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MINUTES      –      MORRIS CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING      –      JUNE 9, 2015

The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 9th day of June, 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, Storck and Mayor Giese.  Also present was City Manager Hill, Finance Director Raasch and Police Chief Tiegs.  City Engineer Fier arrived at 5:25 p.m.

ADDITION TO AGENDA:  Mayor Giese added two temporary on sale liquor licenses for the American Legion to the agenda.

CITIZEN'S COMMENTS:  None

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  None

READING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES5/26/15 Regular Meeting Minutes:  Council member Storck moved, seconded by Council member Miller, to approve the 5/26/15 regular meeting minutes.  Motion carried.

5/26/15 Condensed Version Minutes:  Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Wohlers, to approve the 5/26/15 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.      May Transit Report

         C.      Temporary On Sale Liquor License - Eagles

Motion carried.

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS: Tourism Underwriting Proposal – Pioneer Public Television:  This request is from the Tourism Board to use $3,050 of tourism funds to underwrite programming at Pioneer Public television.  Council member Wohlers stated this is a great marketing tool that will reach people to show all of the aspects Morris offers from hunting to the arts.  Hill noted this is the first step into that realm of advertising and he has advocated for this in the past.  Hill pointed out there is $50,000 in tourism funds to be used for promotion and marketing and there will be more with the new hotel. 

Miller asked for clarification as to how much was being asked for and it was confirmed it was $3,050. 

Council member Miller moved, seconded by Wohlers, to spend $3,050 for the Pioneer Public TV proposal for advertising.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Application for Temporary On Sale Liquor License:  Council member Storck moved, seconded by Solvie, to approve the temporary on sale liquor license applications from the American Legion for an event at the Fire Hall on July 12th and at Chizek Ballfield on July 31st /August 1st and 2nd.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor and Mayor Giese abstaining as an officer of the Legion, motion carried.

ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONSResolution Accepting Insurance Renewal Proposal:  Tom Quam of Bremer Insurance was present at the meeting to discuss the city's insurance renewal. 

The city's insurance coverage is through the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust.  Quam stated the work comp premium went down considerably mainly, due to the modification decrease from .91 to .65.  The total expiring insurance premium was $237,703 and a renewal premium of $211,470.  The city's LMCIT dividend was $14,942 for the city's property and liability package policy. 

Considerable discussion was had on changing the work comp deductible from $2,500 to a $0 deductible.  The experience mod reduced the work comp premium by $34,073.  With a $0 deductible the renewal premium would be $57,742. 

Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Miller to reduce the deductible to $0 on the workers' compensation policy. 

Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Solvie, to adopt Resolution #3313-6-15, Resolution Accepting Insurance Renewal Proposal.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Approving a Development Agreement with LP Properties:  Hill explained that this is the TIF portion for the old elementary property.  This is a housing project and does not need a public hearing.  The TIF district has been set up for 25 years and the timeline starts when the first project starts.  Hill noted 2017 will be the first tax year.  If there are any follow on projects the end date will be the same.  Tax increment financing doesn't pay for everything, it is only for those items that are allowed and nothing is paid for until the city starts receiving taxes.  Hill stated if this is approved tonight the project will probably start July 1st .  A note would be issued   as the city's guarantee that it will reimburse for costs and interest.  The city retains 10% annually for administration and negotiated an additional 10% to go to debt service to help pay the demolition costs.  Hill pointed out they are talking about employing 30 people in this facility.  

Miller clarified that no money is coming out of the city coffers for this project. 

Council member Storck moved, seconded by Council member Miller, to adopt Resolution #3314-6-15, Resolution Approving a Development Agreement with LP Properties.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Authorizing the Transfer of Public Housing to the Stevens County HRA:  Melanie Fohl of the Morris Housing & Redevelopment Authority was present at the meeting to talk about a merger of the Morris HRA and the Stevens County HRA.  Jody DeCamp of the Stevens County HRA was also present.

Fohl stated the Morris HRA was successful in obtaining $898,000 in forgivable loans from the state bonding money, plus other funding, to amount to over a $1 million to replace the plumbing at Grandview.  They will use $20,000 of reserves to finish the project. 

Fohl explained that in HUD terms this is called a full transfer of the programs and property from the Morris HRA to Stevens County HRA.  Fohl stated both she and DeCamp have worked in their positions for more than 20 years.  The agencies are strong, there are no turf issues and they are both getting closer to retirement age so want to make sure their agencies are prepared for that transition.  They are both classified as high performers in the grading system for housing authorities.  The transition will allow them to be much more efficient, reduce duplicated training and have a better use of staff and expertise. 

Fohl noted one of the things they're working towards is doing a housing study.  This makes them more stable for the future with regard to funding.  Fohl added that being a larger agency and doing more of the HUD programs from one place puts them in a good position for the future.  Fohl pointed out City Attorney Jordan has looked over a shared services agreement for the organizations.

Fohl stated the primary office would be at the courthouse but they will always maintain staff at Grandview because it is important to have staff available to those tenants.  Fohl indicated they also want to continue to do the rental licensing program for the city.  DeCamp added they would like to offer it to the other county communities if they're interested. 

DeCamp stated she has been to council meetings in the past for work with rental rehab monies and encouraged cities to come to them if they have an identified housing need.  The housing study will help them identify potential projects for the future. 

Fohl explained that they are required to choose a date for the merger but they need to spend the $898,000 before they can close everything out so they are looking at July 1, 2016.  Fohl indicated in order to move forward they need to have the council approve the resolution approving the transfer. 

Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Wohlers, to adopt Resolution #3315-6-15, Resolution Authorizing the Transfer of Public Housing to the Stevens County HRA.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Authorizing the Submission of a $7 Million Capital Budget Request to the State of MN:  Hill stated the city decided to throw their hat in the ring to try and get some money out of the bonding bill.  Hill stated he has contacted both representatives and received an email from one of the DFL staffers that said they have a brand new budget request computerized system.  Hill stated Friday is the deadline and we are requesting $7 million.

Resolution Authorizing the Submission of a $7 Million Capital Budget Request to the State of MN:  Hill explained in the request it was conveyed that this is not just a water plant; it's also an environmental issue and state mandates are causing the city to do this.  In addition, the ethanol plant under extreme pressure plus the City of Alberta is on the city's system. 

Council member Miller moved, seconded by Storck, to adopt Resolution #3316-6-15, Resolution Authorizing the Submission of a $7 Million Capital Budget Request to the State of MN.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried. 

Resolution Approving a Use Agreement for the DENCO II Project:  Hill explained that the city now has the grant contract for the second DEED grant for DENCO II.  The grant contract requires that the city enter into a Use Agreement with DENCO II.  Hill noted the city will own the equipment but it will be in their plant.  The agreement runs for the expected life of the equipment which is 12.5 years.  After that the equipment will belong to DENCO II. 

Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Wohlers, to adopt Resolution #3317-6-15, Resolution Approving a Use Agreement for the DENCO II Project.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Approving a Memorandum of Understanding with AFSCME Union 2022:  Hill stated during union negotiations an issue came up with regards to pay for liquor store clerks as they are on the lowest level of the pay scale.  Hill added that the liquor store also has a clerk that has 30 years of experience and they would like to move this person to the top step.  Hill pointed out minimum wage is going up and it's harder to find someone that wants to work in this business.  Hill indicated the city needs competent people because we don't want to lose our liquor license.  Hill asked that the pay scale be adjusted by $1 an hour.  This would not increase taxes because the liquor store makes money.  

Considerable discussion was held on whether or not the increase in pay was justified.  It was felt that management needed to be held accountable for past failed compliance checks but that this was a monetary issue and that is a separate disciplinary issue. 

Wohlers questioned moving Nancy Peterson to the top of the pay scale and suggested moving her up two or three steps.  Wohlers asked if she could be using her expertise in other areas besides clerking.   Giese stated his opinion is that the council is not the negotiators.  Hill recommended the council approve this.    

Council member Storck moved, seconded by Miller, to adopt Resolution #3318-6-15, Resolution Approving a Memorandum of Understanding with AFSCME Union 2022.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried. 

CITY MANAGER'S REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONSCity Manager Newsletter:  This was informational for the council.  Hill pointed out there will be a full scale disaster drill next year.  It is going to be in June and everyone will participate. 

NEW BUSINESS:  None

OLD BUSINESS:  None

INFORMATIONAL ITEMS:  None

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:53 p.m.

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