– 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
CITIZEN'S COMMENTS: Dona 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
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:
of City Bills
Church Liquor License
& Expenditure Report
for Exempt Permit – UMM Baseball Association
Dance Permit – Old #1
PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS: Gambling 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 RESOLUTIONS: Resolution 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
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
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 & RECOMMENDATIONS: Preliminary 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
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 Newsletter: Library: 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
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
INFORMATIONAL ITEMS: None
ADJOURNMENT: There being no further business, Mayor Giese
adjourned the meeting at 6:21 p.m.