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The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 10th day of March, 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, Solvie, Miller and Mayor Giese.  Council member Storck was absent.  Also present was City Manager Hill, Finance Director Raasch, Police Chief Tiegs and Public Works Director Dittbenner. 

ADDITION TO AGENDA:  Mayor Giese added a quote from Titan Machinery to City Managers Reports and Recommendations. 

CITIZEN’S COMMENTSDonation from BPA:  Hill stated the high school chapter of Business Professionals of America donated $5,000 to the city from the State Farm Celebrate my Drive program. 

Cemetery Chimes:  Judi Carr and approximately 30 other people were present at the meeting to show their support for the chimes.  Carr stated there have recently been several editorials in the newspaper regarding the chimes in the cemetery and that they are a violation to a proclaimed atheist’s rights and a noise factor to some on East 7th Street.  Carr refers to a quote from Ted Storck’s letter to the editor saying the chimes were turned off and would soon be moved by a decree from City Manager Blaine Hill.  The chimes will remain off until there is some type of arrangement that can be made to confine the music to the cemetery.  Storck’s resolution would be to move the speakers to Calvary to be heard only by them and not by East 7th Street or at Summit Cemetery. 

Carr stated they are looking for a peaceful negotiation for the future of the chimes.  They appreciate the chimes and thank Storck for them.  Carr noted that in a letter from Storck he indicated he did not have to get approval from anyone before installing the chimes so Carr wondered why the council is now having a say in the matter.  Carr stated the donation of the chimes was to the Vets and asked why one person, or a few, have the right to decide the future of the chimes.    

The citizens would like the chimes to remain where they were first installed.  They are agreeable to having them turned down, to remain where they're at and have them play 2-3 times per day and for funerals as requested.  Carr thanked the council for their consideration and hoped there was a peaceful resolution for all.

Sid Wilcox, 210 Montana Avenue, stated he spent a lot of time with the council when they were trying to steal his property on East 7th Street.  Wilcox noted at that time he told the council there would be a revolution coming and the council laughed at him.  Wilcox indicated the people here don't think the council is listening to its constituents and suggested they start listening to what these people have to say.  Wilcox stated the council bowed down to about six people and took the chimes out.  Wilcox stated it is his understand the same person wanted the lights off at the Christus House and the council bowed down and turned them off and now they want the lights off at St. Mary's. 

Several people spoke to this issue in favor of the chimes including Skip Hesse, Erv Krosch, Bill Rickmeyer, Irwin Anderson and Darla Loher. 

Council member Solvie stated the chimes are off right now because when the council talked about the volume and frequency it seemed to be a problem finding someone to run them because only Ted Storck knows how to do it.  Solvie noted he agrees that the chimes are a great thing but added that you have to be respectful to others. 

Hill stated no one has talked about moving the chimes except for Ted Storck.  Hill noted he started dealing with this issue in 2008.  The original agreement suggested that the chimes should be turned down so they're heard in the cemetery and to play a song on the hour or half hour.  What ended up happening is that the songs were being played every 15 minutes and the volume was turned up. 

Miller noted the only reason the chimes aren’t playing right now is because the city was told that supposedly no one had the ability to turn the chimes down until Ted Storck came back. 

Hill noted with regard to Wilcox’s comment, no one has talked to St. Mary’s about their sign.  The Christus house sign was addressed and it will be talked about at the next planning commission meeting to see what is right for that neighborhood. 

Hill indicated that everything people are fighting for can be done.  Hill noted people have a right to enjoy their property just as much as the next person.  Hill stated the one individual that can make this work has to be open to making it work. 

Bob Stevenson stated he agrees with Hill's thinking and can't believe that someone besides Mr. Storck can't learn to adjust and handle that speaker.  Stevenson confirmed that the veterans own the chimes, not Ted Storck.  Hill added that he believes Ted Storck thinks he owns them.  Stevenson stated he is President of Summit Cemetery and their board has talked about it and they have no plans to move anything; that is all Ted Storck talking.  Stevenson believes with a little common sense this thing can be worked out.  

Krosch suggested a meeting be held with the council, the veterans groups and the cemetery boards.  Krosch reiterated that Ted Storck does not own the chimes; they were donated.  Krosch noted it puts the council in a bad spot when there are complaints and Ted Storck does what he wants.  Krosch stated he is positive a satisfactory solution can be worked out.    

Giese noted the council is not against turning the chimes back on.  Giese stated the council heard it well from the people in attendance that everyone enjoys them, including the council, they just need to be moderated.  The council thanked everyone for coming and making their voices heard.

Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to have City Manager Hill meet with the Veterans organizations and the cemetery boards to figure out an agreement for the chimes.  Motion carried. 



READING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES2/24/15 Regular Meeting Minutes:  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Council member Solvie, to approve the 2/24/15 regular meeting minutes.  Motion carried.

2/24/15 Condensed Version Minutes:  Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to approve the 2/24/15 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.      February Transit Report

         C.      Application for Exempt Permit – Ducks Unlimited

Motion carried.

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONSTemporary On Sale Liquor License - Legion:   Council member Miller moved, seconded by Council member Solvie, to approve the temporary on sale liquor license application for the American Legion, for an event to be held at the Morris Armory on March 21st.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, and Mayor Giese abstaining, motion carried. 


CITY MANAGER'S REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONSOregon Avenue Project Update:  Hill stated this project has some state and federal money and some borrowing requirements with the federal money.  Hill stated some issues came up with regard to the red tape and they are really cracking down at the federal level when it comes to funding.  The final plans were sent in for approval so the city could authorize advertising for bids.

Jeff Kuhn of WSN was present at the meeting.  Kuhn stated as a result of submitting the plans for this project to the state aid review office in district 4, it was discovered that Oregon Avenue wasn’t on the federal aid system. California Avenue is currently designated on the federal system.  Kuhn suggested that California Avenue be removed and replaced with Oregon Avenue.  Kuhn explained without doing that the city would not be eligible for federal funds.

Kuhn indicated the council probably wonders why this wasn’t caught earlier.  Kuhn explained that they start programming for the district several years in advance.  Several years ago it was looked at possibly designating Oregon Avenue in 2017 and it should have been caught but it slipped through the cracks.  The City is not out these dollars, but the project may just have to be moved back.  Kuhn stated if the council is able to make these designation changes the district state aid engineer would be in agreement to move the project forward.  Kuhn stated it would be more like June or July depending on the other steps to go through including meeting with the ATP (Area Transportation Partnership).  Kuhn stated there is a minute difference between California and Oregon, from 5th Street back over to Elm.  Kuhn stated the changes to the maps would also involve removing the designation on 3rd Street and College Avenue and shifting that to a different route.

Kuhn noted there wasn’t a designation for Green River Road but he had requested that the last go around.  Kuhn explained there is potentially some sort of limitation that the ATP might have to consider as far as mileage.  On the state aid system you are only allowed a certain percentage of your total overall mileage of streets.  On the federal it is a little bit different but he will find that out once the ATP meets.  Kuhn stated the federal funding for this project would amount to $1.2 million, which is a good chunk of the project. 

Discussion was held on street width and parking on both sides of the road for this project and other streets. Hill stated in the future anytime a state aid road is done it should be 38’ wide.

Kuhn noted another thing about Oregon Avenue is that it is a closer match to Green River and it lines up with the back of the business district more so than California. 

Wohlers asked what moving the project back would due to competitive bidding.  Kuhn noted that it doesn’t improve by moving it back because contractors start filling up.  The length of the project is really set up such so that it needs the whole construction season.  Kuhn stated it could be set up to phase part of the work, but that doesn’t need to be decided right now. 

It was the consensus of the council to go ahead with the designation of federal funding from California Avenue to Oregon Avenue.  Kuhn will bring resolutions back to the council at their next meeting.

City Manager Newsletter:  This was informational for the council.

Hill explained that city staff thinks towing cars may not the best idea for snow removal.  The light snow alert that was called this past week seemed to work well.  Miller suggested making sure it is not confusing to people and to have something that is uniform. 

Titan Machinery Quote:  Hill recommended the city proceed with a lease purchase agreement for a Case loader from Titan Machinery.  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Solvie, to enter an agreement with Titan Machinery for a five year lease for a Case loader for $142,832.  Motion carried.




INFORMATIONAL ITEMS2015  Board of Appeals and Equalization:  The Board of Appeals will be held on April 1, 2015. 

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:35 p.m.

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