MINUTES - MORRIS CITY COUNCIL
REGULAR MEETING -SEPTEMBER 8, 2015
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.
The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
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
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
AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES: 8/25/15 Regular Meeting Minutes: Council member
Solvie moved, seconded by Council member Wohlers, to approve the 8/25/15
regular meeting minutes. Motion carried.
Condensed Version Minutes: Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Miller, to
approve the 8/25/15 condensed version minutes. Motion carried.
Council member Miller moved, seconded by Wohlers, to approve the consent agenda
which included the following items:
of City Bills
Planning Commission Minutes
REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS: American 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.
Resolution 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
the key budget issues with the council as presented in his memo.
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.
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.
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.
recommended setting a budget worksession at the next meeting.
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
Approving the 2016 Preliminary Budget and Setting a Public Hearing:
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.
MANAGER'S REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONS: City Manager Report: This was
informational for the council.
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.
ADJOURNMENT: There being no further
business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:40 p.m.