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MINUTES     –     MORRIS CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING    –     AUGUST 25, 2015

The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 25th day of August, 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.  Council member Solvie was absent.  Also present was City Manager Hill, Finance Director Raasch, Police Chief Tiegs and City Attorney Jordan.

CITIZEN'S COMMENTSDona Greiner – Emergency Management Office:  Dona Greiner was present at the meeting to share some information on upcoming events and plans for a full scale disaster drill taking place on June 29th of next year.  The disaster drill will be a train derailment.  Greiner also touched on the Code Red system and the county's hazard mitigation plan.  Greiner noted one project they are working on with the mitigation plan is a community safe room at the Lee Community Center.     

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  None 

READING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  8/11/15 Regular Meeting Minutes:  Council member     Storck moved, seconded by Council member Miller, to approve the 8/11/15 regular meeting minutes.  Motion carried.

8/11/15 Condensed Minutes:  Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to approve the 8/11/15 condensed version minutes.  Motion carried.

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

         A.      Audit of City Bills

         B.      Assumption Church Liquor License

         C.      Revenue & Expenditure Report

         D.      Application for Exempt Permit – UMM Baseball Association

         E.       Street Dance Permit – Old #1

Motion carried.

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONSGambling Report – American Legion:  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Storck, 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.

Prairie Pioneer Days Final Budget:  City Manager Hill stated this budget is for the final expenses for Prairie Pioneer Days.  The expenses are over and above the revenues that were generated and will be paid out of the lodging tax monies.  Hill explained there is $6,049.26 for the 125th fire department celebration but the city received a $3,000 contribution from the Eagles and $3,000 from the American Legion so almost all of those charges will be paid. 

Council member Storck moved, seconded by Wohlers, to accept the PPD final budget and authorize a payment of $12,561.81 to the Chamber of Commerce.  Motion carried.

ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONSResolution Approving a School Resource Officer Agreement for the 2015-2016 School Year:   Hill stated last year the school decided they didn't want as much time for an officer so it was reduced to 50%.  Hill explained that this year the new superintendent likes the presence of an officer at the school and wants to go back to 2/3 time. 

Police Chief Tiegs indicated Officer Liebl was at the school three days a week last year and one day was spent on a street shift.  Tiegs stated the new superintendent is a big proponent of the program and would like Officer Liebl there 4+ days out of the week.  Tiegs stated the reason he says 4+ days is that if the city needs help that comes first before she goes to the school. 

Storck asked about issuing tickets for cars parked in the fire lane at the school.  Tiegs noted the school requests that Officer Liebl be in the hallways before school starts and at the end of the day.  Tiegs stated they are trying to resolve that issue but technically, under the law, a person isn't parked if they are still in attendance of their vehicle.   

Council member Storck moved, seconded by Council member Miller, to adopt Resolution #3329-8-15, Resolution Approving a School Resource Officer Agreement for the 2015-2016 School Year.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Authorizing Advertising for Bids for the DENCO II DEED Second Grant Project:  Mick Miller was present at the meeting and stated this is the second grant for DENCO II that was received through legislation.  Both grants are being used for energy efficiency improvements at the plant including a fifth fermentation tank, an additional hammer mill and an addition to the plant's cooling tower.  Miller stated because they weren't able to receive the funding directly, a private/public partnership was created with the city.  The city owns the equipment and DENCO II has a use agreement.  After 12 ½ years the ownership of the equipment transfers to DENCO II. 

Miller explained the grant is for $750,000 and the matching portion will come from DENCO II.  Miller stated they are ready to go out for bids in 30 days.  Hill stated the city has Bolton & Menk watching over this process and wading through the red tape.   

Council member Miller asked if these improvements would retain or create jobs.  Mick Miller stated these improvements will reduce water consumption and natural gas usage, which makes the plant more efficient with a more competitive advantage to hopefully keep the plant open long term.  Miller stated there are no jobs specifically related to the new equipment but they are at 35 full time employees, whereas in 2010 they were at 28. 

Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Wohlers, to adopt Resolution #3330-8-15, Resolution Authorizing Advertising for Bids for the DENCO II DEED Second Grant Project.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

CITY MANAGER'S REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONSPreliminary Plat – Old Elementary School

Hill explained the Planning Commission met and reviewed this plat for the rest of the property at the elementary site and had no recommendations.  Hill stated there was a question brought up about easements for the storm water and there are easements running through the middle lots to allow for a storm water piping system.   

Council member Wohlers asked if the area would be manageable without an internal road to the property.  Joe Riley was present at the meeting and stated each property will have an entrance off the street and the three potential buyers see no need for an internal road. 

Wohlers asked about sidewalks.  Hill noted the road right of way automatically has room for sidewalks and although it hasn't been discussed with the potential developers, ideally the city would like to see sidewalks all around the property.   

Riley pointed out one of the developers buying the three acres on the corner of 5th and College anticipates owning the pond.  The pond will be on 1.3 acres.  Riley indicated the developer plans to ask the other owners to contribute to maintenance of the pond but he wants it to be kept up and look nice.  The outlet for the pond will be into the storm sewer on 7th street and will be sized for the whole 17 acres. 

Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Miller, to approve the preliminary plat for the old elementary school property first addition.  Motion carried.

Assistance to Firefighters Grant Application:  Hill explained there are new standards in place for air packs that all fire departments use.  The city will need to replace 24 air packs, along with the bottles that go with the air pacs at a cost of about $120,000.  Hill suggested hiring Pat Conroy at a cost of $3,000 to assist with writing a grant for all four of the fire departments, which includes Morris, Donnelly, Hancock and Chokio.  The city will look at a cost sharing of the application cost but noted it should get started as soon as possible.      

Council member Miller moved, seconded by Storck, to authorize spending $3,000 to hire Pat Conroy to assist with the writing of the AFG grant.  Motion carried.

City Manager NewsletterLibrary:  Hill stated the library board is working on a potential renovation expansion project.  The next step is to sit down and do another assessment of their needs and look at a more detailed design.  The library board will be coming to the council to talk about this project.     

Sunday Liquor:  Hill explained a local business has asked about changing the hours for selling Sunday liquor.  Currently city code allows the sale of liquor to start at noon on Sundays.  State statute authorizes cities to allow the start of liquor sales at 8:00 a.m.  Hill stated if the council is interested in changing the time it would have to be done with an ordinance.  Giese indicated if there is a business that's interested in doing it he feels the city should look into it and see what can be done.  Miller added that he doesn't think this would be a runaway issue.  Hill noted he would talk to the business and bring something back to the council.

Engine Braking:  Hill asked if the council wanted to put something in the code to prohibit engine braking.  Hill stated he has received a few complaints but it is almost impossible to catch someone doing it.  The city has at least one sign posted indicating that the city will be enforcing noise laws but Hill didn't see anything on the books that specifically addresses engine braking.   

Police Chief Tiegs stated he notices the noise from the train whistles a lot more than the trucks.  Hill indicated he doesn't want the city to get into a situation where people start complaining that the city doesn't enforce an ordinance that was put in place. 

City Attorney Jordan stated it is tough to convey a noise violation to a judge without having a decibel reader, unless it's an across the board no engine braking rule.  Miller thought it would be worth a try to put up more signs.  Hill stated he could draft some language for an ordinance that would allow signs to be posted at each end of town.

Train Whistles:  With regard to train whistles, Tiegs stated MN DOT requires them to sound their signal at a certain decibel limit at least 20 seconds before approaching an intersection. 

NEW BUSINESS:  None

OLD BUSINESS:   Hill stated the property owners of the substandard housing will be sent a letter indicating what they need to do within a certain amount of time.  The city can then go in after 30 days and take action.  Specific notice has to be served on the property owners. 

Picnic Tables:  Wohlers asked about picnic table rentals as he had someone request them.  Hill noted the city shouldn't be in the picnic table rental business, although the city still has to support some big community events. 

INFORMATIONAL ITEMS:  None

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:21 p.m.

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