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MINUTES – MORRIS CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING–JANUARY 14, 2014

The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 14th day of January, 2014, 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, Public Works Director Dittbenner, Police Chief Tiegs, Fleet Manager Searle and City Attorney Jordan. 

OFFICIAL ACTS:  Election of Mayor Pro Tem:  Council member Storck moved, seconded by Solvie, to continue with the same person as last year and elect Miller as the Mayor Pro Tem.  Motion carried.

Appointments to Boards and Commissions:  Mayor Giese will fill the vacancy on the library board.  Council member Storck moved, seconded by Miller, to approve the appointments to Boards and Commissions as presented.  Motion carried.

Appointment of Ex-Officios:  Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Storck, to continue with the same ex-officios as last year as follows:  Miller – Park Board, Planning Commission and WCI-EDD, Solvie – RFC and Community Ed, Giese – SCEIC and Human Rights Commission, Storck – Airport Advisory Board and Rental Housing Commission, Wohlers – Tourism Board and Chamber Board.  Motion carried.

Designation of Official Newspaper:  Council member Storck moved, seconded by Wohlers, to designate the Morris Sun Tribune as the official newspaper of the City of Morris.  Motion carried.

CITIZEN'S COMMENTS:  None

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  None

READING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  12/23/13 Regular Meeting Minutes:  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Solvie, to approve the 12/23/13 regular meeting minutes.  Motion carried.

12/23/13 Condensed Version Minutes:  Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Storck, to approve the 12/23/13 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.      December Transit Report

         C.      Gambling Reports

         D.      Temporary On Sale Liquor License – American Legion

Motion carried.

The bill from Engebretson's for the Superior lift station was discussed.  Hill noted the city is responsible for the maintenance since it owns the line.  It was the consensus that getting a proper sized sewer line and lift station set up for that business is something that needs to be looked at for the future.  

Premises Permit Application:  Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Wohlers, to adopt Resolution #3204-1-14, Resolution Approving Premises Permit Application for the Morris Hockey Association to conduct gambling at the Old #1 Bar & Grill.  Motion carried.

ADDITION TO AGENDA:  Mayor Giese added to the agenda a request to sell the 1994 Chevrolet pickup. 

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS:  Gambling Report from 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 present voting in favor and Mayor Giese abstaining as an officer of the Legion, motion carried.

Approval of Sale of 94 Chevy Pickup:  Council member Storck moved, seconded by Miller, to approve the sale of the 1994 Chevrolet ½ ton pickup.  Motion carried.

ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS:  Resolution Setting a Public Hearing to Consider a Wastewater Treatment Facility Plan:  Hill informed the council that the MPCA has established new standards for wastewater discharge from the City of Morris to the PDT river system and is requiring the city submit a report as to how it will deal with the new standards.  Bolton & Menk has prepared this report for the city.

Kris Swanson from Bolton & Menk was present at the meeting.  Swanson stated this process was started a little over a year ago when they were hired to evaluate the aging infrastructure of two significant facilities for the city.  The big issue that the MPCA and the nation is dealing with is being in compliance for chloride for the wastewater permit.   

The city currently discharges about 700 mg/L of chloride (salt) and that needs to be decreased to 406 mg/L by 2020.  The main significant source of the salt is water softeners and all of that goes down the sewer.   

Swanson explained that salts accumulate and there is nothing to break them down. It is very expensive to remove chlorides.  Solvie asked if the plant could take the salt down enough so that people wouldn't have to have water softeners.  Swanson stated it will take it down enough but it's all personal preference.  Hill stated when this process first started he reached out to the water softener companies and told them about the MPCA requirements.  Hill indicated they were not concerned because they still felt that they would sell softeners.  Hill suggested possibly mandating water softeners in the future to those that do it automatically instead of recharging 3x a week.   

Miller asked about the option of a lime system versus reverse osmosis.  Swanson explained that the RO has a reject screen.  The lime actually removes the solids rather than a solid bypass.  Swanson stated he cannot recommend the RO plant given what the MPCA is looking at for the future. 

Storck asked what it would cost to run the new plant.  Swanson stated it is marginally more than what the city has now.  More chemicals will need to be added with the new system.  Swanson stated there are currently 90% or higher of residents in town that use softeners.  The current billing for 700 cubic feet is $24.35 a month.  This is proposed to be increased to $42 to $52/month.  This would be offset by salt savings of $10-$35/month.  It is very close to a wash depending on how much salt you use and your softener. 

Swanson pointed out they have done two new plants in St. Peter and Redwood Falls.  There would need to be public education on the changes and upgrading of water softeners.  Swanson stated the city has an aging water plant that is in need of an upgrade anyways.  This will also provide better water quality and meet the chloride compliance needs of the MPCA.  With regard to education Swanson stated the University could be a great asset to utilize. 

Wohlers asked if the city would gain any efficiencies.   Swanson noted they show just marginal growth.  DENCO discharges chlorides and they're not on city water and that will need to be looked at.  Hill indicated DENCO spends a lot of money dealing with the hardness.  Swanson stated there are certainly other benefits that are hard to quantify such as not having a film on coffee and not having to replace water heaters as often.

Swanson explained the project cost is approximately $9.4 million.  Low interest loans are available through CWRF and DWRF.  There is also a point source implementation grant up to $3 million available which would be the first time the state would fund a water plant under this program. 

Swanson indicated while the city doesn't need to comply with the new regulations until 2020, it will take up to 3 years to get online.  Also, it will be easier to act on specialized funding opportunities if things are ready to go.  Swanson's recommendation is to get in line for the funding. 

Wohlers asked when they would have to commit if some of the other surrounding towns wanted to get involved in this.  Swanson indicated that would be during the design process.  Swanson stated if the city feels they're going to be able to garner interest you can build more facility then you need, but cautioned that it has to be paid back. 

Miller asked if the city has the capacity to let DENCO use its water, instead of their own well, if they wanted to.  Swanson noted buy ins are something that would need to be looked at.  Solvie asked if the city could meet the 406 mg/L requirement if DENCO does not change what they're doing.  Swanson believes the city could. 

Hill stated the majority of DENCO's discharge is done under their own permit and MPCA is watching them very close. 

Swanson suggested holding a public hearing on January 28th.  At that time the city would adopt a resolution adopting the facility plan and then it can be submitted to the MPCA. 

Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Wohlers, to adopt Resolution #3205-1-14, Resolution Setting a Public Hearing to Consider a Wastewater Treatment Facility Plan and setting the hearing for January 28th at 5:20 p.m.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Authorizing the Submission of the 2014 Pay Equity Report:  Hill explained the City is required to submit a Pay Equity report for wages as of December 31, 2013.  This report makes sure there is not a trend of female dominated positions being underpaid when compared to male dominated positions.  There are 10 male dominated positions and 10 female dominated and 3 balanced positions.  The system is fair and in compliance. 

Council member Miller moved, seconded by Solvie, to adopt Resolution #3206-1-14, Resolution Authorizing the Submission of the 2014 Pay Equity Report.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Adopting the 2014 Morris City Council Standing Rules:    Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Miller, to adopt Resolution #3207-1-14, Resolution Adopting the 2014 Morris City Council Standing Rules.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried. 

Resolution Authorizing Finance Director to Designate Depositories:  Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Storck, to adopt Resolution #3208-1-14, Resolution Authorizing Finance Director to Designate Depositories.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Approving a Memorandum of Understanding with the AFSCME Local 2022 Public Works Union:  Hill stated he was asked to consider a pay step increase for Russ Breeggemann from the public works department.  Hill noted originally the union asked that the two new employees hired in 2013 both get a step increase but the other employee did not have enough experience in city government.  Hill is recommending this bump be made through a memorandum of understanding.  This is not typically something the city does but will probably look at putting something like that in the contract during upcoming negotiations. 

With regard to wages, Storck expressed concern that Fleet Manager Searle is not getting paid enough for what he does.  City Manager Hill indicated a person cannot just make a judgment call as to what someone gets paid, it is based on education, how many people they supervise and several other categories.  Considerable discussion was held on personnel and wages. 

Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to adopt Resolution #3209-1-14, Resolution Approving a Memorandum of Understanding with the AFSCME Local 2022 Public Works Union.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

CITY MANAGER'S REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONS:  City Manager Report:  This was informational for the council.

NEW BUSINESS:  Set Board of Review for 4/1/14:  Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Solvie, to set the board of review for April 1st, 2014, at 5:15 p.m.

OLD BUSINESS:  None

INFORMATIONAL ITEMS:  None

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:39 p.m.

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