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
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
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
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
PUBLIC HEARINGS: None
READING AND APPROVAL OF
MINUTES: 11/26/13 Regular
Meeting Minutes: Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Miller, to
approve the 11/26/13 regular meeting minutes. Motion carried.
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:
of City Bills
Estimate #7 – West 9th/10th/11th Street
Estimate #1 – Ebert Construction, Large Aircraft Hangar
PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND
Licenses: Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Solvie, to
approve the 2014 liquor licenses as submitted, pending insurance as
noted. Motion carried.
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.
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
& RECOMMENDATIONS: Motion
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.
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 MEETING: Budget & 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
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
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
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
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.
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,
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,
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.