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MINUTES   -  MORRIS CITY COUNCIL - REGULAR MEETING   -  DECEMBER 13, 2016

The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 13th day of December, 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, Finance Director Raasch, Fire Chief Dybdal, Police Chief Tiegs, Public Works Director Dittbenner and City Attorney Jordan.   

 

CITIZEN'S COMMENTSSophie Bishop - Morris Model Team:  Sophie Bishop, a senior at UMM, was present at the meeting and stated she has been working on this model effort for two years.  Bishop explained that the Morris model is a community wide effort to make Morris better prepared for the changing weather.  Bishop reviewed Minnesota's changing weather and the Morris Model.  Bishop noted other cities around the state such as St. Paul, Bemidji, Falcon Heights and St. Louis Park are making their own extreme weather preparedness plans.  Bishop reviewed the resilience goals with the council.  Bishop stated Minnesota is one of the top 5 fastest warming states with an average increase in temperature of 1.4 degrees over the last century.  The rise in temperature is most noticeable during the winter months.  Bishop stated the changing weather will likely increase the number of extreme weather events such as thunderstorms, hail and tornadoes.

 

Mary Elizabeth Bezanson:  Bezanson was present at the meeting and stated the sidewalks in town are deteriorating and they are critically important to getting people moving and keeping them safe.  Bezanson indicated she has found that it is safer to walk in the street because the sidewalks around her neighborhood are so bad and that just isn't right.

 

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  None

 

READING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES11/22/16 Regular City Council Meeting Minutes:  Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Council member Miller, to approve the 11/22/16 regular meeting minutes.  Motion carried.

 

11/22/16 Condensed Version Minutes:  Council member Storck moved, seconded by Wohlers, to approve the 11/22/16 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:

            A.         Audit of City Bills

            B.         November Transit Report

            C.         Raffle Report - Morris Senior Center

            D.         Gambling Reports

Motion carried.

 

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS:  None

 

ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONSResolution Amending a Water Purchase Agreement:  City Manager Hill explained this is the second amendment to the purchase agreement with the City of Alberta to purchase treated water from Morris.  Hill explained that Alberta has paid a buy-in amount in the past and this time it would be $38,400 to be paid in the second half of 2017.  This would allow Alberta to purchase up to 10,500,000 gallons of water per year. 

 

Council member Miller moved, seconded by Wohlers, to adopt Resolution #3437-12-16, Resolution Amending a Water Purchase Agreement.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

 

Resolution Appointing the Morris Fire Department Chief and Other Officers:  Council member Storck moved, seconded by Miller, to adopt Resolution #3438-12-16, Resolution Appointing the Morris Fire Department Chief and Other Officers.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

 

Resolution Renewing the WSN Engineering Services Agreement for 2017:  Hill noted this is an annual agreement with WSN and there are no big changes.  Hill stated he is happy with the work they are doing and is not aware of any issues.   

 

Council member Miller questioned how much was spent on engineering compared to hiring it done rather than having it done in house.  Hill indicated he would get those figures.      

 

Council member Storck moved, seconded by Wohlers, to adopt Resolution #3439-12-16, Resolution Renewing the WSN Engineering Services Agreement for 2017.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

 

CITY MANAGER'S REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONS:   2017 Licenses:  Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Solvie, to approve the 2017 liquor licenses as submitted, pending insurance on those indicated.  Motion carried.

 

City Manager Report:  Hill explained he was asked by UMM about splitting the cost of lighted crossing signs on East 2nd Street by UMM.  It was the consensus of the council that this was a good idea.  The signs will be by the RFC and another one further up the hill where people come across by the parking lots. 

 

Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Storck, to partner with the University for the lighted crossing signs.  Motion carried.

 

Hill noted pictures were taken and 34 sidewalk letters were sent out.  Wohlers asked if the money from the fines should be put into a separate fund to repair sidewalks.  Solvie stated it is not the city's responsibility to fix sidewalks.  Hill indicated this is the only process where the city is authorized to issue a fine immediately.  Considerable discussion was held on the improvement of sidewalks. 

 

OTHER BUSINESS:  None

 

INFORMATIONAL ITEMS:  None

BUDGET MEETING:  City Manager Hill reviewed the 2016 levy, collectible in 2017.  Hill stated the 1.5% adjustment is the tax abatement levy for Dripps.  Hill reviewed the breakdown of the property tax levy.  The 2016 levy is $1,395,105. 

 

The market value of property went up 4.19%.  The 2017 market value is $243,099,900.  Market value is the assessors estimated value of property in the City of Morris for tax purposes. 

 

Hill explained some of the basics of the budget which included a 3% wage increase and good health insurance rates with Blue Cross.  Hill stated with the turnover of employees it wound up reducing the group health insurance rates for both single and family.  Building permits were up for 2016 but were budgeted conservatively for next year.  The airport manager is now a part time position.  The consulting engineer now gets paid out of whatever project the city is doing.  There is also no election next year. 

 

The total city budget for 2017 is $9,749,354, which is a decrease of 2.8% over the 2016 budget.  The general fund budget is $3,853,256.  The capital improvement fund saw an increase of 24.3% to $408,208.  Hill suggested having WSN do a street study to see where the city should do seal coats and overlays in the future.  Hill stated there are no big infrastructure projects popping up on the horizon right now after 2017. 

 

The library fund budget saw an increase of 27.9%, which includes $80,000 for the heating system repair.  The 2017 library budget is $418,893.  The stormwater administration budget is new and is budgeted for the administrative requirement of the city's stormwater permit.  This is set at $55,000 for next year.  The lodging tax of 3% is for marketing and promoting Morris as a tourist destination and is budgeted to bring in $38,000 in 2017.

 

The public utility fund is budgeted at $1,189,300 which includes a rate increase of 3%.  Hill indicated the liquor store fund is doing very well and this year an additional $30,000 in transfers was made for public improvements.  The 2017 projected revenues are $2,176,050 with projected expenses of $2,114,022.

 

Hill stated in looking towards the future LGA is very concerning, as there hasn't been an increase since 2014.  There will be union negotiations and no clue what will happen with health insurance.  Hill added that the work force is stable and the city will continue to invest in capital equipment.  

 

There were no questions from citizens.

 

Council member Wohlers moved, seconded by Solvie, to adopt Resolution #3440-12-16, Resolution Approving the Final 2016 Levy for Collection in 2017.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting, in favor, motion carried.

 

Council member Miller moved, seconded by Storck, to adopt Resolution #3441-12-16, Resolution Adopting the Final 2017 Budget for the City of Morris.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

 

Council member Solvie moved, seconded by Storck, to adopt Resolution #3442-12-16, Resolution Increasing Sewer and Water Utility Rates for 2017.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

 

BUDGET MEETING: (continued)

Council member Miller moved, seconded by Solvie, to adopt Resolution #3443-12-16, Resolution Setting the Annual Pension Benefit for the Morris Fire Relief Association.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

 

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:46 p.m.

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