MINUTES – MORRIS CITY
COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING – JANUARY 27, 2015
The regular meeting of the
Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 27th day
of January, 2015, 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, Miller, Storck and Mayor
Giese. Also present was City Manager Hill, Finance Director Raasch,
Police Chief Tiegs and City Attorney Jordan. Council member Solvie
arrived at 5:16 p.m. City Engineer Fier arrived at 5:17 p.m.
CITIZEN’S COMMENTS: Mary Elizabeth Bezanson, 207 East 8th
Street, stated she is tired of shoveling. Bezanson has shoveled her
house, her neighbor’s properties and she has even shoveled the area by the
gazebo at the library twice. Bezanson stated she would like to know what
the consequences are for people who refuse to shovel their
City Manager Hill
indicated the city hasn't issued any additional fines other than clearing
several sidewalks and charging the cost back to the property owners.
Council member Storck suggested putting those that don’t shovel on a list and
having somebody do it every time it snows.
Bezanson noted she is
particularly interested in keeping East 7th Street clear for the
University students. Bezanson also pointed out there is a downtown
business that doesn’t want to clear their sidewalk. Bezanson stated as a
citizen she has grown weary of this and if the city doesn’t enforce it this
year no one will believe the city ever will.
Bezanson also asked the
council to think about a replacement sidewalk program for those that are
defective or dangerous. Hill explained that sidewalks have been taken out of improvement
projects because it throws the assessment process out of whack and drives the
cost up. Hill stated a sidewalk survey was done and now the city knows
where all the good and bad ones are. Hill stated the next step is to do a
sidewalk project where the city would approach property owners and ask them to
either replace their sidewalks or allow the city to do it, with the cost being
assessed back to the property owner. The city would focus on the main
routes first and East 7th Street and California could be part of
City Engineer Fier stated
the city has done sidewalk programs in the past by hiring a contractor to offer
sidewalk replacement or repairs for homeowners at a reasonable cost. The
city pays the contractor and then assesses the property owner so the contractor
is assured of getting paid.
Bezanson stated she wants
Morris to be walkable. Bezanson stated Morris is a lovely community but
it can be dangerous and she appreciates any effort the city is making to
improve the sidewalks.
Council member Wohlers
asked whose responsibility it is if someone trips on a sidewalk. Hill stated
it is the homeowners. Wohlers stated he works with Dan Halstead from 114
West 9th. The city replaced a section of sidewalk in
front of his house during the project and there is a chunk that has lifted
up. Fier indicated that project is still under warranty and he would be
taking a walk around for any repairs that need to be made before the warranty
PUBLIC HEARINGS: None
READING AND APPROVAL OF
MINUTES: 1/27/15 Regular
Meeting Minutes: Council member Storck moved, seconded by Council
member Miller, to approve the 1/27/15 regular meeting minutes. Motion
Minutes: Council member
Solvie moved, seconded by Wohlers, to approved the 1/27/15 condensed version
minutes. Motion carried.
CONSENT AGENDA: Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council
member Storck, to approve the consent agenda which included the following
of City Bills
for Exempt Permit – Pheasants Forever
Board Minutes, 1/14/15
ADDITION TO AGENDA: Mayor Giese added to the agenda a
Resolution Accepting a State of Minnesota Park Legacy Grant and Approving the
Grant Agreement and a letter from Mediacom.
PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND
to Boards and Commissions: Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Wohlers, to
reappoint the members to the boards and commissions as listed. Motion
1/21/15 Tourism Board
Minutes: Council member
Wohlers moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to accept the 1/21/15 tourism board
minutes. Motion carried.
Welcome to Morris Signs: Hill explained that the original design for
signs had some business panels for advertising on them. Hill then found
out from MN DOT that anytime a sign is put in MN DOT’s right of way you are not
allowed to advertise. The idea for these signs initially came from
Superior/Westmor as a recommendation to beautify Morris. Hill stated the
five signs will cost $80,000 and he is recommending that $20,000 of lodging tax
money be used for the signs. If approved, it will go back to Superior and
they will decide if they want to fund the remainder.
Wohlers expressed concern
that he would like to see some type of lights so the signs are visible at night
and to get the full benefit since they’re going to cost $80,000. Miller stated
the signs give a feel for what the town looks like and he thinks the proposed
signs look nice. Wohlers added that with all the new things going on in
town it’s the perfect time to do this.
Council member Miller
moved, seconded by Wohlers, to authorize using $20,000 of lodging tax money for
Welcome to Morris signs. Motion carried.
Opposing the Imposition of Levy Limits: Mayor Giese moved, seconded
by Council member Storck to adopt Resolution #3286-1-15, Resolution Opposing
the Imposition of Levy Limits. Upon a roll call vote taken and all
present voting in favor, motion carried.
Resolution Approving a
Consulting Agreement with Eutectics for Developing the “Morris Model” Clean
Energy Hub: Hill stated UMM
has already given the city a check for $5,000 because they want to see this get
started. There is $20,000 worth of work this company is going to
do. The city would guarantee the rest of this gets paid. The local Stevens
County Foundation met and they made a recommendation and sent it on to the West
Central Initiative Fund. There will be research done by professors and
students through the Center for Small Towns which would be allocated through
Hill recommended that the
council approve the agreement, accept the $5,000 from UMM and hopefully the
city will hear soon what is going on with the WCIF and the local
foundation. Hill noted the biggest part of this is that it is going to
provide the technical resource to businesses and individuals in this community so
they can start using solar power.
Council member Wohlers
moved, seconded by Solvie, to adopt Resolution #3287-1-15, Resolution Approving
a Consulting Agreement with Eutectics for Developing the “Morris Model” Clean
Energy Hub. Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor,
Assessment for Current Services:
Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Miller, to adopt Resolution #3288-1-15,
Resolution Adopting Assessment for Current Services. Upon a roll call
vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.
Resolution Accepting a
State of Minnesota Park Legacy Grant and Approving the Grant Agreement: Hill indicated June of 2017 is the end date
for the grant so the work would be done in the fall of this year or spring of
next year. The grant is for $119,000 with the total cost of the project
estimated at $150,000. The city’s share is $30,000 and that has been
included in the 2015 budget.
Mayor Giese moved,
seconded by Council member Miller, to adopt Resolution #3289-1-15, Resolution
Accepting a State of Minnesota Park Legacy Grant and Approving the Grant
Agreement. Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor,
CITY MANAGER'S REPORTS
& RECOMMENDATIONS: City
Manager Newsletter: Hill stated he and Engineer Fier met with MN DOT on
the Atlantic Avenue project. MN DOT plans to hold a meeting with downtown
businesses on February 10th at 7:00 p.m. This project will not
involve any costs to property owners. The anticipated start date is April
Fier explained that the ADA
side slope criteria has changed so all sidewalks will be replaced. There
will also be a mill and overlay for main street. Fier stated this is a
rehab test project of MN DOT’s. Hill stated the city will have to pay a
little on the parking lanes but not any of the curb or sidewalk. MN DOT
plans to coordinate with local people and try to keep the businesses open as
much as they can.
Fier explained that all
the intersections will be redone to be disability compliant. Hill added
that this is part of a bigger project that goes all the way to Donnelly and
Herman and then Wendell.
Fier noted the penalties
for them not finishing on time are huge. Fier added they will work around
the trees and put in smaller grates.
Storck suggested the city take
care of snow removal for the downtown area and charge the business
owners. Hill noted that Alexandria started doing that. Hill will
contact them and get some information.
With regard to the school
property, Hill stated they are working on a master plan and the assisted living
facility might be the first piece. As soon as it is ready they will have
to come in and have it platted. Hill noted it is in a TIF district so the
first step would be to give a deposit to the city for the city’s consultants to
draw up paperwork similar to what was done for Dripps and Heartland.
There was discussion about
the flow of traffic with the new bump outs on the downtown project. Tiegs
stated his concern is the semi traffic and the fact that they already have
troubling turning and the road will be even narrower. Fier pointed out he
and Hill talked to MN DOT at length and tried to talk them out of the bump outs
but it is their road and they’re going ahead with it. Fier noted the stoplights
will be timed with the railroad so if there's a train the light will remain
NEW BUSINESS: None
OLD BUSINESS: None
INFORMATIONAL ITEMS: Mediacom Letter: The local
office will be closing as of February 16th.
ADJOURNMENT: There being no further business, Mayor
Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:10 p.m.