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The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 14th day of October, 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, Storck and Mayor Giese.  Council member Miller was absent.  Also present was City Manager Hill, Fleet Manager Searle, Police Chief Tiegs, Finance Director Raasch, Fire Chief Dybdal, City Engineer Fier and City Attorney Jordan.  Public Works Director Dittbenner arrived at 5:23 p.m.

ADDITION TO AGENDA:  Mayor Giese added to the agenda a Resolution Approving an Amendment to a Water Tower Lease Agreement with Verizon Wireless. 

CITIZENíS COMMENTS:  Police Chief Tiegs stated that on September 24th Joel Hesse had a cardiac event and several people were there to help and are directly responsible for bringing Joel back.  Tiegs recognized those people with a life-saving award and they include Matt Solemsaas, Doug Cardwell, David Pry, Officer Shane Nelson and Officer Reggie Welle.  Tiegs noted that one of the new AEDís was used and worked well.  Tiegs noted there were other people there that would have gladly jumped in and helped too but these are the five that went hands on. 

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  Public Hearing and Resolution Ordering the Preparation of Plans and Specs for the Oregon Avenue Improvement Project:  City Manager Hill stated this process started with a feasibility study to see whether or not the city could afford the project.  Hill noted this project was actually scheduled to be done this year but staff pushed it back a year.  Hill explained there is a storm sewer system and that involves an area larger than the area serviced by the main road and utilities.  Approximately 350 notices were sent out to affected property owners but the majority of those notices were sent to people only affected by storm sewer.  Hill stated if the council goes ahead with the project the resolution would order the plans and specs with bids being called for in February or March, and construction starting the end of May or beginning of June. 

Jeff Kuhn of WSN was present at the meeting to explain the project.  Kuhn stated the project is a little more spread out than some others in the past.  The bulk of the project is going to happen from East 4th Street on South all the way over to Green River Park through Elm Street.  The other three one block stretches include Pacific Avenue from West 5th Street to West 6th, East 5th Street from Oregon to California and Oregon Avenue between East 8th and 9th.  

Kuhn stated this stretch of Oregon Avenue is more of a complete street type construction but it does not involve a lot of sanitary sewer.  There is no sanitary sewer running down the avenue itself, but there is some in the avenue crossings.  The vast majority of this project is a storm sewer improvement.   Kuhn explained by doing this and putting in a new main down South Oregon it will minimize some of the localized flooding that's happening in that area.  Kuhn stated through city growth and development some of the systems have been getting larger and bring increased storm flow into the system.   

Kuhn stated where there are watermains the old cast iron pipe will be replaced with new PVC and tied into existing services.  Some sidewalk may have to be replaced as a result of the curb stop improvements.  Kuhn noted from 4th Street to South Street is the only stretch to have a portion of sidewalk that will be funded by state and federal dollars.  South Street to Elm isn't eligible for the street costs to be picked up but it is able to have some of the storm sewer costs picked up by state and federal dollars because of the way itís being improved.  Kuhn pointed out by using state and federal dollars the city is able to keep the storm sewer assessments down. 

Kuhn pointed out sidewalk will mainly be on the easterly side, unless the westerly side has existing sidewalk and it needs an improvement.  From 4th Street over to South Street the project is basically all paid for, other than a storm sewer assessment.  From South Street to Elm Street there will be assessments for water, storm sewer, street and curb and gutter.

Kuhn explained that the street width will remain at 36' wide, except for an area to the south of South Street where the ROW is not adequate so that will be necked back down and then the ROW will widen back out to 36'.  There will only be parking on the one side of the road. 

Kuhn stated at the intersection of Pine Street there is a dip in the road.  This project will eliminate the dip and a lot of the erosion happening down the gravel alley.  There will be an opportunity for property owners to connect their sump pump drains underground. 

The total project cost is $3.1 million.  Of that, roughly $1.2 million is the federal share, with another $500,000 being picked up by municipal state aid.  Of the remaining $1.3 million, about $500,000 will be assessed and the city will pick up the remaining $800,000. 

The estimates are as follows based on a 50 x 140 lot:  a water assessment of approximately $4,000, curb & gutter of $700, storm sewer of $400, a street assessment of $2,100. This is new as the city is going to a unit cost on the street assessment.

Hill stated the biggest change in the assessment process from the last one on the west side is that during the appeals process the city learned that the value of the benefit to a property is directly related to the value of a property.  However, the city is not allowed to assess that way so the two issues conflict.  Any additional vacant land doesn't add a lot of value to the property benefit wise.  Water is based upon unit so the same thing will be done with streets.  Sidewalks were also taken out of the assessments as this would normally kick up the cost, especially on a corner lot.    

Wohlers asked if the project was going to be done in phases.  Kuhn stated he assumed so but it hasnít been discussed yet.  Fier explained that he is almost certain the project will start at Green River Park, which is the low point where the storm sewer will end, and work back towards South Street. 

Giese asked if anything additional would be done with Pine Street.  Fier stated there is no water or sewer in there so it would just be street and it could be looked at as part of a reclaim project. 

Sid Wilcox, 210 Montana, stated he moved into his house 14 years ago and when Columbia Avenue was done he got a bill for $900-$1,000 for the storm water.  Wilcox indicated he was told 2/3 of his lot drains to the east and 1/3 runs west.  A few years ago when East 2nd Street was done he then got a bill for over $600.  Wilcox stated his lot is 18 inches lower than 2nd Street and he was told by City Manager Hill that his water runs downhill from 2nd street, turns a corner and goes down to the catholic church, turns another corner and goes back to 2nd Street.  Wilcox stated now he got another notice that he will have another assessment and asked if the water changed direction all of a sudden.  

City Engineer Fier explained that the storm sewer that was put in on Columbia runs down South Street to Oregon and goes out.  The other 1/3 makes its way to 2nd street and goes out Oregon Avenue, but either way all the water ends up on Oregon where this big trunk line is being done. 

Kuhn stated that just because youíve paid one storm sewer assessment doesnít mean you get alleviated to pay for another assessment that happens downstream because theyíre still draining into it.  Kuhn added that the closer you get to the final outlet for the overall system the larger amount of people there are that are affected.   Kuhn stated if the project would have gone a little bit farther and gone all the way to the south edge of the park the assessment would have included the majority of the westerly part of the city but that doesnít need an improvement at this time.  Kuhn stated there is a possibility for a 4th storm sewer assessment as the city has to continue to maintain the system.    

Hill pointed out one of the concerns the city has is that the city may have to treat all this water before it goes into the river.  The MPCA is currently working on those regulations.    

Hill indicated the city looked at doing a storm sewer utility on the water bill but it's hard to charge somebody for something you can't see.   

Wilcox asked about the new project on the other side of the highway.  Fier explained they had to build 4 or 5 big ponds.  Hill added that there is a ditch system in place that eventually gets the water over to the river.  Wilcox asked why the city couldnít have everyone pay $1,000 and get it all done at once.  Hill explained that most of the storm sewer is under roads and you can't just dig up every road.   

Keith Davison stated he is one of the six owners of cardinal estates and they have had water problems there.  Davison asked if this would do anything to make the catch basin in that area more efficient.  Fier stated that is not part of this project.  Fier noted there is a small amount of water from the driveway area and the rest of the water goes the other direction. 

Scott Heinrich, 506 East 9th Street, asked why the whole project was not under state aid.  Kuhn explained that the city is only allowed to designate a certain percentage of system mileage to state aid. Heinrich asked what the elevation change was from South Street to Green River Park because curb & gutter has to be done in that area.  Kuhn stated there are some minor differences in the center line profile but generally a minimum grade on curb & gutter of ½%.  Heinrich asked if it was mandatory to replace his curb & gutter.   Kuhn stated as of right now as its drawn, the storm sewer runs right under the curb & gutter so it would have to come out to put the storm sewer in.  Fier noted it could be considered as an overflow possibility.    

Dennis Volker, corner of 3rd and Oregon, asked if the road would be improved enough to take the heavy traffic.  Kuhn indicated it would.  Kuhn clarified that there would be no street assessment from 2nd to 4th and sidewalk would be picked up by state and federal aid, so the only assessment Volker would have would be for storm sewer. 

Volker also asked about the parish house, the church and the parish center.  Fier noted on those kinds of things itís not per household, itís based on square footage and depends on how much impervious surface there is.  Fier noted they would be assessed at a higher amount because they have more water draining.    

Carol Sperr, 20 South Oregon, asked about the manhole in her backyard.  Fier stated that is a sanitary sewer manhole and that would not be dug up this time. 

Vi Heins, Oregon and 2nd Street, stated a couple of years ago she was assessed when 2nd Street was done and asked if she would be assessed again on Oregon.  Fier stated since Heins is on the east side he believes all of her water from her lot contributes to the project.    

Hill stated based on the appraisal from Nagell Appraisal the appraised value of the improvements is between $7,000 and $11,000.  Hill noted of the two properties that appealed on the last project, one appraised out at $6,000 and one at $8,000.   

Mayor Giese closed the public hearing at 6:17 p.m. and brought the matter back to the council for action. 

Council member Storck moved, seconded by Wohlers, to adopt Resolution #3263-10-14, Resolution Ordering the Preparation of Plans and Specifications for the Oregon Avenue Improvement Project.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Public Hearing and 2nd Reading of Ordinance No. 96, An Ordinance Vacating Public Rights of Way and Roads in the Riley's Commercial Development Subdivision:  Hill pointed out one of the changes made to the original ordinance is a recommendation made by Riley's attorneys to vacate all of the roads instead of naming them individually.  This ordinance would get rid of any roads and ROW's that were previously dedicated to the city.

Mayor Giese opened the public hearing at 6:20 p.m.  There being no comments from the public, Mayor Giese closed the public hearing at 6:21 p.m. and brought the matter back to the council for action.

Council member Storck moved, seconded by Solvie, to accept this as the 2nd reading and adopt Ordinance No. 96, An Ordinance Vacating Public Rights of Way and Roads in the Riley's Commercial Development Subdivision.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

READING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  9/23/14 Regular Meeting Minutes:  Council member Storck moved, seconded by Council member Wohlers, to approve the 9/23/14 regular meeting minutes.  Motion carried.

9/23/14 Condensed Version Minutes:  Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to approve the 9/23/14 condensed version minutes.  Motion carried.

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

         A.      Audit of City Bills

         B.      Final Pay Estimate – Breitbach Construction

         C.      September Transit Report

         D.      Revenue & Expenditure Report

         E.       Application for Exempt Permit – Ducks Unlimited

Motion carried.


ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS:  First Reading of Ordinance No. 98, An Ordinance Amending the City of Morris Zoning Map and Amending the Highway Business District to Allow an Additional Conditional Use:  Hill explained that there is a request to start a K-Bid auction site where West Central Implement is located.  Hill explained that West Central Implement and Subway are actually located in an area that's designated as light industrial (l1).  The K-Bid auction website does online auctions and part of that requirement is to have a site where people can bring their stuff for inspection.  In order to accomplish this, the city needs to rezone the area and to also add a conditional use for online auction sites. 

Council member Storck asked if the area would have a fence around it.  Hill stated if theyíre going to sell things that arenít theirs, there needs to be a fence but they want to be able to set it there without having a fence.  Hill suggested the Planning Commission could make a recommendation to the council about the fencing.   The Planning Commission is having a public hearing on this request this month and all neighbors have been notified.  Hill noted the city doesnít have any language in the code that allows for this. 

Solvie stated he has been told that some of these sites have stuff everywhere and it concerns him that it is on main street.  Wohlers noted a plus is that it is an opportunity to work with another business in town. 

Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Solvie, to accept this as the first reading of Ordinance No. 98 and set the second reading and public hearing for 5:20 p.m. on October 28th. 

Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

First Reading of Ordinance No. 99, An Ordinance Amending Section 7.05 of the Morris City Code Pertaining to Ice and Snow on Public Sidewalks:  Hill explained that the old language referenced hours for snow removal and that has been changed to days.  The city does not need to give a notice because of the nature of what was learned about the process.  Hill is recommending a graduated administrative fee schedule also.  Hill stated the council has to consider the fact that the city still doesn't have the resources to go out and check every property in town, but now the tools are in place to do it with some teeth in it.  Hill noted the city would end up having to take bids and find someone that does snow removal work.   

Wohlers stressed that the city will have to get the word out to the community and citizens to make arrangements to have their snow removed for when they are gone on vacations, etc. 

Council member Storck moved, seconded by Council member Wohlers, to accept this as the first reading of Ordinance No. 99 and set the second reading and public hearing for 5:25 p.m. on October 28th.  Upon a roll call vote being taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried. 

First Reading of Ordinance No. 100, An Ordinance Amending the Zoning Code to Allow Three Story Buildings in a Highway Business Zone:  Hill stated now that the highway project is going, Superior Industries, doing business as SI Hotels, is going to build a brand new 50 room hotel.  They are not going to request tax abatement.  Hill noted one of the things they want to do is build a three story hotel and the cityís code has a 2 ½ story, 30 foot limit.  Hill indicated he does not know the reason behind setting that limit.  Hill has talked to the fire chief to see if there was a concern and there is not.  Hill suggested the 2nd reading be held after the planning commission meeting in November. 

Hill also added that Superior is closing the deal on the Heartland property so the council would be seeing another ordinance coming up to rezone that area to match up with the rest of the property that Superior has. 


Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Council member Wohlers, to accept this as the first reading of Ordinance No. 100 and to set the public hearing and second reading for 5:20 p.m. on November 25th.  Motion carried.

Resolution Adopting Assessment for Current Services:  Council member Storck moved, seconded by Solvie to adopt Resolution #3264-10-14, Resolution Adopting Assessment for Current Services.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Approving an Amendment to a Water Tower Lease Agreement with Verizon Wireless: 

Hill explained that Verizon contacted the city because they want to put an emergency generator on the water tower property.  This amendment would allow Verizon to put in an emergency generator and three additional antennae on top of the water tower.  The other part of the amendment is that the cityís engineers for the water tower, Bolton & Menk, will review all the plans and specs and watch over the installation.  Hill stated Verizon will pay for these fees.  The city has a 28 year lease with Verizon but for the future Hill would not recommend going with one that long. 

Council member Storck moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to adopt Resolution #3265-10-14, Resolution Approving an Amendment to a Water Tower Lease Agreement with Verizon Wireless.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

CITY MANAGER'S REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONS:  Inspection Riley's Commercial Development – Jay's Time:  Hill stated he was asked whether or not the city would be willing to pay for City Engineer Fierís inspection costs for Rileyís Commercial Development.  Hill recommended the city have Fier inspect and pay for the costs.  Hill doesnít anticipate much overtime and doesnít see that as a hurdle.  Hill stated to date the city really hasnít put anything into this project from a money standpoint and itís a small price to pay to make sure it gets done right. 

Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Storck, to authorize City Engineer Fier to inspect the Rileyís Commercial Development Project and that the City pays for his time.   Motion carried.

City Manager Newsletter:  This was informational for the council. 


OLD BUSINESS:  Wohlers stated with regard to the fees charged to vendors for Prairie Pioneer Days, crafters are charged $35 a weekend and $75 for food vendors.  Wohlers feels the charge is minimal.  Wohlers suggested doing a better job of marketing the event to other vendors. 

Storck stated he feels the city is already donating $4,000 to the event plus vendors are being charged.  Storck would like to see vendors not get charged or get their check back at the end of the weekend.  Giese stated he feels the chamber needs to charge something up front to save vendors a spot, but he also likes the idea of somehow giving something back. 

INFORMATIONAL ITEMS:  RFC Celebration:  This was informational for the council.  

German Visit:   This was informational for the council. 

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:57 p.m.

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