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MINUTES  –   MORRIS CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING   –   JULY 9, 2013

The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 9th day of July, 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 member Wohlers, Solvie, Miller, Storck and Mayor Giese. Also present was City Manager Hill, Finance Director Raasch, Police Chief Beauregard and City Attorney Jordan. 

ADDITION TO AGENDA:  Mayor Giese added the following item to the agenda:  Resolution Accepting a Bid and Authorizing a Contract for the 2013 Airport Large Hangar Project. 

CITIZENíS COMMENTS:  Kathy Benson, 612 West 5th Street, was present at the meeting and stated she has lived in her house since 1978.  Benson noted she has read with interest the proposals for the old school and the possible mixing of seniors and students in the same general location.  Benson urged the council to do some research on the wisdom of that.  Benson indicated a colleague of hers has said there is research to support the fact that when seniors are mixed with students, crime rates against seniors increase.

The second topic Benson wanted to discuss was the aftermath from the June 21st storm.  Benson stated some people, including herself, experienced devastating losses, and wondered if the council appreciated the extent of how this has impacted people.  Benson explained she was of the understanding that the City of Morris did not have back-up generators for every lift station so they had to pick and choose which lift stations got the generators.  Benson asked why the city would knowingly have too few generators.  Benson also asked on what basis were the locations chose that got the generators.  Benson stated residents have experienced life-long devastating losses. 

Council member Storck stated it was an act of God that mother nature brought the storm on.  Storck indicated everybody seems to be blaming the city because they didn't have generators.  Storck asked why Ottertail didnít have generators. 

Hill explained that there was no decision made as to who got a generator.  Hill pointed out that Benson lives by the Lyndale Avenue lift station and loss of power was an issue.  Hill stated the primary reason why there was major sewer back up into basements was the excess rain water that got into the sanitary sewer system.  Hill stated moving forward the city hopes to start a comprehensive program next spring to make sure sump pumps are routed outside.  The lift stations have a certain capacity so as sewage builds up it doesn't automatically get pumped out, itís partly a gravity fed process.  When the lift stations are inundated with rain there is no way to keep up with it.  The electricity went off and pumps were placed to pump the lift stations out into the street.  This involved notifying the duty officer that raw sewage was being pumped into the street. 

Hill acknowledged there has to be a way to get all the rain water out of the sewer system and right now heís not quite sure how to do it.  Benson suggested having a public meeting to discuss these issues and Hill indicated that was a possibility.  Hill noted City Engineer Fier has found several properties on the west side project that are hooked up incorrectly.  Benson stated her sump pump hose is outside year round. 

Benson stated it might be a good idea to look at the whole system and perhaps Morris needs some major upgrades of their system.  Hill indicated the city is doing a major improvement project on the west side and as part of that project staff is looking to see how sewers are connected.  Every street that is rebuilt has tiling into the street and sump pump connections.  Hill acknowledged that Highland Homes neighborhood was a good example.  Drainage was put it there and its working very well.  City staff has talked about getting generators and more pumps but the bottom line is that the surge of rain water is what overloaded the system. 

Miller stated the city has been doing a major street project every year and there is a fine  line with trying to keep everyone happy.  Miller stated this was an act of God to have that much rain in that short of a period.  Miller feels hopefully in five years the majority of the problem will be solved. 

Benson stated her basement has stayed dry during other heavy rains.  Solvie asked if sewer came in Bensonís  basement before or after the power went out.  Benson stated she doesnít know the sequence because she was out of town when it happened.  Solvie   affirmed that he feels bad for people in town and hopefully the city can keep doing projects to help fix the situation.  Benson wondered whether or not it was a good idea to put in new walls and baseboard if it was going to happen again.  Hill noted a valve could be put in to prevent sewer back up but it has to be maintained.    

Amanda Duerr – Coaltion of Greater MN Cities Visit:  Amanda Duerr, Lobbyist/Communications Director with the CGMC, was present at the meeting.  Duerr stated the Coalition is traveling to all 83 member cities in greater Minnesota to update them on the latest legislative session.  Duerr reviewed the status of LGA, the sales tax exemption beginning in 2014, levy limits, economic development, transportation, annexation and environmental issues. 

PUBLIC HEARINGS:   None

READING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES6/25/13 Regular Meeting Minutes:  Council member Storck moved, seconded by Miller, to approve the 6/25/13 regular meeting minutes.  Motion carried.

6/25/13 Condensed Version Minutes:  Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Solvie, to approve the 6/25/13 condensed version minutes.  Motion carried.

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

         A.      Audit of City Bills

         B.      Pay Estimate #2 – West 9th/10th/11th Street Improvements

         C.      June Transit Report

         D.      Street Dance Permit – Met Lounge

         E.       Application for Exempt Permit – Humane Society

         F.       Application for Exempt Permit – Assumption Catholic Church

Motion carried.

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS:  None 

ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONSResolution Accepting a Bid and Authorizing a Contract for the 2013 Airport Large Hangar Project:  Hill stated this is a Federal Aviation Administration project so the specifications were much different.  Hill indicated he looked this over with the cityís engineers and is recommending the bid with alternates 1 and 2, which is the in floor heat and expoxy flooring and vapor barrier.  The lowest bid was from Ebert Construction from Corcoran, Minnesota with a bid of $795,283.77, including the alternates.  Hill asked that the council award a contract contingent on federal funding.   The local share of the project will be approximately $98,945 and will be funded through the Capital Outlay Fund, but recouped through annual rentals over a period of approximately 10 years.  It was the consensus of the council and staff that the project was a good idea.      

Council member Storck moved, seconded by Miller, to adopt Resolution #3167-7-13, Resolution Accepting a Bid and Authorizing a Contract for the 2013 Airport Large Hangar Project.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

CITY MANAGER'S REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONSCity Manager Report:  Hill indicated he received a call from Ron Staples, County Commissioner, asking about the possibility of joining law enforcement with the County.  Hill stated now is not the time to do that.  Both parties would have to look at all the things involved, not to mention there are two governing bodies that operate separately and differently.  Hill stated he would be willing to sit down and take a look at the issues for a future time. 

Hill informed the council that Officer Velde put in his resignation.  The Police Civil Service Commission will assemble a ranked list of candidates. 

Solvie stated, with regard to the joint law enforcement, he thinks it is worth researching but would not be in favor of anything that would diminish the cityís services or priorities.  Wohlers noted there would have to be significant efficiencies and savings in order for it to work.  Miller pointed out there are so many things the department does and responds to that the average person doesn't realize.  It was the consensus of council and staff to possibly research the issue in the future but to keep things as they are for right now.   

CITY MANAGER'S REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONSCity Manager Report

Hill indicated with regard to the access on the corner of Highways 28 and 9, MN DOT is supposed to meet this week on whether or not they will allow access to that land.  Hill declared that if they do allow it, there would be some possible development of that area.  There are currently soil borings being done to determine what is needed to prep the land for buildings. 

With regard to health care, the biggest concern for the city is that there may be a change in how groups are rated.  Itís possible that would mean paying more in premiums but itís not clear yet what is going to happen. 

NEW BUSINESS:  None

OLD BUSINESSAccess Channel System:  Hill informed the council that the city did not receive the Bremer grant.  Miller suggested that something be included in the budget for next year.

INFORMATIONAL ITEMS:  None

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:27 p.m.

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