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MINUTES    –   MORRIS CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING   –   DECEMBER 9, 2014

The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 9th day of December, 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, Police Chief Tiegs, Fleet Manager Searle and City Attorney Jordan.  City Engineer Fier arrived at 5:21 p.m.

CITIZENíS COMMENTS:  None

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  None

READING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES11/25/14 Regular Meeting Minutes:  Council member Storck moved, seconded by Council member Solvie, to approve the 11/25/14 regular meeting minutes.  Motion carried.

11/25/14 Condensed Version Minutes:  Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Miller, to approve the 11/25/14 condensed version minutes.  Motion carried.

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

         A.      Audit of City Bills

         B.      November Transit Report

         C.      Temporary On Sale Liquor License - Eagles

Motion carried.

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS:  None

ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONSResolution Appointing Fire Department Chief and Officers:     Hill stated these recommendations come directly from the fire department.  The Fire Chief isn't on here because thatís a two year position.  Miller asked about the first and second assistants because he thought they were two year terms.  Hill stated Pay Daly is retiring so it could be that they are replacing him on one of the positions. 

Council member Miller moved, seconded by Wohlers, to adopt Resolution #3270-12-14, 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: Hill provided the council with a survey on the comparison of benefits to other departments.  Hill noted they are starting to see a few departments turn their money over to the state of Minnesota for administration.  Hill stated the biggest issue the department is facing is finding new firemen.  Hill recommended the council increase the benefit as proposed.    

Council member Miller moved, seconded by Solvie, to adopt Resolution #3271-12-14, Resolution Setting the Annual Pension Benefit for the Morris Fire Relief Association to $1,900 per year starting January 1, 2015.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

CITY MANAGER'S REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONSAccepting a Donation from the Morris Public Library Foundation:  Hill explained that the Morris Public Library Foundation is a private non-profit foundation that was set up through the West Central Initiative Fund.  There is a separate board that makes the decisions as to the spending of foundation funds.  The money can be donated into that and then the board decides where it's going to be spent.  Hill stated recently the board approved using funds to pay for the cost of an architectural study to see where the library is at and what the future will be.  There was enough money donated to the foundation to pay for the estimated $20,000 in costs.  Hill indicated the Initiative Fund can't give the money directly to the library so the council needs to approve a motion to allow the library to accept this money.  The next step would be to try to raise funds to do whatever they want to do. 

Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Storck, to accept the donation and contribution from the Morris Public Library Foundation to pay for the costs of an architectural study of the Morris Public Library.  Motion carried.

2015 Licenses:  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Solvie, to approve the 2015 licenses as submitted, pending insurance as noted.  Motion carried. 

City Manager Newsletter:  Hill stated union contracts should be settled soon and he would be bringing that to the next meeting.  Health insurance is a big issue going forward.  Wages are proposed at an increase of 2, 2 ½ and 3% for the next three years.

Hill noted he has received more complaints about the chimes in the cemetery.  The solution is turning it down and playing it less but the person that takes care of that is gone for the winter. 

Hill stated he has been asked by people what the standard is for removing snow on the sidewalks.  City staff identified 38 properties that need to clear their snow and there's over 200 that have some snow and ice that was trampled down.   Hill noted it takes a long time to go around and check and a long time to figure out who owns 240 properties.  The next thing to do is to send a last chance notice to those that didnít clear their snow.  Hill stated the city will have to start issuing fines but staff needs to figure out a good way of doing that.  Hill suggested getting a ticket book. 

Fier updated the council on the commercial property across from McDonalds.  Fier stated he was pleased that the water pressure test passed.  They have been flushing to get the chlorine out and hope to do a bacteria test soon.  Fier noted he is really concerned about compaction and settling due to the weather.  Fier indicated there has not been a push to put water and sewer services in the property for Heartland Motors but the motel is ready to go. 

Hill noted another project coming up is the redoing of the road surface along Atlantic Avenue, and that includes embedding some new technology stop lights.  Hill stated it is a state project but the city has to pay for a share of the parking lanes and the stop lights, which will be done with state aid money.  Part of the project also includes redoing some of the sidewalks because of the slopes and curbs.  Fier stated because of the disability act the intersections all have to be redone. 

BUDGET MEETINGBudget & Levy Presentation:  Hill stated a couple of changes since the preliminary budget the addition of 10 hours of staffing per week for the library and the elimination of the CSO for the police department.  Hill explained that the city offers tuition assistance for law enforcement officers and there are a couple of younger officers taking advantage of this so that will eat up some of the departmentís resources for now. 

Hill stated the levy for 2015 is frozen at the 2014 level which is $1,288,529.  The tax levy is $563,725 for the general fund, $42,430 for the library fund and $682,374 for debt service.  Hill showed a graph of levy comparisons going back to 2000.    

The 2015 estimated market value is $229 million, compared with $226 million is 2014, or a 1% increase.  The 2015 estimated tax capacity is $2,291,000, which is an increase of 1.8% over 2014.

The General Fund budget is $3,671,489, which is an increase of 1.7%.  There is no election this coming year.  Propane is up this year, especially in the Airport due to the addition of the new hangar.  A transfer of $270,000 will be made to the Capital Outlay Fund. 

The capital improvement fund budget is $303,750 for 2015.  This is where the franchise fees go. 

The capital outlay fund is budgeted at $662,532.  This includes borrowing money for two major purchases of a fire truck and loader. Hill stated he will also be recommending the refund of a couple old bonds.  Hill stated the city would get rid of the 1984 and 2000 fire trucks and replace them with a new one.  Hancock and Chokio are both buying new trucks as well and they are backups for the new mutual aid system.  The new loader is needed for the airport.  There is a significant increase in the amount of activity at the airport.  Hill stated there is a request in to the State of Minnesota Aviation to fund a major portion of the loader because it is the primary snow removal equipment for the airport.  Hill noted one thing that changed on the capital outlay listing was the addition of two new AEDís for the police department.    

The Library fund budget is down from last year but the roof work was included in this past year.  The upcoming budget is $327,575 and this includes an extra 10 hours a week of labor. 

Debt service funds total $682,374. 

The utility fund has projected revenues of $1,180,814 and expenditures of $1,148,023, or a net income of $32,791.  The biggest issue with this fund is that rates are going up 3%.  Hill explained the city had a rate study done and are waiting for the final information. 

The liquor store fund is doing well with sales and has a projected net income of $207,108.

The central garage fund has projected revenues of $149,442 and expenditures of $143,795.  Of this, 15% has been allocated to the street department for 2015. 

Hill stated that looking ahead the city will continue to depend on state aid.  Union negotiations are done through 2017.  Health insurance is critical but stable.  The city needs to continue to invest in capital equipment and infrastructure. 

Resolution Approving the Final 2014 Tax Levy for Collection in 2015:  Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Stork, to adopt Resolution #3272-12-14, Resolution Approving the Final 2014 Tax Levy for Collection in 2015.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Adopting the Final 2015 Budget for the City of Morris:  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Storck, to adopt Resolution #3273-12-14, Resolution Adopting the Final 2015 Budget for the City of Morris.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Increasing Sewer and Water Utility Rates for 2015:  Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Wohlers, to adopt Resolution #3274-12-14, Resolution Increasing Sewer and Water Utility Rates for 2015.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

NEW BUSINESS:  Motion to Close City Facilities at Noon on Christmas Eve:  Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to close city facilities at noon on Christmas Eve.  Motion carried.

OLD BUSINESS:  None

INFORMATIONAL ITEMS:  None

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:34 p.m.

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