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MINUTES   -   MORRIS CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING   -   NOVEMBER 22, 2016

The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 22nd day of November, 2016, 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, Police Chief Tiegs, Public Works Director Dittbenner, Finance Director Raasch and City Attorney Jordan. 

 

CITIZEN'S COMMENTS:  None

 

EADING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  11/1/16 Regular Meeting Minutes:  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Council member Storck, to approve the 11/1/16 regular meeting minutes.  Motion carried.

 

11/1/16 Condensed Minutes:  Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Wohlers, to approve the 11/1/16 condensed version minutes.  Motion carried.

 

11/14/16 Canvassing Meeting Minutes:  Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Miller, to approve the 11/14/16 canvassing meeting 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

            B.         October Transit Report

            C.         Revenue & Expenditure Report

            D.         10/18/16 Planning Commission Minutes

            E.         Gambling Report

            F.         10/19/16 Tourism Board Minutes

Motion carried.

 

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS:  Gambling Report from 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.

 

PUBLIC HEARING:  Public Hearing and Resolution Ordering the Preparation of Plans and Specifications for the North, South and East Court, Brook Street and Eleanor Avenue Improvement Project:  City Manager Hill explained this project got started because the council decided this was an area that needed to be done.  Another way a project can be started is if a group of people petition to have the work done.  Hill noted a feasibility study was ordered and it was determined there was a need for the project.  Property owners were given notice of the hearing, with a total of 108 being affected in some way.  Hill stated the plans and specs would be completed sometime in January with bids ordered in March.   

 

Jeff Kuhn of WSN was present at the meeting.  Kuhn stated all the streets within the project area are pretty well deteriorated.  The sewer pipe is clay and needs to come into compliance

MINUTES   -   MORRIS CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING   -   NOVEMBER 22, 2016

Public Hearing and Resolution Ordering the Preparation of Plans and Specifications for the North, South and East Court, Brook Street and Eleanor Avenue Improvement Project: (continued)

with MPCA regulations, so it is also a good time to replace the water lines.  Kuhn noted this area is void of any kind of underground storm sewer.  There is a lot of surface water flow during any rain event and freezing over of crossings during the winter months.  Kuhn indicated there will be new storm sewer throughout the area and all 62 homes within the area of South, North, East Court and Brook Street will receive new sanitary sewer and water, along with the mains in the street.  Kuhn added that Eleanor Avenue has fairly new sewer and water mains so those will not be replaced.  No new sidewalk is proposed.  Driveways will be replaced to tie into the new curb and gutter.  Kuhn indicated they will also be putting in drain tile behind the back of the curb so people with sump pumps will be able to hook up into the drain tile system and have an underground sump pump.  At the time of construction land owners will be approached if they would like to have that installed.

 

The overall cost of the project is estimated at just above $2.5 million.  Kuhn stated the city assesses 75% of sewer, water and storm sewer, 100% of curb and gutter and about 25% of the street costs.  An average lot with all the improvements is going to see an estimated assessable amount totaling around $15,000.  Kuhn noted the last few projects have come in considerably less so hopefully that will be the case again.  The project will typically start in late April or May and go the duration of the construction season.  Kuhn stated they will try to get people in and out of their homes as much as possible but sometimes the weather makes the roads impassable.  

 

Kevin Kotts, 23 Brook Street, asked where the storm sewer will outlet into Green River.

Kuhn explained one of the key components of the project (which will not be assessed back to property owners) is the crossings next to Green River, underneath Eleanor and also Skyview.  Kuhn noted they appear to be to be constricting the storm water flow that's coming across Columbia Avenue and also entering in from the development Kotts is in.  They will look at replacing those crossings with larger culvert structures that will drop the 100 year water elevation by approximately 3 feet.  Kuhn added that the ditch will be cleaned as well and they are working on the permitting process to make that happen.   

 

Marshall Hoffman, 8 Brook Street, asked if the project would have some impact on the flooding problems.  Kuhn noted it should minimize or eliminate the flooding problems.  Hoffman stated at their particular property the water gathers at the bottom of their driveway.  Kuhn indicated a set of catch basins will draw that water down.  Hoffman asked if the project would have an impact on the property value.  Hill stated property values would increase and there is an appraisal being done to support that.   

 

Mark Ekren, 332 Eleanor, stated that between his house and Ohren's and then across the backyards,  there is always a big swimming pool of water.  Ekren asked if there was a possibility of draining that out.  Kuhn explained some contingencies have been built in to the project so he feels comfortable that that issue can be addressed.  Kuhn stated it could be looked at with the storm sewer and they would perhaps need a 10 foot drainage easement in the backyards.  A temporary construction easement may also be needed.  Kuhn indicated the city hasn't typically made the rest of the residents pay for that type of improvement. 

 

 

MINUTES   -   MORRIS CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING   -   NOVEMBER 22, 2016

Public Hearing and Resolution Ordering the Preparation of Plans and Specifications for the North, South and East Court, Brook Street and Eleanor Avenue Improvement Project: (continued)

Chris Hutchings, 22 East Court, stated there is flooding that occurs in the front and backyard of her property.  Kuhn made note of her location and stated the street will have much better drainage than it currently does. 

 

Ann Kolden, 9 Brook Street, stated she heard rumblings that the streets would be narrowed.  Kuhn indicated the streets are currently 40' and would be narrowed down two feet on each side to 36'.  Kuhn noted it comes down to dollars and cents and trying to manage the overall budget.  Kuhn stated he thinks a 36' street is reasonable for a residential area such as this.  Kuhn noted residents would be looking at a minimum of $500 extra to keep the road at the current width.   

 

Hill explained that in the past there were no standards for how streets were built, with some being 42' all the way down to 30'.  Hill stated some years back a determination was made as to what the road types and widths would be.  The standard in past projects has been 36'.  Hill stated the bottom line is that the number one problem is finding funding for the roads and there's no reason to build them bigger than what is needed.  Hill indicated a wider road also becomes a problem for storm water runoff with more impervious surface area.  The additional width also needs maintenance including seal coats and eventually overlays.   Hill added he doesn't believe that the narrowing of the street will be that noticeable and there are a lot of trees that won't be damaged by rebuilding the road.  Council member Wohlers suggested people take a look at the West 9th, 10th and 11th Street project as an example.

 

Elisa Ettesvold, 7 Brook Street, expressed concern with narrowing the road.  Ettesvold asked if these other narrow roads had sidewalks.  Ettesvold indicated the neighborhood is filled with kids, and narrowing the road makes it all the more likely for something to happen.  Hill stated ideally he would have loved to present this project with sidewalks, on at least one side, but figured residents wouldn't want to pay for those.  Wohlers stated he used to drive bus and questioned if the narrower road would be an issue with the buses.  Wohlers noted 4' doesn't sound like much but when you get parked cars and buses going through, it gets to be a lot.

 

Miller asked what the cost was to put in sidewalk and maybe it should be put in as an option.    Hill pointed out the street would be narrower than it is now, but it is not a narrow street.  Hill added typically sidewalks are 100% assessable.  Considerable discussion was held on whether or not to put sidewalks in the project. 

 

Pat Fiest, 9 Court Street, asked if the lines being replaced would go just to the property line.  Kuhn stated yes, that is where the new line would stop.  Miller pointed out it is a prime time to replace the line from the house to the street if the line is bad.  Kuhn pointed out that generally the contractor working the project would not be the same one to put in a private line, but it's a good time to make arrangements to get it done when everything is torn up.   

 

Truman Carlson, 325 Eleanor Avenue, stated he has water that goes over the lawn between his home and the corner house.  Carlson stated there is an underground gutter coming through the property of the corner house.  Kuhn explained that there is a pipe that originates to the south of the extension of Eleanor Avenue past Thomas Street.  There is an open culvert that takes

MINUTES   -   MORRIS CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING   -   NOVEMBER 22, 2016

Public Hearing and Resolution Ordering the Preparation of Plans and Specifications for the North, South and East Court, Brook Street and Eleanor Avenue Improvement Project: (continued)

water and comes through that pipe.  Kuhn stated they would be intercepting that and removing the one that goes through the front yards.  Carlson also asked how people would access their homes while the project is going on because there are no alleys.  Kuhn stated the duration of the project will be less in front of Eleanor Avenue, but in each case they try to get the roads put back together on a daily basis so they are passable. 

 

Solvie asked if anyone present did not want the project to go forward.  There were no comments from the public.  Solvie urged people to inform the city if they know of anyone having issues with drainage. 

 

Hill explained that if a person doesn't agree with their assessment they have a right to appeal it to district court.  Hill stated the city is using Nagel Appraisal and it is estimated that the appraised benefit to a single family home with all the improvements would range from $9,000 to $13,000. 

 

Solvie stated he appreciated everyone coming in because it's nice to get input about the projects the city is trying to plan.  Miller agreed that it was nice to see the interest and hear the questions residents have.

 

Mayor Giese closed the public hearing at 6:13 p.m. and brought the matter back to the council for action.  

 

Council member Miller moved, seconded by Storck, to adopt Resolution #3434-11-16, Resolution Ordering the Preparation of Plans and Specifications for the North, South and East Court, Brook Street and Eleanor Avenue Improvement Project.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

 

ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS:  Resolution Approving 2016 Sanitary Sewer Assessments on East 10th Street:    Hill explained all four of the property owners wanted to see this done.  Hill noted it would have saved them some damage and heartache if this would have been done when East 10th Street was redone.  Hill recommended that the city take care of patching the road without any cost to the homeowners. 

 

Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Solvie, to adopt Resolution #3435-11-16, Resolution Approving 2016 Sanitary Sewer Assessments on East 10th Street.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.   

 

Resolution Adopting Assessment for Current Services:  Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Wohlers, to adopt Resolution #3436-11-16, Resolution Adopting Assessment for Current Services.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

 

CITY MANAGER'S REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONS:  City Manager Newsletter:  This was informational for the council. 

 

 

MINUTES   -   MORRIS CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING   -   NOVEMBER 22, 2016

OTHER BUSINESS:  Ticketing:  Mayor Giese brought up a concern about a citizen working at a downtown business that received a snow alert ticket when they were just finishing up work.  Giese noted the tow truck operator was not very reasonable to deal with.  Giese stated it is not the city's intent to punish the downtown businesses that are still open when they begin ticketing and towing.    

 

Public Hearing Notice - Stevens County Comp Plan:  This was informational for the council.

 

INFORMATIONAL ITEMS:  MN Clean Energy Community:  This was informational for the council.

 

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:38 p.m.

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