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MINUTES –MORRIS CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING – MARCH 26, 2013

The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 26th day of March, 2013, 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 members Miller, Wohlers, Solvie, Storck and Mayor Giese.  Also present were City Manager Hill, Finance Director Raasch, City Attorney Jordan, Public Works Director Dittbenner, and Fire Chief Dybdal.

ADDITION TO AGENDA:  Mayor Giese added to the agenda Kiwanis Donation under City Manager’s Reports.

CITIZEN’S COMMENTS:  None

PUBLIC HEARINGS:   Public Hearing and Resolution Approving the Issuance and Sale of a Health Care Housing Facilities Revenue Note, Series 2013 (Service Options for  Seniors, Inc., Project), in the Aggregate Amount of Not to Exceed $6,000,000 and Authorizing the Execution of Documents Relating Thereto:  Mayor Giese opened the public hearing at 5:17.  Steve Fenlon of Midwest Healthcare Capital was present representing Service Options for Seniors, Inc.  He stated the impetus for this is the low interest rate levels which will reduce interest expenses for Service Options for Seniors.  He pointed out the City of Morris has no obligation to repay a cent of these notes, rather it acts as a conduit for the financing.

Council member Wohlers asked about the purpose of the land acquisition portion of the refinancing package.  Fenlon indicated there is a small parcel of land St. Francis owns that will be acquired by Service Options for Seniors, and there are no plans for any improvements on the land. 

There being no public comments, the hearing was closed and brought back to the Council.  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Wohlers, to adopt Resolution #3144-3-13, A Resolution Approving the Issuance and Sale of a Health Care Housing Facilities Revenue Note, Series 2013 (Service Options for Seniors, Inc., Project), in the Aggregate Amount of Not to Exceed $6,000,000 and Authorizing the Execution of Documents Relating Thereto.  Upon a roll call vote taken, motion carried unanimously.

READING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES3/12/13 Regular Meeting Minutes:  Council member Storck moved, seconded by Solvie, to approve the 3/12/13 regular meeting minutes.  Motion carried.

3/12/13 Condensed Version Minutes:  Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Miller, to approve the 3/12/13 condensed version minutes.  Motion carried.

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

         A.      Audit of City Bills

         B.      SCMC Administrative Report

         C.      Gambling Reports

         D.      Revenue/Expenditure Report

         E.       1/9/13 Library Board Minutes

         F.       2/13/13 Library Board Minutes

Motion carried.

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONSGambling Report from the American Legion:  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Solvie, to accept the gambling report from the American Legion.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all Council members voting in favor and Mayor Giese abstaining as an officer of the Legion, motion carried.

ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS:   Resolution Accepting a Bid and Authorizing a Contract for the West 9th, 10th, and 11th Street Improvement Project:  City Manager Hill provided additional information to the Council with regard to this project.  He indicated the resolution includes increasing the property owner’s portion of the street construction assessment from 0% to 30%, and increasing the property owner’s portion of the storm sewer assessment from 50% to 75%.  He is also recommending a 1% reduction in normal interest rate on unpaid assessments. 

Ten bids were received on the project.  The engineer’s estimate for this project was $2.3 million, and the low bid came in from Breitbach Construction Co. of Elrosa, MN for $1,605,128.06, which is 32% less than the engineer’s estimate.

Hill was originally recommending the property owner pay for 75% of the street assessment and a 50’ lot assessment would have been about $15,000.  With the street assessment reduced to 30%, the estimated assessment would be about $9,000 - $10,000, which includes 10% for contingency and 10% for engineering staking and inspections.  An independent appraiser has estimated the average benefit of this construction to be around $7,000 to $11,000 per property.   

Hill noted that only sidewalk that has been identified as bad will be redone. 

The City’s share of the project is $981,000 and will be paid for out of the general and utility funds.  Hill noted every $100,000 of City share adds about $10,000 to the tax levy, and this project will create about a 6.5% tax increase. 

Storck asked if the City intends to keep assessing more for streets and storm sewer.  Hill indicated that is the intention as the City is trying to put more money into maintenance of streets.  He noted very few cities in Minnesota pay for 100% of the streets.  He feels the City cannot afford to keep paying for 100% of the streets.  He indicated the water and sewer were put into this area in the 1930’s, and the expected life is 40 years for that infrastructure. 

Council member Miller stated he feels 30% for the homeowner’s share of the street is a fair number to start with.  Council member Storck agreed.

Wohlers asked when property owners have to let the City know they want their sidewalks redone.  Hill noted the ones marked will be done, and others just need to contact the City’s engineering surveyor/inspector. 

Council member Solvie asked what the City’s intention is on a top percentage of property owners paying for the street.  Hill noted he thinks it should be 75%.  He stated there are neighborhood streets, collector streets, and primary and major roads, and those streets all need to be designated. 

Sidewalk will be installed to Wells Park, and the City will pay for that. 

Ed Larson, 402 East 5th Street, noted the assessment policy on not assessing for streets has been in effect for over 35 years.  He pointed out that a number of projects that have been done are adjacent to property that is not taxable, but it assessable.  He questioned if that was one of the reasons for the policy change.  Hill noted that is not   a reason for the policy change, and the City has to do this to keep up with rebuilding the bad roads in town.

Larson asked how streets will be assessed when there are different widths.  Hill indicated the City sets the widths of the streets, and the property owner will pay based on the base width. 

Larson indicated as a taxpayer he has paid for a portion of all past street improvements, and questioned the rationale of now making the property owner responsible for paying a portion of the street improvements.  Hill noted that the City cannot afford to continue paying 100% with everything that needs to be fixed.  Larson suggested looking at longer intervals between projects.  Larson questioned if an owner of a 50’ lot can afford a $10,000 assessment, especially with the age and income of the City’s population. 

Jeremiah Kill, 106 West 9th Street, stated he has a 100 year old house and asked about the water and sewer connection to his home.  Engineer Jeff Kuhn of WSN indicated the contractor will find a solid spot to connect to.  Kill also noted his only parking is on the street.  Hill noted the contractors will work to keep the street open most nights.

Janet Hengemuhle, 104 West 9th Street, indicated they have a large lot and wondered if they will be assessed for two hookups.  Hill indicated they would only be assessed per hookup.  He noted the assessments would be spread over 15 years at 4% interest. 

Council member Storck moved, seconded by Miller, to adopt Resolution #3145-3-13, A Resolution Accepting Bid and Authorizing a Contract for the West 9th, 10th, and 11th Street improvement Project.  Upon a roll call vote, motion carried unanimously.

Resolution Accepting a Bid and Authorizing a Contract for the Elementary School Demolition Project:  Eleven bids were received for the demolition of the Elementary School, with Dore and Associates of Bay City, MI submitting the low bid of $773,770.00.  Because this contractor is unknown to the City, Chuck DeWolf of Bolten and Menk indicated he has requested references and qualifications from the company.  He contacted three of their references, and all three had favorable experiences with the company.  He also asked them for their subcontractor list and their disposal plans for debris and hazardous materials.  Dole is putting that information together.  DeWolf indicated he plans to be in Morris periodically to oversee the project.  Hill noted the contactor has to meet the requirements of the bid specifications. 

Hill indicated City Attorney Jordan has also done some checking on the company.  Jordan cited two instances where there were problems with the contractor.  He noted this would be the time to look into this more.  A requirement of the bid was that the contractors submit a bid bond, and they will be required to submit a performance bond, and this does protect the City from unforeseen circumstances.  Hill noted the specifications say it’s the contractor’s responsibility to know and identify everything that is to be removed.  Also, the blueprints were made available to contractors.  He noted Dore and Associates is a large company that does demolition projects around the United States.  Hill noted the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency does not have any data about this company.  He also noted he put an inquiry on the City Manager listserv and has only received one response from a City that is doing a project this summer. 

Giese noted that with the number of projects this company has done, he would imagine not all have gone well. 

Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Miller, to adopt Resolution #3146-3-13, A Resolution Accepting a Bid and Authorizing a Contract for the Elementary School Demolition Project, adding the following to the end of 3. of the Now Therefore clause, “contingent upon satisfactory answers to any questions we might have.”  Upon a roll call vote, motion carried unanimously. 

Resolution Providing for the Sale of Approximately $3,000,000 G. O. Bonds, Series 2013A:  Hill noted this resolution also includes a refunding of about $500,000 from the $830,000 G.O. Bonds, Series 2005A.  Giese noted the school portion of this bond will be paid by tax increment financing.  Hill indicated those tax increments for the school will be from Skyview Plaza and Lake Crystal Townhomes. 

Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to adopt Resolution #3147-3-13, A Resolution Providing for the Sale of Approximately $3,000,000 G.O. Bonds, Series 2013A.  Upon a roll call vote, motion carried unanimously. 

Resolution in Support of Local Government Aid Reform Including an Additional Appropriation of $80 Million for Local Government Aid and A New, Fairer Distribution Formula Contained in HF 1608 and SF 1491:  Hill indicated this resolution supports local government aid.  This is a different formula than the Governor’s proposal and proposes a more fair distribution.  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Storck, to adopt Resolution #3148-3-13, A Resolution in Support of Local Government Aid Reform Including an Additional Appropriation of $80 Million for Local Government Aid and a New, Fairer Distribution Formula Contained in HF 1608 and SF 1491.  Upon a roll call vote, motion carried unanimously.

CITY MANAGER’S REPORTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS:

City Manager’s Report:  This was informational for the Council. 

Mayor Giese indicated he feels a public hearing should be held with the people involved in reuse ideas for the elementary school.  Hill feels that was done for seven years when a number of groups worked on reuse ideas.  He feels there is a little danger in handing that off and giving them an expectation of what will be done with the property.  He feels the City needs to get the property in the hands of a developer.  He will be asking the Council to authorizing an RFP on this project in April.

West Central S.W.A.T. Team Agreement:  Hill noted another City was added to the agreement, so a new agreement needs to be signed.  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Storck, to authorize signing this agreement.  Motion carried unanimously. 

Kiwanis Donation:  The Kiwanis Club would like to donate a piece of equipment to the spray park at Pomme de Terre Park.  They are requesting that the City pay for the equipment up front, and then the Kiwanis Club will reimburse the City in equal $3,000 payments for the next three years.  Public Works Director Dittbenner indicated the spray park was designed so additional equipment can be added. 

Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Wohlers to approve having the City pay for the spray park equipment and the Kiwanis reimbursing the City $3,000 per year for three years to pay for the equipment.  Motion carried unanimously.

NEW BUSINESSCouncil Meeting at School:  Mayor Giese asked if the Council would be holding a meeting at the high school this year.  Hill indicated that has yet to be finalized, but he thinks it will be the first meeting in May.  Council member Miller suggested that after the meeting, which is usually in the morning, the Council do a walkthrough of City facilities.  It was consensus this was a good idea.

OLD BUSINESS:  None.

INFORMATIONAL ITEMS:  None.

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Mayor Giese closed the meeting at 6:58.

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