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MINUTES  – MORRIS CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING–OCTOBER 9, 2012

The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 9th day of October, 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, Storck and Mayor Giese.  Council member Miller was absent.  Also present was City Manager Hill, City Engineer/Surveyor/Inspector Fier, Police Chief Beauregard, Fleet Manager Searle and City Attorney Jordan.

CITIZENíS COMMENTS: None

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  None

READING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES: 9/25/12 Regular Meeting Minutes:  Council member Storck moved, seconded by Wilcox, to approve the 9/25/12 regular meeting minutes.  Motion carried.

9/25/12 Condensed Version Minutes:  Council member Wilcox moved, seconded by Council member Carrington, to approve the 9/25/12 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.      September Transit Report

Motion carried.

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS:  Motion to Accept MN Firefighter Grant:  Hill explained this grant is for expenses for a two day training being put on by a fire chief from New York.  There is no local match required.  Council member Storck moved, seconded by Carrington, to accept the grant from the Minnesota Board of Firefighter Training and Education.  Motion carried. 

ADDITION TO AGENDA:  Mayor Giese added to the agenda A Resolution Declaring Costs to be Assessed, Terms for Repayment and Setting the Final Assessment Hearing for the Pacific Avenue Improvement Project. 

ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS:  Resolution Approving a Memorandum of Understanding with AFSCME Union Local 2022, General Unit:  City Manager Hill explained this was an oversight and should have been included in the original agreement with the AFSCME general unit.  This was already corrected in the public works union agreement.

Council member Storck moved, seconded by Wilcox, to adopt Resolution #3109-10-12, Resolution Approving a Memorandum of Understanding with AFSCME Union Local 2022, General Unit.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Appointing Election Judges for the State General Election November 6, 2012:   Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Storck, to adopt Resolution #3110-10-12, Resolution Appointing Election Judges for the State General Election November 6, 2012.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Declaring Costs to be Assessed, Terms for Repayment and Setting the Final Assessment Hearing for the Pacific Avenue Improvement Project:  Hill indicated this project was a federal and state project on Pacific Avenue from County Road 22 to West 5th Street.  The total cost of the improvement was $539,425 with $520,685 being paid by the city and the total assessable cost at $18,740.  Hill noted there were so few hook ups so they used a rolling average for assessments.  The assessment hearing is scheduled for November 13th.  The cityís portion of the project will be funded internally but the interest rate was kept consistent with other projects at 5%.   

Council member Carrington moved, seconded by Storck, to adopt Resolution #3111-10-12, Resolution Declaring Costs to be Assessed, Terms for Repayment and Setting the Final Assessment Hearing for the Pacific Avenue Improvement Project for November 13th at 5:20 p.m.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

CITY MANAGERíS REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONS:  Public Improvement Code Update:  Hill stated he is not asking the council to take action on this issue right now.  Hill indicated there is a public hearing coming up at the next meeting and the assessment process will be discussed.  Hill stated the biggest thing is that the city needs to start assessing for pavement because it can't afford not to.  Hill explained in some cases the city is not doing improvements because there is no money. 

Hill pointed out there is a lot of tax exempt property and they are still the beneficiary of the roads.  Hill stated Morris is one of the very few cities that doesnít assess for pavement.  Hill indicated that as he looked through the improvement code one of the things he noticed is that the code says the city should be assessing 100% for pavement.  Hill wondered at what point in time the city deviated from what the code actually says because it was that way before City Engineer Fier was here.  Hill indicated that he would like the code written the way it is actually being used.  Hill noted the council does have some leeway to deviate from what's written in the code but it needs to be spelled out as to why the council would deviate.  The wrong terminology is also being used in several places.    

Terms such as renewing, resurfacing, sealcoating and milling were discussed.  A new term that was added last year was reclaiming, which is the process of grinding up the entire road surface to save the road. 

Hill stated at the public hearing next month the face value of the assessments are going to look high.  At that time the city will also have a letter from an appraiser saying what the benefit may be worth.  Hill suggested the key time to make adjustments is when bids come in but typically bids have been coming in almost 30% less.  Hill noted if bids are high there is always the option of doing a rolling average to try and determine what the city may want to assess.  This can also be done at the final assessment time. 

Hill stated there is a definite benefit to property owners.  Hill stated if someone is trying to sell their house, they need to take into consideration the value of the project at the time the listing price is set.  Hill indicated the roads on West 8th, 9th and 10th are falling apart and anyone that is trying to sell a house in that area has to be dealing with that.

Hill noted the public improvement code is something the city needs to have at its fingertips as it goes through the next project.  Hill noted in this new draft the language for assessing water and sewer was changed to how it is actually done. 

The street light portion was completely taken out of the document because the city doesnít do anything with them.  Hill pointed out every time a project is done the council should look at sidewalks and where they want them. 

Fier stated the city needs to designate which are collector, arterial and local streets and then decide on a width.  When trying to come up with standards parking and snow removal need to be taken into consideration.  If streets are made wider it takes that much more to maintain.    

Storck suggested not having any parking on streets from November 1st to March 1st. Hill pointed out the emergency system that is in place has eliminated a lot of those problems.    

Hill indicated if a property owner disputes an assessment there is a legal process they have to follow.  Hill explained that as a City people need to understand that having a street with a good water system, sidewalk, curb and gutter, etc. does have value.  In other cities they're assessing $15,000 to $20,000 for a new road. 

Storck asked if the load limits on the roads were being patrolled and Police Chief Beauregard stated they work with MN DOT and enforce that very regularly 

Hill stated the council will be asked to approve this sometime next year.

DEED Small Cities Development Program Owner Occupied Housing Rehab:  Council member Storck moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to authorize the Stevens County HRA to apply for a SCDP grant to do some additional owner occupied housing rehab. Motion carried. 

City Manager Report:  Hill noted it appears Morris Floral is doing some work on their property themselves.  The city will begin their work on the property on November 1st.

Hill pointed out there were some arson problems at the old elementary school but the fires went out on their own.  Hill stated it is very dangerous for the Fire Department to go into that school.  The sooner it is taken down the better. 

City Council/State Office Candidate Forum:  The candidate forum for city council and state offices is on October 11th at the American Legion.  The school board and county will hold their forum on the 18th. 

Railroad Track Removal Project:  Crews from BNSF Railway and MN DOT will remove the railroad tracks at the intersection of Highway 9 and East 10th Street on October 15th. 

NEW BUSINESS:   Mayor Giese appointed Kim Ukura to the Library Board.

OLD BUSINESS:  None

INFORMATIONAL ITEMS:  None

 

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:08 p.m.

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