MINUTES – MORRIS
CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
Mayor Giese closed the
public hearing at 6:17 p.m. and brought the matter back to the council for
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.
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
B. Final Pay
Estimate – Breitbach Construction
C. September Transit
D. Revenue &
for Exempt Permit – Ducks Unlimited
PETITIONS, REQUESTS 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
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
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.
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
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
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.
City Manager Newsletter: This
was informational for the council.
NEW BUSINESS: None
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.
being no further business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:57 p.m.