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MINUTES - MORRIS CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING -SEPTEMBER 8, 2015

The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 8th day of September, 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 and Mayor Giese.  Council member Miller arrived at 5:18 p.m.  Council member Storck was absent.  Also present was City Manager Hill, Finance Director Raasch, Police Chief Tiegs and City Attorney Jordan.

CITIZEN'S COMMENTSShelby Flanagan - U of M MPIRG - Consent Week:  Shelby Flanagan was present at the council meeting on behalf of the Morris chapter of the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group.  Flanagan explained that MPIRG, in coalition with several other organizations both local and University affiliated, will be hosting a series of events the week of September 21st through the 25th to bring attention to the issue of sexual assault in this community as well as broader society, and to promote healthy attitudes about consent and healthy relationships.   

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  None

READING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES8/25/15 Regular Meeting Minutes:  Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Council member Wohlers, to approve the 8/25/15 regular meeting minutes.  Motion carried.

8/25/15 Condensed Version Minutes:  Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Miller, to approve the 8/25/15 condensed version minutes.  Motion carried.

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

            A.         Audit of City Bills

            B.         August Transit Report

            C.         5/19/15 Planning Commission Minutes

Motion carried.

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONSAmerican Legion Gambling Report:  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Solvie, 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.

ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONSResolution Calling for a Public Hearing on a Project by St. Francis Health Services:  Steven Fenlon was present at the meeting on behalf of St. Francis Health Services.  Fenlon asked the City of Morris to facilitate the sale of health care bonds in the amount of $2.4 million for three separate projects in Chisholm, Duluth and Zumbrota.  Fenlon indicated this is a huge favor to St. Francis and it allows them to reduce their interest expenses.  Fenlon explained that the city acts as the issuer of the bonds and does so without recourse and St. Francis pays any costs the city incurs in the process of doing its due diligence.  Fenlon noted Morris has done this many times.

Hill pointed out when he was first contacted about the bond issue he asked that Fenlon check with the other cities to see if they could do it first.  Fenlon noted Duluth had already sold $10 million worth and Chisholm took up as much of the issue as they could, while Zumbrota chose not to do it without charging St. Francis a fee.   

Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Wohlers, to adopt Resolution #3331-9-15, Resolution Calling for a Public Hearing on a Project by St. Francis Health Services of Morris, Inc. and to set a public hearing for Tuesday, October 13th at 5:15 p.m.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried. 

Resolution Ordering Repairs to Houses Owned by Barry Bjornson:  Hill stated his recommendation is that the council remove this resolution from the agenda.  The reason for that is because the primary objective was to make sure the one house was secured and that the owner begin cleaning up the yard, both of which are being done.  Hill indicated Bjornson has a building permit and the city can't place a time limit on the permit based on state statute.  Hill explained that the major issue with the other house on Wyoming was securing the foundation because it was still open underneath.  That has since been filled with dirt and clay and closed up.  Hill pointed out it is his understanding that Bjornson will be getting a bid to lift the house up and put a foundation under it.

Barry Bjornson was present at the meeting and stated the five inch rain at the end of July prohibited him from moving forward on these projects.  Bjornson stated this is a part time project for him so he tries to work on it on nights and weekends.  Bjornson stated he realizes it was a hazard and has taken a long time to complete.      

Wohlers asked Bjornson what his plan was with the sidewalk on Wyoming.  Bjornson explained he would be cleaning up the area but he doesn't plan on replacing the sidewalk. 

Miller noted the ultimate goal is to make progress and it seems that's what Bjornson is doing.  Solvie added the main concern is public safety.  Giese noted that keeping the line of communication open is important.  Bjornson indicated he wouldn't be able to get the Wyoming house done until spring. 

Resolution Approving the Preliminary 2015 Tax Levy for Collection in 2016:  Hill indicated this budget was harder to balance than he thought.  Hill noted the key thing to keep in mind is that there is no extra LGA, which the city had the luxury of having the last few years.  The state does have a surplus but there is no guarantee the city will get any next year. 

Hill stated the proposed budget is $9.7 million for 2016, which includes a preliminary tax levy for collection in 2016 in the amount of $1.37 million.  The preliminary levy represents a 6.7% increase over last year's levy.  Hill pointed out that number is an increase in the levy, not a 6.7% increase in the overall budget. 

Hill recommended holding a worksession with just the City Manager and City Council.  Hill stated he needs to be able to sit down and talk with the council and explain how he's doing the different things he's doing.  Solvie indicated that he thinks it's a good idea. 

Hill reviewed the key budget issues with the council as presented in his memo.

Hill stated the city hasn't had an improvement project for two years so there was some concern about the engineer position and how it is used.  Hill suggested that department may have to be billed out like the city does for the mechanic and set a rate.  If there are no projects for a year then the general fund has to pick up those costs.  Hill stated it is a volatile thing looking at how time is allocated and put in the system. 

With regard to the request for a new fire truck, Hill explained that there was no way the city could sustain paying for a truck at this point when the price came in at well over the budgeted amount.  The city still has a viable truck and can get 5-10 more years out of it. 

Wohlers asked if the city was consistent with what other fire departments are charging.   Hill stated the city is not at all consistent, noting that Morris uses a lot more foam than other departments.  Also, some of the other departments charge for labor and equipment.  Hill suggested an initial fee for fire calls and then charging for supplies after the first hour. 

Hill recommended setting a budget worksession at the next meeting.

Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Solvie, to adopt Resolution #3332-9-15, Resolution Approving the Preliminary 2015 Tax Levy for Collection in 2016.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Approving the 2016 Preliminary Budget and Setting a Public Hearing:   

Council member Miller moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to adopt Resolution #3333-9-15, Resolution Approving the 2016 Preliminary Budget and Setting a Public Hearing for Tuesday, December 8th at 6:00 p.m.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

CITY MANAGER'S REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONSCity Manager Report:  This was informational for the council.

NEW BUSINESS:  None

OLD BUSINESSSidewalks:  Wohlers asked about the status of sidewalks that were inspected and in need of repair.  Hill noted that the city knows where the bad ones are and may have to look at doing a small sidewalk project next year. 

INFORMATIONAL ITEMS:  None     

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:40 p.m.

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