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MINUTES –  MORRIS CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING APRIL 22 , 2014

The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 22nd day of April, 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 and Police Chief Tiegs. 

CITIZENíS COMMENTSPresentation on Green Dot Bystander Training:  KiloMarie Grande, the Violence Prevention/Response Coordinator at UMM was present at the meeting to discuss a new program called the Green Dot Strategy.  This is a violence prevention program that looks to awareness, education and skills in proactive behaviors for intolerance of violence and intervention in high risk situations.  This program will be introduced to university students in the fall.  Local businesses will be informed of the program and training will be available if they are interested.

Geoff and Monique Richardson:  Richardson stated that since she and her family moved to Morris a year and a half ago they have experienced a lot of negativity regarding the city and the lack of amenities.  Richardson stated they have two teenagers and buy a lot in bulk and find themselves running back and forth to larger cities.  When they are in those larger cities they run into many people from Morris that are buying things out of town.  Richardson feels too many of the local dollars are going elsewhere but isnít sure how to change it. 

Richardson indicated she doesnít feel it would have to be a Target or Walmart but another grocery store would be helpful.  Richardson stated she goes through the sale ads for the local store but if itís not on sale itís pretty outrageous.   

Geoff Richardson stated he read the article in last weekís newspaper talking about how businesses are struggling to find people to come to work.  Geoff pointed out he doesnít want Morris to become a Cyrus where it continues to shrink.  Geoff noted the quality of life in Morris is fantastic and believes there is an opportunity to grow the city.   

Council member Storck stated he understands their concerns and is not sure how to fix it but feels the city has to be loyal to the business owners that have been here forever. 

Wohlers applauded Richardsonís for coming forward.  Wohlers suggested more marketing for the area because there is a great opportunity to position Morris as a hub for this area. 

Geoff stated there seems to be many urban legends about the cityís treatment of businesses like Walmart and Cobornís.  Hill pointed out that it is a myth that the city is blocking development.  It was a corporate decision for Coborn's to pull out of town.  If people want a Walmart Hill suggested that everyone that shops in Alex get ahold of Walmart and tell them that.  Hill indicated he feels the reason they are not here is because everybody is willing to drive up to Alex.  Hill explained that the city does everything it can to help businesses come to town including finding buildings, land or financing. Hill reiterated that nobody in city government is blocking any business from coming in. 

Hill pointed out that the manufacturing firms are having trouble filling positions and questioned how a new business would find staff to fill jobs.  Hill noted clothing stores are difficult to bring to town because they donít have the variety people want.  Hill stated the city would be open to any ideas. 

Council member Miller stated he would have a tough time walking into a local store when heís out drumming up other business, although he agreed that he has shopped out of town.  Miller stated he feels itís a fine line between taking care of what is here for business and turning your back on your local people.   

Geoff pointed out that he sees them working together, because there will be things the small business will supply that other places wonít.  Geoff stated he sees it as a benefit and something that will draw more people to this area. 

Monique stated that the last thing she would want to do would be to put someone out of business but the reality is that people want more selection, more convenience and more amenities. 

Solvie thanked the Richardsonís for coming out because it shows they care about the community. 

KiloMarie Grande stated she feels Morris has quite a few things going for it and people move here because they want a small town.  Grande agreed with a lot of what was said but feels that if the community is built up too much, too quickly and too much is brought in, it will increase the negativity from businesses owners and students.  Grande suggested be less of a disconnect between everyone and to expand the   businesses that the city currently has.

Resolution Accepting and Approving the 2013 Financial Statements for the City of Morris:  Jamie Faye, from Eide Bailey, was present at the meeting and reviewed the city's audited financial statements.  The city received a clean audit opinion, or an unqualified opinion, which is what the city wants.  Total revenues for the city were $4,107,260 and expenditures totaled $3,958,643.

Council member Miller moved, seconded by Storck, to adopt Resolution #Resolution Accepting and Approving the 2013 Financial Statements for the City of Morris.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  None

READING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES4/8/14 Regular Meeting Minutes:  Council member Storck moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to approve the 4/8/14 regular meeting minutes.  Motion carried.

4/8/14 Condensed Version Minutes:  Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Solvie, to approve the 4/8/14 condensed version minutes.  Motion carried.

ADDITION TO AGENDA:  Mayor Giese added a liquor license for Mi Mexico #2 to the agenda. 

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.      Gambling Report

         C.      Application for Exempt Permit – Deer Hunters

         D.      Raffle License Report

         E.       Planning Commission Minutes, 3/18/14

         F.       Revenue & Expenditure Report

Motion carried.

Bleacher maintenance and rental fees were discussed.

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONSGambling Report from American Legion:  Council member Storck moved, seconded by Wohlers, 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.

Tourism Board Recommendation – PPD Budget:  Council member Storck stated he feels the vendors should not be charged to be at the park.  Giese indicated if they didnít charge and have a little skin in it itís easier for a vendor to back out if something else comes up.  A suggestion was made to give the vendors their money back at the end of the weekend.    

Miller asked if there were plans for the Eagles to contribute to the fireworks.  Hill stated he believes there is, he just hasnít heard anything yet. 

Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Miller, to approve the proposed 2014 Prairie Pioneer Day budget.

Liquor License for Mi Mexico #2:  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Solvie, to approve the liquor license for Mi Mexico #2 contingent upon receiving their insurance.  Motion carried.

ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONSResolution Authorizing Advertising for Bids for the DENCO II MPCA/DEED Grant Project:  Hill explained that there are two funders for this project which are the MPCA and DEED.  The next part of the process is to advertise for bids.  The DEED paperwork hasn't been done but they are close to having the

grant contract.  Hill recommended advertising for bids but not awarding a contract until the DEED contract comes through.  The work will take approximately 60-90 days to complete.     

Council member Storck moved, seconded by Wohlers, to adopt Resolution #3222-4-14, Resolution Authorizing Advertising for Bids for the DENCO II MPCA/DEED Grant Project.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Motion to Approve Sale of the Former Elementary School Property to Riley Bros. Properties, LLC:  Hill explained that there needs to be a motion for the sale of this property on the city council side and a resolution on the EDA side.  The motion is simply to acknowledge that the city council approves this sale.  Any TIF activity on the property would come back to the city council. 

Wohlers stated after comparing the two proposals, the plus to this one is that they are going to pay for all the infrastructure which is key.  Wohlers noted the purchase price probably isn't what the city wanted but those other costs are huge. 

Storck asked if the council was going to have a worksession with the developer to go over whatís going to be put on the property.  Miller pointed out that this property is not going to get developed overnight and is going to take some time.  Wohlers agreed that the city hasnít seen a laid out plan and it would be beneficial.  Storck stated he is willing to sell it to Rileyís because heís sure they're going to do it right and it will get on the tax rolls.  Wohlers stated another plus is that Rileyís is going to buy the entire acreage, whereas the other company wasnít. 

Solvie stated he feels this price is at the low end.   Solvie is interested in acquiring the same amount of land from Rileyís in the Industrial Park to bring in businesses.   Hill pointed out he does not want to make the two sales contingent upon one another.  Hill explained that the price for that land would be the same at $10,000 an acre.   

Mayor Giese stated Rileyís have been a good citizen in the area and done a lot of things for Morris.  Giese noted it is no secret that the city wants land in the Industrial Park and he doesnít believe Rileyís are going to come back and say they're not going to sell to the city. 

Solvie stated the price is hanging him up because it is 17.75 acres plus TIF money.   

Council member Storck moved, seconded by Wohlers, to authorize the sale of the former elementary school property to Riley Brothers Properties, LLC.   Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor and Council member Solvie voting against, motion carried.

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

Mowing and snow removal were discussed.  These items would be put on a future agenda. 

NEW BUSINESSArbor Month Proclamation:  Mayor Giese proclaimed May as Arbor Month.

OLD BUSINESS:  None

INFORMATIONAL ITEMSTree City USA Designation:  This was informational for the council. 

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 7:18 p.m.

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