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MINUTES – MORRIS CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING–DECEMBER 10, 2013

The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 10th day of December, 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 Tiegs, Fire Chief Dybdal, Public Works Director Dittbenner, Fleet Manager Searle and City Attorney Jordan. 

ADDITION TO AGENDA:  Mayor Giese added a pay estimate from Ebert Construction for the airport hangar to the consent agenda. 

CITIZENíS COMMENTS:  Sid Wilcox was present at the meeting and stated he and 11 other businesses have been involved in a dispute over what they can do with their businesses along East 7th Street.  Wilcox stated he feels the Planning Commission has been doing everything to make sure that these businesses cease as soon as possible.  Wilcox noted it has been brought to their attention that two of the members of the Planning Commission are operating businesses of their own in a non-conforming area.  Wilcox asked that they take a leave of absence or resign until the matter is cleared up.  Wilcox also asked if members are asked to be on the Planning Commission or if they are appointed.  Mayor Giese stated the members are appointed but usually it's because they have some interest in being on the commission. 

Hill stated he would have to know the businesses being referred to before he could look into it and asked Wilcox to come in or drop him a note.  Wilcox stated he would like the council to hear it and indicated Steve Rudney is one of them as he has a business running a handyman service out of his home and advertises it that way.  He also has signs on the side of his truck.  Hill stated people are allowed to have businesses in their homes.  Wilcox brought forth a list of 23 businesses that are home based. 

Storck asked that the council be notified after a Planning Commission meeting as to what is going on.  Miller pointed out the commission is looking at existing businesses being grandfathered in and limiting the size on new businesses.  They are looking at sample drafts of other ordinances.  Giese pointed out home based businesses do not conflict with what the Planning Commission is working on.  Hill stated all sorts of people do things out of their homes.  They may run into problems when they want to expand their home because there is a limit as to the amount of square feet that can be used for a business.  Hill noted a vehicle with a sign doesn't affect the city when it comes to zoning. 

Solvie asked if Wilcox wanted to sell his business to his son, could the son do something other than what they're doing.  Hill indicated it would depend on what they wanted to do.  Wilcox noted that this issue will no longer affect him because two meetings ago Hill told him he could do anything he wanted with his building, so he sold it.  Wilcox stated he does believe the Planning Commission is trying to do everything they can to eliminate businesses along East 7th Street.  Wilcox stated if the city decides to build student housing on the old elementary school site the zoning will have to be changed again.  Hill noted that area is zoned MF and apartments are an allowed use in that zone.   

PUBLIC HEARINGS:   None

READING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES11/26/13 Regular Meeting Minutes:  Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Miller, to approve the 11/26/13 regular meeting minutes.  Motion carried.

11/26/13 Condensed Version Minutes:  Council member Storck moved, seconded by Wohlers, to approve the 11/26/13 condensed version minutes.  Motion carried.

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

         A.      Audit of City Bills

         B.      Pay Estimate #7 – West 9th/10th/11th Street Improvements

         C.      November Transit Report

         D.      Pay Estimate #1 – Ebert Construction, Large Aircraft Hangar

Motion carried.

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS2014 Licenses:  Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Solvie, to approve the 2014 liquor licenses as submitted, pending insurance as noted.  Motion carried.

ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONSResolution Appointing Fire Department Chief and Officers:  Council member Storck moved, seconded by Miller, to adopt Resolution #3195-12-13, Resolution Appointing Fire Department Chief and Officers.  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 Firefighters at $1,850 per Year:  Hill explained that based upon the increase in funding from the state and where the relief association is at with their investments there is money to support the increase. 

Council member Miller moved, seconded by Wohlers, to adopt Resolution #3196-12-13, Resolution Setting the Annual Pension Benefit for the Morris Fire Relief Association Firefighters at $1,850 per Year.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Adopting Assessment for Current Services:  Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Storck, to adopt Resolution #3197-12-13, Resolution Adopting Assessment for Current Services for a fire call charge from September 11, 2012.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

CITY MANAGER'S REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONSMotion to Approve Change Order for Airport Project:   Hill explained this change order increases the amount of the contract by $1,680 due to cold weather conditions and the end date has been extended to June 12, 2014 instead of this year.  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Solvie, to approve the change order with the two above mentioned items.  Motion carried.

Motion to Accept Audit Letter:  Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Wohlers, to accept the audit letter from Eide Bailly.  Motion carried.

Date Change for 12/24/13 Council Meeting:  Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Storck, to reschedule the December 24th council meeting to December 23rd at 5:15 p.m.  Motion carried.

Authorizing Closing of City Facilities at Noon on Christmas Eve:  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to authorize the closing of city facilities at noon on Christmas Eve as has been done in the past.  Motion carried.

City Manager Report:  This was informational for the council.

NEW BUSINESS:  None

OLD BUSINESS:  None

INFORMATIONAL ITEMS:  None

BUDGET MEETINGBudget & Levy Presentation:  City Manager Hill presented the budget and levy information to the council.  The 2013 tax levy is exactly the same as it was last year at $1,288,529.  The 2014 market value is $226,907,700 which is a 2.3% increase over $221,784,200 for 2013. 

2014 Revenue and Expense considerations include an increase in LGA of 7.2%, but LGA is still unstable and the cityís largest revenue source.  The library labor request is not funded and Hill stated he feels this is not the time to add labor because it is an ongoing cost.  A wage increase of 2% is included.  Health insurance rates are up by 25%, with an increase in the family insurance contribution of 17%.  Hill indicated on the news there has been talk about whether or not firefighters should be considered under health insurance.   

Melissa Yauk stated she understands the decision not to increase staffing but sees a disconnect between the city council and the library board.  Yauk stated there is an open library board position and asked if someone from the council would like to sit on the board.  Yauk stated she doesn't feel the leaders know what's going on.  Yauk would like an effort made and some communication and then the council can decide on staffing.  Yauk asked if it would be helpful if she gave the council a copy of the article she puts in the paper or if should she attend council meetings.  Yauk stated she understands if it's not important to fund the library but she would like it to be a conscious decision.

Solvie stated he made the suggestion to cut the hours and a survey said people didn't want hours cut.  Solvie noted that nobody would want hours cut for a free service.  Solvie stated he feels that people would adjust their schedules if the full staff was used and hours were shortened.

Wohlers asked what the county contributes to the library.  Yauk explained money from the Viking Library System includes a non-resident reimbursement.  Wohlers asked if there was any way to know how much of the library traffic was from in town or out of town.  Yauk indicated there is a way to track that.  There are a lot of people outside the city limits that use the library and a lot of people outside of the county that work in town and use it. 

Hill pointed out that the city is maintaining the current funding for the library, plus an increase in wages and benefits.  Hill noted libraries are interesting because they are the only organization that is guaranteed funding.  There is a 25% increase in funding for the library because of needed roof repairs.  This will be paid for in part by bringing in money from capital outlay and reserve money from the library fund itself.  Hill explained that the library had a position that was funded through a federal program and was built into the operations and then that program was cut.  Hill stated people always want more services such as parks, recreation and the library, but it all comes down to how itís going to be paid for.  Hill indicated he understands the request but there's just no money and heís not willing to recommend raising taxes for it.  Yauk agreed that it is important to maintain the building. 

Yauk suggested that at least the council walk over and tour the facilities after a meeting one night.

Becky Hennen from the Library Board was present at the meeting and stated that in the five years that Yauk has been the librarian she has implemented many great programs and improved many aspects of the library.  Hennen noted the city has a real jewel with Yauk.  Hennen indicated more and more is asked of the board and they want to keep services viable.  The library is needed for all ages. 

Hill reviewed additional expense considerations such as an increase in street lighting costs, no new bond issue for 2014, an addition of $15,000 for an even year election and the impact of the sales tax exemption.

The total city budget of $9,701,180 is up about 9.2% over the 2013 budget of $8,933,746.  The general fund is up 3.6% for a total of $3,611,649.

The capital improvement fund is where the franchise money goes.  This fund is budgeted at $309,370, or an increase of 14.1% over last year. 

The Capital outlay fund of $337,635 includes $68,613 in surplus LGA.  The biggest purchase will be a new snowblower.  Council member Storck expressed some concern over the brand of snowblower being purchased. 

The library fund is $393,661.  The debt Service funds total $654,796.  The public utility fund includes a 5% increase in water and sewer rates.  Hill explained that anytime there is an improvement project, rates should be adjusted to pay for it.    

The liquor store fund has a projected net income of $78,006.  The central garage is where Fleet Manager Searle's time is charged out with revenues and expenditures equaling $167,092. 

Hill stated some items for consideration for the future are the continued dependency on state aid, union negotiations next year, health insurance will continue to be a critical cost issue and continued investment in the cityís infrastructure. 

Wohlers asked how improvement projects get on the wish list.  Hill stated there is a meeting of city staff, including Engineer Fier.  Staff looks at where the city is at and where they want to go.   

Miller noted that if there are any new vehicle/equipment purchases he would like to see the city do business locally if at all possible.

Giese stated he would like to see the council do something with the library board, whether it's a tour or a joint worksession to get a better handle of where things are at.  Solvie explained that he also thinks the library board should know that even though they might want to expand services there has to be priorities as to what they want and how itís going to be paid for.    

Resolution Approving the Final 2013 Levy for Collection in 2014:  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Solvie, to adopt Resolution #3198-12-13, Resolution Approving the Final 2013 Levy for Collection in 2014.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried. 

Resolution Adopting the Final 2014 Budget for the City of Morris:  Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Storck, to adopt Resolution #3199-12-13, Resolution Adopting the Final 2014 Budget for the City of Morris.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Increasing Sewer and Water Utility Rates for 2014:  Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Miller, to adopt Resolution #3200-12-13, Resolution Increasing Sewer and Water Utility Rates for 2014.  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 7:10 p.m.

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