaid.  The grant is not pro-rated, a recipient would have to repay the whole thing if they move out.    

READING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES: 8/28/12 Regular Meeting Minutes:  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Storck, to approve the 8/28/12 regular meeting minutes.  Motion carried.

8/28/12 Condensed Version Minutes:  Council member Wilcox moved, seconded by Council member Carrington, to approve the 8/28/12 condensed version minutes.  Motion carried.

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

         A.      Audit of City Bills

         B.      Pay Estimate #3 – Pacific Avenue

         C.      Final Pay Estimate – East 8th, 9th & Arizona

         D.      August Transit Report

         E.       Application for Exempt Permit – Pheasants Forever

         F.       Application for Exempt Permit - UMM

Motion carried.

With regard to all of the street projects, City Engineer Fier stated everything went smooth and everything looks nice.

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS:  None

ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONSResolution Authorizing the Submission of an MPCA Beneficial Use Ethanol Set-Aside Grant Request for Proposal:  Hill stated these grants will try and help the DENCO II ethanol plant with regard to wastewater issues with their sanitary sewer and the reduction of groundwater with the production of ethanol.  This grant would give DENCO II some infrastructure to deal with the water.  In the end DENCO is going to use less out of the ground and put less into the waste stream. 

Currently, DENCO II can dump up to 60,000 gallons a day into the City's system.  DENCO estimates it takes about 6.5 gallons of water to make one gallon of ethanol.  The equipment purchased and installed as part of this grant will reduce that down to about 4.5 gallons.  City Engineer Fier noted what is discharged may be more concentrated but it will reduce the amount of ground water.

This grant would ultimately save anywhere from 25 to 30 jobs.  The grant is $1,000,000 and is only available to four ethanol plants in Minnesota.  Hill indicated he knows of two plants that aren't going to apply for the grant, so that leaves Morris and the City of Little Falls. 

Hill believes the grant will be split if there are two applicants.  The City would not be putting any money into this so the ethanol plant is willing to take on any costs that aren't funded by grants.  Hill stated staff from DENCO II and himself met with the governor on this issue.  In addition, DEED is willing to look at a grant to give the city the 50% match for the MPCA grant.  These resolutions are asking for permission for the city to apply for a grant through MPCA and DEED.   Hill noted the city would own any equipment but would have an agreement with DENCO that they will maintain it.        

The last resolution asks for a commitment from the city to enter into a grant agreement with MPCA if the grant is funded.  Hill again stated the importance of savings jobs because if the plant canít discharge their wastewater they will have to shut down. 

Council member Miller moved, seconded by Storck, to adopt Resolution #3098-9-12, Resolution Authorizing the Submission of an MPCA Beneficial Use Ethanol Set-Aside Grant Request for Proposal.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Authorizing the Submission of a DEED Business Development Infrastructure Grant Application:   Council member Carrington moved, seconded by Miller, to adopt Resolution #3099-9-12, Resolution Authorizing the Submission of a DEED Business Development Infrastructure Grant Application.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried. 

Resolution Enacting a Grant Contract with MPCA Under the Beneficial Use Ethanol Set-Aside Grant Request for Proposal:  Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Wilcox, to adopt Resolution #3100-9-12, Resolution Enacting a Grant Contract with MPCA Under the Beneficial Use Ethanol Set-Aside Grant Request for Proposal.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Calling for Preliminary Assessment Hearing for the West 9th, 10th & 11th Street Improvement Project:  Hill stated the construction project for 2013 is the West 9th, 10th and 11th Street project.  Hill indicated the financing for this project will be done through bonds.  Hill recommended a change when it comes to the assessment for pavement.  Hill stated based upon the language that is in the city code he believes the city should be assessing for pavement. 

Hill noted at the public hearing he will present more information on the pavement assessment.  Once the bids are returned the City will have a better idea of what the costs will be.  There will be an appraised value of the project available at the public hearing also.  Hill pointed out the Cityís assessments are really low compared to what other cities charge.  Hill explained that the code goes through the process of how to assess for projects and the water and sanitary sewer doesnít match up with how things are assessed so he is working on getting that updated.  Hill indicated he wants the ordinance to reflect what the city is doing and language that can be understood.

Fier pointed out that in these projects the city needs to assess at least 20% of the costs and typically assessments have been between 25 and 28%.  Hill added that in order to do a special assessment bond you have to have at least 20% of the value of the bond come from special assessments.  Hill stated nobody wants to pay for it but you have to have a road in front of your house to get some place.  The key time to make a decision as to how the assessment will proceed is when the bids are opened.  Hill indicated he believes there will be some good bids given that it is a big project. 

Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Storck, to adopt Resolution #3101-9-12, Resolution Calling for Preliminary Assessment Hearing for the West 9th, 10th & 11th Street Improvement Project and setting the hearing for 5:20 p.m. on October 23rd in the Council Chambers.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Deciding that an Environmental Impact Statement is Not Needed for the Morris Elementary School Demolition Project:  Hill stated this is the final step in the environmental assessment process, unless there is an appeal, which is not anticipated.  Hill attached a findings of fact for the council to review.  After the 30 day period for appeals the city is free to demolish the building without further action.  Hill anticipates the demolition will take place some time in 2013. 

Council member Wilcox moved, seconded by Miller, to adopt Resolution #3102-9-12, Resolution Deciding that an Environmental Impact Statement is Not Needed for the Morris Elementary School Demolition Project.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor and Council member Carrington abstaining, motion carried.

Resolution Approving a State of MN Joint Powers Agreement with the City of Morris on Behalf of Its Attorney and Police Department:  Police Chief Beauregard stated there are no real changes to the joint powers agreement which allows the city to work with the MN Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce.   

Resolution Approving a State of MN Joint Powers Agreement with the City of Morris on Behalf of Its Attorney and Police Department: (continued)

Council member Storck moved, seconded by Carrington, to adopt Resolution #3103-9-12, Resolution Approving a State of MN Joint Powers Agreement with the City of Morris on Behalf of Its Attorney and Police Department.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Approving the Preliminary 2012 Tax Levy for Collection in 2013:  City Manager Hill recommended that the council pass a resolution setting the tax levy at $1,338,484 and the budget at $9,166,666.  The tax levy results in an increase of 6.9% but Hill suspected it would be closer to 3-5% for the final budget. 

Hill stated one of the biggest issues with the budget was maintenance.  LGA is frozen at the same level as last year.  Storck asked why more was given to Community Ed and the Library and the Fire Relief Contribution was frozen.  Hill stated one amount is the contribution and one is the benefit.  Hill is recommending the benefit amount per year of service remain the same but the contribution is going up an additional $7,000, which is required by law.  A worksession will be held sometime in October to review everything in depth.

Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Miller, to adopt Resolution #3104-9-12, Resolution Approving the Preliminary 2012 Tax Levy for Collection in 2013.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Approving the Preliminary 2013 Budget for the City of Morris:  Council member Carrington moved, seconded by Wilcox, to adopt Resolution #3105-9-12, Resolution Approving the Preliminary 2013 Budget for the City of Morris.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

CITY MANAGERíS REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONSCity Manager Report:  This was informational for the council. 

Hill indicated he talked to the individual with the house that had the fire and the plan is to tear that down before winter.  Hill informed the council that at the next meeting he would be bringing a resolution to get authorization to remove some substandard items at one of the businesses downtown. 

Storck commented on the portion of the city manager report where it states that city staff doesnít have time to go around and police the town.  Storck stated he always thought it was part of the Public Works Directorís job.  Storck suggested that the transit drivers, the police department and public works write things down as they drive around town.  Storck stated everyone has to work together to make people come into town and say Morris is clean.  Storck indicated he feels there isnít that friendship with the staff and heís had that bad feeling his whole life.  Hill pointed out that the city doesnít send someone out once a week or once every other week to take a look at things.  Hill stated the city relies on citizens to see things and let staff know.  As soon as something is brought to staffís attention, action is taken.    

Motion to Revoke Residential Rental License:  Melanie Fohl of the Rental Registration Program has tried to get the fees paid for the rental at 208 East 9th Street.  Hill explained that the next step is to revoke the license.  City Attorney Jordan stated there is a whole process to go through and a lot of times once the tenants are notified they get in touch with the landlord to get things going.  The council was concerned about the tenants finding another place to live if it came to that.

Council member Storck moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to move to revoke the residential rental license for 208 East 9th Street.  Motion carried.

CGMC in Brief:  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 6:37 p.m.

Website Services by Iceberg.