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MINUTES – MORRIS CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING –DECEMBER 23, 2014

The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 23rd 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 and City Attorney Jordan.  Public Works Director Dittbenner arrived at 5:25 p.m.

ADDITIONS TO AGENDA:  Mayor Giese added two pay estimates to the agenda:  1)Contractor Recapitulation for Elementary School Demolition and 2)DENCO Pay Estimate.

CITIZENíS COMMENTS:  None

PUBLIC HEARINGSPublic Hearing and 2nd Reading of Ordinance No. 101, An Ordinance Amending the CBD and HB Zoning Districts to Add an Additional Conditional Use:  Mayor Giese opened the public hearing at 5:19 p.m.  Hill explained that the only thing that changed from the first reading of this ordinance was to add precision machining shops to both the Central Business District and Highway Business District.

There being no comments from the public, Mayor Giese closed the public hearing at 5:22 p.m.

Council member Storck moved, seconded by Solvie, to accept this as the second reading and adopt Ordinance No. 101, An Ordinance Amending the Central Business District (CBD) and Highway Business District (HB) Zoning Districts to Add an Additional Conditional Use.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

READING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES12/9/14 Regular Meeting Minutes:  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Council member Wohlers, to approve the 12/9/14 regular meeting minutes.  Motion carried.

12/9/14 Condensed Version Minutes:  Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Wohlers, to approve the 12/9/14 condensed version minutes.  Motion carried.

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.      Revenue & Expenditure Report

         C.      11/18/14 Planning Commission Minutes

         D.      11/19/14 Tourism Board Minutes 

         E.       Raffle License Report – Senior Citizens

         F.       Contractor Recapitulation – Elementary School Demolition

         G.      Pay Estimate #4 - DENCO

Motion carried.

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 Payment Request:  Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Miller, to authorize payment of $1,075 for tourism brochures and visitor guide ads.  Motion carried.

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

Acceptance of Donation for Police Department:  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Wohlers, to accept a $500 donation to the Morris Police Department from West Central Christian Homes.  Police Chief Tiegs stated typically they donate each year to the department and they set aside the money for some type of training for the elderly or women.  Tiegs was hopeful for the coming year it would be used towards RAAD training.  Motion carried.  

ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONSResolution Approving a Conditional Use Permit for Derek Gausman to Establish an Online Auction Collection Site:  Hill reviewed the conditions for the permit, which include that the on-line auction business owner must have an ownership stake in the entire property and the property be cleared of junk and debris prior to the start of the collection of items for the online auction.    

Council member Miller moved, seconded by Solvie, to adopt Resolution #3275-12-14, Resolution Approving a Conditional Use Permit for Derek Gausman to Establish an Online Auction Collection Site.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Authorizing Entering Into an Agreement with MN DOT for a Mill and Overlay Project on T.H. No. 9:  Hill noted there are two MN DOT projects for the coming year – main street and Highway 28 going out almost to the bypass.  Hill stated there will be a separate agreement coming shortly that will pertain to the stoplights because the city will have to pay for a share of them. 

Hill indicated that all the business owners will be invited to the first meeting in February to learn more about the project and how they will be affected by the sidewalk changes. 

Hill explained the design has bump outs that staff feels will interfere with traffic so MN DOT has been told the city doesnít want them.      

Wohlers asked about designating handicapped parking spots along main street.  Hill stated the biggest thing would be where to put them.  Wohlers suggested at the end of each block on each side.  Hill stated that is something that could be looked at locally. 

The council asked about using the right lane as a turn lane when it is not designated as such.  Police Chief Tiegs stated it is technically illegal but a person can do it but once you leave the driving lane you accept responsibility for any adverse actions.

Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Storck, to adopt Resolution #3276-12-14, Resolution Authorizing Entering Into an Agreement with MN DOT for a Mill and Overlay Project on T.H. No. 9.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Authorizing Fund Transfers and Fund Closing:  Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Solvie, to adopt Resolution #3277-12-14, Resolution Authorizing Fund Transfers and Fund Closing.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Approving a Non-Union Employee Policy to Cover the Years 2015-2017:  Hill stated wages are going up 2% in 2015, 2 ½% in 2016 and 3% in 2017.  The other big issue is health insurance and Hill reviewed the benefit with the council.  Health Partners includes a rate reduction for non-smokers.  Hill noted there was a minor issue with the night differential for police officers so over the next three years that will be raised to be more in line with the standard.  Hill stated he thinks this is a good contract that stabilizes the city and carries them forward.    

Solvie stated as far as raises go, for the future the city might think about tying the increases to local government aid.  Hill noted that would not pass the test with an arbitrator to tie it to LGA.   

Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Wohlers, to adopt Resolution #3278-12-14, Resolution Approving a Non-Union Employee Policy to Cover the Years 2015-2017.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Approving a Labor Contract with the AFSCME Union Public Works Unit

Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Miller, to adopt Resolution #3279-12-14, Resolution Approving a Labor Contract with the AFSCME Union Public Works Unit.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Approving a Labor Contract with the AFSCME Union General Unit:  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Solvie, to adopt Resolution #3280-12-14, Resolution Approving a Labor Contract with the AFSCME Union General Unit.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Approving a Labor Contract for the LELS Local No. 11 Police Union:  Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Storck, to adopt Resolution #3281-12-14, Resolution Approving a Labor Contract for the LELS Local No. 11 Police Union.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

CITY MANAGER'S REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONSSolar Power Initiative – Public/Private Partnerships:  Hill stated that in conjunction with UMM there have been several conversations about solar power.  Hill stated he and Mayor Giese attended some meetings at the University to discuss the possibility of creating an initiative to bring solar energy to Morris.

Solar Power Initiative – Public/Private Partnerships: (continued)

The University has already decided to commit $10,000 in either funds or in kind services.  Hill noted the city doesnít have a lot of money sitting around for things like this but there is some old Stevens Forward money that got put into a Stevens Foundation and they have a grant application open.  Hill stated the first step would be to try and put together a project and see what it would look like.  Hill noted one of the drivers for Stevens Forward was to become carbon neutral.  Hill believes where Stevens Forward failed was that they came up with the ideas but nobody saw them through.  Mayor Giese stated it would be good for the city of Morris to be involved with this, at least on the front end for sure in partnering with the University. 

Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Wohlers, to authorize City Manager Hill to continue moving forward with the grant application to develop a possible solar energy initiative.  Motion carried.

City Manager Report:  Hill stated the cemetery chimes have been an ongoing issue over the course of years.  Hill noted they have increased in occurrence of when they are played and are played too loudly.  Hill stated the purpose of the chimes is to play in the cemetery and that was the discussion when the whole issue first came up years ago.  Hill pointed out his understanding is they can't be reprogrammed now by anybody else and the person who runs them is gone for the winter. 

Council member Solvie stated the chimes are basically there for when there are funerals and they donít need to be on every day of the year.  Solvie stated if the city is having issues they either need to be turned down or off.  Miller noted that it has been asked that they not be played as often or as loud and if they wonít cooperate then they should be shut down until they can comply with the cityís request.  Storck suggesting turning them off until the person gets back.   

With regard to the Welcome to Morris signs, Hill stated he hasnít seen any figures yet but there will be a cost share from the city.  Hill indicated the city needs new signs but who will be allowed to advertise on there is going to be an issue.  Wohlers stated he likes the idea of new signs but feels the rest of the business community needs to be involved in this as well.  Giese pointed out that on the other side if a few businesses say they're going to foot the bill on the signs that makes a difference. 

NEW BUSINESS:  None 

OLD BUSINESS:  None

INFORMATIONAL ITEMSAudit Letter:  This was informational for the council. 

DNR Grant Funding Letter:  Mayor Giese indicated that this was very exciting for the City to do some things for Pomme de Terre Park.  Hill explained that the city applied for some legacy grant money and money was put into the budget for the local match

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:20 p.m.

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