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MINUTES   -   MORRIS CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING   -   OCTOBER 27, 2015

The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 27th day of October, 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, Police Chief Tiegs, Public Works Director Dittbenner and City Attorney Jordan.

CITIZEN'S COMMENTS:  Police Chief Tiegs stated Officer Travis Clark has reached his two year anniversary with the department and he presented Clark with his two year pin for his dress uniform. 

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  None 

READING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  10/13/15 Regular Meeting Minutes:  Council member      Storck moved, seconded by Council member Wohlers, to approve the 10/13/15 regular meeting minutes.  Motion carried.

10/13/15 Condensed Minutes:  Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Storck, to approve the 10/13/15 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

Motion carried.

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

ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONSResolution Instructing the SCEIC to Use Opportunity Funds for Loans Outside the City of Morris:  City Manager Hill stated there are now two different types of loan pools through the SCEIC; the original one from DEED and the one where the city money was recently transferred to the SCEIC.  Hill stated the question came up in discussions with the SCEIC board with regards to taking that restriction off and being able to use the funds in the county, not just the city of Morris.  Hill indicated he does not see it as a big burden for anyone to take the restriction off.

Storck asked what happens if the money is turned over to the SCEIC to use in the county and then the city runs out of money for loans.  Hill stated the SCEIC loan pool would kick in but the city can also go to the state and apply for a grant that that can build the pot back up.  Giese asked if it would be the city that would approach the state.  Hill indicated it could be the city or the SCEIC, but it is hard to ask for more money to build up a pool when there isn't anything to use it for.  Hill stated it is in the city's best interest to make loans to businesses because businesses outside the city limits are also good for Morris.   

Storck indicated he did not like the idea of giving up control of the funds.  Solvie noted the funds were turned over because of making paperwork easier and the restriction was put in place to make sure that the city was taken care of.  Solvie stated he has not changed his mind on that thought process.  Solvie noted he would maybe consider it if someone came with a big project outside the city and explained what they were doing, but otherwise he would not consider lifting the restriction.

Mayor Giese explained the issue is that the opportunity fund (money that came from the city) has fewer restrictions on it than the growth fund (the money that came from the revolving loan fund from DEED).  Giese added that once in a while there are things that come up that really don't fit the restrictions of the revolving loan fund but would fit the opportunity fund and make a business eligible for the city money.  Solvie stated that they can then come to the city at that time and ask for approval.  Giese pointed out there is $700,000-$800,000 between the two funds and there aren't a lot of requests.   

Wohlers noted that the city is going to have some vacant buildings along main street and his concern is that the city doesn't cut itself short.  Wohlers stated he would like to see a revitalize main street campaign down the road.   

Considerable discussion was held on using the loan funds outside the City of Morris.

Mayor Giese moved the resolution, but it died for lack of a second. 

Resolution Approving a Wage Monitoring Proposal:  Hill explained that as part of the second DEED grant to DENCO II for $750,000, there are specific wage goals that have to be met and it requires a consultant with an understanding of the rules.  Pettipiece & Associates would do the wage monitoring at a cost of $7,800. 

Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Solvie, to adopt Resolution #3340-10-15, Resolution Approving a Wage Monitoring Proposal.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Setting Storm Sewer Administrative Fees:  This resolution would set a storm water administrative fee of $5 per bi-monthly billing for residential customers and $10 for commercial.

Hill explained that the city is responsible for any storm water that comes off the city and goes into the river, and that includes the areas that were annexed.  Hill explained the city's requirement from the State of MN is to get a permit to monitor all the storm water that comes off the city of Morris and that is every single piece of property that drains into the river.  The city is applying for the permit right now but part of the application process is that the city has to have a plan in place to deal with the water. 

Hill noted city staff has talked about what the city's policy is for salting and sanding roads and chemicals people use on their yards because that all goes into the storm sewer.  This is why the city has hired Bolton & Menk to put together a plan.   

Storck stated he feels like the city sucked those properties in, got them annexed and now the city is making them pay for things.  Storck indicated it doesn't seem right because they don't have storm sewer.  Hill stated it's not storm sewer, its storm water and it is a State of MN MPCA permit requirement.  These fees will be used to help pay for the cost of preparing the permit application, which is about $25,000, as well as ongoing costs related to education and enforcement of the permit requirements.  Hill stated otherwise the money will have to come out of the general fund, but either way it will have to be budgeted for. 

Wohlers asked if the money started to accumulate would the city put a cap on it and use the funds elsewhere because $55,000 a year seemed like a lot.  Solvie stated personally he doesn't like the issue of fees, whereas if it just came out of what the city budgeted in the general fund it might be little less in their face.  Wohlers stated he agrees with the process and that the city needs to stay ahead of the fees. 

Solvie added he doesn't disagree that the city is going to have all these costs; he's just not sure this is the best way to go about collecting it. Hill reiterated this is just setting a fee to generate enough money to pay for the administrative costs of watching over the storm water.

Giese explained that everyone that has a garbage can is going to have this fee, whereas if it is  taken out of the general fund then you have the hospital, churches, etc. that don't pay taxes.  After Giese's explanation, Solvie stated he felt the fee was actually a more fair way to do it.   

Council member Miller moved, seconded by Council member Wohlers, to adopt Resolution #3341-10-15, Resolution Setting Storm Water Administrative Fees.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Declaring Support for State Leasing and Operation of the Appleton Prison:  Hill proposed the council approve a resolution in support of reopening the prison in Appleton.  Hill indicated he believes it is in the city's best interest to see that place back up and running, rather than using bonding money to add on to existing prison facilities.  Miller stated it makes sense and there have been quite a few people in the community that have worked there over the years.  Giese added that it would be good for the entire area and could create jobs for people in town.   

Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Storck, to adopt Resolution #3342-10-15, Resolution Declaring Support for State Leasing and Operation of the Appleton Prison.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

CITY MANAGER'S REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONSTourism Advertising Budget:  Hill explained that this request includes $5,000 for video production for television and social media advertising and $5,000 that could be used for radio and other advertising. 

Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Miller, to approve an advertising budget of $10,000 for the Tourism Board using lodging tax funds.  Motion carried. 

City Manager Newsletter:  This was informational for the council.

NEW BUSINESS:  None

OLD BUSINESS:  None

INFORMATIONAL ITEMS:  None

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:11 p.m.

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